Who cares who created the content?
Of course, whoever wrote it, recorded it, or produced it cares. And probably, their parents too (if my personal experience is any indicator.)
And maybe if the person is a known expert or celebrity in their field, the editor cares because their involvement will attract more attention.
But for the most part, paternity doesn’t matter. Yet, given the voluminous conversations around generative content AI, you’d think that’s the case.
Results are what matters
Some claim that Content produced by AI is rarely as good as what an experienced human writer could do. Given how many early drafts I see, I’m not sure, but let’s assume the premise.
Jess Fortet writes on the jounce blog“Human writers bring a level of creativity, emotion, and nuance that AI-generated copy can struggle to replicate. The ability to connect with readers on an emotional level can differentiate AI-generated content. the man of AI-generated content.”
Yes, humans can bring creativity, emotion and nuance. But unfortunately, that’s not how many brands rate their content marketing. As Eliyahu M. Goldratt wrote in Critical Chain over 25 years ago: “Tell me how you measure me, and I’ll tell you how I’m going to behave.”
Evaluating content marketing success revolves around the impact of content on the buyer’s journey. So that’s what human creators bring to their content marketing. They focus on attributes like keywords, titles, length, meta descriptions, etc. They think of calls to action that will motivate content consumers to take the next step.
Who created the content doesn’t matter in content marketing. What matters is whether the content delivered what the audience and the brand wanted. For the public, it is information or entertainment. For the brand, it’s clicks and other actions along the buyer’s journey.
Doesn’t Google say it cares who created the content?
Yes, I know, Google once said AI-generated content goes against its guidelines, so he classified it as spam. But I believed that statement as well as when my teachers warned our class that they could tell if we hadn’t read the book or just used CliffsNotes. (Based on my notes, I disagreed, even though I didn’t tell them that.)
Earlier this year, Google has clarified its guidelines: “The use of automation – including AI – to generate content for the primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results is a violation of our anti-spam policies.”
But Google recognizes that not all automation, including AI generation, is spam. “AI has the ability to fuel new levels of expression and creativity, and serve as an essential tool to help people create great content for the web,” he writes.
Frankly, I don’t know how awesome AI-created content really has to be. After all, consider how long content farms where mills existed. These high-yielding, low-paying factories certainly wouldn’t have been in business for long if their content hadn’t provided search-driven results.
Thus, if the content respects the basics of Google EEAT Guidelines – experience, expertise, authority and reliability, Google will provide it to searchers.
AI transparency is not a necessity
Some argue that if you post AI-generated content, you must disclose it to the public.
As a copyright issue, I understand. The United States Copyright Office issued opinions on AI-generated content, noting that only human-created content can be copyrighted.
But audiences don’t need transparency in content creation. If so, why hasn’t it been the publishing standard for hundreds, if not thousands of years?
Early in my career, I was a city editor for a daily newspaper when I saw a pile of clips and a briefcase in the back window of a reporter’s car. (Yes, it was that long ago that items were actually cut from newspapers and placed in a physical container.)
I laugh softly. The reporter recognized good content, but she didn’t know how to write it. All of the items she planned to feature in her portfolio were strongly – and I mean strongly – edited. But his signature was the only name that appeared.
Did the newspaper readers care? No, however, whoever considered hiring him did.
Before CMI publishes a guest article, at least five people — the original author, the reviewer who accepted it, the editor, the production person, and the proofreader — and an AI grammar tool touch it. (And that doesn’t count those who helped the writer before submitting it.)
Yet only one person’s name appears on the page. Are you interested? Probably not. You just want an interesting and easy to understand article that helps your content marketing.
If publishers don’t list editors, title writers, copy editors, etc., who help shape the content, they don’t need to disclose whether the AI generated the content.
Your audience just wants good content
Stop debating – or reading the debates – about who creates the content. It’s a waste of time. Instead, spend a minute reviewing the very definition of content marketing to remind you of the most important that:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and ultimately drive profitable customer action.
The “who” that matters most is the audience. And the content? No matter how it’s created, it needs to deliver value to that audience.
SELECTED RELATED CONTENT:
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute