Is AI Worth It? How to *Actually* Use AI Effectively in Content Marketing

Is AI Worth It

Even if you feel unfamiliar with all the new AI tools, chances are you’re already using some form of AI in your content process. 

Say what? 

It’s true. For example: 

  • Have you ever used Grammarly or spellcheck to ensure accurate spelling and grammar? That’s a form of AI. 
  • Ever tried a formatting or SEO tool like Clearscope or SurferSEO? Those are AI-based tools as well. 

As AI-powered content tools continue to gain traction, they’re going to become more and more a part of content processes for teams everywhere. 

Teams that ignore AI tools completely risk being “left behind” as other companies scale up content production and increase efficiency. But there are downsides to creating content with AI. 

The problem is: how can you take advantage of the opportunities of AI while avoiding the pitfalls and limitations? 

AI can’t replace content teams, but it can speed up your workflows and improve efficiency—if you know how to use it properly. Our fractional content team has years of experience creating content and strategy for digital businesses: we’ll give you some practical tips and examples to integrate AI into your content workflow, while avoiding its downsides. 

What are the best AI tools for content marketing? 

When we talk about “AI,” what exactly are we referring to? 

Good question. 

Today’s latest-and-greatest AI tools are generally LLMs (Large Language Models). While other AI tools already exist in the content marketing world, for this article, we’ll be focusing on the role LLMs might play in your content. These are machine learning models that can complete tasks like generating new text, translating text, or analyzing texts. 

These models are trained on extremely large datasets which allow them to predict which word will come next using context, pattern recognition, language structures, and training data. 

If your eyes are starting to glaze over, don’t worry. You can think of today’s LLMs as using a really, really finely-tuned autocomplete or predictive text function. (In fact, autocomplete features in your email or text messages are a basic type of LLM.) 

There are many AI tools on the market today, and they use LLMs in somewhat different ways. Some of the best tools for integrating AI into your content process are: 

  • ChatGPT: by now, almost everyone’s heard of, or even tried using, ChatGPT. The GPT-3.5 version is free, but the paid GPT-4 version includes additional features, such as being able to access the internet. 
  • DeepL: a document or text translator, great for companies that operate in multiple regions or countries.  
  • Jasper: an AI-power content generator that works off of your brand’s tone of voice and style.
  • a suite of AI tools to help streamline your content process and generate copy.
  • Writer: A business-focused tool that uses your brand voice and knowledge to generate marketing, product and user support content. 

Can I use AI for content marketing? 

The good news is: there are a lot of ways that AI and LLMs are already being used to improve content marketing. 

Some of the biggest benefits of incorporating AI into your content marketing workflow include: 

  • Increased efficiency and speed. It’s no surprise that a robot can generate content faster than a human writer. While that content will still require human editing to be publish-ready, it can help speed up your workflow. 
  • Scale content production: If you use artificial intelligence tools—from writing tools like Jasper or Writer to automation tools like Zapier and Grammarly—you can scale your content process. 
  • Incorporate more personalization: AI writing tools can help you easily rewrite content for different audiences. For example, if you’re sending an email to several audience segments, an AI writing tool can help you quickly customize the body copy for each segment. 

Will AI replace writers?

Although AI tools can certainly help make your content processes a bit easier or more streamlined, experienced human writers and content marketing agencies bring value that AI can’t yet provide. At this point, AI content tools still have a number of downsides, including: 

  • Lack of experience and expertise: Human content writers have lived experience that is currently impossible to replicate with LLMs and AI tools. AI tools can only generate content based on the data set they’ve been trained on. They can’t try things out in the real world and see what works, draw on past experiences, or generate new ideas.

