Is AI capable of writing long-form content by itself that you can publish in a set-and-forget manner on your blog? And if so, how do you do it? And is it a good idea? That’s what we’re discussing today with a lady who has been named in the top 30 of all content marketers worldwide. She has exited a 100-person writing agency she spent 10 years building and she’s currently president at Content at Scale, leading big initiatives for one of the fastest-growing AI content writing tools for SEOs and marketers. A warm welcome to the In Search SEO podcast, Julia McCoy.
In this episode, Julia shares how to 10x your content with AI content creation.
- Why should you embrace AI content creation?
- What is AIO and what does it mean to you?
- Should humans edit AI content?
- Using local language in your AI content
- What is the best structure for long-form articles?
- What content should AI not be used for?
- Will AI content diminish the value of content as a whole?
AI Content Creation Tips
Julia: Hey, David, it’s so great to be here.
D: Thanks so much for coming on. You can find Julia over at contentatscale.ai. So Julia, why is it a good idea to embrace AI for content?
1. Why should you embrace AI content creation?
J: Oh, my goodness, it is the question of the hour. Personally, for me, the reason I adapted it was the time savings in using AI. You just get a percentage of your time back. And it feels like getting your life back whenever you use it correctly. It’s all about the right tools for the right purposes like Chat GPT for great headlines and Rytr for long-form content. If you match up the right AI tools with your output, you can save so much time. If you do it incorrectly, you actually add time. So it is important to find the right tools for the process that you want to save time on.
D: That’s probably the question of 2023, and perhaps beyond. So does Google not hate AI-generated articles?
J: That was a concern in 2022, especially when in April, there was a headline in the Search Engine Journal that AI content is against our guidelines. That was the headline. And then in October, Danny Sullivan was found on Twitter saying we’ve never said AI content is against the rules. So they backtracked. And then that fall their guidelines completely changed. They took out completely that you cannot use AI to create content. And then it all became about spam. You cannot use AI to create spammy content. That was their stance.
So if you look at it now, as of February 2023, their guidelines, the search Central Blog, it all says very clearly that we don’t care how you create that content, just make sure it’s helpful. Make sure it’s educational, make sure it has personal experience. The extra E in E-E-A-T. In short, they don’t care how it’s created. You can use AI, AI is coming to search. I’d say Google is embracing it, rather than demoting it. So it’s definitely time for us to embrace it as well.
2. What is AIO and what it means to you
D: You mentioned E-A-T there as well. What is AIO?
J: That is an acronym, as you said, that we at Content at Scale came up with. We’re just a bunch of geeks putting together what we hope is the best long-form writer for SEOs. And so AIOs are approached instead of having a writer create that first draft, which can take seven-plus hours a week of work that long for a 3000-5000-10,000 word mega guide that you want to put on your site to increase organic traffic. Instead of a writer, you’re going to use AI to create the first draft. And then the human will now be in the role of the optimizer. That’s the ‘O’ part. So if you adapt to that approach, you can save some time seven to ten hours per piece of content by having the writer basically sit in the driver’s seat of the AI machine. And because they’re a great writer and are very capable if they have that experience, they’re going to know how to drive that AI machine best, how to optimize that content for the acronym E-A-Ts, and all the other good things that you need to have in your content.
3. Should humans edit AI-produced content?
D: You talked about humans being the editor. Should humans always be the final editor of AI-produced content?
J: I think so. Until AI gets to a place where it can tell us personal experiences. And by that I mean, if you’re reading a review about let’s say, a deep dish pizza in New York City, well, the AI is never going to tell you how that pizza tastes. It can try but does a robot actually have that sense of taste? Have they had a human experience with that human that’s running that pizza place? No, they likely haven’t. And they likely never will. That’s why we think in the end you still need a human adding that personal touch to your content. Otherwise, who reads your content? Google even acknowledged this in the IO keynote. People want to hear from people. That’s what needs to happen in the end. So you definitely need somebody, whether it’s a writer or an SEO, to optimize that content to make it personal.
D: What is the difference? I mean, obviously, you act on behalf of Content at Scale, and you know exactly how that system works. So what’s the difference between that system and an SEO for example using Chat GPT?
J: Great question. Content at Scale is a proprietary technology built on the back of these LLMs (Large Language Models). It’s actually a stack of three different NLPs (Natural Language Processors). Plus it has its own semantic analyzers. It goes and looks at the top of Google, parses those results, and then puts that into the content it writes. The content it writes is also undetectable. It’s fully original. It is not plagiarized. You can check it with Copyscape right there in the app. And coming from 10 years at Content, for all my writers I would run their content through Copyscape. It was one of my values that content cannot be plagiarized. You’d be surprised how many writers plagiarized.
