Everyone’s either hyped about (or scared of) generative AI right now. It will change the way we work. It already has.
For growth marketers, the urge to use AI to write better, faster, cheaper is a losing game. Focus instead on how these tools can support and streamline what you’re already doing. And pay close attention to what they can’t do.
AI isn’t human. It doesn’t have expert-level knowledge and years of real-word industry experience. This means that to win with content, you need to focus your strategy where AI can’t compete.
Here’s three ways to make your content marketing stand out during the AI revolution.
1. Prioritize original research
Content marketing has technically been around for 100s of years, back to when Benjamin Franklin published an almanac with the goal of promoting his printing business. Throughout history, there are numerous examples of content as marketing.
But in recent years, the blog has been the primary outlet for many brands, especially in B2B.
But with AI’s power to answer questions simply and easily, that style of post is losing its power. We’re yet to see how these tools change search behavior, SEO, and blogging in general, but it’s becoming clear that the “what is” or basic “how to” blog post can no longer be your primary content strategy.
Where should you focus? Interesting, unique content types.
Original research, or the process of collecting and analyzing data for marketing purposes, is one proven tactic.
Research has a ton of benefits:
Positions your company as thought leaders
Provides answers to important questions
Earns media because it’s actually news-worthy
Earns backlinks as people use your data to support their own content
Generates infinite content (Research can fill a social/editorial calendar for months!)
Generates leads and/or subscribers
Enables sales to close deals faster
But the biggest benefit is it’s unique to you. AI can’t create this type of content.
Disclaimer: It might try, but will fabricate data points, so please fact-check always!
Original research is a powerful marketing content type. So why doesn’t everyone do it?
Data from Mantis Research
about original research found that only 39% of marketers published original research in the prior 12 months. Though 94% believe original research could elevate their brand’s authority in the industry.
Why? 49% of those not doing research said it was due to lack of budget or knowing on how to execute.
There’s a barrier to entry — which is why this tactic is so powerful. If you can successfully create, launch, and promote original research, you will gain market share.
2. Create experience-driven thought leadership
Thought leadership isn’t a new tactic, but is seeing a resurgence in light of AI. This is the topics, experiences, insights, and ways to connect the dots of a topic that come from real humans.
Here’s an example: Imagine you’re starting a business. You head to ChatGPT and ask it about business structures, tax implications, how to start a business in [state], etc. You can learn most of what you need to start a business.
But what you’re missing is insight. An accountant or tax advisor will give you nuanced information about your specific situation. AI will only know what you tell it. They will tell you details that’ll save you money in the long run. They’ll give you lessons learned based on years, or decades, or experience in the field.
If that business you’re starting includes an investment property, an accountant can clarify how, exactly, to purchase an property in your town, including applicable business licenses, property taxes, how to obtain a rental certificate, and how much you’ll owe in taxes at year-end based on your actual books, not just estimates.
Your content must do the same. Leave the basics and definitions to AI. Your job is to take those concepts deep. Don’t be afraid to give away your knowledge. Many brands stay shallow because they are afraid of sharing their secret sauce or tactics, but being generous with your expertise pays dividends.
Need more of a nudge? Google is making updates to reward sites that show evidence of first-hand experience within their content. SEO or keyword-driven content is no longer satisfying the SERPS.
All the guidance right now is saying to infuse humanness into your content strategy. Talk to real experts and get their POV. Provide real value in how-to’s, step-by-step instructions, rather than overviews.
3. Experiment with new formats
This isn’t new advice, but becomes more valuable as technology adapts. And it’s not just about video; it’s finding new formats to provide information that makes sense.
For example: Back to the new business example. If you’re a tax or accounting professional right now, focus on your online presence. Do you have expertise in small business topics in a certain state (or specific to an industry or type of business owner)?
Start creating content to showcase that experience. Don’t write generic content like LLC 101. Create an on-demand webinar series, or a cohort-based course to bring like-minded people together to share in your deeply valuable content. Create downloadable templates to help your current and future clients. Post more on LinkedIn or TikTok and start to build a following based on you, your personality, and the tangible, helpful, and unique value you have to offer that specific audience.
In the future with AI, getting specific with your niche and your followers is key.
The reality is AI is changing the way we find and disseminate information. That’s not a threat, or a concern. It’s an opportunity.
Use these tools to help you brainstorm, to make a complex topic simple, to give you a starting point, to edit your work, or to turn a blog post into 10 social posts.
But to create an impactful content marketing strategy in 2023 and beyond, you need to focus on human-centric, expertise-driven, and original content types, like thought leadership and original research.