AI Best Practices for Content + SEO
What is AI, and How Does it Work?
AI, if used correctly, can be extremely useful for coming up with new ideas or saving time on administrative or repetitive tasks, but if misused, it can cause a host of problems, some of which we’re still discovering. In this piece, our goal is to share AI best practices for nonprofit organizations when utilizing them for content and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
Artificial intelligence (AI) utilizes intelligent machines that are capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. While AI has been baked into some products we already know and love, it has recently taken off with the introduction of ChatGPT.
AI is already changing content and SEO as we know it—and your digital marketing strategy will be impacted. Below you’ll find guidance on how to use —and not use—these tools.
AI Best Practices: Things Nonprofits Should Be Aware Of
While AI can be beneficial, knowing it’s an aid, not a replacement for critical thinking, is important. We do not recommend having AI write entirely new content or do all of the strategizing or research for you, but rather, having it work in tandem to help enhance the work you already do. Here are a few things to consider when utilizing these tools and following AI best practices:
Fact check details given by an AI–be thorough.
It’s easy to skip checking where the AI pulls information from, but that can cause your organization to lose trust with your audiences. From an SEO and user perspective, it’s essential to be reputable and authoritative in your industry, so present only correct information.
While AI can be incredibly accurate, users everywhere have noticed flaws and issues with certain outputs from some AI systems. For example, if ChatGPT is assisting you in writing new blog content, read through it and check for inconsistencies. AI has been known to be confidently wrong when producing new content, so if you’re not 100% sure it’s true, it’s worth double-checking.
Be sure to check the source
Quotes, research findings, and more have found their way into the search engine world, whether true or false. The best way to ensure that all information is correct is to check the source of information—this means researching any data points AI pulls in to ensure they are correct and pulled from accurate sources. It’s better to double-check than to potentially falsely lead your donors or audience!
Don’t use AI to replace your copy/content team
While it does have the ability to write entire pieces of content, we strongly recommend against this. AI-generated content can be unreliable, inaccurate, and you risk plagiarizing sources when you don’t know where it was pulled from. Instead, offer it as a tool to your content and copy team to proofread or help with ideas for a rewrite.
How AI Can Help Your Content Strategy
While many writers fear that AI will replace their job, we don’t see it as a threat, but rather as a potential for a great collaboration to improve your content and copy. AI tools can streamline and enhance your content creation process, from long-form articles to snappy social copy. Here are a few tips and tools:
Proofreading + editing.
Grammarly is one of the best tools for proofreading and copy editing. This is an excellent tool for smaller teams who might need a second set of eyes to proof before publishing, and it can also perform one of our favorite AI features—ensuring you speak in a specific tone, such as professional, casual, or upbeat. It won’t recognize your brand’s voice, so it’s best to leave that to the (human) professionals.
Writing social media copy.
When it comes to social media, you may be cranking out copy for multiple posts across multiple channels every day. AI can provide a series of ideas in seconds based on your topic or an article link. However, make sure you fact check what is generated, as it doesn’t always extract correct data. Inputting the details you already know into your request can create simple and accurate iterations of your copy in seconds.
Thinking outside of the box.
Brainstorming or ideating always works best with another person to bounce ideas off. If you have writer’s block or just want help kicking ideas around, AI is excellent at providing options, alternatives, and additional ways of thinking.
Building an outline.
AI can take your topic idea and develop a quick structure to help seamlessly guide your writing. If you have a complicated topic that includes multiple issues, it can streamline your structure and move you from organizing your thoughts to writing in no time.
Pulling out key facts or summaries.
If you have a long piece of content and want to summarize it quickly, AI is great for generating a recap or bullet points of the key takeaways.
AI and SEO
As stated earlier, SEO is known as search engine optimization, which helps nonprofits increase visibility, quality traffic, donations, and rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Content marketing and quality content are huge parts of a successful SEO strategy.
Generating titles and weaving in a keyword seamlessly.
Sometimes, coming up with the actual title for a piece and ensuring the keyword is incorporated seamlessly can take time and effort. AI can both develop header copy and add your keyword throughout the piece. Just be sure to proof the work to ensure it still retains your brand’s voice and tone.
Starting keyword research.
AI tools can help share ideas for keyword research and target keywords you want to rank for. It may give you ideas you are already utilizing, but hopefully, it shares new thoughts on directions you haven’t considered. From here, you can perform content research.
Starting content research.
Once you perform keyword research and find some potential keywords you want to rank for, you can explore new blog topics to fill the content gaps your nonprofit currently has. AI tools can identify new content ideas around a specific topic and keyword and help create title options.
Creating metadata, including meta descriptions.
With almost formulaic copy, such as meta descriptions, AI can optimize content to increase your click-through rate in the SERPs. AI will help ensure it’s optimized with your chosen keyword and within the right length constraints.
Which tools should I use?
Chat GPT is the most well-known, but AI has already been baked into many different tools. As mentioned above, Grammarly is one of our favorite AI tools for content, but we also like the Notion AI tool, as this is great to bring into your note-taking. Google will soon incorporate more AI tools into their suite (they already have features like completing your sentences), and many visual tools also utilize AI. Microsoft is also introducing Bard, which we’ve found to sometimes be a bit more accurate than Chat GPT for facts pulled from online (but we still would recommend a round of fact-checking).
It’s important to evaluate each tool carefully and fact-check any outputs to ensure consistency and correctness. While AI is getting smarter by the day, as we said many times before, nothing can ever replace the human review element.
While the automation aspect of an AI tool is fantastic in many cases, it will never truly replace the human experience or tone. The new and evolving tools are valuable when used correctly, but they can hurt you in the long run if you don’t lean on a content or SEO expert who knows what users are searching for and how to reach them. Additionally, as a nonprofit, it’s crucial to reach your specific target audience with the right message at the right time, and only an agency like Media Cause can reach that audience successfully.
We already know AI will change the world of digital marketing, but only if you follow AI best practices can you leverage that change for good. It’s important to stay up to date on the latest AI tools and trends and work with an agency that can help you use them to bring your strategy to life. Join our email list to keep up this more articles in our series on AI in marketing and how to adapt and adjust to the ever-changing digital world. Learn more about our approach to generative AI at Media Cause.