Why do people read? People read to get information. That’s simple enough, and we know that AI content can provide information. But if people knew that the information was coming from an AI, would they still want to read it? Do people want to read AI content? When we discuss AI for content marketing or any writing really, that’s really the question we have to ask ourselves, isn’t it?
Read along as Phantom Copy takes a look at this issue, digs into some studies, and eventually comes to some sort of conclusion. Of course, you have to bear with us a little. AI used in this way is an evolving field. Something that can be true today isn’t necessarily true tomorrow, but we do our best to understand the current state of the industry as well as the direction the industry is headed.
What is a Reader’s Perception of AI Written Content
In truth, not a lot of studies have been done to determine the reader’s perception of AI-written content and its relevancy or accuracy. In fact, you can find studies that support either side of the argument depending on the methods and the controls used in each experiment.
This is an evolving issue and may depend a lot on how AI is perceived through general media and the public. We’ve seen a lot of talk about the power of AI but we’ve also seen some of the fallout from its misuse.
In one recent example, a lawyer used AI to write a legal brief. The AI proceeded to cite non-existent cases. The lawyer did not catch these errors before submitting the brief to the judge and got in significant trouble as a result. This has nothing to do with AI blogs that you may want to put on your site, but then again it has everything to do with it. This widely publicized event is just one more thing that may change public perception of AI written content.
Read More: How to Tell if Something is Written by AI
The Slippery Slope of AI Proofing
Properly proofed and augmented AI-written content may just be the future. However, it creates a slippery slope that we’ve already seen play out with online publications across the net. Once the writers are no longer writing and only prompting and proofing, cuts can start to happen. Pretty soon you have AI-written content with very little and sometimes no oversight filling up these websites. Remember, this was all done with the best of intentions.
One well-known case was CNET—the technology and consumer electronics news site. In November of 2022, CNET began letting AI loose on certain categories of its website. Internal editors quickly saw the problem as most of the articles were found to be “riddled with errors.” The editors at CNET eventually banded together to put a hold on the AI-generated content push. Since that time, they have lost about 1 million of the keywords they were ranking for and estimated traffic has dropped by nearly 10 million users. It’s unclear how much of this is due to bad AI content and how much is due to reader perceptions of the brand, but either way, the damage has been done and AI certainly played a role.
Read More: Boost Your Content Writing Without AI
Content Rule of Thumb for All Content… Not Just AI Content
When you are adding a piece of content to your website for all the digital world to see it should be unique. We don’t just mean content that isn’t a copy—you definitely shouldn’t be posting anything like that. What we mean is content that provides something new, different, more relevant, or more helpful than anything else that’s out there.
If you are not a news site, writing on the latest developments in an industry, this may sound impossible, but it’s really not. Sometimes it just means adding a local angle to a blog or just providing information in a new and useful way. Unfortunately—especially in the latter case—this is something that AI is not always great at.
Final Answer: Maybe?
We know that maybe is maybe not the most satisfying answer. The real answer circles back to what we said in the beginning. People read to get information, if your content provides the information that they were looking for, and it does so in the best way possible as compared to other sources that are available, then people will want to read it regardless of who or what wrote it.
The issue with AI writing, in its pure and unedited form without continuous prompting, training, editing, and proofing is that AI writing doesn’t provide anything new to the conversation. No unique opinions and often incorrect information, or in the case mentioned earlier, entirely fabricated information.
AI has a place in writing, especially content marketing, but it isn’t and perhaps can never be the end all be all solution that many try to claim that it is. To make it work, you need a human in the loop. Humans are fallible—so is AI—but at least humans can write and inform interesting, useful, and engaging content.