How to Safely Use AI To Write Content
If you own a blog, you’re probably already aware of why content sites can make great businesses. They’re inexpensive to get started, you don’t have to deal with physical inventory, and they can become sources of relatively passive income if done right.
You’re probably also aware of one of the main drawbacks to content sites — that building and growing them can take time. You must write and publish content, wait for it to rank on search engines, and repeat this process until you drive enough monthly traffic to produce more than a few hundred dollars.
For content site owners that list their businesses for sale on Empire Flippers, it usually takes them over a year of creating content to produce significant levels of traffic and income.
One of the biggest bottlenecks to a blog’s growth, then, is the speed at which you can produce high-quality content.
Enter: AI-assisted writing tools.
Originating as common spell-checking features, AI writing technology has now advanced to the point where it’s capable of creating content from scratch. As a result, content site owners can now create articles with hundreds or thousands of words in a matter of minutes and at a fraction of the cost.
The solution isn’t perfect, however.
In the aftermath of Google’s May 2022 Core update, site owners saw their websites either significantly improve or nosedive in traffic, and there’s much speculation that the core update specifically targeted sites with AI-generated content.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to incorporate AI writing tools into your content production workflow to significantly and safely accelerate your content production efficiency and volume.
So first, how is AI-generated content relevant to the May 2022 core update?
Google’s May 2022 Core Update
There were three data points from site owners that stood out after the May 2022 core update that point to AI-generated content being targeted:
1. Site owners with a portfolio containing multiple sites saw traffic drop on their sites that were built predominantly using AI writing tools.
2. Site owners who did not use AI writing tools to build their websites that are in niches where a majority of the competition built their sites using AI-writing tools to create low-quality content, saw their traffic significantly increase while their competitors dropped in ranking.
3. Google released a statement that they consider it against their terms of service to use AI-generated content in a way that manipulates their algorithm.
The conclusion seems to be that there are correct and incorrect ways to use AI writing tools. So how can we “safely” use AI writing tools in our workflow?
Eight Ways To Use AI Writing Tools In Your Workflow
To remedy the potential negatives and benefit from the positives of using AI-generated content, the safe answer seems to be to use AI-assisted writing tools within your existing content production workflows, as opposed to relying on the tool to entirely replace your content production operations.
Here are eight ways you can use the tool within your own workflow:
Produce Content Ideas
Even if you decide you’re not ready to have AI replace human writers, AI can still have you generate content ideas.
Many AI content writing tools generate content according to the keywords you select. These topics can provide you with content ideas that you or your hired writers can expand on into a finished article.
Conquer Writer’s Block
Perhaps you have a great idea for a topic for an article or you’ve identified a keyword you want to target but are having trouble writing more than a few hundred words on the subject. AI writing tools can help recommend headers you can write content about and use to beef up your article.
Generate Quick Outlines
You might be the type of writer who can receive an outline and run with it to build out content quickly. In this case, you can use AI tools to help you create SEO-optimized outlines that you or hired writers can use as starting points to build off of.
Build a Content Calendar
If you’re having trouble thinking of one content idea, chances are you’d also have trouble filling a content calendar for an entire quarter or year.
Especially if you have a more aggressive content production schedule to accelerate site growth, this means you’ll need to remove production bottlenecks.
In conjunction with a keyword research tool (such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, or KWfinder), you can identify keywords that would rank well, and plug them into an AI content writer to define the topics to write about that would naturally integrate those keywords.
Sometimes you’ll find keywords to write articles about where you’re unfamiliar with the topic and must perform research.
If you’re researching a broad topic, where do you start with your research? What do you search when you don’t know what you should even be asking about a particular topic?
Along with suggesting specific topics to write about, AI writing tools can also help to suggest specific topics to research within a broader topic.
Draft an Entire Article
Content writing AI can write up an article and you can use this as a working draft. You can then edit this article to customize it and ensure it reads well for real people.
You can also send drafts to outsourced writers or editors, who can rework or add to the articles, and will probably cost less than if they were to write the entire article from scratch.
Proofread and Polish
Perhaps you want to write a majority of the article, but you want to ensure the article is SEO-optimized.
Some AI tools can “grade” your article for how SEO-optimized your writing is and others can recommend writing sentences in certain ways to improve clarity. In this case, you can write your article in your own style and run it through one of these tools to ensure you’re optimized for search engine algorithms and for humans.
Double-check For Plagiarism
If Google deems your content as copying another site’s content, your site will be negatively impacted.
Especially if you’re using a content writer, you should do a follow-up check to ensure your content is considered too similar to another site (which might be also using content-writing AI).
Some examples include of tools that have this feature are Copyleaks and Grammarly.
Pros and Cons of Modern AI-assisted Content Production
There are clearly significant advantages as well as drawbacks to AI-assisted writing tools that can make these tools great for some site owners, and unusable for others.
Here’s a summary of the main pros and cons of modern AI writing tools to give you a better idea as to whether these tools are right for you.
Using the methods listed in the previous section can significantly decrease the time it takes to produce each article.
Using AI to build the foundation of your content can help to significantly reduce costs compared to an outsourced writer creating content from scratch.
Susceptible to the algorithm hammer
If Google interprets your site as having used AI-generated content to manipulate its algorithm, your traffic will very likely be negatively impacted. Even if there was no intentional manipulation at play, you’re ultimately at the mercy of Google and its interpretations of what constitutes manipulation.
Lack of creativity
Some advocates of the “write epic content” philosophy of website building firmly believe in writing all of their own content.
AI writing tools can use the keywords that you ask them to use to create customized content, but the content will be written within the AI’s coded parameters that dictate its writing style. This can make the content seem bland or perhaps more or less the same as other content writers, especially those who also use AI-assisted writing tools.
For those who want to maintain their unique writing style and tone when communicating with their audience, using an AI tool could potentially conflict with this.
Over-reliance on algorithms
While SEO is meant to convince the algorithms behind search engines to rank your content favorably, SEO good practices preach that one should also “write for humans”.
Similar to how computer-generated voice-overs are still obviously not human, an over-reliance on writing algorithms can make your content seem a bit “off” or unnatural when being read by actual people, which may impact your site’s perceived trustworthiness.
This could be due to a lack of nuance or context, or a writing style that differs significantly from other articles on your site that were written entirely by human writers.
One way to leverage AI while maintaining the “humanness” of your content is to ensure your content is being proofread by a live editor before publishing.
However you decide to use AI writing tools within your workflow, here are some takeaways to using the tools in a way that likely play well with search engine algorithms:
- Research thoroughly and provide enough information for AI to properly write content
- Proofread everything for clarity and tone
- Write for humans
- Ensure your content is not flagged for plagiarism
Popular AI Tools For Different Jobs
If interested in experimenting with some of the methods listed above, you’ll want to explore the right AI tool for the job. The list of AI writing tools is extensive, and some of them specialize in certain areas better suited to your purposes than others.
Here are some of the currently most popular AI writing tools:
- Jasper (formerly Jarvis)
- AI writer
Use the Tools Wisely to Reap the Rewards
Being in the relatively early stages of AI content writing, there is still a lot of opportunity for content site owners to use these tools to grow at rates previously impossible without large teams.
Just be sure to use these tools with safe SEO practices in mind.
Using some of the methods above, you could buy a content site with a stable foundation and grow it using assisted writing tools.
Or if you currently own a site, you may be able to integrate AI into your workflow to increase traffic and revenue, decrease your costs, and be in a position to sell your site for a greater sales price.
If interested in discussing using AI as a buying or selling strategy, feel free to connect with a sales advisor to determine if this is something that would make sense to implement given your specific scenario.