“We need to not bury our head in the sand and say ‘I’m just going to skip this.’ We as humans [need to prioritize] reskilling, upskilling, and thinking about the ways that [artificial intelligence] is going to be infused into our lives. It’s here, so let’s find ways that we can use it to augment what we’re doing and protect ourselves.” – Cathy McPhillips
Artificial intelligence is rapidly changing industries, with myriad use cases for content creators that can help—or greatly hurt—our success. In this #ContentChat recap, Erika joins Cathy McPhillips (@CMcPhillips), chief growth officer at the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, to discuss AI and content marketing beyond ChatGPT to help you understand how to use this technology in an effective way.
Read through a few highlights from the conversation below, and listen to the full audio recording here.
Q1: How has your perception of AI and how marketers can use it to improve their outcomes changed over the past two years?
“In 2019, Joe Pulizzi and I went to Paul Roetzer’s event MAICON. I left there and was just like ‘oh my gosh,’ but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with everything. And then I started at the [Marketing AI] Institute a couple years ago, and again I said ‘I feel like we’re at the cusp of what’s next’—a feeling I had when I started at Content Marketing Institute. [Now] I really have learned how to find out where AI can best support me and where I don’t want it to.” – Cathy McPhillips, reflecting on her journey with AI and joining Marketing AI Institute
Q2: What are some common misconceptions and concerns you hear from marketers as they evaluate how they can use AI for content marketing?
ChatGPT made artificial intelligence more accessible and understandable for marketers. It has also made many people worried about what their future job will look like.
- “[AI] is not this big, sci-fi, unrealistic robot that’s coming to take over the world. I think it’s a little more understandable to us. I was talking to high school kids earlier this morning, and I said what I [do for work] and they said ‘oh my gosh, no.’ Can I think they’re worried about what their futures are going to look like? Yeah, it’s fair. We are still hearing a lot of, and I think we will for the foreseeable future, [concerns] that AI is going to take my job.” – Cathy McPhillips
“AI can’t do as good of a job as I can” is a dated misconception.
- “Another thing I hear is ‘AI can’t do as good of a job as I can.’ And Again, even six months ago, we would have said you’re totally right. As things develop, there are some things that [AI] can do better. It can analyze data faster than we can. It can take large subsets of data or anything and analyze it in speeds humans never could. That’s something we need, which is actually lovely, because 10 years ago we all said we need more data. Now we have too much data, so what do we do with all this?” – Cathy McPhillips
- “AI is really just smarter technology. It’s a lot of the technologies we’re already using, but just finding smarter ones that can do the same or better than what we’re already using. And of course we want to be using the best technology available to us for these needs.” – Cathy McPhillips
- “And probably a lot of the tools that marketers are using already had an AI component and they just didn’t necessarily realize it, because a lot of times insights that are bubbled up or some of the back-end analytics are handled by AI.” – Erika Heald
Many marketers do not realize that they can and should advocate for their solutions providers to introduce AI features.
- “Get with your customer success teams from the tech in your martech stack. Ask what you are not using. What you can be using better. Say that you love working with them but they are not advancing with the industry and that you want to stay with them, so here’s what you need. Push them to keep doing better and better.” – Cathy McPhillips
- “People sometimes forget that when you are paying—when you have that contract and you’re paying for a subscription—it is a relationship you have with the company, and they do want to hear from you about what it is they can do to keep you as a customer. Advocating for yourself and making sure that it’s a future-proof solution is 100% something that you should be doing as a customer. It’s not pushy.” – Erika Heald
Q3: How do you recommend a marketing team start testing AI tools?
Cathy shares two ways to approach this, based on the approach that the Marketing AI Institute CEO developed. Listen to the audio recap at 8:15 to hear Cathy fully explain the process.
