In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, Realtor.com and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.
Lately, it seems that we’ve been seeing a great deal of content that talks about AI (or uses it in some way) while also including some type of moral judgment. AI is good. AI is bad. AI is going to mean the end of humanity. AI is going to ruin education or SEO or some other previously revered pseudo-constant.
Here’s the thing: AI is inevitable. It’s already here, so we can stop clutching our pearls and having earnest conversations about whether it’s going to affect something we hold dear. It’s going to affect everything.
That said, it’s time to learn how to use it in the best way possible. Here’s where to start, how to make sure you’re making the right decisions about AI-driven content, and some of the platforms you need to be familiar with so that you can experiment with AI content for yourself.
How to get started
Perhaps the easiest place to start is by taking a look at your workflow and content spend, if relevant. In other words, if you’re outsourcing content, are there places where AI can help? If all of your content is DIY, how can you use it as a tool to streamline the process of content creation?
For example, I have a client who used to reach out to me regularly for short content: An email to a colleague, an Instagram caption, some quick copyediting. With ChatGPT, that client is more confident in the quality and accuracy of his content, so he doesn’t have to wait for me to help with smaller projects. That frees up time and money in his marketing budget to hire me for bigger projects. Great use of AI.
I use AI as well, not to create content wholesale but to explore the building blocks of content. I ask ChatGPT for search-engine-optimized keywords and outlines. If I’m struggling with the title for a blog post, I ask for 10 clickbait versions of the boring title I’ve asked for. If the titles generated are still boring, I ask for 10 funnier, more playful versions. Then I can tinker with the headlines to get the best one.
When you know your weaknesses or the things that take you too much time when creating content, you can outsource those tasks to ChatGPT, or another AI-driven tool, instead.
Best practices for AI-driven content
Once you’ve identified areas where you’d like to implement AI-based resources, you’ll need to find out how to do it the right way. That means knowing how (and how not) to let AI take the wheel on your process.
1. Use AI as a content-creation tool, not a factory
One of the first impulses most people had when ChatGPT first came out was to have it write full blog posts for them.
There are a couple of issues with that:
- If you’re going for optimized content and a higher Google ranking, wholesale lifting from ChatGPT means that your rent vs. buy article or another piece of evergreen content, will be identical to everyone else’s. Google doesn’t reward that.
- If you’re going for value-added content, ChatGPT can’t necessarily help you. It’s designed to provide a survey of information with little regard for accuracy. It makes mistakes and provides very generic info, neither of which is helpful for exhibiting your expertise to potential clients.
Don’t use AI platforms to crank out subpar content. Use it to make your own content better and easier to produce.
2. Figure out whether you’re really saving time
When I first started hearing about ChatGPT, plenty of people said it would be amazing for property descriptions. Because I write a lot of those for my clients (and write about them frequently), I wanted to see how useful ChatGPT would be for this purpose.
I have had clients in the past who come to me because they sometimes spent hours and hours working on property descriptions. I know other agents who don’t really have that issue.
The return on investment with AI-based content creation for marketing should be judged in proportion to the amount of time it takes you to do the work on your own. If it takes you all afternoon to do a property description, you may find it totally worth your time to give ChatGPT a list of features to highlight and then tweak the final product.
If, on the other hand, you are a fairly competent description writer, it may take you almost as long to enter the information and adjust the property description as it would take to do it yourself. In that case, you’re not saving much, if any time — you’re just introducing an extra step into the process.
3. Figure out whether you’re playing it safe by using AI
Another way people like using AI text generators is for video scripts. That may make sense if you’re currently writing scripts yourself and if your videos are highly structured.
However, if you’re good at speaking off the cuff and your videos get good responses, you may ruin the magic by suddenly beginning to read from a computer-generated script. It’s important to understand what it is you’re bringing to the table now before you change a formula that’s working well.
I get it: It feels safer to have a script. It may feel more professional as well. But if your genuine personality and improvisational style is working for your audience, you may need to stick with it. Consider using AI to create an outline for you to work from. Use it to make the titles of your video more clickable. Don’t use it as a replacement for your own originality.
AI-based platforms to use now
If you’re looking to add the juice of AI to your content marketing, here are some of the AI-based platforms you need. You’ll find plenty of information at Inman to help you make the most of their potential, but don’t hesitate to play around with them on your own and figure out what works for you.
1. ChatGPT for so many different uses
This is the AI tool that I use the most and that many people are flocking to for a variety of uses. You can use it for writing in many different styles, but you can also use it to get formulas for your Excel spreadsheets or HTML code to use on the backend of your WordPress-based website.
You can also ask questions and get simple explanations of complex concepts. Although it’s not perfectly accurate, it gives you a starting point from which to begin your research and further reading. In this context, use it similarly to how you’d use Wikipedia — as a way to get a high-level understanding but not as the last word.
2. Jasper.AI for content creation
Jasper works similarly to ChatGPT but is even more focused on marketing applications. It’s more geared toward professional use with a price tag to match, but it also provides many more tools and resources than most of the other platforms.
3. Grammarly and GrammarlyGO for copyediting
You’re probably familiar with AI-powered Grammarly for checking punctuation and syntax. Coming in April, GrammarlyGO will help users craft their information into specific types of formats with a variety of ways to customize it for tone and intent. The free version of Grammarly is robust, but the paid Premium and Business versions offer even more ways to leverage the power of AI.
4. Bing for AI-powered search
Although the early feedback hasn’t been great, Microsoft is counting on Bing’s new AI integration to help it compete with Google. The stated purpose for the change is to make Bing more user-friendly, provide chat for more complex searches, and make answers more nuanced and complete.
5. Otter.ai for automatic transcription
If you’ve wished for an old-fashioned transcriptionist to follow you through your day to meetings and one-on-one conversations, Otter provides a fair approximation. In addition, it can summarize those transcriptions to help you garner the key takeaways and share them with your team or other attendees.
6. Chatbots including Tars, Tidio and more
Fully automated chatbots have been around for a while. They help answer basic questions for potential clients, helping to nurture leads and ensure that they get the information they need or are directed to the right person in your organization.
7. Dall-E for ai-generated images
Dall-E provides images based on text input. For example, entering the search term “A painting in the style of Rembrandt of someone creating a self-portrait on a computer” results in the image at the top of this story. Besides creating original images to accompany your social media, blog or other content, it can also be used for virtual staging.
Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.