Beyond the Hype: Weighing the Real Pros and Cons of AI-Driven Content for Your Small Business

Over the past year or so, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a force to be reckoned with in the business world, with all industries using this technology to improve their services and production. Among these changes, content creation for businesses stands out as an area where AI’s capabilities are increasingly being used and it’s easily accessible to everyone from sole traders to mega-corporations.

AI tools offer a range of benefits to small business owners—from generating articles based on given keywords to suggesting improvements in existing content and even predicting how the audience might react to a piece of content.

However, like any tool, AI isn’t without its challenges. While it brings efficiency and scalability, there’s the risk of content becoming too generic or lacking the human touch that resonates with readers. There’s also the learning curve associated with integrating new technologies.

This article aims to provide a balanced perspective, delving deep into both the potential advantages and the hurdles faced when integrating AI into a content strategy.

What is AI-Powered Content Creation?

Unlike traditional methods where humans are solely responsible for brainstorming, researching and crafting each piece of content, AI tools can generate articles, social media posts, product descriptions and more based on specific input parameters and vast troves of data they’ve been trained on.

To understand this better, imagine a system that has read millions of articles. Based on patterns, linguistic structures and the given input, the system can draft content that aligns with the style, tone and topic you specify. Advanced AI tools can also offer suggestions to improve readability, SEO optimisation and even predict how well your content might perform based on historical data.

AI can also assist in personalising content for various audiences. By analysing the preferences, behaviours and demographics of a user base, AI systems can modify content to better resonate with different segments of your audience, ensuring a more tailored and engaging experience for each reader.

Early versions of AI writing technology were relatively rudimentary, producing content that often lacked nuance and emotional depth. However, with advancements in natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning, modern AI content tools can generate pieces that are increasingly sophisticated and hard to distinguish from human-written content.

The Benefits of Using AI for Your Business Content

The decision to use AI or not isn’t always an easy one to make. For every business owner emphasising how useful it has been for them, you’ll find another arguing that AI is useless and can’t create good content they want to represent their business.

There are numerous advantages to using AI, however – from generating potential blog topics to writing the content briefs and yes, even writing the articles themselves. You can dip in and out of using AI as much as you are comfortable with and that’s an important thing to remember – AI is a tool that you are in full control over.Should you be using AI to write your small business marketing content? - Picture of a human fist and a robot fist

Let’s discuss some of the benefits of using AI for content creation.

Efficiency and Speed: One of the standout advantages of AI is its ability to generate content quickly. For businesses that require frequent content updates, such as e-commerce sites with thousands of product descriptions or news websites, AI can produce vast amounts of material in a fraction of the time it would take a human writer – even when you factor in the time taken to proofread and edit the output.

Cost-effectiveness: Although the better AI tools require a premium plan, over time they are cost-effective. Having AI use a list of keywords to generate 50 blog post topics in a fraction of the time it might take you to do the same. Think about how else you could spend that extra time to improve your business and bring in more revenue.

Consistency: Maintaining a consistent brand voice across various platforms and content types can be challenging. AI, once trained, ensures that the brand’s tone, style and messaging remain consistent, enhancing brand recognition and trust. The easiest way to do this is by writing some brand guidelines about tone of voice, language style, jargon to use (or avoid), who your target audience is, etc. and asking the AI to use them while generating content.

Content Optimisation: Beyond creation, AI tools can optimise content for SEO, suggesting keywords, improving readability and even predicting how well the content might perform in terms of engagement and conversions. You can even do this with your own written content – paste it in and ask for recommendations to improve it for SEO and it’ll generate some ideas you probably hadn’t considered.

Incorporating AI tools into a business content strategy offers multiple advantages but it’s essential to choose the right tools and integrate them appropriately for the best results. As with all technology, it’s about harnessing its strengths and understanding its limitations. So, what are the problems with using AI for content generation?

The Disadvantages of Using AI-Generated Content for Your Small Business

While the benefits of AI in content creation are numerous, there are inherent challenges too. Chief among them is the potential lack of a human touch. Content that resonates often has a personal, relatable element, which AI might miss, making pieces feel impersonal or generic.

There’s also the danger of businesses becoming too dependent on AI, reducing their creative control and stifling originality. Over time, this can result in a content landscape looking mostly the same, with brands struggling to differentiate themselves.

Costs can also be a deterrent, especially for small businesses. While AI can lead to cost savings in the long run, the initial investment required for sophisticated AI tools can be high. There’s also the learning curve that comes with new technology. It takes time to learn how to use AI just right to get the results you’re looking for, time that could be better spent elsewhere on your business.

Of course, there is potential for error. AI can make mistakes based on the data it’s trained on, leading to inaccuracies, cultural insensitivities and if you’re in the UK like me, you’ll probably be consistently annoyed by the Americanised spelling AI tools default to!

One of the biggest concerns about using AI is authenticity. We talk so much about being authentic in your content because people do business with people. Naturally, there’s going to be skepticism about using AI to write content instead of the human touch. If your audience feels they’re interacting with machines rather than humans, it can lead to decreased trust and engagement.

While the potential benefits of AI in content creation are substantial, it’s crucial for businesses to be aware of these challenges. By being proactive and combining the strengths of both human and machine, businesses can mitigate these cons and craft a more balanced and effective content strategy.

I think using AI for planning and optimising content can save you a ton of time while ensuring the writing is still authentically from you and carries that human touch. However, if writing blog articles and social media posts are a chore for you, using AI to generate them for you could be just the thing you need to have that consistent marketing presence you need to bring in more customers. As with everything in business, the key to using AI is finding the right balance for you and your audience.