Is Generative AI the Future of Content Marketing?

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Ever since the advent of ChatGPT, generative AI has been sort of a hot and sensitive topic across various industries, and for good reason!

Forget the paranoia that artificial intelligence might take over humanity and usher in the age of the Matrix. The most imminent threat of generative AI is automation, putting people’s livelihoods in a vulnerable position.

Given humanity’s penchant for wealth and convenience, it’s only natural for big companies to explore the capabilities of AI to serve their bottom line. Part of this campaign is leveraging AI to automate sectors within businesses that could use less human resources and more robots.

One of these branches is content marketing

Before the AI craze, digital marketers took pride in bridging the gap between companies and customers through content. 

While content marketing does the job of attracting organic traffic, it’s no secret that content creation is a massive time-consumer and budget depleter. 

Therefore, generative AI seems like the perfect compromise that satisfies the need for said wealth and convenience. 

Today, Forbes says more than half of marketers actively use generative AI with 22% more planning to adopt it soon, believing it can save them an average of 5 hours of work per week. Comfort aside, however, a few questions have circulated my thoughts, like:

  • Do the benefits of AI in marketing extend to content quality?
  • Is generative AI for content marketing effective, metrics-wise?
  • Is generative AI the future of content marketing?

Let’s explore the answers here today.

Generative AI: Understanding the Fundamentals

Before we truly wrap our heads around generative AI for content marketing, it’s crucial to first understand the components of today’s discussion: content marketing and generative AI. 

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What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. 

For many businesses, content marketing is an essential pillar in their marketing repertoire. This marketing approach serves not just as a means to demonstrate a company’s technical prowess, but also as an avenue to engage with customers and build meaningful relationships. 

But with every other business activity, content marketing takes time, effort, and resources. 

With innovativeness embedded in humanity’s DNA, it was only a matter of time before the use cases of generative AI were explored to alleviate the associated burdens of content marketing. 

So, what exactly is generative AI, again?

Generative AI: Decoded

Generative AI is a branch of artificial intelligence that is capable of producing entirely new content. Generate content may come in various forms, including text, images, audio, and video

Generative AI tools are software applications built on generative AI models that are trained on massive datasets. The more data fueling a model, the more effectively it uses machine learning to understand underlying patterns and relationships within that data.

Once trained, the generative AI model can interpret human input and use its understanding of patterns to create entirely new pieces of content. 

Contrary to what many believe, the machine doesn’t simply recreate or copy existing data. Generative AI models use their vast knowledge to produce something original while still adhering to the style and format prescribed by the training data.

Meet the Robots: An Overview of Generative AI Models

Since ChatGPT has popularized generative AI, OpenAI’s brainchild ushered in a wave of development to create apps based on their platform. Using OpenAI’s API (application programming interface), companies can take advantage of the code of a pre-built generative AI model, instead of building a new model from scratch. 

Still, we have to give credit where credit is due. Below, we recognize the most popular generative AI tools that are making strides in the content marketing industry. These include:

  • ChatGPT: Developed by OpenAI, this generative AI tool is an example of a large language model (LLM) that is trained on online data. As of writing, it has access to online information up until April 2023. From a content marketing standpoint, ChatGPT is a powerful ally for content marketers since it can automate repetitive writing tasks and idea generation, allowing marketers to focus more on strategic work.
  • DALL-E: Specifically, DALL-E 2, is another generative AI tool developed by OpenAI. This software allows users to generate incredibly realistic and creative images based on provided text descriptions. For content marketers, DALL-E 2 is a game-changer for creating unique visuals to capture the attention of visually dependent audiences.
  • Gemini: Formerly known as Bard, Gemini is also an LLM designed to understand and process information across various formats like text, codes, images, and audio. This makes it more versatile compared to its competitors that only focus on a single format. Plus, Gemini gets the advantage of real-time internet connectivity and access to up-to-date information through Google search.

ChatGPT, DALL-E 2, and Gemini are only three among the long list of generative AI tools in existence today. However, they come ahead of the rest in terms of real-world applications for content marketing. 

Speaking of which…

Real-World Applications of AI in Content Marketing

Content marketing is not a simple task. It requires strategic planning and technical expertise to perform skillfully. 

It is for this reason that marketers are adopting generative AI to do their bidding. This frees up content creators’ time to focus on more strategically oriented work. After all, what a content marketer can produce in several hours, generative AI tools can do in a snap minus the threat of creative blocks. 