- “There’s a problem-based approach. You look at larger-scale issues in your organization and look at problems and figure out if there’s a smarter way to solve them using AI. Focus on one or two of those big picture, strategic things you need to fix. Fundamental issues within the organization.” – Cathy McPhillips
- “There’s a use-case approach, which is how I am using it as both a leader of our company as well as just a practitioner. I’m looking at particular use cases and saying ‘is there a smarter way to be doing this?’ We have a rudimentary spreadsheet where we’ll say there are 20 steps in our [podcast process] from pre-production to post-production, everything from editing the video, transcribing the video, writing a blog post, etc. All of those steps are rows within the spreadsheet. And then [we ask] is there an AI tool that can help me do any of these steps? Yes or no? And then, what would the cost be for a technology like that. The two most important columns are the ability to execute and what is the impact of doing it. It’s a ranking of one through five, and don’t think too hard about it. You then try to find those two columns where there are fives.” – Cathy McPhillips
- “That’s a really important way of looking at it. Looking at it on the axis of how much time can it save and how much impact, and when something is low cost, huge time saving, that is so important to find those things. If you are doing a lot of content repurposing [for example] that right there can be something that AI can really help you with because you can have frameworks in place for what your blurbs of content look like that you use to do something like promote a podcast from its transcript.” – Erika Heald
Experiment with AI tools based on what type of work you do most often and the type of work you dislike doing.
- “Do you like repurposing? Do you like creating all the different pieces? Do you like writing the tweets? Why not find a tool that can help you do some of those things so you can invest time doing the things you really love?” – Cathy McPhillips
Q4: What AI tools have you used for marketing that you would recommend? What are they designed to do, and why do you recommend them?
Erika and Cathy discuss their favorite AI tools starting at 14:00 in the recap. They mention the following tools for content marketing:
- ChatGPT: ChatGPT sparked the generative AI revolution and is one of the most used generative AI tools. This Trust Insights livestream replay can help you understand how to write effective prompts for ChatGPT.
- Grammarly: Reviews your content for spelling and grammar issues.
- Descript: Allows you to create and edit videos and podcasts. If you upload a transcript and delete a portion of the text, Descript will automatically trim that portion of the video.
- Copy.ai: Helps create blog posts, social media copy, and email content.
- Canva: Design and image editing tool that has AI-powered features, including the ability to remove the background from an image.
- Writer: A generative AI tool geared toward content teams, with the ability to upload your brand style guide to train the AI.
- Uniphore: A contact center and sales tool that analyzes facial expressions during a call to identify when certain words or phrases helped or hurt your ability to close a deal.
What are your favorite AI-powered tools for content marketing? Tell us using #ContentChat on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Q5: Should companies design a policy to inform employees about how they can use AI for work? If so, what should that policy include?
Generative AI tools are known to hallucinate, meaning that you shouldn’t trust everything a generative AI tool creates.
- “You know that people are going to be using it, so set them up for success. It’s important to say to your team ‘don’t use data for this, or if you’re going to use data in something, check with us first.” – Cathy McPhillips
- “I can also see the guidelines having an aspect around capturing the intellectual property, because when you have people creating these prompts that do save time you want a place where you start to capture the prompts that really work so they can be reused. It’s a shame if that’s not being captured so it can be reused or used to educate the team at large on how to write prompts that actually get the kind of results you’re looking for.” – Erika Heald
Check out the Marketing AI Insitute’s Responsible AI Manifesto as one way you can approach your guidelines, as well as WIRED’s explanation of how it will and won’t use generative AI tools.
Q6: Are there any pitfalls that teams should avoid when integrating AI tools into their workflows?
Don’t implement AI into your workflow without a plan.
- “Don’t rush toward that shiny object. We’ve all been guilty—or at least I have—of wanting to get really cool tech and not having a plan around it. Don’t get these tools without having a plan, even if the plan is as simple as ‘I’m going to test this out for this particular project.’ Know why you want it. If it’s testing out a couple of tools that you want to see how they’re generating different results, that sounds like a plan to me.” – Cathy McPhillips
Avoid trying something once and ditching it if it doesn’t immediately give you what you need. In the audio replay, Cathy explains how she used Writer to create a recap from an audio recording. When she uploaded the full audio recording as one file and asked the tool to summarize each section, it did not perform as intended. Once Cathy uploaded the recording as separate files by topic, however, it did exactly what she needed.
- “These tools are changing so quickly. Something they stumbled on yesterday, they might be better at today.” – Erika Heald
Your success with generative AI tools rides on your ability to write effective prompts. Give yourself time to experiment with each tool and learn from the process.
Q7: What do you predict will happen regarding how teams use AI? How quickly do you anticipate widespread adoption or groundbreaking new developments?
“The leaders that are paying attention and meeting with teams and training them today are going to be the ones that will be most successful. We’re all learning as we’re going along. The leaders that take the time to meet with their teams—and that could be someone who’s 25 and going to take the reins and be that change agent—[will be most successful with AI].” – Cathy McPhillips