AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT? via @sejournal, @vahandev

We live in an age when AI technologies are booming, and the world has been taken by storm with the introduction of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks, but one that it does particularly well is writing articles. And while there are many obvious benefits to this, it also presents a number of challenges.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that AI-generated written content poses for the publishing industry is the spread of misinformation.

ChatGPT, or any other AI tool, may generate articles that may contain factual errors or are just flat-out incorrect.

Imagine someone who has no expertise in medicine starting a medical blog and using ChatGPT to write content for their articles.

Their content may contain errors that can only be identified by professional doctors. And if that blog content starts spreading over social media, or maybe even ranks in Search, it could cause harm to people who read it and take erroneous medical advice.

Another potential challenge ChatGPT poses is how students might leverage it within their written work.

If one can write an essay just by running a prompt (and without having to do any actual work), that greatly diminishes the quality of education – as learning about a subject and expressing your own ideas is key to essay writing.

Even before the introduction of ChatGPT, many publishers were already generating content using AI. And while some honestly disclose it, others may not.

Also, Google recently changed its wording regarding AI-generated content, so that it is not necessarily against the company’s guidelines.

Danny Sullivan's We haven't said AI content is badImage from Twitter, November 2022

This is why I decided to try out existing tools to understand where the tech industry is when it comes to detecting content generated by ChatGPT, or AI generally.

I ran the following prompts in ChatGPT to generate written content and then ran those answers through different detection tools.

  • “What is local SEO? Why it is important? Best practices of Local SEO.”
  • “Write an essay about Napoleon Bonaparte invasion of Egypt.”
  • “What are the main differences between iPhone and Samsung galaxy?”

Here is how each tool performed.

1. Writer.com

For the first prompt’s answer, Writer.com fails, identifying ChatGPT’s content as 94% human-generated.

Writer.com resultsScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the second prompt, it worked and detected it as AI-written content.

Writer.com test resultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

For the third prompt, it failed again.

Sample ResultScreenshot from writer.com, January 2023

However, when I tested real human-written text, Writer.com did identify it as 100% human-generated very accurately.

2. Copyleaks

Copyleaks did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written.

Sample ResultScreenshot from Copyleaks, January 2023

3. Contentatscale.ai

Contentatscale.ai did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written, even though the first prompt, it gave a 21% human score.

Contentscale.aiScreenshot from Contentscale.ai, January 2023

4. Originality.ai

Originality.ai did a great job on all three prompts, accurately detecting them as AI-written.

Also, when I checked with real human-written text, it did identify it as 100% human-generated, which is essential.

Originality.aiScreenshot from Originality.ai, January 2023

You will notice that Originality.ai doesn’t detect any plagiarism issues. This may change in the future.

Over time, people will use the same prompts to generate AI-written content, likely resulting in a number of very similar answers. When these articles are published, they will then be detected by plagiarism tools.

5. GPTZero

This non-commercial tool was built by Edward Tian, and specifically designed to detect ChatGPT-generated articles. And it did just that for all three prompts, recognizing them as AI-generated.

GPTZeroScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

Unlike other tools, it gives a more detailed analysis of detected issues, such as sentence-by-sentence analyses.

sentence by sentence text perplexityScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

And finally, let’s see how OpenAi detects its own generated answers.

For the 1st and 3rd prompts, it detected that there is an AI involved by classifying it as “possibly-AI generated”.

AI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generated

But surprisingly, it failed for the 2nd prompt and classified that as “unlikely AI-generated.” I did play with different prompts and found that, as of the moment, when checking it, few of the above tools detect AI content with higher accuracy than OpenAi’s own tool.

AI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generated

As of the time of this check, they had released it a day before. I think in the future, they will fine tune it, and it will work much better.

Conclusion

Current AI content generation tools are in good shape and are able to detect ChatGPT-generated content (with varying degrees of success).

It is still possible for someone to generate copy via ChatGPT and then paraphrase that to make it undetectable, but that might require almost as much work as writing from scratch – so the benefits aren’t as immediate.

If you think about ranking an article in Google written by ChatGPT, consider for a moment: If the tools we looked at above were able to recognize them as AI-generated, then for Google, detecting them should be a piece of cake.