    All of this matters for SEO. Google’s search ranking guidelines evaluate pages based on their EEAT criteria: Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Want to prove to Google that your content is worth prioritizing in search? Human experience and expertise input is a must.
  • Generic details and writing styles: Content marketing agencies with experienced writers bring a human touch with fresh perspectives and outside-of-the-box thinking that is difficult to achieve with AI writing tools. Since AI writing is predictive—using complex analysis to determine what word should come next—it also tends to be generic and formulaic. 
  • Lack of accuracy or “hallucinations:” “Hallucinations” are when an AI tool makes up “facts,” statistics or other details. Although tools are getting better at this, all AI-generated content still needs detailed fact-checking to ensure accuracy. 
  • Outdated data: Many popular LLMs available today—including ChatGPT—are trained on data sets that stop around 2021. As a result, they don’t have knowledge of recent world events and can’t provide up-to-date, relevant content around current events.

As a result of how LLMs work, the content you generate with AI writing tools won’t bring any unique perspectives, expertise or value to your company’s content. 

That’s why working with human writers, or a content marketing agency with experienced writers, should still be a key part of your content process. 

If you don’t have writers in-house, a content marketing agency can offer: 

  • unique, high-quality content that can help you stand out from competitors 
  • a human touch that knows how to connect with your audience and offer real value 
  • tailored and time-tested content strategy and processes that works for your brand
  • a high-level of expertise and experience built on years of working with clients in your industry

5 Ways to Use AI Effectively at Every Stage of the Content Process 

If you try to use AI tools to replace every step of the content process, you’ll likely end up with low-quality, formulaic content that doesn’t perform well for your brand. However, there are still ways you can effectively use AI tools alongside your content team for more scalable content growth. 

Here’s how: 

Ideating: Generate more ideas and options faster 

Surprise: AI content writing tools can help generate a large number of ideas quicker than a human can. Using ChatGPT or other tools can help your team brainstorm loads of ideas quickly. 

Here’s how we did it: 

First, we came up with several headline ideas for this article. Then, we asked ChatGPT to give us headline ideas, varying the prompt and instructions to generate more variety. 

We also fed ChatGPT some of the headline ideas we came up with as examples, and asked ChatGPT to generate more ideas based on those examples. 

From there, we ideated based on our favorites, and added our favorites into CoSchedule’s Headline Studio to analyze their effectiveness. Many of the AI-generated headlines didn’t score well at first, but became more effective with some editing from our team. 

Brainstorming with a tool like ChatGPT can help you come up with many more ideas, allowing you to create more unique, powerful titles more quickly. 

And it’s not just titles. Any generative AI tool—such as ChatGPT or Jasper—can also brainstorm ideas for email subject lines, social media posts, hashtags, CTAs and more. Within minutes, you can easily have 50+ ideas in hand. Once you do, you can bring in an experienced marketer or writer to sift through them, choose the best options, and apply industry knowledge and creativity to create an effective solution. 

Writing: Create formulaic or repetitive content quickly (and cost-effectively) 

Content like product descriptions, real estate listings, FAQs, glossaries and other low-stakes, formulaic content can easily be reproduced with AI tools. Specialized AI writing tools, such as Jasper and Writer, are a better fit for this, but you can even use basic tools like ChatGPT.

Here’s an example: 

We gave ChatGPT a sample product description, some instructions and product details, and a list of products to create similar descriptions for. A few seconds later, ChatGPT gave us product descriptions that, honestly, aren’t half-bad. 

Using an AI writing tool can help you get first drafts of short, repetitive copy on the page quickly. However, you’ll still need to pass these off to a content writer to add additional details and marketing expertise that can deliver results.

Keep in mind that ChatGPT and other generative writing tools aren’t great at writing long-form or creative content. While ChatGPT might be able to spin up a generic product description or answer an FAQ, asking it to write an entire blog post or case study doesn’t go as well. 

When it comes to more high-value, high-stakes writing, such as telling customer stories, creating narrative-driven content, and creating high-value white papers or research reports, you really need experienced content writers to deliver results. 

For example, content marketing agencies can provide an entire team of experienced (and pre-vetted) writers, editors, designers, project managers and more than can speed up delivery, improve cost-effectiveness, and deliver a high ROI on content.  