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Below are some use cases of AI in content marketing:

  • Blog content production: AI tools never suffer from writer’s block. That means they can bust out content outlines, write drafts, and even personalize content for different audiences non-stop. 
  • Image generation: Stock photos have been overused for years. But with generative AI, you can free your customers from stock photo fatigue and create unique visuals like social media graphics, product mockups, or infographics to accompany your content.
  • Video Creation: While still evolving, AI can assist in tasks generating videos or snippets. This makes video production more accessible for content marketing. (However, I wouldn’t trust AI yet to produce complex video commercials after seeing what they did with Pepperoni Hug Spot lol)
  • Translation: Generative AI bridges the language gap with its capability to translate content. For companies engaged in multilingual SEO, AI can help personalize marketing materials for targeted demographics. This is perfect, especially for companies requiring international engagement.
  • Market Research: Powered by machine learning, AI tools can analyze vast amounts of market research data that are given to it. Instead of manually interpreting results, content marketers can simply use AI’s interpretation and analysis. This speeds up the market research process like identifying trends or understanding audience preferences.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Generative AI for SEO is useful when optimizing content for search engines by identifying relevant keywords or suggesting content improvements that increase discoverability. While this does not ensure your content ranks higher on SERPs, it is a good start to facilitate search engine marketing.

The Good and Bad of Generative AI for Content Marketing

The Good and Bad of Generative AI for Content Marketing Banner

With everything that’s written above, one might think that generative AI is the all-in-one toolkit they need for content creation and marketing. Nobody doubts its usefulness and proficiency as a tool for content marketing, but it isn’t without flaws.

While powerful in their own right, generative AI tools do have a tendency to make mistakes. This underscores the importance of human oversight and fact-checking to ensure the quality of generated content. 

Below, we’ll take a look at generative AI from an objective standpoint. Let’s explore how generated content can positively serve content marketing campaigns. After that, we’ll dissect how generative AI can do more harm than good for content marketers.

The “Good” 

#1 Increased efficiency and output

Companies that rely heavily on content marketing will naturally spend more time brainstorming and creating new content. Generative AI used as a content marketing tool can supercharge a company’s efficiency and output by putting content creation on autopilot. 

This reduces the mental strain on content marketers, allowing them to focus on proofreading, fact-checking, and improvement instead of doing the heavy lifting.

For example, take an SEO agency that needs to produce various optimized content for several clients. Provided clear-cut prompts, generative AI can consistently bust out content that aligns with each respective client’s customers. In other words, beating deadlines and content creation becomes more achievable.

#2 Enhanced creativity

Generative AI tools are like your personal 24/7 ideation machines. If humans have a propensity to run out of ideas, generative AI has a consistent source of creative inspiration. 

They are perfect brainstorming companions when coming up with new content ideas. When encountering roadblocks, a content marketer can simply start a chat with ChatGPT to kickstart their thought process.

Generative AI can also pull you out of a ditch when you’re stuck on the same idea. They can find new angles to help you facilitate a steady stream of fresh material. Another thing that makes generative AI a good assistant is it helps find angles that would otherwise have been buried in hindsight.

AI tools can also help transform any piece of content into a content goldmine by repurposing it to your desired platform. For instance, you can ask the machine to create social media snippets or email marketing copy from a blog article. This helps maximize the value and returns of your content assets.

#3 AI models are programmable

One of the hidden, often unexplored strengths of generative AI for content marketing is its programmability. Using the correct prompts, generative AI tools can be fine-tuned to produce content that perfectly aligns with your desired brand voice, target audience, and content goals.

One marketer I’ve met in the past always called AI models as nothing more than tools. And tools are only as strong and effective as their user. 

In the case of generative AI, humans are the conductors and we command the robot to do our bidding. However, for the best results, our prompts should satisfy our specific needs. 

For instance, if you are asking Gemini or ChatGPT to write content, here are details you might want to consider including:

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  • Brand voice guidelines
  • Target audience demographics
  • Desired content style (informal, professional, humorous, etc.)
  • Type of content (long-form, social media post, email copy, etc.)
  • Additional data you might want to include

If unsatisfied with the results, you can always suggest edits to refine the initial content until you achieve the desired outcome.

#4 Generative AI offers expanded reach

At the heart of content marketing is its purpose of connecting with your target audience. With generative AI’s help, you can expand the reach of content marketing and even connect with audiences at a global level. 

Generative AI helps users conquer language barriers. This allows content marketers to translate produced content into multiple languages and reach new audiences. 

