Now more than ever, it’s an understatement to say that AI is a content marketing buzzword. It’s become an unavoidable topic of discussion in digital marketing. Depending on who you ask or what you read, AI is either a business must-have or a major must-avoid. Are AI content generators really worth the hype—or concern? We decided to find out for ourselves.
AI-generated content is any kind of written content—whether that be blog posts, product descriptions, reviews, emails or any other form of text—that is created by artificial intelligence through natural language processing. After providing relevant topic keywords, phrases or titles to an AI writing tool, the technology claims to produce your desired content in a matter of seconds.
On the surface, this seems like a pretty sweet deal. After all, what might take a human writer a couple of hours and a few hundred dollars takes AI less than a fraction of the time and cost. With advances in natural language processing technology, AI systems play the role of human writer fairly convincingly too. Even so, we’ve found that AI-generated content is far from an ideal content creation solution—on its own.
Trying Out Free AI Writing Tools
We gave Copy.ai (a popular copywriting AI tool) a title, keywords and tone for a relatively simple topic. After giving the system the reins, we got our results in under 30 seconds.
After devising an outline and associated talking points related to our title, Why Buffalo, NY Is the Perfect Weekend Vacation Getaway, the tool churned out a long-form post chock full of Buffalonian ideas that we’d probably also recommend to vacationers. In general, the piece had some organization, a consistent tone and sounded like it could have been articulated by a real person—mostly. Despite these upsides, there were some significant issues with the AI’s content.
3 Key Problems With AI-Generated Content
1. It Doesn’t Stay On Topic
While the piece started off on the right track, the AI had already gotten sidetracked by the second section. As we can see, the focus shifted away from Buffalo’s location and weather to New York State landscape features. Unfortunately, these details detract from the main point of the blog and the audience’s reading experience.
2. It’s Not Always Factually or Grammatically Correct
Facts matter and research takes time. That’s why writing high-quality content is such a time-consuming process. Naturally, this is an area where AI falls short. While most of this test piece read accurately, we noticed a few factual errors. Of course, being from Buffalo helped us pick them out (e.g., The New York Botanical Garden is in New York City, The Buffalo Zoo has over 1,200 animals and Buffalo has a continental climate, to name a few). There were also more than a handful of grammatical issues.
3. It Lacks the Details Readers Want
The AI isn’t wrong in this example below; Buffalo’s food scene is a great reason to visit. However, the blog skimped out on juicy details that could potentially entice readers (being the home of the chicken wing, a booming brewery scene and signature Buffalo pizza are a few examples our content team would have included). Despite some specifics sprinkled in, much of the content in this section was general and didn’t really give readers an authentic portrayal of what Buffalo’s food scene actually includes.
Where AI Content Generation Can Help
On its own, AI-generated content tends to be lower quality; it lacks the emotional connections and subtle nuances that human writers bring to the table. And since high-quality content is necessary for ranking well on Google, we wouldn’t recommend using AI content generation alone. But that doesn’t mean we don’t see any value in these systems. In fact, we think that AI writing tools are great for idea generation and overcoming writer’s block, both of which can help content creators and small business owners or managers speed up their writing processes!