Unless you’ve been on vacation in a remote area with no electricity, you’ve undoubtedly heard the buzz recently about AI-written content and especially how ChatGPT has exploded in just a few short months.
How does it work? How can it make your Chamber life easier? We’ll break down the pros and cons for you.
Just plug in a question or topic and voila! Out pops an article worthy of your chamber blog or website. But is it really that easy? Is the content good enough? Can it completely take the work of content creation off your plate and give you time back in your day? That’s what we’re here to find out.
What is ChatGPT?
TechCrunch went to the source and asked ChatGPT for a definition.
“ChatGPT is a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool that’s designed to help people communicate with computers in a more natural and intuitive way — using natural language processing (NLP) technology.”~ChatGPT
Not bad. And no mention of “the rise of the machines” or ownership by Skynet so that’s a relief.
One thing that is worth pointing out here is the phrase “natural language.” Notice the use of contractions, conjunctions beginning sentences, and the em dash in that description. All very natural constructs of human speech, not robotic stiffness.
ChatGPT is not the only AI help for marketing and content creation. There’s also Copysmith, Frase, Jasper, Surfer, Writecream, AI Writer, CopyAI, and many others.
All of these options are by no means representing a majority of the knowledge available on the internet. Jasper claims to have “read” 10% of the internet, establishing itself as knowledgeable on many subjects. ChatGPT says it has been trained on about 45 terabytes (TB) of information from the internet. It estimates there are about 1,000 terabytes of information on the internet (a TB is a million gigabytes).
On our own Chamber Pros Community on Facebook, we’ve seen some chambers experimenting with content creation, but what is the practical outcome for you?
Chambers and AI
AI content generation is moving from early adopters to mainstream faster than any other internet-based technology or social media in history. It reached 1 million users in 5 days and is now reported to have over 500 million users in just 3 months since launching in November of 2022 (statistics are from https://increditools.com/chatgpt-statistics/).
Compare that to the time to adoption of 50 million users for other technologies. Would even Alvin Toffler, author of “Future Shock,” have been surprised?
If you haven’t taken a look, it’s time to seriously consider how you can leverage it. Your chamber peers across the country are starting to explore it along with the rest of the world.
Get More of Your Day Back
Kira Zavala tried it out after a suggestion from Beth Z . Kira shared, “I asked it to write a paragraph on why it is important to join your local chamber of commerce. And with the click of a button, I had a nicely crafted paragraph!!!!!”
In addition to writing articles or blog posts, AI can generate marketing copy and event descriptions. Crystal Wagner, Director of Operations & Marketing at Visit Blairesville GA has been experimenting with it over the past several months.
She found that by entering a “…quick few words to describe what I’m needing–or just a brief sentence–and it generates 3 paragraphs/options in about 30 seconds. It’s usually right on with what I need. Sometimes I like something from each paragraph and combine and make my own. I’m not that great of a writer. I’m usually too short and to the point, Jasper helps create the ‘fluff’ to make it more exciting. I’ve done blogs, event descriptions, weekly newspaper columns for our Chamber President. I was paying a marketing company $600 a month for a blog, this is $400 a year. It saves so much time!”
Lauren Connally of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce offered her experience of how it gets better as you use it. “I’ve built up a huge sample database so it mimics my own style, though, and only uses the proprietary AI. (Some tools allow you to use a regular GPT-3 generator for rewriting/spinning content instead–I heavily advise against that and don’t use anything that doesn’t have its own proprietary generator.)” She also uses Frase and likes its plagiarism checker.
Potential Cons of Using AI for Content
Impact on SEO
Ease of use is something most people enjoy about this technology but John Atoyebi brought up a point I too have been wondering about when he said, “It’s an interesting tool that several teams have been playing around with since it entered the scene. However, it’s important to note that it’s dated and best used as a guide; you should be wary of its impact on your SEO efforts long term.”
Terri Hayes, President & CEO of Tri-Lakes Area of Commerce and Visitor’s Center brought up a good point that may be a con for businesses using AI for content creation since search engines are sensitive to duplicate content. Terri added originality may be a concern and said, “AI is going to be pretty generic and many people asking the same thing might get very close to the same answers. Not a problem really in the chamber world, since we all “borrow” from each other, but I could see it being a problem in other industries.”
The tech is still relatively new from a content marketing perspective so it’s not without its “oops moments.” One chamber pro added, “As complicated as the Chamber is, it produced a great article about what the chamber is and how businesses can benefit from it. The only con so far, I pushed Jaspar to keep adding more to this paragraph and it started naming other Chambers. So, it’s obviously picking up words and sentences from other websites. Oops!”
It also has the human tendency to sound quite confident even when producing wrong answers which happens frequently enough that sites like Stack Exchange have banned ChatGPT answers.
Another chamber pro warned to be careful when asking for statistics as they may not be exact or real.
Answers can be biased — remember, it’s pulling content from what people have written and published. For example, asking it for the greatest runners in the world produces a list of only male runners, even though, for example, Greta Weitz has won the NYC marathon 2X more times than anyone else, male or female.
Some states are considering a ban on this technology (New York implemented one) because students are using it to write papers and otherwise shirk their responsibilities as students.
So, just in case you’re keeping score–students using AI-generated content technology is definitely a form on cheating on your homework. (This is an adult toy, kids.)
Finally, will it go the way of the Facebook stream, blogs, YouTube, Spotify, Google retargeting, and all the rest that mix in subtle or not-so-subtle advertising?
Will we ask it to generate content at some point and realize the articles it’s providing are shaped by forces in someone else’s marketing agenda? Perhaps. Probably – everything gets commercialized eventually. But in the meantime, let’s explore how you might use it at your chamber.
How to Use ChatGTP and AI Effectively for Your Chamber
Until they can master their own power and battery source (even HAL got unplugged in the end), this kind of software requires human input. To generate the best content, think carefully about:
- relevant keywords
- kind of copy you want
- desired length
The parameters and options may differ based on the specific software you’re using.
But the more you work with it, the better direction it will have and the more relevance to what you’re looking for. If you hate to write and find a blank page overwhelming, these chatbots can at least start you off with a workable piece that you can then use as a basis for what you want (or use it as is). There’s a lot to be said for chatbots as a time saver for the solo chamber exec who has to do it all.
What Can AI Do for the Chamber?
Is AI worth it? It sure seems to be a great cost and time saver for those who have experimented with it. There are chamber pros currently using (or playing with) AI-generated content for:
- blog posts
- event descriptions
- writing strategic plans
- image quotes
- member emails
Using it for those items has the potential to save you a lot of time. It may even allow you to use your marketing headcount in other ways that can’t be automated, like building relationships on social media.
It strikes me as I write this that there may be a day in the very near future when chambers may decide to triumph the cause of small marketing agencies (and writers) that are on the brink of being replaced by machines just as local stores are often being trampled by larger online entities.
In addition to shop local, we may be urging our members to “write human.” Then again, that would require using something other than a chatbot to write the marketing copy for that campaign.
Additional Resources on the Topic of ChatGPT and AI-generated Content
By: Christina Metcalf (organic non-chatbot)