But generative AI’s expanded reach goes beyond languages. Here are other ways generative AI offers expanded reach:

  • Targeting diverse segments: Generative AI can target specific segments with laser precision. This allows content marketers to utilize these tools to create personalized content for particular demographics, increasing engagement for each client group.
  • Unrestricted accessibility: Generative AI is non-selective when it comes to who wields their boundless capabilities. That means even people outside of the content marketing field can become bona fide content creators using the proper prompts on generative AI.

#5 More cost-effective 

It’s no secret that budgets are tighter in today’s data-driven world. Hiring more content marketers might be a heavy load on any company’s profitability. In this case, generative AI emerges as a game-changer that offers more cost-effective benefits.

Taking into account everything we’ve mentioned above, generative AI tools when used properly can:

  • Produce more content in less time
  • Leverage existing content for repurposing
  • Generate ideas non-stop
  • Serve a company 24/7

All of this translates to significant cost savings in the long run, allowing companies to stretch their marketing budget further and improve their content marketing ROI.

At the end of the day, how generative AI serves a company’s bottom line will be the clincher whether businesses pursue it or not. With how things are turning out, many workers might relinquish their positions to generative AI. 

According to Markets and Markets, the generative AI market might grow to a staggering $76.8 billion with a CAGR of 31.5%. With fewer human-occupied positions and more positions getting automated, the age of generative AI will be more cost-effective for companies.

“What do I need content marketers for, everything is great about generative AI, right?”


The “Bad” 

Generative AI isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. Quoting a friend of mine, “If anything is too good to be true, it’s probably false.” 

In the case of generative AI, what makes it good is undoubtedly good. However, the bad kind of balances it out as far as content marketing is concerned.

Let’s take a look at them:

#1 Lack of originality

It’s no secret that generative AI is impressive but we have to remember that the AI is trained based on existing data. While it can extrapolate new content using prompts, the possible lack of originality remains a tough hurdle. 

Since generative AI is dependent on data, its level of originality is limited to the data it is based on. If the training data consists of generic marketing copy, the AI will likely replicate the same in your content marketing-oriented prompts. Human intervention is extremely crucial to ensure plagiarism-free content.

Another conundrum of relying on generative AI’s creativity is its content generation style. Sure, you can command the robot to adhere to specific formats, but AI being an algorithm-based engine, will follow patterns and formulas it learns from data. 

If you notice, generated content often feels repetitive or derivative. In other words, it lacks the spark of genuine human creativity.

Speaking of which…

#2 Limited understanding of context

You can train robots with data all you want but they’ll never replace the human touch. Another hurdle that generative AI faces in content marketing is its struggle to grasp the ‘true essence’ of human communication. 

The human language is filled with nuances. And these subtle cues may prove effective in content marketing when dealing with certain demographics. 

For instance, sarcasm may be an appealing marketing angle to some customers but AI might steer clear from sarcastic tones thinking it comes across as offensive. Instead of getting reader-friendly content, you might end up with content that feels robotic, out-of-touch, and missing the intended meaning or purpose.

Sarcasm is only one nuance, there are also cultural preferences, humor, and emotional tones that AI just wouldn’t capture. Missing these important details on any marketing copy may result in factually correct material but it will fail miserably to resonate with the target audience.

#3 AI dependency

While a powerful toolkit for content creation, generative AI has a downside, especially for content marketers. Over-reliance on generative AU can lead to a “crutch mentality” that corrodes a person’s natural content marketing skills.

In worst-case scenarios, AI dependency can kill people’s creativity. This can lead to a decline in essential writing, editing, and critical thinking skills within marketing teams. If AI handles everything, marketers may lose the ability to brainstorm ideas and craft compelling narratives without AI’s aid.

Companies reliant on AI can fall into the copy-paste trap, which quite literally means copying and pasting generative AI’s outputs. Without proper editing and tailoring, content marketing efforts will feel generic and uninspired. And trust me, your audience will smell the AI from a mile away.

Moreover, dependency on AI can prove more disruptive if AI use and research are halted. Businesses that have developed a reliance on AI will find it hard to stand up on their feet without an AI assistant helping them.

#4 Ethical considerations and data privacy concerns

Generative AI is a powerful tool for content marketing, but its effectiveness hinges on ethical considerations and data privacy concerns.

With generative AI being trained on data, private information may become embedded in its system, which raises privacy problems. For responsible AI implementation, ensuring data is anonymized, ethically collected, and used only for the intended purpose is paramount.

For example, a report suggested that racial biases are prevalent in ChatGPT’s results. According to the researcher, his experiment revealed that ChatGPT is not biased in and of itself. However, ChatGPT is trained by trainers who do have biases, and these may reflect how the generative AI tool responds.