Editing: Learn how to self-edit 

Editing your own writing can be difficult, but working with a dedicated editor isn’t always in the budget. In this case, using an AI writing tool can help. 

Simply feed a paragraph or article you wrote into an AI tool like ChatGPT or any dedicated writing tool, and ask for feedback on things like clarity, structure, wordiness, missing details, grammar, and so on.  

Keep in mind: ChatGPT and other AI tools still aren’t perfect, but they can be a good start. I fed ChatGPT a section of this article with some mistakes thrown in on purpose to see how it would do. The results were mixed: 

ChatGPT provided some helpful comments on structure, but they weren’t completely relevant (e.g. I did provide a brief answer to the opening question). It did better with grammar and spelling (but missed that “they’ve” in the fourth paragraph should have “they’re”). And with missing commas, it failed completely—advocating for two additional commas where they don’t belong. 

After, I asked it to ask me questions that would help me improve the piece, and it provided a helpful list: 

The final verdict?

ChatGPT and other AI writing tools can be helpful editors, but don’t let them be your only editors. Since they frequently make mistakes, they can’t be fully relied upon. Human editors are crucial for structural edits, strategic decisions and a final line-by-line edit before publishing

Personalizing: Adjust copy quickly for unique audiences 

If you have an existing piece of copy—say, body copy for an email—you can use any AI writing tool to help you quickly personalize it for different segments, uses or audiences. AI tools like Writer have specific functions that allow you to “train” the LLM on your brand guide, tone of voice and existing copy. 

Instead of having your team work on repetitive writing tasks like these, you can get the bulk of the work done with an AI tool, and free up time for your sales team to work on individual human-to-human connections. 

Distributing: Easily repurpose content for various channels 

Finally, you can get the most mileage out of your content when you re-use and repurpose it for various channels and audiences. 

Any AI writing tool we’ve mentioned so far can also help with this task. Here are some ways to use AI tools to repurpose your content: 

  • Feed your main piece of content into an AI writing tool and ask it to create social posts, an email, a summary or other forms of content based on the main content. The more specific you can be in your instructions, the more effective your results will be. 
  • Ask the tool to summarize the key takeaways or main ideas in a piece of content to create repurposed content on your own. This works especially well for longer pieces of content. 
  • AI tools like can transcribe audio and help speed up the process of repurposing podcasts or videos into other formats. For example, you might turn your latest podcast into a blog post, or repurpose your latest customer interview into a case study. 

Instead of writing ten instagram captions from scratch, your writers can simply edit the AI-generated Instagram captions to humanize them and align with your brand. This gives you more time to focus on high-value, strategic content that will maximize your brand’s ROI. 


So, is using AI in your content process worth it? 

In our view, the answer is yes, there’s definitely a role for both AI and human writers on your team. The key is using each strategically.

This chart helps sum up some of the best times to use both AI and human writers: 

AI vs. Humans? 
Use AI writing tools when…Use human writers when… 
you need to generate a lot of ideas quickly you want to create high-value, unique content that stands out from competitors 
you need to write bulk copy using a similar, repetitive format, such as product descriptions you want to add a human touch, lived experience, and detailed examples or research to your content 
you need to create repurposed or derivative copy based on a larger piece of content, such as social media posts you are fact-checking or making final edits before publication 
you need to quickly create several versions of a certain piece of content you need your expertise and experience to shine through in your content 
you need to do a tedious content task, such as textual analysis, audio transcriptions, summaries or so onyou are creating content about around a current trend or event 

The biggest value-add in content today comes from experience and authentic expertise. AI content tools can help you ideate and repurpose content more quickly, so it’s great for making your life a bit easier. 

But if you want to truly maximize the ROI from your content, you need the creativity, lived experience, and high-quality work of experienced content writers that content marketing agencies offer. No AI tool can replace that.


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