AI and Blogging: Ways that you can use it without sacrificing your integrity as a content creator
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At the time of writing, open.ai has taken the world by storm, and since November 2022 there has been a tidal wave of content about how to use artificial intelligence apps and tools to enhance your personal, professional, and entrepreneurial lives.
So, basically, AI tools like Lensa, Jasper, ChatGPT and Dall E, and Midjourney all create outputs that are generated entirely by artificial intelligence.
Lensa, Dall-E, and Midjourney create AI art by responding to a written prompt that a human feeds it. The idea is that the tools scour the work of artists, combine all of their knowledge about those artists and their art styles, and generate art based on that.
Jasper and ChatGPT do similar things except with writing. Jasper is a paid tool, and ChatGPT (at the time of wri0ting) is in its testing phase. Essentially you feed these tools prompts such as “write a story about a rabbit that likes cheese” and it will spit out a written response using the prompt to guide it.
So what does this mean for a blog?
Was this post written using AI? Firstly, I can tell you right now with absolute honesty that this post didn’t involve the use of AI at all. But can it enhance a blog? Sure, and we’re going to get into that right now.
Ultra-basic “How to use ChatGPT” steps
Alright, to start off, I won’t pretend to be an expert on ChatGPT, because there are a lot of people who have made really great content about how to get comfortable using the tool, but I’ll give you a quick run-down:
- Head to openai.com and sign up for a free account. You will be able to use almost all of the tools on OpenAI with this account, most of which come with “tokens” so there are a few limits on how many things you can make with them in a month. ChatGPT is a free tool at the moment and doesn’t have any major limits beyond how much you can make it write for you in the space of an hour – which is several thousand words I believe.
- Write a prompt in the dialogue box and let the chatbot respond to you.
- The more information that you feed the chatbot, the more accurate the responses that it will give you.
Alright, this is where it gets fun.
You can ask the chatbot to help you with your content.
One of the best ways that you can enhance your own content, is to utilise ChatGPT to brainstorm content ideas, find keywords, and even create basic outlines for your work.
For example, I gave the chatbot the following prompt: write 15 ideas for blog posts about family activities.
The chatbot then churned out 15 blog post ideas about family activities. I then gave it slightly more specific information and used the prompt: write 15 ideas for blog posts about family activities that are suitable for young children. The chatbot then gave 15 slightly more specific, targeted ideas about family activities that could work for younger children. This takes generally a few seconds.
It gives you the opportunity to also regenerate the response if you are not happy with what it has come up with. So in theory, you could ask it one thing, regenerate its response several times, and have an entire list to choose from by the end of it.
Why is this helpful for bloggers?
One of the challenges of blogging can be making sure that you have a bank of content ideas to pull from to populate your blog. Having ideas that you can pull from saves a lot of time and hassle when it comes to actually writing and then promoting the content on your blog.
Brainstorm content ideas
Sometimes taking the time to brainstorm ideas can be difficult either because you don’t always have the kind of time that you may want to dedicate to churning out a whole lot of ideas, or because you may be drawing a blank in the time that you have actually set aside for your planning. ChatGPT works so quickly, and can pull from all corners of the internet (pre-2020 of course) to give you ideas you may not have even considered. This is great for you to have a wide variety, but it is also really great for you when it comes to focusing on your niche.
As I mentioned above, the more specific the information that you feed it, the more accurate and relevant its output will be. What that means is that ultimately you could end up generating a massive bank of ideas for an incredibly specific niche, and have enough content ideas to put on your blog for a whole year in just a matter of minutes.
Get help with your blog titles
In the same way that you would brainstorm ideas for blog topics, you can generate a bank of blog titles that fall under your specific content pillars. This could act as an alternative to generating blog ideas if you felt so inclined too.
You could even prompt the chatbot to optimise your blog titles for SEO, and then edit them to your liking when you have titles that work for you. It’s a great way to ensure that you have the right keywords in your post titles to be found by your ideal reader.
Outline your blog posts and other content
One of my favourite ways to use ChatGPT is to use it to map out the structure of a blog post. I personally find it incredibly helpful when it comes to getting my content written quickly. I don’t necessarily ask it to create an outline from scratch, because I have a very clear idea of the focus and topics that I want each of my blog posts to contain, but I do give it the key topics and ideas that I want to write about and ask it to create an outline using those.
This particular use has been an absolute time-saving hack when it comes to getting my content written. If I don’t like the order that it maps out the post, I can change it myself when I am writing. I’ve found that this gives me a clear idea of how a reader with fresh eyes might perceive my content and it removes some of my perfectionist tendencies when looking at the posts I am writing.
