AI-Powered Marketing: Human Touch Included | Captain Coder

AI-Powered Marketing: Human Touch Included

Episode # 089 / Marisa VanSkiver / April 3, 2024

A man sitting at a computer using AI to help him write

It’s been over a year since Chat GPT exploded onto the scene and made a lot of us feel like marketing was going to change forever. AI could suddenly make so many things a lot easier, but is there a balance that we should strike when we’re using it within our marketing strategies?

I think you know I’m going to say the answer is yes.

AI has made it easy to add some personalization to our marketing, be more efficient (which is great when you’re a one-person team), and create content far more quickly than we might have been used to.

But how do we use AI and still keep that human touch?

I’m not sure there will ever be a day that our use of AI doesn’t need oversight. After all, it’s only as good as the people training it. That can lead to biases, misunderstandings, and false information (or as Chat GPT calls them, “hallucinations.”)

Let’s break down how you can use AI to make your life easier but use it responsibly.

The Power of AI to Create Content

Perhaps the first thing that everyone fell in love with when Chat GPT launched was how fast you could spin out a blog article or social media captions.

Our lives were going to be so much easier, right?

Ehhh….listen, AI has its uses but if we want to be responsible with how we use it, we need to use it to improve our efficiency but not replace our human thoughts and ideas.

Generating Content Ideas and Outlines

Tell me if this sounds familiar: to write a single blog post, you could spend hours digging through discussions in online communities, Google Trends, or looking at SEO keywords.

Once you found a topic, then you had to do a bunch of research and stare at a blank page to put it all together.

But with AI, you can take the guesswork and time out of generating content ideas.

As an example, when I’m creating my weekly blogs and podcast episodes, I go through the following process using Google’s Gemini AI tool:

  • Generate blog topic ideas for my target audience – make sure you always communicate who you’re talking to
  • Weeding out the ones I like and don’t like and deciding on twelve of them for the quarter
  • Taking an individual topic idea, explaining my audience and some of the basic points I want to make, and asking Gemini for ideas for an article
  • Ask Gemini to turn that into an outline

I can spend 30 minutes to an hour fully outlining four blog posts instead of the hours it would take me before.

Pretty nice right?

Keep in mind: Before you run away thinking this is all you have to do, I always compare the results I’m getting from AI to industry conversations. I want to double-check the work, look at SEO stats, and even trends to ensure that AI is correct. But because it’s focused, it still saves me a ton of time.

Writing First Drafts

I’ll never tell you to let AI write an entire blog article for you. Why? Besides the fact that many of us can now spot AI-generated content, you lose the human touch when AI writes the entire thing.

Instead, let AI create the first draft for you, and then you go through and edit and add your brand voice to it.

This allows you to not only catch any of those factual errors but also helps you to refine what AI gave you and make it fully your own.

To me, this is especially important because anyone can get the same response out of an AI tool. You want your content to not only be unique but finetuned for your audience and their needs. AI just can’t do that yet and it certainly doesn’t create something all that unique.

Another important piece: copyright law and AI is a mess right now, but the consensus is that we cannot copyright what we generate with AI (because it requires human creation). To protect your business and your content, you need to make sure you’re editing and refining what you get out of AI.

Optimize Content with AI

Perhaps my favorite way to use AI? Using it to help us improve what we’re creating. We’ve all been there – one-person teams trying to do the many roles within a marketing department. It can be fun because you get lots of time to be creative, but it can also be downright exhausting.

If you’re worried about ranking higher on Google and improving your SEO, then your blog content needs to be optimized. Harsh truth? Not everyone has time to learn SEO.

Thankfully, AI has some nice tools that we can use!

Rank Higher with AI Help

There are a lot of AI tools that help us improve our content for SEO. You can have it scan your current article and offer suggestions, generate the content (that you then edit of course), and even work to track your ranking across SEO.

If SEO is new for you, then you can use a tool like Surfer SEO to optimize your content for up to 20 main keywords. It uses NLP solutions, machine learning, and Google-compliant strategies to create and optimize your content. You can even use it to check for plagiarism and accuracy, saving you time and money.

Or you can use RankIQ to help you create SEO content briefs with ideas that Google might want you to cover, allowing you to create that blog outline in minutes. You can then use its writing assistant to help you add relevant content to your posts and even go back and optimize older, underperforming articles.

Train AI to Use Your Brand Voice

Perhaps one of the worst parts about AI is its tendency to sound, well, like AI.