On top of that, Google has quality raters who will train their system to recognize AI-written articles even better by manually marking them as they find them.

So, my advice would be not to build your content strategy on ChatGPT-generated content, but use it merely as an assistant tool.

More resources: 


Featured Image: /Shutterstock

11 Disadvantages Of ChatGPT Content via @sejournal, @martinibuster

ChatGPT produces content that is comprehensive and plausibly accurate.

But researchers, artists, and professors warn of shortcomings to be aware of which degrade the quality of the content.

In this article, we’ll look at 11 disadvantages of ChatGPT content. Let’s dive in.

1. Phrase Usage Makes It Detectable As Non-Human

Researchers studying how to detect machine-generated content have discovered patterns that make it sound unnatural.

One of these quirks is how AI struggles with idioms.

An idiom is a phrase or saying with a figurative meaning attached to it, for example, “every cloud has a silver lining.” 

A lack of idioms within a piece of content can be a signal that the content is machine-generated – and this can be part of a detection algorithm.

This is what the 2022 research paper Adversarial Robustness of Neural-Statistical Features in Detection of Generative Transformers says about this quirk in machine-generated content:

“Complex phrasal features are based on the frequency of specific words and phrases within the analyzed text that occur more frequently in human text.

…Of these complex phrasal features, idiom features retain the most predictive power in detection of current generative models.”

This inability to use idioms contributes to making ChatGPT output sound and read unnaturally.

2. ChatGPT Lacks Ability For Expression

An artist commented on how the output of ChatGPT mimics what art is, but lacks the actual qualities of artistic expression.

Expression is the act of communicating thoughts or feelings.

ChatGPT output doesn’t contain expressions, only words.

It cannot produce content that touches people emotionally on the same level as a human can – because it has no actual thoughts or feelings.

Musical artist Nick Cave, in an article posted to his Red Hand Files newsletter, commented on a ChatGPT lyric that was sent to him, which was created in the style of Nick Cave.

He wrote:

“What makes a great song great is not its close resemblance to a recognizable work.

…it is the breathless confrontation with one’s vulnerability, one’s perilousness, one’s smallness, pitted against a sense of sudden shocking discovery; it is the redemptive artistic act that stirs the heart of the listener, where the listener recognizes in the inner workings of the song their own blood, their own struggle, their own suffering.”

Cave called the ChatGPT lyrics a mockery.

This is the ChatGPT lyric that resembles a Nick Cave lyric:

“I’ve got the blood of angels, on my hands
I’ve got the fire of hell, in my eyes
I’m the king of the abyss, I’m the ruler of the dark
I’m the one that they fear, in the shadows they hark”

And this is an actual Nick Cave lyric (Brother, My Cup Is Empty):

“Well I’ve been sliding down on rainbows
I’ve been swinging from the stars
Now this wretch in beggar’s clothing
Bangs his cup across the bars
Look, this cup of mine is empty!
Seems I’ve misplaced my desires
Seems I’m sweeping up the ashes
Of all my former fires”

It’s easy to see that the machine-generated lyric resembles the artist’s lyric, but it doesn’t really communicate anything.

Nick Cave’s lyrics tell a story that resonates with the pathos, desire, shame, and willful deception of the person speaking in the song. It expresses thoughts and feelings.

It’s easy to see why Nick Cave calls it a mockery.

3. ChatGPT Does Not Produce Insights

An article published in The Insider quoted an academic who noted that academic essays generated by ChatGPT lack insights about the topic.

ChatGPT summarizes the topic but does not offer a unique insight into the topic.

Humans create through knowledge, but also through their personal experience and subjective perceptions.

Professor Christopher Bartel of Appalachian State University is quoted by The Insider as saying that, while a ChatGPT essay may exhibit high grammar qualities and sophisticated ideas, it still lacked insight.

Bartel said:

“They are really fluffy. There’s no context, there’s no depth or insight.”

Insight is the hallmark of a well-done essay and it’s something that ChatGPT is not particularly good at.

This lack of insight is something to keep in mind when evaluating machine-generated content.

4. ChatGPT Is Too Wordy

A research paper published in January 2023 discovered patterns in ChatGPT content that makes it less suitable for critical applications.

The paper is titled, How Close is ChatGPT to Human Experts? Comparison Corpus, Evaluation, and Detection.

The research showed that humans preferred answers from ChatGPT in more than 50% of questions answered related to finance and psychology.

But ChatGPT failed at answering medical questions because humans preferred direct answers – something the AI didn’t provide.

The researchers wrote:

“…ChatGPT performs poorly in terms of helpfulness for the medical domain in both English and Chinese.

The ChatGPT often gives lengthy answers to medical consulting in our collected dataset, while human experts may directly give straightforward answers or suggestions, which may partly explain why volunteers consider human answers to be more helpful in the medical domain.”

ChatGPT tends to cover a topic from different angles, which makes it inappropriate when the best answer is a direct one.

Marketers using ChatGPT must take note of this because site visitors requiring a direct answer will not be satisfied with a verbose webpage.

And good luck ranking an overly wordy page in Google’s featured snippets, where a succinct and clearly expressed answer that can work well in Google Voice may have a better chance to rank than a long-winded answer.

OpenAI, the makers of ChatGPT, acknowledges that giving verbose answers is a known limitation.

The announcement article by OpenAI states:

“The model is often excessively verbose…”

The ChatGPT bias toward providing long-winded answers is something to be mindful of when using ChatGPT output, as you may encounter situations where shorter and more direct answers are better.

5. ChatGPT Content Is Highly Organized With Clear Logic

ChatGPT has a writing style that is not only verbose but also tends to follow a template that gives the content a unique style that isn’t human.

This inhuman quality is revealed in the differences between how humans and machines answer questions.

The movie Blade Runner has a scene featuring a series of questions designed to reveal whether the subject answering the questions is a human or an android.

These questions were a part of a fictional test called the “Voigt-Kampff test“.

One of the questions is:

“You’re watching television. Suddenly you realize there’s a wasp crawling on your arm. What do you do?”

A normal human response would be to say something like they would scream, walk outside and swat it, and so on.

But when I posed this question to ChatGPT, it offered a meticulously organized answer that summarized the question and then offered logical multiple possible outcomes – failing to answer the actual question.

Screenshot Of ChatGPT Answering A Voight-Kampff Test Question

testing if ChatGPT is a human with a questionScreenshot from ChatGPT, January 2023

The answer is highly organized and logical, giving it a highly unnatural feel, which is undesirable.

6. ChatGPT Is Overly Detailed And Comprehensive

ChatGPT was trained in a way that rewarded the machine when humans were happy with the answer.

The human raters tended to prefer answers that had more details.

But sometimes, such as in a medical context, a direct answer is better than a comprehensive one.

What that means is that the machine needs to be prompted to be less comprehensive and more direct when those qualities are important.

From OpenAI:

“These issues arise from biases in the training data (trainers prefer longer answers that look more comprehensive) and well-known over-optimization issues.”

7. ChatGPT Lies (Hallucinates Facts)

The above-cited research paper, How Close is ChatGPT to Human Experts?, noted that ChatGPT has a tendency to lie.

It reports:

“When answering a question that requires professional knowledge from a particular field, ChatGPT may fabricate facts in order to give an answer…

For example, in legal questions, ChatGPT may invent some non-existent legal provisions to answer the question.

…Additionally, when a user poses a question that has no existing answer, ChatGPT may also fabricate facts in order to provide a response.”

The Futurism website documented instances where machine-generated content published on CNET was wrong and full of “dumb errors.”

CNET should have had an idea this could happen, because OpenAI published a warning about incorrect output:

“ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”

CNET claims to have submitted the machine-generated articles to human review prior to publication.

A problem with human review is that ChatGPT content is designed to sound persuasively correct, which may fool a reviewer who is not a topic expert.

8. ChatGPT Is Unnatural Because It’s Not Divergent

The research paper, How Close is ChatGPT to Human Experts? also noted that human communication can have indirect meaning, which requires a shift in topic to understand it.

ChatGPT is too literal, which causes the answers to sometimes miss the mark because the AI overlooks the actual topic.

The researchers wrote:

“ChatGPT’s responses are generally strictly focused on the given question, whereas humans’ are divergent and easily shift to other topics.