One of the coolest ways to get it to outline your post, however, is to prompt it using a word-count target and get it to structure your outline by giving you word-count guidelines per section. I don’t often use this method for my own blog posts, but when I am doing creative writing or writing a proposal or brief elsewhere, I will feed it the total amount of words that I would like to write, the headings and sub-headings, and the overall idea of the piece of writing, and it will respond with a general structure, right down to the number of words.
For example, I might feed the chatbot the following prompt:
“Write an outline for a 1500-word article about the importance of wearing sunscreen daily. Include the following sub-headings: skin care, melanoma protection, anti-aging, and UV protection. Include word-count suggestions for each sub-heading. Include 2-3 specific examples in bullet points for each sub-heading.”
ChatGPT would then read and analyse my request, and generate an article outline using those instructions. I could then compare the notes or research that I had already done on the topic and add or remove the ones that I felt were best suited for the article outline that it gave me. If I didn’t like any of the suggestions it had given me in the outline, I could hit the “regenerate response” button and let it try again. If I still didn’t feel like the outline was something I could work with, I could add more information to my request, or reword it in a way that the chatbot could give me something a little vaguer, and I could go in and fill it out the way I wanted to.
Can I write my entire post with this?
Yes and no.
Theoretically, ChatGPT can write whole articles and blog posts using aggregate information from the internet. Its major limitations are that it currently only has information that is as recent as 2020. This means that it won’t be able to help you with current trending information or topics. It also has limitations around the types of content it will create for you. It has been trained to refuse inappropriate requests, and politically charged requests.
Using AI to write all of your content may be looked at by some as a smart business decision but there are a few things that will stop you from getting the coverage that you may need from your posts:
Potentially incorrect information
While AI tools like this can write human-sounding posts that are jam-packed with information that it has at its disposal, the tool itself is limited in its access to accurate information past 2020. So there may be things that it writes that are not completely correct in today’s context. You will still need to go through the post and thoroughly fact-check and edit it.
It’s important to remember that this tool is still in its texting phase, and it is not an “all powerful” alternative for human writing. Despite the fact th-at it could potentially significantly reduce the amount of time you spend creating artiles and posts, it is still very much up to you as the publishing author to ensure that the information contained in the post is correct.
Not to mention that it can’t really write opinion based articles with greate consistency.
Inconsistent flow or tone
The thing about artificial intelligence is that it is exactly that – artificial. ChatGPT can generally write to a maximum of about 600 words at a time, so if you ask it to add more information to a piece it has already written, it may not generate the next lot of writing using the exact same style or tone of writing.
There are a couple ways to mitigate this: use very specific prompts related to tone and style. You could possibly give it a piece of your own work and ask it to replicate the style of writing, and then edit the output to your liking. Or, you could prompt it with a very specific prompt to ensure that you are getting the consistency and flow that you are after. This may take a little while, as the tool is always learning, but ultimately doing this can make editing a lot easier.
Not ranking on Google
Alright, so this is a big one. Not everything that comes out of ChatGPT will pass Google’s AI detection. So, ultimately, what does this mean for your writing if you decide to use posts generated by AI? It basically means that you could end up being penalised for using AI content on your blog and Google won’t rank your content when it is searched for. Google’s algorithm favours human generated content over AI content, so if you use a post written by ChatGPT, you will need to edit it significantly so as not to be penalised by Google’s AI detection.
It is always good to remember that the content you are creating is for your audience and not just for your wallet. Would you as a reader be happy to find out that your favourite author or blogger let an AI tool write their content? Would you feel cheated or disappointed in knowing that they were posting something that they didn’t necessarily see through from start to finish? These are things to consider when using content created by an AI tool. This also isn’t a ghost-writing situation – even ghostwriters are given specific creative briefs from the content owner, and much of what they write is a result of somebody else’s ideas that they are pulling together. There is still very much a human element involved in ghostwriting.
There are some really great benefits to using AI to enhance your writing content and to increase productivity on your blog. In some ways using AI to support your content creation is no different to using an app to track your workflow. AI can help you structure your posts, brainstorm titles and more post ideas, giving you some bones to work with. If you occasionally suffer from writer’s block then AI can really help you. Using AI in this way is can take a lot off your plate, freeing up some of your content planning time to focus on growing your blog as a business.
If you have used ChatGPT to support your blog content let me know below how you found that!