Moreover, there are cases when generative AI exudes boldness when making strong claims. However, further fact-checking shows that the information stated is false. Therefore, irresponsible use can make AI a fake news frontier that erodes trust in brands.

#5 Needs effective prompts for best results 

The programmability of generative AI can be both a positive and a negative. Positive because you may direct the robot to produce marketing content that aligns with your vision, objectives, style, and audiences. But it becomes a negative because this ‘programming’ process takes time.

Generative AI requires proper training for the best results. That includes experimenting with various prompts and prompt formats, which is neither free nor easy. 

Moreover, even if you find the best command, fact-checking remains important to prevent biased and false information from perpetrating your marketing copy.

Best Practices for Human-AI Collaboration in Content Marketing

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Despite the negatives, it’s a big waste of opportunity and time to not take advantage of the positives associated with generative AI. To harness generative AI effectively for content marketing, human-AI collaboration must be strictly implemented.

Below are some best practices for effective human-AI collaboration in content creation:

  1. Balance automation and human input: There are certain areas where automation beats human input like efficient content generation. Still, humans know humans better than robots. This is where human creativity and contextual understanding come in to refine, improve, fact-check, and align the content with the company’s intended audience.
  1. Train the AI tool using accurate prompts and data: It’s crucial to consider the limitations of generative AI’s information pool. In this case, it is the human’s responsibility to feed the robot with accurate and up-to-date information to prevent the spread of misinformation. Combined with better commands, humans can unlock the full potential of generative AI for content marketing.
  1. Uphold ethical standards: People understand humanity and ethical standards more than a machine does. It then falls on us to uphold these standards when identifying and rectifying errors in AI-generated marketing content. This allows you to pursue a more ethical form of marketing that machines never could.
  1. Embrace human oversight: To err is human. Mistakes and oversights do happen as part of our humanity. That said, it’s ill-advised for content marketers to avoid AI and see it as a threat to their marketing prowess. Generative AI is no more than a tool that helps complete content marketers. For instance, it can find fresh angles that would otherwise have been missed. 
  1. Focus on collaboration, not replacement. Business owners can never replace the humanity and skills of content marketers with generative AI. Therefore finding a beneficial compromise in equipping content marketers with AI skills is the best foot forward as we enter an AI-dependent world.

Impact of Generative AI on Content Marketing 

If you’re still on the fence about using generative AI for your content creation efforts, the recent report from Deloitte Digital might change your perspective. In their research, Deloitte Digital demonstrated how generative AI is revolutionizing the content marketing landscape.

According to the report, 1 in every 4 companies have already integrated generative AI for content marketing. Meanwhile, an additional 45% plan to leverage AI before 2024 ends. Part of the reason might be that early adopters saw a 12% increased ROI since using generative AI.

Moreover, users manage to meet content demands 1.5x faster than those who do not use generative AI tools. Specifically, users report saving an average of 11.4 hours per week, giving them headroom to prioritize high-value or more strategic tasks.

That could be YOU too.

Generative AI’s positive impacts can never be overstated.

So, Is Generative AI the Future?

As mentioned above, generative AI is no more than a tool and tools are only as effective as how users wield them. 

Generative AI tools In the hands of already skilled content marketers will be a powerful combination. Whether generative AI is the future is too soon to tell. 

For instance, Google values high-quality information in search results. While Google did say in their guidance on search-generated content that they reward content however it was produced, you want to consider that AI operates on existing data.

Screen shot of Google's guidance about AI-generated content

But if every other user generates content via the same information pool, unmanaged AI content generation will be a purveyor of generic content. As a result, Google may develop safeguards that prevent generative AI content from ranking on SERPs, affecting SEOs.

See the domino effect?

Perhaps until AI develops consciousness, generative AI will remain a tool to be used responsibly for content marketing. If you’re a content marketer or an entrepreneur who engages in content marketing, I suggest you get on the generative AI train and explore its vast potential for your business.

Of course, it goes without saying, always remember to be a responsible GenAI user.

1 thought on “Is Generative AI the Future of Content Marketing?

  1. Hey there,

    I just finished reading your article on generative AI and content marketing, and I have to say, it was a fantastic read! You’ve done a great job discussing this fascinating topic without making it feel overwhelming.

    The way you explained the balance between automation and human input was spot on, and your emphasis on ethical standards in AI-generated content was a refreshing perspective. It’s clear that you have a deep understanding of the subject and a knack for making complex concepts easy to grasp.

    Overall, your article left me with a better understanding of generative AI’s potential in content marketing, and I’m excited to see how this technology continues to evolve in the future.

    Keep up the great work!

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