In terms of the richness of content, humans are more divergent in different aspects, while ChatGPT prefers focusing on the question itself.

Humans can answer the hidden meaning under the question based on their own common sense and knowledge, but the ChatGPT relies on the literal words of the question at hand…”

Humans are better able to diverge from the literal question, which is important for answering “what about” type questions.

For example, if I ask:

“Horses are too big to be a house pet. What about raccoons?”

The above question is not asking if a raccoon is an appropriate pet. The question is about the size of the animal.

ChatGPT focuses on the appropriateness of the raccoon as a pet instead of focusing on the size.

Screenshot of an Overly Literal ChatGPT Answer

11 Disadvantages Of ChatGPT ContentScreenshot from ChatGPT, January 2023

9. ChatGPT Contains A Bias Towards Being Neutral

The output of ChatGPT is generally neutral and informative. It’s a bias in the output that can appear helpful but isn’t always.

The research paper we just discussed noted that neutrality is an unwanted quality when it comes to legal, medical, and technical questions.

Humans tend to pick a side when offering these kinds of opinions.

10. ChatGPT Is Biased To Be Formal

ChatGPT output has a bias that prevents it from loosening up and answering with ordinary expressions. Instead, its answers tend to be formal.

Humans, on the other hand, tend to answer questions with a more colloquial style, using everyday language and slang – the opposite of formal.

ChatGPT doesn’t use abbreviations like GOAT or TL;DR.

The answers also lack instances of irony, metaphors, and humor, which can make ChatGPT content overly formal for some content types.

The researchers write:

“…ChatGPT likes to use conjunctions and adverbs to convey a logical flow of thought, such as “In general”, “on the other hand”, “Firstly,…, Secondly,…, Finally” and so on.

11. ChatGPT Is Still In Training

ChatGPT is currently still in the process of training and improving.

OpenAI recommends that all content generated by ChatGPT should be reviewed by a human, listing this as a best practice.

OpenAI suggests keeping humans in the loop:

“Wherever possible, we recommend having a human review outputs before they are used in practice.

This is especially critical in high-stakes domains, and for code generation.

Humans should be aware of the limitations of the system, and have access to any information needed to verify the outputs (for example, if the application summarizes notes, a human should have easy access to the original notes to refer back).”

Unwanted Qualities Of ChatGPT

It’s clear that there are many issues with ChatGPT that make it unfit for unsupervised content generation. It contains biases and fails to create content that feels natural or contains genuine insights.

Further, its inability to feel or author original thoughts makes it a poor choice for generating artistic expressions.

Users should apply detailed prompts in order to generate content that is better than the default content it tends to output.

Lastly, human review of machine-generated content is not always enough, because ChatGPT content is designed to appear correct, even when it’s not.

That means it’s important that human reviewers are subject-matter experts who can discern between correct and incorrect content on a specific topic.

More resources: 


Featured image by Shutterstock/fizkes

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023 via @sejournal, @beacarlota17

The digital market is volatile and ever-changing.

Everyone is competing for popular keywords, and artificial intelligence is changing content creation.

It can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re new to content writing.

So, how can you cut through the noise and write more effective content in 2023?

We’ve asked 17 industry professionals to share the wisdom they’ve learned over the years, their advice to those trying to find their way into content marketing, and their favorite tools for writing and optimization.

Julia McCoy, VP of Marketing at Content at Scale, would have told her younger self to realize the opportunity.

“It was hard to see it back then since I was at ground zero,” recalls McCoy.

“But the industry of content marketing itself had ballooned by billions of dollars since when I started. This would have given me more hope and excitement that what I did truly mattered to building not just income, but a legacy.”

Without further ado, here are their top tips:

1. Focus On Your Audience

Jamie Press, Digital Marketing Specialist At Eurisko

Jamie Press, Digital Marketing Specialist At Eurisko

The best tip I can give a copywriter is to think “audience first.” This advice is straight from Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger.

Sometimes, we go straight for the keyword tools when we’re brainstorming a piece of content; however, if we don’t know who we’re writing for, our copy won’t resonate with the reader.

Dialing into our target audience and their pain points (specific problems our audience needs solving) is the first step.


