How Content Is Evolving Thanks to AI — Whiteboard Friday


The author’s views are entirely their own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

There’s no question that AI has already started to have a meaningful impact on organizations that create content every single day. 

“The wonderful world of AI is changing rapidly. ChatGPT4 is driving even more improvements in the output from the technology and the space continues to take off,” says today’s host, Ross Simmonds. “The best piece of advice that I can give anyone looking to use AI in their marketing workflows today is to take the time to plan and create a culture where embracing the evolution is not only embraced but also celebrated. The future is here.”
– Note from the host, Ross Simmonds.

In this video, Ross shares how our workflows, processes, and content creation will positively evolve thanks to AI.

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz friends. So are robots coming for your job? That is the question that a lot of marketers and creators are asking themselves today and for good reason. Every single time that you log in to one of your favorite social media channels, you’re probably seeing a plethora of news around the new AI, ChatGPT 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, who knows, right?

The evolution of AI is always in the press, in the buzz. It is taking off, and there is a real reason why you should be paying attention to this rise of AI. I’m not here to strike the fears of marketers around the globe to make them think that the robots are going to take their jobs and the robots are going to send them out into the streets to be unemployed.

That is not the message that I have for you today. There’s no question that AI has already started to have a meaningful impact on organizations that create content every single day. An evolution is happening. The same way that an evolution happened when the modern printing press was evolved with technologies like laptops, the same way that evolution took place when we went from people who consumed content on VHSs to DVDs to Blu-rays, to now streaming sites, technology continues to evolve.

That evolution now today is through generative AI and how it’s influencing the way that we create content every single day. In this video, what I’m going to share with you is how our workflows, how our processes, and how we create content is going to evolve thanks to AI. Now, some of you might be fearful.

Some of you might work for organizations that are actually viewing AI as a replacement to writers, and I hear you. My heart breaks for those who would consistently be met with the idea that a boss would tell them, “Yeah, I can just replace you with an AI,” because that is not the intent of these tools. These tools are kind of like our Ironman suit, so to speak, right, or vibranium if you’re in the world of Wakanda, and you understand the fact that you can take these things to just elevate us as humans, that is the power of AI.

AI is supposed to be a tool that we can use to be better. I do have some bad news. If you are a mediocre writer and you use an AI tool, you’re still going to be a mediocre writer. You’re just going to be able to create more mediocre content faster. But if you are a great writer, if you are a great creative and creator, you have the opportunity to use AI tools to elevate and improve and enhance the rate in which you can create great content, and that’s the magic of this stuff.

Evolve to the new way

So let’s jump into it. All right. There was a great quote from Howard Stark. Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s dad. It’s not a real quote. It’s not a real person. But he said, “I am limited by the technology of my day, but you have the opportunity to unlock something special. You will be able to figure it out.”

Even today, technology that we have at our disposal is going to continue to evolve, but we are only limited to the technology we have today as long as we make the decision as creators, as marketers to embrace the technology instead of rejecting it. My goal today is to show you why you need to evolve from the old way of creation to the new way of creation, which is rooted, in many ways, in leveraging tools like AI.

So let’s go back into time a little bit. Let’s go back to 1992 when we’re creating content on our typewriters and things like that. Things shifted, things change because that’s a part of life, that’s a part of business, that’s a part of technology. Then we got computers and we got laptops. Fast forward now to, let’s say, 2018. We’re now using computers to create content.

We’re writing blog posts. How do we do it? We embrace a process that we would call content creation, content workflows. Every organization is going to have a different workflow, and every single type of content is going to have a different type of workflow as well. Let’s talk about the writing workflow. Let’s talk about creating content with the intent of search. If you’re watching this, you’re probably someone who’s interested in search.

So let’s talk about that. You start your process with research. You start your process by understanding the keywords that your audience is going to Google to type in. You’re trying to understand the search intent behind the behaviors that they’re going to Google to understand a certain topic, a certain industry. Why would they type in a certain thing? You want to understand that.

Then you want to do things like interviews. Let’s talk to our customers. Let’s learn about their pain points, let’s learn about their needs, and use this information to inform us on the stories that we should be creating. Let’s analyze social. When Facebook comes out, Twitter comes out, we start to use these tools to gain insight into, “Hmm, my audience is talking about this thing. Maybe I should create content about this.” These are things that we should be doing today.

