Can AI make you a faster writer?

Sorry for the spoiler, but the simple answer to the question is yes — artificial intelligence can absolutely make you a faster writer. There’s little doubt that AI-driven tools and platforms are able to speed up most aspects of the editorial creation process.

Just think how easy it is nowadays to auto-correct text, to validate facts, or search for synonyms online. It used to take serious time and effort to thumb through dictionaries, encyclopedias, and thesauruses. This information, digitally stored in the cloud, is now delivered at lightning speed through our devices.

So the question isn’t whether AI can save you time in the editorial process — it’s more about how artificial intelligence impacts different stages of the content creation process, and what you do with the time it frees up. And the research on this point is interesting.

Reinvesting the gains 

For the most part, content creators appear to be investing time savings back into the editorial process—rather than speeding up and finishing faster, bloggers are spending longer on their blogs than ever before.

The data is clear. Results from Orbit Media’s 2017 survey of bloggers found the average time spent creating a blog post was 3 hours 20 minutes, an increase of approximately 40% since 2014. By a similar measure, the average blog post in the 2017 survey came in at 1142 words, also increasing by around 40% from three years earlier. The heyday of the short post is gone.

So the time savings derived from advances in technology—if only from improvements in semantic search and word processor functionality—are being invested back into the content on a surprisingly consistent basis. But why?

The gravitation toward longer blogs in recent years has certainly something to do with search engines increasingly rewarding extended content. In a city of tall buildings, you need to build your structure higher than the others to stand out.

One further thesis is that blog posts are getting longer because it has simply become easier to compose a lengthy article than it was a decade ago.

Think about it for a moment—importing new material and adding visual media into your word processor is “plug and play” nowadays in most content management systems. And for every new element you add, there’s an opportunity for further comment. Bloggers are continually encouraged by the system to make their pieces longer.

Compounding this, nobody is really telling the writer when to stop. Sure, there might be a word count of sorts. But, unlike print, there is no fixed endpoint for digital articles. Once you start writing, you could theoretically go on forever. Not that we would advise that, of course.

Whatever happened to writer’s block? 

Once upon a time, writers would script movies and pen books about not being able to write. French novelist Flaubert used to famously agonize for hours over a single word. Writer’s block was a thing even not so long ago, but we seem to be hearing less about it these days.

Why might that be? For one, the process of getting started on your creative work is increasingly painless. Numerous topic analysis tools are available to help get your content research underway, while advances in natural language processing are enabling machine learning platforms to generate deep research at the click of a button. Editorial AI is like a personal assistant, gently nudging, suggesting, and prodding you along the way.

It’s also easier than ever to work with others on editorial projects. If the typewriter was an island technology, the personal computer and the internet moved everyone a step closer together.

Since the advent of cloud technology, the floodgates have opened. Digital solutions support every aspect of creative collaboration from ideation and scheduling through development and review.

There has been a similar proliferation in the available tools for optimizing, repurposing, scaling, personalizing, and distributing content both within domestic markets and internationally across languages. As part of the ongoing explosion of martech platforms, AI-led tools can schedule social posts for optimal times, uncover traits of top-ranking content,  AB-test landing pages, and manage paid search and paid social campaigns. They can offer live recommendations on improving content performance, assist with design and pagination, and automatically recognize images. IBM Watson, for one, is on a mission to hoover up all the unstructured data on the internet and give it form.

What this all means is that it is easier than ever to produce insightful, engaging content supported by AI. At the same time, this has had the parallel effect of making it even more difficult for your content to stand out from the crowd. Experts have talked for several years now about the requirement for 10x content and the almost Herculean levels of effort needed to differentiate your editorial.

Human versus machine

And it is not as though creative jobs are beyond the reach of the machines. Many aspects of the content and copywriter’s job are already subject to some degree of automation.

The Associated Press has long used AI writing technology to produce data-heavy sports and financial reporting, and NLP firms are working hard and fast to offer organizations AI solutions for automated report writing.

Or look at advertising copy. In launching its proprietary AI copywriter, retail giant Alibaba insisted that the introduction of the technology would allow advertising creatives to spend more time on higher-end analysis and tasks. “Copywriters will shift from thinking up copy—one line at a time—to choosing the best out of many machine-generated options, largely improving efficiency,” the company said in a statement.

Nancy A. Shenker, founder and CEO of marketing firm theONswitch, expects AI technology to play a growing role in content development in the coming years. “My estimate is that 50% of all content will be developed by machines, with oversight and editing by humans,” , she told EContent Magazine. “Artificial intelligence will recommend topics based on trends, gather facts—and validate them—and assemble very tight posts and suggested graphics based on those combinations.” Flesh and blood creatives will add “soul and humor as needed,” according to Shenker.