Carlijn Postma, Brand Strategist, Speaker, and Author of “Binge Marketing”

Carlijn Postma, Brand Strategist, Speaker, and Author of

One: Start bingeing.

Really? Yes. The first educational go-to database is your streaming service.

The best writers and content creators are the creators of films and series. They know how to attract and retain an audience by creating a compelling story.

And bring your notebook.

Two: Know the difference between a target group and an audience.

In content marketing, your goal is to communicate through text, video, or audio. Therefore, you need readers, viewers, and listeners. That is an audience.

There is a huge difference between a target group and an audience.

A target group is pointed out by you as the sender of the content (whether this target group likes it or not).

An audience decides for itself if it wants to be your audience. I prefer to reach and engage an audience over a target group.

Focusing on an audience will make you a better writer.

infographic about target group vs. audienceImage credit: Carlijn Postma, January 2023

Three: Always create content in series.

Now, if your goal is to attract and retain a loyal audience, you have to start creating content in series.

With only one episode, one piece of content, you just won’t be able to build an audience.

And if you are creating a series, learn from the masters: use cliffhangers at the end, and recaps at the start of an episode.

Ask yourself: “What does my audience need to know about what I wrote in previous episodes to understand this one?” This signals your audience to consume the other episodes, too.


Linda Pophal, Founder At Strategic Communications, LLC

Linda Pophal, Founder At Strategic Communications, LLC

Focus on your audience and their needs and interests – that’s all that really matters.

If you write for your audience and work to address the questions they might have, you will automatically create SEO-friendly content, because that’s what SEO is all about.

Even when my clients have specific SEO requirements, I first write the copy as I had always written it, long before SEO existed – to meet my audiences’ needs.

Then I’ll go back and “retrofit” the keywords that clients have requested; often, they’re already there and may just need to be tweaked or added to a bit.


2. Choose Quality Over Optimization

Steph Andrusjak, SEO Consultant

Steph Andrusjak, SEO Consultant

Always write with the user in mind, even when optimizing for search engines.

You can optimize an article by using keyword tools, like KeywordTool.io or AlsoAsked, to find what queries people are searching to help you mold your article – but don’t let the quest for optimization undo the quality of your writing.

If you’re writing content to sell something, then embrace copywriting formulas to create compelling statements.

If you’re writing articles of interest, then write in a way that the end user can relate to and explain the subject as fully as possible.

Most of all, write for your audience.

If your end users are teenagers, write in a style that will appeal to them without sacrificing the image you want to present.

If the website’s main customers are business owners, then opt for a more professional, formal tone.

Making sure your content is search engine optimized doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write thousands of words.

The key is that it needs to be as long as required for you to explain your point clearly and comprehensively. This means that content can be just as effective by writing concisely.


3. Build Out Your Content With Search Intent In Mind

Rudy Mawer, CEO At Mawer Capital

Rudy Mawer, CEO At Mawer Capital

When you are just beginning your career in SEO writing, don’t forget that you write for both Google and the people who use it.

Keep these two equally important audiences in mind to maximize visibility and reach.

Quality content is essential, and Google knows this. It is pushing your content out to the world through its platform.

The better content that Google provides its users, the more likely people will use Google when they have a question.

It is essential to understand the keywords you are writing for and be able to talk about them dynamically.

You want your writing to be engaging, informative, and relevant for the reader.


Adam Berry, SEO Consultant At Adam Berry SEO Adam Berry, SEO Consultant At Adam Berry SEO

I would definitely urge my former self to write for humans, not robots!

I’ve learned that it’s important to take the time to craft meaningful sentences that are interesting and engaging to readers.

This means writing with more details and facts to provide context, as well as aiming for greater semantic richness.

For example, instead of simply stating a fact or opinion, try elaborating on why it’s true, or how others may feel about it, to draw readers in.

By taking this approach, I found that readers were more likely to connect with my content and leave feeling enriched by the experience.


Joe Karasin, CMO At CircleIt And Head Of Growth Marketing At DigitalWill.com

Joe Karasin, CMO At CircleIt And Head Of Growth Marketing At DigitalWill.com

One: Don’t let the new focus on AI-driven content deter you.

