How to Get Started with AI as a Content Creator

May 5, 2023
May 8, 2023
May 5, 2023

Why Use AI as a Content Creator?

If you haven't started using AI yet, the vast amount of hype around it can make it difficult to figure out where to begin. Many people will start using a chat bot like ChatGPT, or Bing AI - but go no further than some playful prompts to test out it's capabilities. Meanwhile, Twitter has been flooded with threads of people using AI for all manner of tasks in the name of productivity. As a person that started using AI late (about ~4 weeks after the first ChatGPT craze) I found these threads gave me a good dose of FOMO that forced me to try out ChatGPT, but even with my productive motives, I never got past the playful prompts stage until weeks later.

The "problem" with AI is that it's so new we don't really have an obvious use case for it in our daily grind. I've been working in web development and content creation for a number of years now and have never needed an artificial assistant to help me through my work, plus my work routine is comfortable and so old now that it's less routine and more of a habit that I don't want to change. Luckily, a week or so after my test prompts, I had to learn a new tool for work called SvelteKit, and decided to have Bing AI step in as my teacher. By the end of my training for the day I had a hybrid setup of asking Bing AI questions and searching on Google for specific prompts - a process that was much more efficient that searching for everything on Google. Ever since that day I've started incorporating Bing AI and ChatGPT into my daily work as a content creator and web developer, finally shining up that dusty old work routine.

How to Effectively Use AI as a Content Creator

These points are how I started incorporating the use of AI into my daily work routine in order to boost my productivity and revolutionize my old school work routine of coding/creating alongside Google search.

Find the answer, not a similar answer

When you Google a solution to something, you typically find answers to questions that are similar to yours, but rarely answers to your specific question. When this happens you're left trying to modify these similar solutions, to bring them closer to your unique situation. Often times this leads to a series of trial-and-error as you work towards a solution that works for you - AI can help cut out this step entirely. When you ask AI a question, it takes a look at all the information surrounding your query and can determine from it's vast knowledgebase which solution would most likely work best for you. The AI is doing the "information processing" step here, saving you time and headaches.

For me, I discovered this when I first had some questions when learning SvelteKit. I could copy and paste bit of code into Bing AI and ask it what each line did. Without the AI telling me, I'd have to sift through documentation and Stack Overflow posts.

Bing AI chat prompt asking about a line of code from a SvelteKit project

Brainstorming Titles and Ideas

As content creators we can all be faced with a bit of writers block when it comes to titling our work. We want the title to be SEO-friendly, entice a click, but also be true to the content. A task easier said than done and one that can easily lead to delays. Whenever I get stuck on brainstorming a good title I simply ask a chat bot for a list of SEO-friendly titles based on a description of the content. In the case of Bing AI, it'll typically give me 3-5 suggestions that I often directly use, or take influence from. Lately, I've been taking this a step further, and asking chat bots for content ideas when I have nothing more than an area that I'd like to cover (ie blog post ideas on CSS for newbies). Using a chat bot this way has taught me to treat AI like a person to bounce ideas off of, a way to get a fresh perspective and push through any roadblocks.

Bing AI chat prompt asking for a list of SEO friendly titles about a blog post

Decorative Imagery

AI imagery has been popular since before the ChatGPT craze, but it's not without its controversies. While the jury is still out on how AI art should be generated and what's considered acceptable inspiration for these bots, I've been using AI art for decorative imagery only. That means that I haven't been selling AI art, or used it generate a profit directly. Instead, I've been using them as eye candy in places where I'd normally use the same old stock photos that many websites have been using for years. Places like blog imagery (thumbnails, metadata), and background imagery (ie podcast video clip backgrounds) are locations where I commonly use AI images to bring a bit of color and uniqueness to where a stock photo would normally reside. That's not to say that I look down on stock imagery at all, as I do still use it, but I like generating some unique images to decorate my content wherever possible.

Before using any AI imagery, always check if you're allowed to use it where you'd like to. Since this stuff is so new, I also recommend looking into whether you're okay with how these bots are trained to generate art. As a final note, I recommend disclosing the AI image creator as a source where/when appropriate (a step that I sometimes forget, but am trying to get better at myself).

Research and Sources

When using the Bing AI chat bot, sources are listed at the bottom of each response. This is helpful if you need citations in your work, but also a great way to find new sources for future research. When Googling a particular topic you may find the same sources that you always find (ie Stack Overflow, CSS Tricks) and while they're often excellent places to learn, hence why they're at the top of the search results in the first place, it's good to diversify your source list to get new perspectives and ideas. Lately I've been expanding the sites I learn from, by asking questions as I need to from Bing AI and then sifting through the sources that it provides. The new sources offer an alternative way of explaining topics that I find particularly helpful when I'm struggling with a concept.

Writing Articles & Posts (AI Writing)

One of the most time-consuming parts of running a website is writing content for customers to read. AI chatbots are great at writing content for blog posts, emails, and essays - generating full written pieces in seconds. The generated content is often good enough to be used as is, proven by many websites today that are powered partially, or even entirely, by AI generated content. For a more human touch, the AI written content gives human writers a great baseline to work from, adding their own flair and style.

For me personally, I suggest proofreading and fact checking AI writing as much as you can. What I usually end up doing is generating a small amount of content via Bing AI's "compose" feature, using the output as a place to start my own article - or editing what's there and writing more in myself. Like AI imagery, I recommend disclosing when you're using AI writing - especially if you're publishing the originally generated content on your site.

Screenshot of the Bing AI compose feature in Microsoft Edge

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Written by...
Matt Lawrence

When I'm not tinkering with websites and servers, I'm gaming it up....or writing something

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