The hype of AI isn’t going away and neither is the idea that it can “revolutionise” your marketing, especially if you’re the type of business that’s struggling to keep up with the demands practically and financially.
Whilst it’s absolutely true that, used properly, AI can provide you with a vital resource which can reduce time spent on creating content it can also, however, have a negative impact on your business if used badly.
Comms strategist and director of Excalibur Press Tina Calder said companies who ignore AI could find themselves on the “back foot” at a later date.
However, she warns that agencies like hers must also be using the tools responsibly and ethically.
“Earlier this year at Excalibur Press we realised AI wasn’t going away and tools like ChatGPT were going to continue to dominate the minds of not just many of our clients but also our staff and interns”, she said.
“With that in mind we immediately put in place a constantly updated AI Usage Policy and AI Best Practice Guidelines.
“We operate on the basis that working with AI must be ethical and professional, therefore, if we use AI for a client we inform that client. After all, ultimately the choice must be theirs as to whether they will accept content that has some form of input from AI platforms such as ChatGPT.
“Whilst the use of AI is not prohibited within Excalibur Press its use is strictly limited to being a research resource.”
Approach with care
The benefits of AI have been lauded across the communications world with many small businesses and marketing teams hailing it as a “saviour” and “the answer to their prayers”.
With that said, Tina said it’s important for people to spend time understanding how to use the tools effectively and efficiently.
She explained: “Whilst my scepticism of AI copywriting tools in particular has waned and I now train in-house teams to use it effectively, it’s absolutely vital that those who use it understand it can never really replace human expertise, experience and analytical thought.
“Like Canva, Hootsuite, Hubspot and many more tools that sit in our marketing stack your AI tools should be exactly that, a tool that helps you work more efficiently.”
Among the sticking points for Tina are things such as nuance and vernacular, detail, analysis, accuracy and true marketing copywriting.
“There’s absolutely no doubt having tools like ChatGPT in your marketing stack can help you level up your game. It’s essential to ensure that you understand the limitations in comparison to your own brain” she said.
“In my experience AI tools simply can’t get the right nuance and vernacular that I personally would use when writing. It doesn’t really have an attitude. Yes, it can mimic an attitude and a style of writing but it’s a bit dad dancing at a disco or a mum using the aubergine emoji to mean an aubergine. It was just a bit ‘off’.
“In properly informed copywriting the devil is in the detail. It’s why you pay for research, expertise and experience and anything I’ve managed to get out of the AI was simply surface level knowledge. It has always required my time and effort to mould into the right piece.
“When it comes to real human analysis, no matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t get real analysis out of the tool. That human thought process that brings context and humanity to what’s being written.
“Much has been written about the limitations of AI and its knowledge bank. I had a significant number of incidences where it gave me irrelevant, incorrect and inaccurate information and examples. Even just asking it about myself and my career I found it was way off, and, in one case, completely reported information that was totally wrong. It also often makes suggestions that are out of date, ill informed and things that would be rather embarrassing if one of my writers turned in the content to me.”
There is hope for AI
Despite the lack of abilities the current machine learning models have, AI is an ever changing technology and will continue to grow and get better as we, humans, get better at teaching it.
Tina explained that businesses shouldn’t be deciding whether to embrace it or not but rather how they should be embracing it.
“It’s not all bad news. There’s certainly a right time and a right place for using tools like ChatGPT and, in my mind, it’s the same principle that I apply to Canva.
“If the person using the tool is professional, knowledgeable and experienced enough they will have great success using the tool to optimise their workflow, speed up their brainstorming and research and, ultimately, assist them in delivering their expertise in a speedier manner.
“However, what it is not, is a replacement for this professionalism, knowledge and experience. We have found that no matter how much you train it, no matter how much information you feed the system an AI tool cannot currently deep dive into our client’s business, their customer mindset and the style in which the content needs to be delivered whilst considering the psychology of the customer journey, geographic and cultural considerations and – ultimately – the style the client likes to see their content presented in.”
How do you use it efficiently?
According to Tina embracing AI is “not optional”.
She said: “AI is many things to many people but ultimately if you see it in the way we do at Excalibur Press you can better understand its functional use and benefit.
“It’s the intern you really want – if you brief it well enough, give it the right background and teach it enough information then AI copywriting tools can deliver you work that is definitely as good as a graduate intern. Whilst not always perfect, it’s much easier for us to edit and work with something that’s already on the page.
“It can be the mentor you wish you had – sometimes you just want someone to ask questions to, check on past trends, ask about traditional tactics and strategies and learn from a brain full of knowledge. You don’t necessarily want this person to do the job for you, just be a sounding board that you can ask questions to that you may not want to be seen asking in the office.
“It’s a good desktop research tool – sometimes when you just need some quick information organised in a certain fashion so that you can see/read it all at once and quickly, AI can be your saviour. It’s always important for you to back up the research yourself to ensure it’s correct but it’s a great speedy resource for “on the go” information.
“It can become someone to brainstorm with – many people just don’t have the luxury of colleagues to be able to brainstorm ideas with, to figure things out and throw around some ideas to see what pops up. AI is great for this, it’s a brilliant space to brainstorm in a way where you’re leading the charge and you can quickly change the course of the brainstorm without offending anyone if it isn’t going the way you want it to.”
It would seem that in order to make AI work for you it’s important to figure out what you want it to help you with.
“So many people just jump in, open a new tab and say ‘create me 10 social media posts for a hairdresser,’ said Tina, adding: “And what comes back is bland, generic content that doesn’t reflect the brand at all.
“Think of ChatGPT and other AI copywriting tools as another member of staff. Consider what you want them to do, what you need out of it and how much time you have to commit to ensuring they are well briefed and that you have set time aside to edit, amend and review their content.”
Throughout the month of September Tina will be delivering a number of free training sessions around ChatGPT including Zoom @ Noon for Social Enterprise NI on September 12, TechConnect in Dublin on September 14 and in a free webinar on September 28. For more information go to excaliburpress.co.uk/events
If you would like to find out more about Excalibur Press’ training and content services which includes content creation, ChatGPT training, copywriting, social media management and website development contact Tina Calder on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to excaliburpress.co.uk