I love that all these things are actually built into this tool. I would say it’s one of the only tools on the market that has that much built-in in one interface. So inside the editor, you have your AI score, and you have your plagiarism score from 0 to 100. Is this plagiarized? Is it not? So you get to know at a glance the integrity of this AI-written content. And then, of course, you have three different NLPs writing it. So it’s not just another API call to Chat GPT. Let’s face it, a lot of paying tools are not too much greater, just go use Chat GPT. But for this one, it was built for long-form content.
4. Using local language in your AI content
D: So I’m in the UK, you’re in the USA, there are lots of different versions of the English language spoken across the world. Is it possible in Content at Scale, for example, to ask the AI to write in a UK type of English?
J: Yes. And this feature just launched, and it’s getting better, we’re talking as of this week. You can pick in the Project Settings from close to 100 different languages, including different variations of English, because that is important to our users. Writing Australian English is very different. UK English is very different than American. So that is something that is built into the app because we know that’s important.
D: Yeah, Australian English is based upon UK English and probably closer to UK English than USA English. But there are different phrases and abbreviations used in Australia that is unique to Australia, certainly. So it’s good to be able to write to the local audience with them in mind.
In terms of the structure of articles, I’ve had a quick look into the style of articles that you produce with different quote sections, summaries, bullets, and in-article links from the top. What is the optimum structure of a long-form article that Google is looking for?
5. What is the best structure for long-form articles?
J: Yeah, I studied this, some of my books have a breakdown on this, and I taught courses on this. The structure is critical. You can’t just write 3000 words and put it together the way we were all taught in school, which was the essay. That just won’t work at all. You probably don’t even get ranked. So the structure is critical. What you need to have are subheaders and then tertiary headers. You need H2s that are clear about the summary topics. And it’s not just a two-word header, it needs to be a long header with your keyword, ideally, in that header as well.
For example, if you’re talking about how to groom a dog, you don’t want to just write five steps and then be done. You need to think about how to structure that piece. Maybe you have an intro about the benefits of keeping your dog properly groomed at a certain season or time of year. Then you go into a section just on the tools with a subheader for that. Then you have 10 steps on how to actually do it. And at the end, you reinforce your service or your offering, that you teach them how to do it, or they can book you to do it. So the structure is critical. It definitely takes a lot of thought. And that’s something that Content at Scale has inside the tool. It writes that structure for you which saves so much time.
6. What content should AI not be used for?
D: Is there anything that AI content shouldn’t be used for?
J: If we go back to that personal experience factor, I know a lot of marketers are training Chat GPT to know their experience. They’re giving their life history. I think that’s a great way to train the AI model. especially if you’re using Chat GPT. But the thing I would be careful of is overreliance. If you’re using an AI tool to do everything, and you’re not proofreading it because AI is the latest and greatest, then you’re missing out on some value. Because you can build a lot of trust with your readers whenever you get in that driver’s seat or work with the writer, and really get them to add in that personal experience.
Because nothing beats your own experience. In the end, that’s what people want to hear. They want to read that in the content. That’s going to be your IT factor. What gets that content to stand out? Like this book you wrote, David. It has your perspectives and you’re on the front cover. Ff it wasn’t like that, I probably wouldn’t love your book as much. It’s a personal touch and we can’t give that away to the robots. We just can’t.
D: I hope that’s good news. And I was going to ask a question in relation to that, because I know that Content at Scale works by taking a video URL or a podcast link and being able to generate content directly from that. What about the actual podcast episode? Can you see a stage in a couple years time where AI is also generating video content and long-form audio content? The type of long form content that is probably discussion-based similar to this. Or am I relatively safe for the next couple of years?
J: That’s a great question. There are a lot of AI tools out there for audio and video like Synthesia. A lot of AI avatars where you can just feed AI the text or the style. And here comes this AI robot that’ll read the whole thing, connect with your audience, and they’re putting that on websites. And I think in certain verticals that works really well.
Very meta here, but let’s say you’re in the AI industry, you should definitely use AI in your marketing, because people will tend to expect that. But if you are wanting to build authority, if you’re wanting to collect an audience and grow the audience around what you know, then you’re absolutely safe. And I would just use AI to augment your time. For example, I used to spend a lot of time in video and audio editing and now I have AI tools that make that a lot easier. But it really comes down to wanting to listen to the actual person. And I do not think that fundamental, which has been true since the history of the world began, will ever change. in the end, we want to know what’s David’s perspective as a host? What is he going to ask the guests today? And that’s why we tune in not because of an AI avatar driving the conversation with no feeling or heart attached. I do not think that fundamental will change. So I guess I’m saying you’re safe, David.