Can machines get creative?

The march of AI is inevitable. 2017 research from McKinsey found that across the global workforce approximately 50% of “current work activities are technically automatable by adapting currently demonstrated technologies.”

As always, the critical question is how we harness advances in technology to our collective betterment or ill.

For now, the reality is that humans are not getting sidelined in the creative process. Some might say we are even entering a golden age of AI-assisted creative.

While AI is great at aggregating data, identifying patterns, and generating recommendations, it is not so good yet at coming up with original, well-edited, and emotionally engaging material that helps your content stand out.

The oversight of strategy in content development—why we create what we are create and how the content maps to broader commercial objectives—remains a fundamentally human domain, at least for the time being.

Similarly, the ability to induce an emotional response from a piece of content, or to decide whether something is fit or not to publish, continue to rely on human judgement.

Throw into your content some proprietary research, take a standpoint on your topic, and inject some voice and style, and you’re doing things that machines still find difficult.

The interplay between human and machine is fluid, fast-moving, and fascinating. An architect who uses 4-D CAD visualization is still 100% an architect and a carpenter who deploys AI to determine the best way to sequence a home-building project based on local weather conditions is still 100% a carpenter. They are just using better tools than were previously available.

And so it goes with writers and other creative professionals. Write faster, write harder, write better.

What Are The Core Elements Of An Effective Landing Page?

A strong landing page is a key element of any inbound marketer’s toolkit. But what exactly is a landing page, and when would you want to create one?

In answering this question, we used Frase’s AI-driven research tool to summarize the most relevant pieces of content on the internet about the role of landing pages in a B2B or B2C marketing strategy.

Our sources agree on a number of items:

  • A landing page is intended to be the first point of entry for a visitor to your business. It is a standalone web page, generally created with a marketing or advertising campaign in mind.
  • The primary purpose of a landing page is to get your visitor to do something, whether sign up for a newsletter or product demo, or click through to another targeted part of your website.
  • The hallmark of a strong landing page is its ability to convert, in other words to entice the visitor to undertake the action you are seeking.
  • An effective landing page should be simple in design, easy for the visitor to understand, and not overloaded with choices.
  • A good landing page is light on links and strong on an over-riding Call To Action (CTA).
  • It’s preferable to be directing visitors to dedicated landing pages rather than your home page, particularly for paid search campaigns.
  • With any marketing campaign, it makes sense to be testing different versions of your landing page to assess its effectiveness.
  • A major reason businesses don’t set up custom landing pages is because marketing departments are not sure how to create them easily.

What’s clear is that landing pages play a major role in effective inbound lead generation. What’s also apparent is that landing page best practices are often overlooked. Here is a collection of the main sources we reviewed in drawing our conclusions.

Why Landing Pages Are an Indispensable Part of Marketing (blog.hubspot.com) – Jul 28 2017

  • When she reaches the bottom of the article, she notices a call-to-action (CTA), which is essentially an ad for one of your offers — a free painting consultation to help her decide which color scheme would work best with the size and type of nursery she’s working with.
  • The landing page provides some additional information and details about what she will get out of the free consultation, convincing her it’s worth providing her contact information on the landing page’s conversion form in order to take advantage of the offer.
  • Landing pages not only enable you to generate new leads; they also allow you to track reconversions of existing leads, which you can then use to identify which prospects are more engaged with your business.
  • By tracking and analyzing the metrics associated with your landing pages , you can collect a lot of insight into your marketing performance, such as how your various marketing offers compare, how visitors and leads are converting on your landing pages over time, and more.

What is a Landing Page? (unbounce.com)

  • To fully understand the difference between a landing page, and the other pages on your website, such as your homepage, it’s important to consider the differences between organic search traffic and paid search traffic.
  • You could choose to send them to your website’s homepage, or to the preferred option – a standalone landing page created specifically for that ad campaign.
  • Lead Generation landing pages (sometimes referred to as lead gen or lead capture pages) use a web form as the Call To Action, for the purpose of collecting lead data such as names and email addresses.

What is a PPC Landing Page? (instapage.com) – Apr 20 2015

  • Instead of relying on organic traffic to your website, you buy traffic for your page by paying a publisher, like Google, to show your ad when your visitor does a search for your relevant keyword(s).
  • The entire purpose of your ad is to get a user to a PPC landing page so you can get a visitor to take an action, click on the CTA button, and become a customer.
  • However, the page has a number of navigation links, and even though they are at the bottom of the page, they do still make the conversion ratio 5:1, which they should test to see what the effect is on their conversion rate.