You can train it to use your brand voice instead, so the first drafts that you’re getting out are better.

You can create that brand voice simply using a few prompts, courtesy of Savanna Riley:

  1. Open the content generator tool and enter the following request: “Please create a tone of voice based on the text below.”
  2. Copy and paste your chosen text into the chat, then click “send.” You’ll receive a description of the tone of voice derived from the provided text.
  3. Review the description and remove any elements that don’t match your style or add anything you feel is necessary to capture your unique voice. Save the modified description as your own.

Now that your brand voice is in AI, you can request that it creates those first drafts to match your unique style by asking it to use whatever you named your brand voice.

Keep in mind: don’t add any sensitive information into Chat GPT or Gemini to create this brand voice. We always need to be mindful of what we’re feeding into AI tools since they do learn from their inputs and can use that to help others.

Why AI Still Needs the Human Element

I’ll be honest – I saw a lot of fear amongst marketers that they were going to be replaced by AI when Chat GPT. And I’ve heard stories of short-sighted supervisors doing just that.

Why is that a terrible, terrible idea?

Not only is AI there yet, but it’s also devoid of the human touch that we so desperately need in marketing.

What drives a lot of marketing these days? Authenticity. And this isn’t just me saying it. Studies have found that 70 percent of consumers reportedly spend more with authentic brands.

Why do I think that is?

Honestly, I think that’s becoming more needed because of AI.

AI Has Created Mistrust

AI exploded so fast and so hard that we’re starting to wonder what’s real. Deepfake images have been an issue for a while, but thanks to AI they’ve become far more prevalent and honestly, terrifying. Just think about what happened to Taylor Swift earlier this year.

It’s great that we can create content with AI, but how do we know it’s based in reality at all?

Add an Emotional Connection

When we add the human element into our marketing, we’re creating a sense of trust.

You can’t get more authentic than by creating content yourself. Yes, you can use AI to help you create and write content faster, but when you add those oversights, stories, and even customer examples and experiences, you’re going to create content that is far more powerful than what AI can ever produce.

Because to tap into human emotions, we need to be human. And while many of us make purchases based on logic, we’re also doing so because of how a company or even a sales rep makes us feel. Because of the reviews we read from other humans who have used the service. Because of what we see a company doing for its local community and customers.

We buy based on emotion far more than most of us will ever admit.

AI is a Legal Minefield

The other “less fun” part of AI? We’re not sure what all the legal implications will be. It’s not surprising that technology is moving faster than we can make laws to aid its ethical use. (Did you even watch some of those congressional hearings about TikTok? Those guys can’t understand that Singapore isn’t part of China, let alone how AI works.)

The basic definition of copyright law is that to copyright it, it needs to be human-generated. Now, ChatGPT no longer claims ownership of the content you’re creating with its platform, but it’s also possible that you’re getting out content that’s very similar to someone else’s.

When you just copy and paste from an AI tool, you may not be able to claim copyright over that content. That means a competitor can publish an eerily similar blog to you and you have 0 recourse.

Use it to generate ideas and get you going, but always go back through and add that human touch with whatever AI gives you.

Best Practices for Responsible AI Marketing

How can you use AI effectively but also ethically in your marketing strategies?

You need to follow just a few best practices.

  1. Establish guidelines for your organization and make sure everyone is following the same set of rules.
  2. Focus on using it to generate ideas and help improve your content, not replacing a copywriting professional.
  3. Always have a process for fact-checking and human editing in your content
  4. Make sure you’re focusing on the value for your audience first.
  5. Never copy and paste directly from AI without modifying it for your needs.

I’m a firm believer in using AI to help me improve my content and make my life as a business owner easier, but I know that I can’t remove my expertise from the content either.

Creating a process for how your business or organization uses AI keeps everyone on the same page, maintains your brand voice and unique identity, and allows you to use it effectively.

Using AI and a Human Touch

You can use AI to create higher-quality content in a much faster timeframe, something I know we all struggle with right now as we work to churn out information for our audience.

But we must remember that AI needs to be used ethically.

Can it help you ideate, improve, and create content in a much faster time frame? Absolutely!

But can it also churn out information that isn’t factual or fits your audience? Unfortunately, that’s also absolutely true.

If you want to get the most you can out of AI, then it’s time to do so responsibly. It doesn’t even take much more of your time to do it right, either.

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