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5 ways automated content tools kill your creativity

Continuing my series of posts looking at automation and AI in the creative industry, I’ve taken a look at where content generation is best done by humans Vs AI.

M

ost businesses today know that they need to generate some sort of content. Social media posts, blog entries, emails or outreach content. Content marketing takes a great deal of time and effort and can be draining on your resources and creativity.

As someone who spends their entire day creating content, I’d be crazy not to look for ways to improve my efficiency. When I’m writing articles I make use of tools such as Grammarly and Article Insights to speed things up. When I make graphics or video I use the Adobe suite extensively.

All these tools have one thing in common, they enhance my creativity and release me from the more mundane tasks that sap my time. As I write, Grammarly checks my grammar, As I design, Adobe products help me zero in on styles and themes that make my work more appealing.

One thing they don’t do is stifle my creative spark, and that’s what I find the more automated tools do.  I spend hours looking through the copied, tired, ideas that reak of cliche or try to see how some generic list article will in anyway enhance my reputation or resound with my brand fans.

To be clear, I’m talking about lower end tools like AI writer or article generator. There are some very high-end AI-based tools, used by the likes of the Washington Post, that perform much better. However, they cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

I know what you’re thinking. “He’s a content creator, he’s going to say that auto content sucks.” OK, fair point, but here’s some proof.

1. Scraping other peoples ideas saps creativity.

We’ve all done it. Spending hours going over other peoples work to see what takes our fancy. Inspiration is one thing, but unless you’re careful, you’ll simply end up being unable to see anything else in your mind’s eye than work other people have done. And guess what? When you do sit down in front of that blank canvas; you’ll trot out other peoples ideas, not your own.

5 ways automated content generators stop your creativity Charles Hodson Freelance Writer
Being creative means letting your own imagination run wild!
2. They don’t actually save time.

An e-book in 2 minutes? A robot that writes amazing articles? Video software that creates the video for you? You’ll spend so long working out how to use the system, then finding source content, then mucking about with the end result (trying to make it look fresh) that you’d have been better off starting from scratch in the first place.

3. It won’t look original.

The content has to come from somewhere. Despite what they claim AI can’t actually write articles yet, or at least not ones that can be called “articles” (see below). Nor can AI make pictures out of thin air, or at least not something you’d call pictures.

The results these tools produce are scraped from other sources. This renders them a horrible Frankenstein of bits and pieces of things it found lying around on the web.

4. They cost you money.

Sure, some generator tools claim to be free. They won’t be. Maybe they offer a reduced service that is so reduced it’s useless without a paid upgrade. Or it’s time-limited. Or it adds a massive branding element to the final piece.  They’ll find a way to coax your money from you. They’re not a charity after all.

5. The results are kind of crappy.

If you want good quality articles or high-quality images and video, keep on looking. I asked an AI writer to create an article on “Content Marketing”. Let’s take a look at some AI generated text and check it for effectiveness :

Cloud-based digital publishing platforms for the development of incoming and incoming marketers .14
Digital marketing platform to increase the involvement and conversion of content marketing .15
And content marketing often does an unusual task of attracting the attention of the person who cares about his or her products and is prepared to buy them .1
While content marketing is noteworthy for alert people to the existence of your business, it is also noteworthy to guide people through the thoughtful phase .1
In contrast to other types of web-based marketers, it is important to anticipate and meet an existing customer’s needs for information, rather than create a request for a new one .0
Digital content marketing is a managed procedure that involves the use of e-channel identification, prediction and satisfaction with the needs of a specific audience .0
Content marketing is a marketing program that focuses on the creation, publication and distribution of the contents of your targeted audiences – generally on the internet – the purpose of attracting new customers .2
Content marketing helps businesses to build lasting brand loyalty, delivers valuable information to their customers and develops a desire to buy business products in the future .0
Content marketing is an approach to the creation and distribution of precious contents to get prospects for your industry .16

What we have here is a large group of ideas and facts, presented as a series of sentences. Each line is referenced and you can check each to see where the source data came from. In many cases the sentences are simply taken directly from a human-written article. The real killer? This disclaimer :

5 ways automated content generators stop your creativity Charles Hodson Freelance Writer

 

 

 

There is a whole host other reasons that auto-generated content won’t help you. Keyword management and SEO will be non-existent, there will be no content strategy and in general, the content will be lifeless. There are places that this type of content creation is useful; large-scale private blog networks (PBNs) and backlink creation are two examples. But as the big search engines find ways to penalize these, those advantages will soon disappear.

If you’re going to create content, make it high quality, make it fresh, make it strategic, and make it on brand. It takes longer and is much more effort, but it’s also way more effective.

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