These are things that your organization might be doing. Diving into the SERP, using great tools like Moz to understand the SERP and understand what is already ranking for certain keywords, and then using that to inform your decisions on the stories that you should create. That’s happening today. Since the beginning of the creative industry, we’ve started to do things like brainstorm. So you get all this insight.

You get all this information and you brainstorm. You might drink coffee, you might drink wine depending on your appetite and what you’re into. But you’re going to brainstorm. You’re going to come up with new ideas, new stories, new headlines, new topics, stories that you think your audience is going to love. Then you start to create them. You put on your suit and you walk into the class, “Everyone, I have new ideas that I want share with you today.”

Then you start to share them. You write a brief. You write a brief on why this idea is going to resonate, why this idea is going to rank. You create content based off of the research that you’ve developed. This might take two to three days, right? Like this might take maybe even a week depending on your industry, your space, your company. It’s taking time to create these briefs.

The briefs get approved by a creative director or a content director, whoever it might be. Then you brief your writers, your creators, and they’re developing drafts, maybe in Google Docs. Maybe they’re going in and they’re actually writing it up. They’re having coffee. They’re hitting a writer’s block. They’re getting stressed out. They’re leaving.

They’re having a smoke break, whatever it might be. They’re struggling to create this draft, and then boom, it hits. They’ve come up with an amazing piece that they believe is going to set the world on fire and everybody is going to give them applause because they just identified a great topic. Then they press Publish. They upload it to the CMS, content management system. It goes live, and an SEO team starts to throw SEO stuff on it. They start to audit it.

This is the workflow of 1.0. That is the workflow that probably sounds very similar to a lot of you. It might be the process and procedures that you are using right now within your company. That’s okay. But as you look ahead, as you start to look at the SERP, you’re going to start to notice a shift. You’re going to start to notice a shift in the fact that more companies and more organizations, more people, more creators are going to be able to produce higher volumes of content at a higher rate because they have embraced the evolution of content. They’ve embraced the evolution of content by embracing AI. 

AI content will get better

Now, some of you are probably thinking, “Ross, AI content is garbage. AI content is not good. It’s not high quality. Nobody wants to read that stuff, and it’s just going to put a bunch of spam on the internet.” I hear you. But Google is smart. They understand the difference between bad content and good content. Over time, as their algorithm continues to change, just like the AI tools that we’re using continue to change, they’re going to start to understand the triggers of what is a great piece of content and what is a mediocre piece of content.

So in the short term, yes, we might see a lot of trash content, true. But over time, the content is going to be forced to elevate due to things like Double E-A-T. When Google announces Double E-A-T, the new requirements around what they’re going to actually rank and what they want to see from creators and marketers and businesses, that gives us an insight into where things are going.

Think differently

This is why I think AI can still be embraced, but we have to think differently. Now, when we’re going through the new workflow, where does it start? It still starts with research, but it’s going to be a different type of research. You’re going to be able to go to an AI tool and you can say, hey, give me the top 20 keywords that I should be going after if I want to increase my SERP visibility based off my analytics, which the AI can actually pull data from, and give me a recommendation on the keywords that I should go after.

This can happen within minutes now. It’s no longer taking a human the time to go through a spreadsheet, to pull up Tableau. They can use a tool that’s going to analyze this on your behalf. Then from this detail, from this data, you can then start to dive into the SERP, and there are AI tools that will allow you to do that. You can start to look at social media and start to use AI tools that will analyze on your behalf the topics that are trending in your space and use that to start getting into something very special, which is when you actually start to create content using AI.

What does that look like? So imagine you’re using generative AI, which is essentially a tool, a technology that has taken all of the content on the internet, and it’s scraped a bunch of it. It’s using language processing to understand it and come up with stories and messages that really sound natural, human, right? Natural language processing is at the core of all of this. If you go to a tool like ChatGPT, if you use their API, you can do what I’m going to share with you as the future of content creation in AI, and this is what it looks like.

You go to one of these tools. You set up a Google spreadsheet. You can tell that spreadsheet, you can tell the AI that you want them to find 10 blog posts based off of the keywords that you pulled out of your research. So if a tool like Moz gives you 20 keywords that you need to actually rank for, great, you’ve got the starting point. Now, I want AI to take each of these keywords and find 10 blog posts on these topics.

Give me 10 headlines. You now have a list of 10 headlines. You tell Google Sheets that you want each of these headlines to be on a separate cell, right? This is all pretty basic Google Sheets efforts right now. Once that’s done, you tell AI to hit those headlines and write an outline for this headline using headline, actually using the cell with five key points.

