There has been a storm of news, conversation and debate in the world of content marketing search engine marketing in recent weeks. The reason for this has been the launch of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots to create content – namely ChatGPT and Google Bard.
This isn’t just some techy conversation among the world of SEO experts, copywriters and digital marketers. It has real-world implications for business owners and consumers alike. Even if you’ve not heard about it, it’s coming and you need to know about it!
We are going to look at what is ChatGPT and Google Bard, the pros and cons of them, how they should and shouldn’t be used, and importantly the things to be wary of as an owner of an SME business!
What is ChatGPT and Google Bard?
Put simply, ChatGPT uses artificial intelligence, natural language models and machine learning to create answers to people’s questions. It is also open-source, which means that anyone and everyone can use it for free.
On the face of it, it is a great tool for creating a huge amount of useful and legible content on a subject, which you can use in your marketing and business more generally.
The search engine Bing has already started to integrate ChatGPT into its search engine results.
Google Bard is very similar, however, the key differences are that it:
- will be exclusive to Google and the Google Search engine results
- is in beta mode, which means it is being tested currently, so isn’t openly available for use yet
- the language model it uses is different to ChatGPT. Over time it may also be able to keep the language model more current and up-to-date as it could pull language data directly from the search engine itself.
Another crucial element is that ChatGPT SEO (search engine optimisation) capabilities seem to be better than Google’s Bard as it has a plagiarism detector, whereas it isn’t clear if Google Bard will have that or not.
Why does ChatGPT matter to SME business owners?
The main reason these generative AI tools for content creation matter, is because the news and discussion around it has all been around the ‘death of the copywriter’ and how businesses can generate a huge amount of decent content for free and quickly.
This gets around a hurdle for SME business owners – the time and cost of content creation which they can then use on their website, print and social media.
That’s great isn’t it?
Well no, sadly not.
How do you know which questions to ask of these tools that reflect the language and needs of your customers?
How do you ensure your content is unique if you use an open source, artificial intelligence human language modelling tool rather than a real person?
On the face of it, these tools are an efficient solution to content production but the application of them comes with lots of caveats and issues, which are potentially damaging to your business, if not managed and mitigated properly.
Therefore to answer what is ChatGPT succinctly, it is both a useful tool and a risk to your marketing and business if not used by the right people, in the right way.
How good are these artificial intelligence at creating content?
1. Legible and high volumes of content
These content-creating bots are big news. They will be embraced and used more and more by businesses, marketers, search engines and consumers alike.
This artificial intelligence, content generative AI tool is useful for creating decent content, at scale.
They are particularly useful for what we’d refer to as ‘foundational content’, the basic, core information which is fairly standard. It can give you a structure, a starting point and some pointers of aspects you’ve not thought of before which can be included.
Below is a simple example related to our industry which we created:
A particular set of headlines you may have seen were around when Google Bard gave incorrect information to a question asked in its very first demo. Google’s share price fell as a result of this mistake!
It throws up a key issue with these bots – how do we validate the accuracy of the content?
It may sound and read pretty well, but that doesn’t mean it is accurate or therefore helpful. There is a huge risk of misinformation and false news being spread.
This could put your brand’s reputation at risk if your business is the source of this misinformation. It could destroy trust, reputation and industry authority via one simple FAQ or blog post.
As with the example we created above, there are lots of topics and questions which multiple businesses and individuals will ask of these bots. If everyone has the same answer to a specific question and posts it to their website, your content and website isn’t unique.
Again this will erode customer trust, doesn’t build authority in your industry as well as being damaging to your search ranking results (more on the implications of ChatGPT and SEO below!).
4. Your brand personality
No bot is ever going to be able to display the character, tone and feeling of your business and brand. Whether your tone of voice is formal, direct, light-hearted, fun, professional or irreverent.
Without your brand’s tone of voice being clearly displayed in your written marketing materials and website, there is no differentiation between you and your competitors, and no opportunity for prospects to buy-in to you i.e. be able to build a relationship with you.
How about ChatGPT SEO – is it good or bad?
Google has been very clear for years that it rewards unique, relevant, quality, fresh and regular content.
It rewards the creators of this content (i.e. your business) by giving it high search result rankings.
Those rankings mean your business can be found by prospects who are actively looking for your products and services on Google, and you receive more traffic than your competitors.
It seems very unlikely Google will be promoting the use of a tool that will artificially generate your website content for you.
Content creation is for securing high rankings in the search results, building a relationship of trust, engagement and authority with prospects and customers, and to build your brand reputation (among other things). Frankly, these chatbots will not do that.
It may be tempting to go down the route of creating your content via these types of bots, but you are putting your business’ marketing and website performance on the line.
You are in danger of being on the wrong side of the line when Google updates its algorithm and policies. The former it does on average twice a day!
Additionally, SEO is not just about the topics you create your content on. It is also about the research done behind the scenes of what topics, questions and language prospects and customers use.
There are also a huge number of on-page optimisations about keyphrase usage, images and their alt text, meta descriptions, page title, headers and much more which impact your search results rankings.
These bots do not look at any of these.
Not only could you find yourself on the wrong side of the line for Google, but you’ll also be missing out on lots of elements needed for SEO. ChatGPT may be helpful, but you still need an expert marketer and copywriter to do all these other things for you to ensure your content delivers real business results (whether you’ve used ChatGPT or not).
Our 6 step guide to how to produce content with (or without) ChatGPT
Here is our framework for how to create great quality content, whether you use ChatGPT or not:
1. Keyword research and content plan
Conduct research into the language of your prospects: what questions are they asking? How do they phrase their questions? What is the real intention behind those questions? Based on the research, you can then create a content plan for your website and blogs.
2. ChatGPT for a framework
You can enter those questions into ChatGPT to get an initial framework and pointers to get started.
3. Foundational content
For more ‘foundational’ and introductory content you can start off using ChatGPT but it is crucial that you edit and adapt what it gives you significantly to make it both original and containing your business’s original interpretation and perspective on it. Plus, the content needs to be rewritten to reflect your brand personality and tone of voice.
4. Higher-end content
For more in-depth, technical, knowledgeable, expert and higher-end content, this is where you need a blend of subject experts and also expert copywriters and content creators who can craft quality, original content which is good for both prospects and the search engines. This in our view is not something that should go near ChatGPT and other similar tools, but be left with the marketing experts.
5. On-page optimisations
Once you’ve got your content created which targets a keyword, keyphrase and semantically similar phrases, and which reflects your prospects language and needs, it then requires uploading to your website and optimisation for search engines.
6. Spread the word!
Another important step to maximise any content you create is to share it across your platforms and social media profiles.
Content production fulfils many marketing objectives – your search results rankings is just one of them, along with building a relationship with prospective clients. So you need to share your content as far and wide, and in as many different formats as is appropriate. That means your original piece of written content is likely to need to be adapted, edited and shortened for these different platforms.
Work with marketing experts
ChatGPT and the like are useful and their use is likely to only increase. But in the same way as tools such as SEMrush for SEO and Canva for designers haven’t reduced the need for these experts, ChatGPT is going to make the work of copywriters and content production specialists more important in order to generate meaningful business results from your content marketing.
Growth by Design’s expert content marketing team is here to support SMEs and enable them to make the right decisions and investment choices so they get real business results from their marketing. As one client recently said:
“I can sleep a bit easier at night knowing that it is working away and I don’t have to worry about it….it’s almost becoming the backbone to what we need each month”.
We hope you found this blog on what is ChatGPT useful, do feel free to share it.