Content creation tools are all the rage but are they worth it?
- Content creation tools are limited.
- They don’t produce content of a high enough quality for your readers.
- They don’t replace the need for a content strategy.
- You still need to spend time creating content.
What is a content creation tool?
The fact this question needs to be addressed says it all. A content creation tool feels like a wishy-washy concept. It is what it says on the tin: a tool designed to help you create content. But what content? Articles, images, ideas?
There are tools out there to help you with pretty much anything. They are great at speeding up tedious processes or for gaining insights, but when it comes to producing content, they can’t just replace the entire process.
The word creation implies that the machine is doing the ‘making’ part for you. Realistically, though, how great can you expect a machine-made piece of content to be?
There’s a worry that content creation tools will be seen as a solution to having to put thought into content creation. This is a bad idea. We’re here to talk about why.
To make things simpler, we’ll divide things into two types of tool: idea generation or AI-generated content.
Can machine-learning platforms deliver quality content?
With the rapid progression of artificial intelligence, we’re increasingly relying more on machines to do jobs that take up a lot of our time. Content is something which every marketer looks to churn out regularly, but as with anything, things of quality take time. Therefore, it’s easy to see the appeal of paying to get a robot to give you unique content in no time at all.
There’s one problem: robots just aren’t there yet when it comes to writing quality content.
Their offerings make sense at surface-level but when you actually pay attention to what they’re saying, it’s just words. Words that look right and are in all the right places – but give you nothing. They don’t make sense. And if that’s the case, then what is the point?
Bad news if you’re reading it. Terrible, if you’ve paid for it.
We’ve delved deeper into the automated content creation tools that are out there and weighed up the pros and cons of the best of the bunch.
Here’s the punchline: AI lacks the heart, soul and fear of writer’s block that all good content creators have. Until we get robots with personalities, you need to stick to humans for content worth reading – and if it’s not worth reading, why are you creating it in the first place.
Identifying the gaps
There is some value in tools which help you generate ideas for content. If you’re looking to identify which keywords might be underused in your area of expertise then there are lots of tools out there to help you discover what they are.
But you shouldn’t be writing for the sake of filling content gaps on the internet. You should work out what content would be valuable to your readers and work from there. Get creative. Sure, pay attention to the saturated areas which have been written on time and time again, but you don’t have to avoid them altogether. If anything, think of it as a challenge to create a fresh angle.
Don’t just blindly follow what SEO tools recommend if it’s a stretch to be relevant.
That said, there are some great free content creation tools out there, providing you don’t need to spend all your budget on tools.
Everyone seems to recommend it as a groundbreaking tool, but it’s features are actually quite limited. Particularly with the latest introduction of paid features.
The way it displays information is not very clear, and it’s insights don’t equate to an idea. You want to be sure that what you’re targeting is relevant to what your audience is interested in. You don’t want things to be created just around the gaps in the SERPs.
Google Trends is a great way to stay up to date on what’s currently popular. Often, the success of a piece of content is all about timing. It doesn’t have to be of amazing quality to get a lot of traffic. If it’s relevant and sets yourself out as a thought-leader, it will keep people coming back to you to find out what’s new.
But these tools shouldn’t be in place of a content strategy. A tool can’t understand your specific business, your aims and your customers. So, it’s important that you do.
Work out what you actually need
Do you really know what you need from your content? What are your aims?
Before anything gets created, you need to work out the reasons for bothering in the first place. Who’s going to consume it? Who’s going to be interested? And most importantly, what are you telling them that they don’t already know?
A good way to measure how much value your idea has is to put it against the SUCCES model from Mark Johnstone:
- Simple – What’s the one thing you’re showing?
- Unexpected – Does this feel like it’s been done before?
- Concrete – Can you sum up the idea in one line?
- Credible – Is the idea convincing?
- Emotional – Does it evoke some reaction?
- Story – Does it tell a story?
Your idea doesn’t have to tick all of these boxes, but if it only ticks one then that’s a good indication that it’s not really offering anything new.
The point is you don’t want to be producing content which looks like a robot could have made it. The value of content comes from offering something which makes readers a fan of your business.
So, if your aim is, for example, to build an organic audience through your blog, then you don’t want to fill it with random, dry articles that you wouldn’t want to spend your time reading.
Two things which you shouldn’t undervalue: customer personas and a content strategy.
There’s no point creating stuff willy-nilly without a plan because you’ll just be sending things out into the void of the internet.
Your content needs to link together. You need to think about the customer journey and what you want them to do after reading your content. If you want them to bounce around your content and read more, then they need to be relevant. Your content should be more than an afterthought. Done right, you can build an audience which in turn will help your brand overall.
This isn’t something you want to leave in the hands of a robot. Or to be randomly generated by a free tool on the internet.
Plus, if you’re spending the time and effort on researching and monitoring content creation tools, then you’d be better off using these resources on good quality content.
Think about the reason you’re looking at content creation tools. Is this because you don’t have the capacity to create things yourself or because you want to create more content than you can currently produce?
If it’s the latter, then quality is much more important than quantity. If you’re on your own and don’t have time or knowledge to create things, your best bet is to use free content creation tools for ideas and then outsourcing it to freelancers. Or, consider hiring someone on a part or full-time basis. Then you know you’ll have a constant flow of content being produced – and better still, it’s of high quality.
Stop wasting your budget
Get savvy with your time and money. Don’t pour money into artificial intelligence when it’s not yet at a good level.
The main problem with content creation tools is that they imply that content is something that can just be churned out. Obviously it can be, but it’s never of good quality. And what the internet, or marketing world, does not need is any more poor-quality work thrown out without any thought. Topic + format ≠ idea. This is something which often gets missed and is the reason you can look at a nicely designed infographic and not be interested whatsoever.
When you’re using data to create content, you’re removing the human element of the piece. And it’s that voice talking to you, from wherever the writer was sat at the time, talking directly to you through squiggles on a page. It’s simple, and yet so powerful – one mind talking directly to another.
At the moment, you can tell when something has been written by a machine. It lacks the emotion that human storytelling carries so well. That’s not saying that one-day machine learning won’t get there, but for now, it’s best to steer clear.