Now, ChatGPT is now creating for you an outline that outlines all of the things that should make up these different blog posts. This is essentially the briefs, right? The briefs are being replaced. Now, after that is developed, you say, hey, ChatGPT, based off of this headline, can you write me an introduction using AIDA, Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, that formula to create a great intro for this blog post based off of the headline that they computed and actually created for you.

Now, here’s where it gets even more interesting. Now, you take all of that information that ChatGPT just gave you, right, and you’re able to say, hey, ChatGPT, write 400 words based on the topic and key point. This is what the outline gave you. The outline gave you five key points. So you’re now able to tell it to take the headline from that output and write 400 words based off of that topic.

It creates that on your behalf, and you tell it to write it as if it was in a blog on this headline. If you wanted to get really fancy, you can say using a tone that Ross Simmonds would use, using a tone that somebody else would use. You can use other information to make it tell the story the way that you want it to. What are you met with?

You’re met with a draft. You’re met with a draft that you might be thinking is going to be trash, that might have some inaccuracies. All of those things are true. But you didn’t have to have coffee, you didn’t have to have wine. You didn’t have to lose sleep. You didn’t have a writer’s block. You didn’t have to have a smoke break.

You didn’t have to do any of that. You didn’t have to go through Docs. You didn’t have to go through any of those things. You didn’t have to do any of those things to get to your draft. So where do humans start to come in? We come in as it relates to elevation. As I mentioned, these are not tools to replace us.

They are tools to augment us. We then go in on that asset and you elevate it. You elevate that content asset to make it worth reading. You set the bar for what content excellence looks like in your industry, with your brand and with the story that you want to tell, and then you start to look at things like this. This is the elevation checklist. You’re looking at: Do we have, can we incorporate in this blog post two DA60 URLs being linked to?

High-authority sites, can we make sure that we’re referencing high-authority sites? Can we ensure that we have four images within this blog post? So in point three, where they’re talking about a certain topic, can we create a custom visual that showcases this? Can we double-check to make sure that AIDA introduction is actually strong, and that the facts and the information within it are actually real information and not something that ChatGPT just made up?

Can we do that? Can we make sure that there are two third-party quotes, meaning I’m going to reach out to two people in the industry to get third-party quotes to elevate this content and ensure that Double E-A-T is being met with its expectations of having people with experience in my content? Can I ensure that I have one internal reference where I’m talking about my product, where I might even upload pictures and screenshots of the thing that I’m selling?

Can I ensure that I am embedding a YouTube video that has been uploaded? Why? Because Google bought YouTube for billions of dollars, and you can leverage that to ensure that you are increasing your ability and your chances to show up in the SERP. Can you ensure that that conclusion is inspiring? Can you ensure that the humans on the other end of the keyboard, when they’re reading this blog post that AI essentially developed, feel inspired to take action to do something when they’re done reading?

Can you ensure that there are charts and graphs? Can you ensure that the definitions that are being made and talked about within the piece are actually isolated from the content so it could possibly show up as a featured snippet? Can you run this content through a duplication check to make sure that there’s no duplicate content where this isn’t already been written, that there’s no plagiarism happening in this piece that was created by AI?

If you can do this, you will have on your iron suit, right? This is where the magic happens. Then you’re able to do it much faster than you would have the old way. Will the content still be good? No doubt about it. But as long as you have that commitment to content excellence, as long as you are there to elevate the content and embrace a culture that actually cares about the end reader, the content that your AI tools, your AI workflows produce might still be mediocre.

But when you add that human touch, when you add that expertise, and when you take that piece and you take it up a notch through elevation, that’s when you get a piece of content that is worth reading, worth sharing, worth bookmarking, and ultimately worth creating, because at the end of the day, you still have to hit Publish.

You still have to share it. You still want to understand whether or not it’s going to show up in the SERP. You’re going to use elevation to ensure that it’s ultimately set up to do that, but you’re going to do it much faster because you embraced the evolution of content. Content is at the foundation of society. Every single piece of content that you create has an impact on the people on the other end of the screen.

Do not take it lightly. Create content today that you can distribute forever and ultimately have a massive impact on culture. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed this video. If you want to learn more, check me out online @TheCoolestCool. Thank you so much. Have a great day or evening.

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