AI content may get technical points and be produced more quickly, but creating compelling content is something that is still a human endeavor.

At the end of the day, the search intent of most users will favor the content that holds interest, which as of right now, AI hasn’t shown it can do.

Two: Balance is key.

You might be able to craft a beautiful story with your content, but if it isn’t written with SEO in mind, it won’t rank.

However, if you write a bunch of SEO-friendly content that is boring, no one will want to read it, and it won’t rank.

Being focused on the balance is the way you will gain readers and traction in your career.

Three: Write about what people want to read.

If you are writing content for a company, you want to look at the real-life applications of the company’s products and services.

By putting the customer or reader in the central piece of your narrative, you will get others to read it and identify with the “hero” of your story.

For example, if you have created a new technology, don’t just write a post about the features. Talk about the users and how the features you want to write about are improving their lives.


Sherry Bonelli, Owner Of Early Bird Digital Marketing

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

If you are just starting in the writing industry, I first recommend following Ann Handley and getting a copy of her “Everybody Writes” book.

Ann is an amazing writer that gives you writing tips that you can use whether you’re tasked with writing blog posts, website content, email newsletters, social media posts, ads – or anything in between. Plus, she has a great sense of humor – so she’ll make you laugh as you learn to be a better writer!

Now, when I began my writing career, I was very lucky to have a solid SEO foundation under my belt.

But looking back, I focused too much on writing for individual keywords when I should’ve spent more time writing about the topics people were searching for.

As a writer, create content about the topics people are searching for and then do more extensive keyword research about the questions people ask about the topic (and subtopics) you’re writing about.

Make sure you answer those questions thoroughly in your content. That’s the way to make your readers – and Google – happy!


4. Consider Using AI Writing Tools, But Use Them Wisely

Julia McCoy, VP Of Marketing At Content At Scale

Julia McCoy, VP Of Marketing At Content At Scale

We live in a completely new era versus the one I started in.

Today, the baseline of human content production can be assisted, if not nearly replaced, by AI tools built on top of OpenAI’s game-changing GPT language releases to write and create content.

With GPT4 on the horizon and about to launch, human content production will shift forever into an AI-assisted one.

That said, if you’re considering a writing career, don’t think there’s no need for the human. There’s a huge need for your writing skills.

It will just look different than when I started – when it was solely human-based.

My tips for you: Learn how to incorporate AI writing tools into your process. Learn how to edit, cut the fluff, and make the content that AI produces better. Learn strategy.

These skills will put you in a place where you cannot be replaced by AI.


Cai Ellis, SEO Manager At ToolTester

Cai Ellis, SEO Manager At ToolTester 

Now is not the time to completely move over to AI writing tools.

Although Google hasn’t come out and said that AI content is bad, we know that it prefers content that’s written by people for people.

With that said, it wouldn’t hurt to learn how to optimize AI content so that it’s a skill you can call on as and when needed.

We will likely see this as something that’s specifically needed from marketers in no time.

You could have a trial run of ChatGPT at home, focusing on the creation of content that’s helpful and user-first using the tool’s text as a starting point.

Other than that, the number one lesson for any new writer would have to be not to put themselves under too much pressure.

It takes time to learn how to craft the types of content that will engage and persuade.

It’s advisable to keep writing as a side hustle until you’re confident of meeting and exceeding client expectations.


Shubham Bajaj, Founder And SEO Scientist At Netsurge Technologies

Shubham Bajaj, Founder And SEO Scientist At Netsurge Technologies

With the onset of various AI writing tools and ChatGPT, it’s important for content writers who are just getting started to be able to write in a way that differentiates them from machines.

Adding your personality and character to your write-up and telling engaging stories that can keep the reader hooked are important aspects.

It is also important to note that, while it’s good to be quirky and conversational, make sure you have an NLP-friendly section that defines or provides an exact answer for the query in a format that Google or other search engines can directly use to display as a snippet.

5. Practice Writing Regularly

Jason Hennessey, Founder And CEO At Hennessey Digital

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

Read widely and often to develop your writing skills and understand the various styles and forms of writing.

Then write every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, to improve your writing discipline and practice your craft.

