Humanizing your AI-generated contentBy Lawrence Dy
After simmering for years, artificial intelligence has broken into the mainstream. The myriad AI-powered tools available are already shaking up how jobs are done. Content creation is no exception. However, if you’ve spent any time consuming or interacting with AI-generated content, you may have noticed it often has an unnatural quality.
Humanizing the output of AI tools enables marketers to provide high-quality, user-friendly content at scale. This can help businesses meet their goals faster without falling into the trap of pumping out large quantities of automated, low-quality messaging. It’s not about eliminating AI-generated content altogether: The natural language processing (NLP) market is set to more than triple by 2027, and 54% of businesses are already seeing cost savings from AI (Durable).
These tools are clearly here to stay, and learning how to humanize your AI-generated content can help you put them to work without sacrificing your credibility.
Table of Contents
- What is AI-generated content?
- Benefits of AI-generated content
- Downsides of AI-generated content
- Ways to humanize AI-generated content
- Frequently asked questions
What is AI-generated content?
AI-generated content refers to copy, images, videos, and other forms of media that are created with the help of artificial intelligence technology. While there are a variety of different AI-powered tools available for content creation, they all work in the same fundamental way. AI algorithms analyze vast amounts of data and use machine learning to generate new content similar to the content it has analyzed. By learning the patterns and structures that exist in the analyzed data, AI algorithms can produce content that repeats those patterns without directly copying them.
For example, an image-based AI tool like Midjourney can create lifelike images of people who have never existed because the analysis of large quantities of pictures of people provides a pattern for how human features look and relate to each other. Similarly, text-based AI tools like ChatGPT can answer questions, make suggestions, and create copy that is very similar to what a human would produce.
Given the central importance of content creation in marketing, businesses have naturally started applying these impressive tools to the production of blog posts, social media updates, product descriptions, and even customer communication.
So, how are businesses applying this powerful tech in the real world? They’re putting it to work to create all kinds of content, from quick email replies to big-budget ads.
Email providers are incorporating the power of AI into their products, like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Copilot, which businesses are using to save time by automatically drafting responses to emails. Cloud computing company VMWare has embraced the use of a ChatGPT-based content AI to produce more content, giving “writers…time to do better research, ideation, and strategy” (HBR).
On the visual side of things, food giant Heinz used image-based AI DALL·E 2 to create an eye-catching, conversation-starting ad with the text “this is what ketchup looks like to AI” overlaid on different images of ketchup bottles. The text inputs didn’t include any reference to the brand Heinz, allowing them to show that to AI, the generic term “ketchup” was associated with their iconic packaging.
As you can see fro these examples, repetitive tasks involved in content marketing can be reduced with the strategic use of AI, including generating content ideas, building content strategies, using chatbots to reduce human workloads, and more.
Benefits of AI-generated content
Given the many benefits that businesses of all sizes can gain by using AI-generated content, it’s easy to understand its rapid adoption:
- Reduced work hours on content pieces: As anyone who has worked in content marketing can attest, quality content creation is deceptively time consuming. Even short blog posts may require hours of ideation and research, and careful writing and editing before they’re ready to go live. AI can help generate ideas faster, facilitate speedy research, create starting drafts, and even edit or refine existing copy.
- Increased accuracy: While AI isn’t foolproof, it can be used during the research and writing stages to gather relevant information and check facts.
- Improved efficiency: Content creators can produce quality work efficiently by using AI-powered tools that help break through writer's block, refine work, and clarify ideas.
- Increased volume: Users can create a more robust stream of content to keep audiences continuously engaged by using AI-generated content.
- Review collection and response: AI can act as a reputation builder and help businesses collect more authentic reviews. Reputation management software can leverage AI to craft personalized responses to reviews to help businesses build their online brands.
By reducing the time and resources required to ideate, strategize, and write, entire marketing campaigns can be created in a cost-effective and speedy manner. Existing digital marketing strategies can also be made more effective by using AI to reach a larger audience.
Downsides of AI-generated content
As incredible and groundbreaking as AI is, there are serious potential downsides to using AI-generated content:
- Inaccurate information: AI-generated content can be full of factual errors, and unless you’re very familiar with your subject area, you may miss errors and publish false information.
- Not communicating in a human way: AI-generated text can have a distinct AI quality that becomes familiar after interacting with it a few times. At this point, humans are still better at communicating like humans than robots are, and audiences can pick up on this.
- Inability to convey personal experiences: Personal experiences help to contextualize information, making it more relatable and interesting. While cold hard facts may be technically true, they are less interesting to read when there is no personal experience to help them feel relevant.
Ways to humanize AI-generated content
A way to overcome the downsides of AI-generated content is to give it a human touch. Don’t think of AI as a magic box that can produce finished content when given an input. Rather, think of it as a collaborative tool that can assist human creators in their content creation process.
Combine the strengths of AI algorithms and human creativity. Leverage the efficiency and accuracy of AI-generated content while ensuring that the final output is still engaging by drawing on valuable human experiences.
Research your audience
Knowing your audience deeply can help you use AI to efficiently create content tailored to their interests, needs, and desires. “AI prompt engineer” is a real specialization today, and it’s easy to understand why. Crafting prompts that produce relevant content requires knowing what kind of content your audience will value the most.
Researching your audience can also help during the editing stage. It will enable you to edit AI-generated content to use language that is best suited to the intended readership.
Use natural language
AI-generated content can read as unusually stiff and dull, lacking the distinct voice and style that might be produced by a seasoned human writer. An AI-written article may be informative, but if it’s generic and devoid of any emotional or creative elements that could make it more engaging or memorable, it’s unlikely to hold the reader’s attention.
Refining it to use natural language to mimic natural speech patterns can instantly give a piece of AI-generated content that human touch. This will make your content more personal and relatable, ultimately building trust with your audience.
Images, videos, and infographics can break up chunks of AI-generated text, making the content more immersive and engaging. Not only do visuals make AI content more visually appealing, but they can also convey complex ideas more easily and make the content more useful and memorable. As with all content creation, the goal is to bring value to the reader, and enhancing AI-generated content with visuals can help you do just that.
Little unexpected elements, like humor or creative turns of phrase, can help turn a forgettable piece of AI-generated content into a reflection of a brand’s personality. Having the right digital marketing agency on your side can help you create organic content with ease, building trust with your audience and helping you incorporate your brand voice.
As humans, we all love a good story. The best content taps into this deeply human need by weaving storytelling into marketing copy to make it resonate. Taking a piece of AI-generated content and re-working it to incorporate an element of storytelling can take it from robotic to unmistakably human.
Frequently asked questions
How do you detect AI-generated content?
Tools that detect AI-generated content are available online. Without using tools, you can still often identify AI-generated content by looking for repetitive phrases, short sentences, simple content structure, and, occasionally, factual errors.
Can Google detect AI-generated content?
Google can detect many instances of AI-generated content, and its policies state that AI should not be used to create content primarily to manipulate search rankings.