Step aside, caffeine: There’s a new way to speed up content production. And when used in moderation — with the advice below — it doesn’t give you the jitters.
We’re about to explore how to use AI to turbocharge your content production as a small business owner.
Fasten your seatbelt — let’s do this!
Hold on — is using AI for faster content production ethical?
Let’s address the elephant in the article here at the start:
In today’s high-speed digital universe, content needs to be created efficiently. And if you want to see a return on your content marketing investment, it must be high quality.
Is making content production efficient with AI the way to go?
Owners of fast-growing businesses who commit to using a content marketing strategy to reach their prospects may hesitate to use AI.
They’ve dabbled with low-quality content and gotten burned:
- They may have tried hiring writers from freelancing sites to crank out content, only to see their search engine rankings plummet.
- They’ve heard the horror stories about how using AI for faster content production ends up tanking website traffic.
- They simply don’t know where to start. There’s a sea of information about AI, but not many experienced content marketers are talking about it.
That’s why I’m writing this article.
- I have been using content marketing to grow businesses since 2010
- I wrote two popular books about content marketing: Master Content Marketing and Master Content Strategy
- I’m managing a team of content marketers in a corporate setting and we’re using AI for faster content production every week
The question you may have is whether making content production faster with AI is ethical. Is it OK to lean on artificial intelligence to help us create something to communicate with humans?
I believe it is. But the key phrase above is “help us create.”
You see, we’re not giving over the entire content production task to AI tools. We’re using them as an assistant. AI is a caffeinated intern, who’s available to help any time you need, but who can’t do the entire task alone. AI needs guidance before, during, and after it does the parts of the task you assign to it.
That means small business owners will still need an experienced content marketer to head up their content marketing efforts if they want to use AI for faster content marketing results.
Not sure how to find the right person? Read on to learn more about how an experienced content marketer can use AI writing tools.
Slow down to speed up: Don’t use AI for Step 1
I’m about to share how I’m using AI for faster content production with the marketing team I manage today. This will help you understand the kinds of skills needed to make content production efficient with AI tools.
To start, my team and I use a completely manual process to decide on the topics we’ll create content around.
I know — so inefficient!
But this is crucial — only the people in the business fully understand what the business’s current marketing needs are.
That’s why we have a monthly content planning meeting.
Here’s how we plan our content:
- We capture ideas as we have them: Over the course of a month, marketing team members note how the business’s goals have changed, what we need now to hit our financial goals, and which lines of business require special attention. We bring those ideas to our content planning meeting and use them as a starting point for our discussions.
- We discuss ideas and add observations: Together, we talk over our ideas, trends in our industry, time-based events we want to feature, and opportunities to collaborate with other content creators.
- We select the best ideas, polish them, and build one list: After we’ve refined our ideas together, we capture them in a single list.
Once the “human overlords” (aka marketing team members) have decided what we’ll have the AI work on, we move to the next step. In this step, we begin allowing AI into our content production process, but only a little.
The thesaurus on steroids: Open the door to AI tools in Step 2
In this step, we’re opening the door, just a crack, to a chat-based AI writing tool like ChatGPT.
But the human content marketer is running the show!
Every piece of content we create starts with a Content Brief that’s unique to our content. The content brief encourages us to break down our content into distinct elements and to craft each element carefully.
Our content brief contains prompts for:
- The page and meta titles
- The meta description
- The keywords we’ll target
- The target audience for the piece of content
- The stage of understanding (more on this in Master Content Marketing)
- The category/categories we’ll assign to the content
- Our unique point of view on this topic
Before anyone on our content team makes a move to work on the first draft, their content brief is reviewing by someone else on the team.
Where does AI fit in to this step? I believe using AI for faster content production in this stage means seeing it as a thesaurus on steroids.
The content brief outlined above obligates the content creator to thoroughly think through the content structure and goals.
You can ask AI to assist in building out your content brief in so many ways! Here’s how AI can be a thesaurus on steroids and help you write a winning content brief:
- Page and meta titles. Tell an AI writing tool to Act as a copywriter and write 25 options for headlines using the phrase [KEYWORD PHRASE]. This will generate raw words and phrases you can use as inspiration.
- Meta description. Tell an AI writing tool to Act as an SEO expert and write 10 options for a meta description for an article about [TOPIC], using the phrase [KEYWORD PHRASE]. Note: As always, the AI writing tool will need human guidance to create a meta description that’s accurate, easy-to-understand, and not too long.
- Keywords to target. Your AI writing tool of choice can help you generate alternate keyword phrases to target. Note: The only way to know if these keyword phrases are viable is to plug them into a tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs.
- Target audience. Lean on an AI writing tool to help you brainstorm what might be going through the heads of your target audience before they find your content. You can ask a chat-based tool: You are an experienced market researcher. Please provide information about what audience would be most interested in a piece of content about [CONTENT TOPIC]. Note: if the AI writing tool suggests an entirely different audience than the one you were hoping to reach, this is a red flag! Consider clarifying your content topic so it’ll appeal to the group you want to reach.
- Stage of understanding. In a nutshell, these stages represent moments in a buyer journey and reflect levels of understanding around your topic. At each stage, prospects are asking different questions. Beginners prospects ask “What is [YOUR TOPIC]?” Intermediate prospects ask “How do I do [YOUR TOPIC]?” Advanced prospects ask “How can I use or buy [YOUR TOPIC]?”
- Category for your content. No AI tool needed here! Simply review your current categories and find one that’s the best fit for this new piece of content.
- Unique point of view. No AI tool here, either. This is where you and your content team need to decide how you want your business to speak on this topic. What’s your stance? How can you explain your unique take?
Once your content brief is finished and reviewed by a human, move to Step 3, Draft Zero.
The “Draft Zero” writer: Making content production efficient with AI in Step 3
The first draft you write, record, or film is — by far — the most time-consuming part of the content production process.
How can you use AI for faster content production in this stage?
Use an AI writing tool to generate a “Draft Zero.”
Draft Zero: (noun) An initial draft of a piece of content that’s not quite up to standards for a human-generated first draft. But it’s a starting point that a human content creator can shape into something that’s worthy of submitting to an editor.
How can an AI writing tool write a Draft Zero for you?
Go back to your human-created content brief and use the thinking you did there. Here’s how I recommend you structure your prompt:
1. Start with a ROLE.
Act as an [DESCRIBE AN EXPERT].
2. Tell the tool WHAT you want it to do.
Write a [CONTENT TYPE] for [WHO?].
3. Describe exactly HOW you want it to do the task.
The [CONTENT TYPE] should be [DETAILS ABOUT THE QUALITIES OF THE CONTENT HERE] (Add details here about the format, brand voice, structure, and tone you want the content to take.)
4. Tell it to ASK QUESTIONS FOR CLARITY
Before you start, please ask any clarifying questions that will help you perform this task.
5. Answer the questions in DETAIL.
Number your answers, and share specific information.
6. Check facts and edit the output to add your expertise and style.
Edit line-by-line, correcting mistakes, adding your expertise, and eliminating repetitive sections.
Engineering a prompt using this format will generate a decent Draft Zero.
From here, it’s back to your human content marketing expert to shape the output until it’s strong enough to submit to whatever editing process you use.
How AI improves content production speed
I’ve been obsessed with how to make content production more efficient for years.
To quote myself from the article linked above:
“Your content marketing plan shouldn’t be a marathon or a sprint. It should be a simple relay race.”
Using AI for faster content production doesn’t mean the tools operate by themselves. They require our help.
Alone, AI writing tools won’t create accurate content. AI-created content won’t sound like the humans behind our businesses.
But even with those faults, when you use AI for faster content production as outlined in this article, you’ll see that for all its drawbacks, it’s a powerful way to get content created faster, more easily, and more effectively.
For more on using AI for faster content production, read this post: