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How to Harness Generative AI for Thought-Leadership Content Creation

Processor Chip, Tech Environment, Blockchain Concept

Thought leaders build credibility and trust by creating content that showcases deep knowledge and unique perspectives. However, the writing process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive (and not all thought leaders are strong writers). That’s where AI writing assistants come in. With cutting-edge large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-4, content creators can now streamline the process of producing thought-provoking articles and whitepapers. I leveraged AI to help inform this article.

Let’s explore how to leverage generative AI to automate impactful thought-leadership content creation.

 1. Use AI to brainstorm potential topics

Instead of manually scouring industry trade and trend articles (not to mention conducting intensive keyword research), you can start with AI. Ask your AI model of choice to list top industry trends, challenges, frequently asked questions, or opportunities. Select a few ideas that best align with your business and subject matter expertise. A narrow focus helps the AI produce more relevant and engaging content.

 2. Confirm your target audience

Instead of manually establishing a purpose and target audience, ask AI to validate for you. For instance, I asked ChatGPT who would read an article about creating thought leadership content using AI. It suggested several audience segments: content marketers and strategists, business owners and entrepreneurs, writers, digital marketing agencies, PR professionals, social media managers, and industry analysts.

Once you narrow your audience, specify your AI request to ensure the generated content resonates with your readers and achieves your intended goals.

 3. Automate keyword research

While AI can’t yet fully replace keyword tools to optimize for SEO, it can be used directionally. For this article, AI suggested incorporating keyword terms like “industry expertise” to speak to thought leadership and AI terms like “natural language processing.” It also listed commonly related functions such as copywriting, social media, and content strategy.

If you’re not satisfied with the initial results, refine your prompt. Ask for a definitive number of keywords or specify that you’re looking for upper funnel or longtail (e.g., “provide a list of 20 longtail keywords for the sustainable fashion industry, focusing on eco-friendly materials and ethical production”).

 4. Develop an AI-generated content outline

Generative AI can help break through the overwhelm of the blank page. First, use AI to generate a content outline around your topic. Then, refine it to guide the AI in developing the full-length content. This outline should include key points, subheadings and any specific examples or case studies you want the AI to incorporate. Some AI content tools have built-in outline generators that you can add to or edit. By providing a detailed framework, you can ensure that the AI-generated content output aligns with your goals and quality expectations.

 5. Customize the content using AI parameters

The quality of your AI-generated content depends on the specificity of your inputs. Some call this prompt engineering or “AI whispering.” AI content tools like Writer and Jasper offer various options to customize their output. In addition to inputting your specific brief or outline, add parameters like audience, tone of voice, keywords, and length to influence the creativity, word count, and focus of the final output.

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 6. Generate imagery using AI

Depending on your article topic, AI-powered tools offer an innovative approach to creating visuals that complement your content. Platforms like Midjourney, DeepArt, DALL-E and Runway ML create custom visuals that can help illustrate abstract ideas. Start by inputting a detailed description of the desired image, including elements, style and composition. Adjust your prompts with additional inputs to refine your output. Combining AI-generated visuals with your thought leadership content helps enhance its impact and effectively convey your message. Just remember that outputs are not perfect and may take multiple tries – like reminding the AI that human hands have only five fingers.

 7. Get input from a subject matter expert

A true subject matter expert (SME) can infuse personal anecdotes, case studies, or best practices critical to engaging thought leadership (and that an AI model just can’t replicate). Partner with an SME by reviewing the starter content together and interviewing them for additional inputs. To lend ultimate credibility, the SME should also be willing to byline the piece as the official author. An SME byline can help reinforce trust with readers and search engines (Google’s EEAT guidelines emphasize experience and expertise). An SME can also fact-check and look for biases, inconsistencies, or areas that may need further elaboration or clarification. While AI models are constantly improving, bias and inaccuracies are still areas that can present a risk if not validated by a human.

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 8. Edit the AI-generated content

While generative AI can significantly reduce the time and effort required to create thought leadership content, simple grammatical and punctuation errors are common in today’s models. AI-generated content can be generic, repetitive, or contain “fluff” that doesn’t add value. Ensure an experienced editor reviews your AI-generated content to ensure audience relevance, quality standards, brand voice, and other brand safety standards. Writer has built-in features to assess content against your specific brand guidelines and identify deviations to help automate the content review process.

 9. Use AI to summarize your content for promotion

Once your article is complete, AI can summarize it into snackable content marketing for promotion via social media, email, or paid search. You can also use AI to generate alternative titles or meta descriptions to test variations or optimize for search.

 10. Continuously improve your AI-generated content

As with any content strategy, it’s crucial to analyze your thought leadership content’s performance and improve accordingly. In addition to keyword rankings, track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as engagement, shares, and conversions to identify what resonates with your audience. Use these insights to refine your AI-generated content strategy and consistently optimize the AI parameters for better results. If it’s an evolving topic (like this one), set up Google alerts and revisit with an SME periodically to ensure your article remains current and accurate over time.

Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize thought leadership content creation by making it more efficient and accessible. By harnessing the power of AI models like GPT-4, content marketers can streamline the process of generating insightful, engaging, and impactful thought leadership pieces. Before getting started, check with your Legal and IT teams on your company’s guidelines. Today’s models still require a high level of human touch. Perficient can help you navigate this new process for your company and complement your in-house teams to produce content to help you scale faster.

Generative AI was used to help create this article.

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Cheryl Davis

Cheryl Davis is a Director of Digital Marketing at Perficient. She has 20+ years of marketing experience, including brand strategy, content, social media, email marketing, and customer experience for B2B and B2C brands.

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