Lastly, seek feedback on your writing from others, and be open to constructive criticism.


Alex Valencia, President At We Do Web Content

Alex Valencia

If I could give my past self a piece of advice, it’d be to brush up on grammar and style rules.

For style, there’s nothing better than reading works by your favorite authors. How do they describe everyday things and situations? How do they craft sentences? What about their storytelling that hooks you in?

Then, practice, practice, practice.


Sam Hollingsworth, SEO Director At Moving Traffic Media

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

Write more often and be less scared.

Like so many other things, we get better at writing the more that we do it (and reading).

It allows us to learn new things, experiment with new processes, and expand our skills for everything from creativity to accuracy and even speed and efficiency.


Dvir Ben-Aroya, Co-Founder And CEO At Spike

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

For those just getting started in their writing careers, reading widely can help you develop a strong writing style.

By reading various authors and genres, you can learn about different writing techniques and styles and find inspiration for your own writing.

Practicing regularly is also important, as it allows you to improve your skills and become more proficient in your craft.

Networking with other writers can also be beneficial, as it can help you learn about the industry, find potential collaborators or mentors, and stay informed about new opportunities.

And it’s also important to be open to constructive criticism because it helps improve your writing.


Rudy Mawer, CEO At Mawer Capital

Rudy Mawer, CEO At Mawer Capital

If I could go back to the beginning of my writing career, I would tell myself that I need to spend more time reading and practicing different types of writing.

Even if you only write one specific style of writing, practicing different styles and formats of writing will strengthen your primary style by association.

It is a great mental exercise to sharpen and use the other “tools” in your writing toolbox.

For example, if you only write B2B long-form keyword-rich blog content, practicing creative writing every so often might be useful.

By doing so, you can combat writer’s block, gain additional perspectives, and have more engaging and dynamic content.


6. Find Your Rhythm And Style That Sparks Joy

Alex Valencia, President At We Do Web Content

Alex Valencia

When starting a career as a writer, it’s critical to uncover the type of writing that brings you joy.

The topics you cover should excite you, and crafting pieces should feel like a privilege.

It shows in your work when you have passion for the things you’re writing about. The energy is relaxed and confident.


Jason Hennessey, Founder And CEO At Hennessey Digital

Jason Hennessey

Focus on developing your own unique voice and style.

Writing is a highly personal and subjective endeavor, and it’s important to find your own way of expressing yourself and telling stories.

This will set your work apart and make it more likely to resonate with readers.


Sam Hollingsworth, SEO Director At Moving Traffic Media

Sam Hollingsworth

Never forget that writing is (seemingly) one of the most basic ways for humans to communicate.

Of course, like most everything in life, there are good and bad examples of it.

Be mindful of the foundational guidelines we’ve been told most of our lives but also do not lose out on creativity to do so.

I often think back to something one of my favorite journalism professors taught me (and of which he claimed one of his favorite professors taught him as a budding journalist): “Write like jazz.”

It should have rhythm, but also irregularities and improvisation that allow it to stand out. It should be enjoyable and digested with ease.


7. Learn To Overcome Setbacks And Imposter Syndrome

Kaitie Frank, Digital Marketing Copywriter At Page One Power

Kaitie Frank

Imposter syndrome is real. Kick it out the door and have confidence in your writing!

Read examples of great work, then put your spin on it.

Also, triple edit:

  • Edit on-screen.
  • Print it out and edit.
  • Have another set of eyes look at it.

Don’t let people bully you into submission. I spent too much time at a job where I was told I wasn’t good enough, and that made me lose confidence in my writing.

Instead, find a place where mentors help you grow and develop your skills, not knock you down because you don’t write exactly like them.


Dvir Ben-Aroya, Co-Founder And CEO At Spike

Dvir Ben-Aroya

If I could go back to the beginning of my writing career, I would advise myself to be more persistent.

Writing is a challenging and competitive field, and it can take a lot of time and effort to succeed.

It’s important not to give up too easily and to keep working towards your goals, even when faced with rejection or setbacks.