What Is a Landing Page and Why Should You Care (blog.hubspot.com) – Jul 28 2017

  • A good landing page will be targeted to a particular stream of traffic – say from an email campaign advertising a particular whitepaper – and, because it is targeted, and because it has an interesting offer behind a lead capture form, you will convert a higher percentage of your website visitors into leads with which you can follow up.
  • When you know a stream of targeted traffic will be coming to your website, you can increase the likelihood of converting that traffic into leads by using a targeted landing page .
  • Make sure you have a landing page creation tool that allows you to create and test many different landing pages to see what works best for your business.

Overcoming Your Fear of Local Landing Pages (moz.com)

  • Obviously, some things will be the same on various pages (like a phone number, a license number, mentions of products, slogans, etc,), but if you are going to the trouble to uniquely market 3 different landing pages for 3 different towns, definitely do make the effort to write something unique for each.
  • You can (and should) do so within the text of other pages of the site, yes, but I advocate also having a high level menu labeled something like ‘Cities We Serve’ that lists out all these cities, provided there aren’t too many of them to make the list crazy long.

Exactly What Is The Difference Between A Copywriter And Content Writer?

Ever scratched your head over the distinction between a copywriter and a content writer? How is one truly different from the other?

At Frase we’re not ones to sit on our hands. We scoured the web using our cutting-edge research technology to identify the online sources most closely answering our question.

Having found the 12 most relevant sources offered up by Frase’s Research Assistant, we reviewed the custom summaries generated by the system and whittled them down to the five most relevant articles from such publishers as Skyword and Copyblogger.

The insights we unearthed are illuminating.

One critical distinction between a copywriter and a content writer our sources are agreed upon involves the intention of the writing. Copywriting is seen largely as marketing copy, intended to persuade. Slogans, taglines, “About us” copy, even headlines designed to entice clicks, are examples of the copywriter’s craft.

By contrast, content writing is viewed as informing and educating. Blog postswhite paperslonger-form product descriptions all fall into this category.

But it isn’t always cut and dried. Our expert sources acknowledge that good copywritingoften includes informational content, and that informational content may incorporate elements of copy. A white paper needs a catchy headline after all or nobody is going to read it. Content without copywriting is a waste of good content, as Copyblogger says.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are Frase’s AI-generated summaries of our five sources, with links out to each of the original articles.

What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting? – Copyblogger (copyblogger.com)

  • If you’re writing great articles that people would love to read, but you’re not getting the traffic you want, the problem may be ineffective copywriting: Your headlines might be too dull.
  • Just like a product has to have a benefit to the buyer, your content has to be inherently rewarding to readers or they won’t come back to your website .
  • It’s tricky to show readers your blog is a cool place to hang out when you don’t have lots of readers yet, but we have a few tips for you .

Copy vs. Content Writing: What’s the Difference? (skyword.com)

Topics: landing pagecontent marketingonline mediasocial mediadirect mailblog postend usercopywriting

  • Because there’s general confusion on the differences between copy and content, you can decide how to define each category on your own terms, and expect that they may be used interchangeably depending on who you work with.
  • I consider most of the work I do to be content because it’s longer form, such as this blog post, and I’m almost always giving advice.
  • When you start working on a project, it’s more important to ask yourself why the project requires the written word, rather than whether it’s copy or content.
  • The recruiter I met with may always use different words to describe the services I offer, and that’s OK. As a content creator, it’s most important to figure out what you’re good at, and show samples to anyone who’s curious.

Content Writer vs Copywriter: What’s the Difference? (koozai.com)

Topics: search engineblog postsdisplay advertisingmarketing materialwritten wordMetaskill setscomment section

  • They both act as a cornerstone for the other; think of them as two different sides of the same coin, as although there are similarities in the two skill sets, there are also some clear differences, too.
  • When a Content Writer creates a piece of content they are most likely considering the use of keywords, meta, and how shares and links to the piece will amplify the content.

Content Writer vs. Copywriter: What’s the Difference? (marketingprofs.com)

  • I may not be in the market for a car or a pizza or new type of toothbrush, but effective copy can persuade me to consider one.
  • If the decision is to provide a core dump that attempts to be all things to all people or write copy that tries to sell something to readers or viewers or listeners who don’t want to buy, it’s time for client management to undergo remedial training.

Copywriting vs. Content Writing: What’s the Difference Between the Two? – Quietly Blog (blog.quiet.ly)

  • The ultimate objective of copywriting is to sell an idea whereas the ultimate objective of content writing aims to create valuable content to help the audience understand your brand and generate interest.
  • Bottom line: A copywriter is a professional who writes marketing copy; a content writer can be anyone producing content.
  • What you really need to know is that brands of all kinds need copywriting and content writing to stay fresh, so there’s plenty of opportunities for writers out there to try their hands at both.