There’s been an explosion of tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) to help businesses write copy—whether for their websites, social media posts, product descriptions, ads or blogs.


A study last year by Deloitte and Stanford University revealed that 25% of small businesses are already using AI to do all sorts of jobs, including marketing and brand-building. Some experts predict that AI-generated online content will skyrocket over the next few years as tools such as ChatGPT, Jasper AI and Writesonic become even more mainstream and bring AI-generated content to the next level.


“AI helps you align your content with the needs and wants of your target audience,” says Kimberley Ring Allen, a public relations and marketing expert and adjunct professor at Suffolk University in Boston. “You need to optimize all your content for search—and AI can do that.”


As business owners assess the shifting landscape, many are wondering if and how to leverage AI. Here’s a look at the benefits of using an AI content generator…and the limitations:


Benefits of using AI content generators


AI content generation tools leverage existing information—whether provided by the user or information found on the internet—to help users produce content that’s not only search-engine optimized but can also be tailored to your target audience.


Here’s how AI content generators work: You enter information and instructions about whatever topic you’re looking to create content on—including any important details—and the tool will use it to quickly produce the type of content you need, whether a blog post or webpage copy. Depending on the app, it can use natural language processing and machine-learning algorithms to analyze the language patterns and tone of a given brand and create content based on it, so it reflects the company’s typical style.


“They produce content quickly and efficiently and have the ability to scale content based on your business’ online presence,” says Robin Dimond, CEO of Fifth & Cor, a marketing and innovation company in Boca Raton, Florida.


Even so, Dimond says, a content text generator can be only as good as the input that someone—a human—feeds it. “The key to success is finding the right balance between AI-generated content and the human touch and personalization that customers expect.”


Jon Morgan, a small business consultant who runs Venture Smarter in San Francisco, advises clients to use AI to improve captions, develop fun video titles and create short blog posts. The outcome: the ability to generate a high volume of search-worthy content while saving time and resources for the business.


“With tight deadlines and limited manpower, humans can only do so much,” Morgan says. “Humans are creative, but sometimes that creativity isn’t consistent. That’s where AI comes in. Oftentimes we have an idea but can’t exactly put it into words in the way that AI can.”


The limitations of AI content generation


While an AI content generator can create all sorts of content quickly, it still relies on humans to feed it the information and details that make for unique and engaging copy—so it doesn’t come off as too generic or impersonal.


Also, when an AI-driven content generator is asked to create content around information that the business doesn’t provide, there’s a risk of inaccuracy. OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, candidly warns that the tool “sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”


So whenever using a tool to create copy, it’s important someone reviews it and verifies its accuracy. That could be especially important for, say, a medical office that uses a content generator to write content that offers medical advice.


Some businesses use AI writing tools as more of a starting point. They review and edit the content—sometimes adding more detail or colorful language—so it feels unique and authentic.


Ring Allen doesn’t recommend using the tools for businesses that create content infrequently, such as posting a monthly blog post or weekly social media post. But it can be a game-changer for ecommerce sites and businesses that sell on massive platforms like Amazon that constantly need to write product descriptions.


Michelle Kop, founder of Level 28 Media in Los Angeles, says AI content generation needs to be overseen because it can have accuracy and grammar issues. But it can help get the writing process going.


“These apps can increase efficiency, remove creative roadblocks and improve the content creation process,” Kop says. “The sheer fact that I’m able to produce copy and have ideas flowing in a short amount of time saves me from dealing with writer’s block.”

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