7. Will AI content diminish the value of content as a whole?
D: For now. Should SEOs be concerned that AI content will diminish the value of content as a whole because so much content will be produced. Google will have to choose between 1000s of pieces of content on the same topic as to which piece of content to rank and it’s going to become increasingly a race to the bottom to attempt to rank an article on a very longtail keyword phrase.
J: Yes, that is a great question. I thought a lot about that, especially taking this role as a leading AI writer for SEO. What I suspect is that in December of 2022, Google added the extra E for Experience to E-A-T, which is expertise, authority, and trust. What is experience? Google defines it as your personal experience on the topic. For example, if you’re going to write about skydiving, you should have gone skydiving. And Google says this kind of stuff in their guidelines very clearly. Who would you rather read from? Somebody that went to the restaurant or somebody that just wrote about it? And it’s funny, because they could have said, “Are you a bot or a real human?” What I suspect Google did when they added the extra E was they were trying to get ahead of what you just described, which is an onslaught of content that’s going to hit SERPs now that everyone and their mother and their grandma can now access AI and create content in a second. There is going to be an onslaught of so much crappy content. But when Google added the extra E, I do think they were forecasting and preparing for this.
All of my content now is AI-augmented sometimes by 80%. But in the end, if we give up the seat and we let AI drive our content, and we don’t maintain adding that personal touch, then that’s when I think we are in danger of losing that “E”, the experience. And that’s what Google wants to see, whenever they go to rank this content. Is there experience involved? Is it clear to the user that there’s going to be a lot of value? That there’s going to be a human speaking to the end human. And I think this means there’s lots of opportunity, I see the bright side. If we’re clear about adding our personal experience to everything that goes out, putting our stamp on it, our own personal touch, the story of who we are, keeping that intact, then I think we will have such a chance to be at the top of that ocean of crappy AI content that Google is going to have to sift through.
D: Talking about that human element, would you say good practice would be if a content writer within an organization is using a tool like yours to produce the content and then editing the content a little bit afterward, would you say it’s good practice to associate a notable real-life human with that content and say that the article has been written by them and maybe include links to their social profiles on the article to give you that extra little bit of credibility in the eyes of Google?
J: 100%. And I’ve read through the E-A-T acronym and how they define it. Google has even mentioned social media and forum posts as being able to weigh into the experience factor. So I do think it’s good to have where the author is mentioned, what they are saying on LinkedIn and social media, and whether they are true to their topic. For example, when I stepped into Content at Scale, it was really a perfect match. Because here comes this content marketing expert, who has previous history writing about this topic, 10 years of it, and we can just put her as the author on the blog. So I’m the main author. And it’s funny, because if you go to Constant at Scale’s blog, 80% of that is written by the AI, but it’s attributed to me. So I’m saving lots of time.
The Pareto Pickle – Create Ccontent Consistently
D: Let’s finish off with the Pareto Pickle. Pareto says that you can get 80% of your results from 20% of your efforts. What’s one SEO activity you would recommend that provides incredible results for modest levels of effort?
J: I love this question, David. I know you gave me a preview of it, best question. The underrated fundamental of doing content consistently, I will tell you time and time again, it wins out and it’s in that 80/20, where you get 80% of your results just by putting out great content consistently. I talked to an agency owner, he got his client to rank for a two-word keyword with 15 blogs that were all strung together under a pillar piece. All it took was 16 pieces of content and he ranked number one for this two-phrase keyword. So don’t underestimate content itself. Creating consistent, valuable content, showing up every week on the blog, the podcast, or whatever format you do, just be consistent. And don’t give up because it can be really easy to think there are crickets, nobody’s listening, nobody’s reading. But when you do it consistently, you build this library that really pushes your brand forward. I joined a company called Content at Scale which is funny as scaling content is what I believe in, it brings results.
D: Bonus question, what percentage of your time should be spent on marketing your content versus producing your content?
J: Great question. I think this differs depending on the stage you’re at. If you’re new, I would put 80% of my time into creating content because you just need to get that out. Don’t worry about it being perfect. Don’t worry about promoting it, just get that content built. If you just have five blogs, you need to get to 50. And you need to hit that mark to start building topical authority. But if you’re at a place where you have a few 100 pieces of content, then you can spend time in marketing it. Whether that’s developing an evergreen email sequence to send to your new subscribers. Or maybe you go back through it, update it, and make sure that the content is good. Maybe you hook up an automated social media sharing tool to it. But yes, definitely think about the stage you’re at, and go after getting it out if you’re new. And then think about staggering and adding more promotions once you have more content out.
D: I’ve been your host, David Bain. You can find Julia McCoy over at contentatscale.ai. Julia, thanks so much for being on the In Search SEO podcast.
J: Thank you, David. This was fun.
D: And thank you for listening. Check out all the previous episodes and sign up for a free trial of the Rank Ranger platform over at rankranger.com.