AI Content Isn’t Going To Cut It for Long: An Unbiased Take

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Andrew Copeland
By Andrew Copeland

June 8, 2023

Let’s talk about AI generated content. If you haven’t used ChatGPT or one of the other AI content assistants out there by now…I’m speechless.

Businesses all over the world have decided that AI is basically as good as a real human. And to be totally fair, it sometimes is. But cost saving measures often lack long-term vision and that is the point I want to make here. Companies that are going “all in” on AI could actually be damaging their competitive edge.

In this post I will do my best to give an unbiased take on AI generated content and I promise not to get all precious about the craft of writing on you. 

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A Brief History of Content Marketing in the Internet Era

The internet and search engines have become evermore crowded and competitive as their popularity has increased in recent decades. This means that user standards have also risen. Content that once garnered loads of attention now reads like a late-night infomercial on public access television.

Google knows this and routinely updates its algorithms to accommodate user preferences. I won’t go into that here, but here is a brief timeline of content marketing on the internet to illustrate my point:

  • 90’s to the early 2000’s - “Some content is better than none. Let’s just put something out there.”
  • Early to late 2000’s - “Keywords are a thing. Let’s stuff as many keywords into our content as possible and see what happens. We can use article spinners to produce multiple versions of the same page.”
  • The early aught’s - “Ok people are actually reading this stuff. Let’s make it kind of good. But don’t spend too much time or money on it. Let’s just outsource it to India”
  • The mid aught’s - “iPhones exist and people are sharing this stuff on Facebook. Let’s hire talented freelancers and try to go viral.”
  • Early 2020’s - “Everybody is doing content now. Let’s produce as much high-quality content as possible. All of our content needs to be produced in house.
  • Now - “Everybody is using ChatGPT. Our content has to be better than that.”

ChatGPT-4 and its inevitable successors will undoubtedly raise the bar for content. Cheap freelance writers are already being displaced — after all, why pay somebody 10 cents per word to do what a machine can do for fractions of a penny? 

But just like the content mills of the early aughts, AI content generators are setting the floor for what passes as acceptable content marketing in the current state of the internet. Brands that truly want to compete and earn their customer’s attention will have to do better than the status quo.

What’s Wrong With AI Content

First of all, there is nothing inherently wrong with AI generated content. 

But while I won’t get all precious about the craft of writing on you, there are some genuine reasons to be concerned about AI generated content.

Problem #1: In 2023, Nobody really knows how to use this technology. Some people are better at it than others, sure, but AI content generators haven’t been around for very long and they are still evolving. Anybody who calls themself an AI expert or an AI prompt writer is still figuring it out.

Problem #2: Like I mentioned earlier, if everybody is using AI generated content, then it’s no longer a competitive advantage. The reality of most SEO strategies is that all your competitors are looking at the same data and chasing the same keywords. The only real differentiator here is the content itself and what pages are most satisfying to the user. Sure, more content is better. But more better content is even better than that.

Problem #3: There is still a lot of uncertainty around how Google views AI generated content and even more uncertainty around copyright laws and generative AI. Recent high-profile lawsuits filed by artists and writers have brought a lot of attention to the question of “who owns AI generated content?” Unfortunately for now, those questions have been left open ended. 

AI Content Isn’t All Bad

I don’t want to give you the wrong impression about AI generated content. I think this is a very exciting tool with a lot of potential. I use ChatGPT every day and am actively searching for ways to integrate it into my daily workflow. 

I often compare generative AI to tools like marketing automation, which I am a huge proponent of. Almost every business in every industry is using automation to some extent and if you aren’t, you are really missing out. 

But it’s also true that some brands — mostly smaller ones — dislike automating everything because they feel it lacks the personal touch that separates them from the competition. I can’t really argue with that.

The main point that I want to drive home is that AI generated content, while cheaper and more efficient, is not the silver bullet you might think it is. As more businesses start to use it, AI content will become more more like white noise and the benefits will quickly diminish. Brands with a unique voice and who interject anecdotal experiences into their content will ultimately rise to the top and see long-term success.

Play around, experiment, have fun with it. But it’s way too early in the game to go “all in” on a tool that is currently surrounded by so much uncertainty.

We Get Content Marketing

Content marketing is hard. We get it. We’ve been doing it for years and we are always keeping up with the latest trends and technologies.

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