‘The first rule of using AI for content? Don’t tell anyone you’re using AI for content’

Consumers tend to care more about who has created a piece of content (the brand) rather than how it was created.

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Over on LinkedIn, world-renowned behavioural scientist, Dan Ariely is running an experiment.

The idea is simple. You get some text and have to guess if Dan wrote it or AI did.

I took the experiment and wrongly picked AI’s answers as Dan’s.

Of course, others may have fared better… we hope.

But does it matter?

Has AI content become so good we can’t tell it apart from human content?

And is the ‘who’ writes something more important than the ‘how’?

Forget Robocop. It’s grammar cop

In March 2023, the internet’s first robotic grammar cop, Grammarly, released its version of AI to its 30 million users. They called their AI lovechild Grammarly Go.

I’ve been a Grammarly customer for about eight years, and it’s saved me from embarrassment more times than I can recall.

Grammarly is my writing assistant, buddy and saviour. We’re far beyond dating; we’re married.

But when Grammarly released Grammarly Go, it felt like someone else had jumped into our bed.

Suddenly, my pleasant clean writing environment gave me the feeling you get when you eat a doner kebab sober.

Slightly dirty on the inside.

But soon enough, I found myself clicking on the AI button for help when my brain was aching, when fatigue set in, or when I just wanted a few ideas.

I was in the AI content club. But I needed to remember the rules.

Why don’t more marketers challenge consumers to search for their brand?

The first rule of AI content club

In all fairness, I’ve been using AI content creation tools since 2021. Back then, there were only a few, and performance was below average.

Today, we’re officially knee-deep in an AI content pandemic.

Jasper, Writer Zen, Bard, Grammarly, Chat GPT and hundreds of others. These tools are everywhere. Chat GPT has an estimated 100 million users alone.

But no one is admitting to using AI for their content.

So if there’s a truckload of content tools out there, and no one dares admit to using them, what’s going on?

That’s the first rule of AI content club – don’t talk about AI content club.

But why don’t we?

Google has publicly stated that AI-written content is fine for SEO purposes and search engines.

This disaster has caused many SEO and content agencies to collapse and others to lay-off writers.

As long as the content is good, humans tend not to care how things were created; we care about who is behind it.

But let’s face it, SEO content was always going to be the first hit by AI.

It’s generally had that ‘written’ by a robot vibe for years, and this is from someone in the SEO industry.

But it’s like that for a reason.

When I’m looking for a tutorial on how to stop Cockerpoos from barking in the house, I don’t want content full of charm. I just want a step-by-step guide delivered in a nanosecond before I scream at Ronnie and Reggie.

That’s search covered. But what about the rest of the internet? Is it OK to use AI for that content?

Thinking through writing

People do their thinking by writing.

When I sat down to write this article, I could have whipped open one of many AI tools and told it to churn it out. But where is the fun in that? How would that help me to think harder on this subject?

However, you can bet your life that I’ll use AI to sort my awful grammar and spelling once I finish writing. I’ll use it to make the content sound or flow better.

I’ll use it to make my communication more effective.

But will I tell people who read this and enjoy it?

Heck no. You’ll never know how much AI make-up I used. You’ll never see my awful spelling and grammar.

Trust me, I’m AI catfishing. Writing tools are my crutch.

This is starting to feel a tad Black Mirror. But it raises an interesting conversation.

In the era of AI, is a brand the only thing we can count on? Do I care more about who writes something rather than how?

It’s beyond writing… AI is taking on every brand

In marketing, we talk a lot about brands.

And in an AI era, brands might be more critical than ever.

Hollywood actors are concerned about AI and its ability to recreate their faces and style without them being part of it. AI has helped raise actors from the dead and de-age others.

Indeed, AI art competitions are emerging. And even in ad land, we’ve seen the recent AI-created ad for Maybelline wading through London on the front of a train. A train with eyelashes on the front. Except they weren’t really.

None of it is real, but if we’re entertained or educated, do we care?

It raises even more questions for brands.

Would we go to watch Mission Impossible 37, starring a 25-year-old Tom Cruise?

Does the story trump him being part of the action or even the acting?

I’m going to say no.

We couldn’t care less that the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park aren’t real; why would we care about the acting?

But what about a business?

Take a DIY brand, for example.

Suppose B&Q created a book that taught homeowners 1,000 ways to improve their homes. And they mailed it to customers, past and present. Would I care if it was written by AI and signed off by a human?

I don’t think so.

But if you told me before I read it, that might change things.

Organic search could be the moat your brand needs

Reach. Reach. Reach.

For brands, this is a good thing. AI content creation can be used to create vastly more content at a reduced cost.

As long as the content is good, humans tend not to care how things were created; we care about who is behind it.

The brand is now more powerful than ever.

Of course, this doesn’t kill original writing, creation or human ability. Arguably it should make it stand out. Should!

AI can support productivity and creativity. It can help brands create quality content at far faster rates and less cost.

These brands that can fuel creativity with AI will win.

But equally, if we tell people how we’ve created content, it tends to ruin it.
Context is everything.

My advice, remember the first three rules of the AI content club.

Rule 1: We don’t tell people we’re in the AI content club.

Rule 2: We don’t tell people we’re in the AI content club.

Rule 3: If this is your first time in the club, you have to publish something with AI.

And here’s the 4th: Sooner or later, we’ll all be in the AI content club.