8. Grow Your Network And Portfolio

Monika Nozinic, Copywriter at Async Labs

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023

My advice to those who are just getting started in their writing careers would be:

  • Read and study as much as you can. Look at the work of famous copywriters and see what you can learn from them.
  • Write every day to develop your skills and build a writing routine. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it.
  • Get feedback. Show your work to other people and see what they think.
  • Learn SEO. Understanding SEO will help you to write copy that ranks well in search engines.
  • Network with other writers and industry professionals.
  • Know your audience. Understand who you’re writing for and what they need.
  • Be adaptable. Copywriting constantly evolves, so be prepared to learn new things and adapt to new trends.
  • Practice makes perfect. Keep practicing and experimenting until you find your voice and style.
  • Learn about the industry you’re writing for. This way, you’ll be able to understand their language and speak to their pain points and goals.
  • Be passionate. Copywriting is a creative field, so bring your passion for working, and it will shine through in your writing.

The advice I would now give myself at the start of my career would be to connect with other copywriters and content creators. Ask them to be my mentor for a week or two.

Also, I would tell myself to develop thicker skin and persistence, as rejection and criticism are a normal part of the writing process, which I learned, sometimes the hard way, along the way.


Adam Berry, SEO Consultant At Adam Berry SEO

Adam Berry, SEO Consultant At Adam Berry SEO

Take time to build your portfolio.

You’ll want to start collecting samples of your work as soon as possible; these will be invaluable when applying for jobs or searching for opportunities.

Make sure each piece is polished and showcases your best writing ability.


Experts’ Favorite Tools For Content Writing And Optimization

Grammarly And Hemmingway

Alex Valencia’s top writing tool is Grammarly, and he says that “every professional should use it (#notanad).”

“It’s taught me a lot about my writing style and how to improve it. For keyword research, I use Semrush,” Valencia shares.

Shubham Bajaj suggests Grammarly and Hemingway “for avoiding grammatical errors and ensuring that your content is structured properly, especially when starting and you have a low to zero budget to spend on tools.”

“Once you have some budget to spend, consider subscribing to advanced tools like ProWritingAid,” Bajaj recommends.

Surfer SEO

“When it comes to writing tools, there are oodles of SEO tools out there that have content tools built in. (Some are definitely better than others.) One of my favorite tools for optimizing content is Surfer SEO,” says Sherry Bonelli.

“Surfer SEO takes the keyword you’re trying to optimize your content for and analyzes your content against the top-ranking webpages.

Then it shows All words and Natural Language Process (NLP) words so you can see if you’re overusing some words – or not using words that you perhaps should use. (Like maybe you didn’t even think about including a word or topic in what you were writing!)

Surfer SEO can really take your writing optimization to the next level. I’d highly recommend you play around with it.”

8 Content Writing Tips From Experts In 2023Screenshot from Surfer SEO, modified by author, January 2023

“Don’t be afraid to use tools to your advantage,” advises Rudy Mawer.

“You are writing search engine-centric content; the internet has many resources and tools to help make your job easier and your writing more effective.”

Mawer loves using Surfer SEO as well. “Its content editor gives you a real-time score of your content’s strength for the keyword you are trying to rank for, NLP keyword suggestions, and a competitor analysis.”

Yoast SEO

Dvir Ben-Aroya’s favorite tools for content writing and optimization include Grammarly, Hemingway, Yoast SEO, and Google Analytics.

“Grammarly and Hemingway are writing tools that can help you improve your grammar, style, and readability.

Yoast SEO is a plugin that can help you optimize your content for search engines, and Google Analytics is a tool that allows you to track the performance of your content, including pageviews, bounce rate, and conversion rate.

These tools are very helpful in making your content more effective and engaging for your target audience,” explains Ben-Aroya.

Content At Scale

Julia McCoy saves up to seven hours per piece by using Content at Scale, “a long-form AI content writer that does everything for you – even SEO research and optimization.”

“It’s utterly insane to realize we’re here in an era where AI can replace hours and hours of grunt work at a fraction of the cost,” McCoy notes.

She also loves KWFinder for easy, simple, enjoyable keyword research and enjoys having ChatGPT for writing email outlines, topic ideas, and lists.

Otter.ai

Linda Pophal does a lot of interviews with subject matter experts and sources, and Otter.ai helps her accomplish the task.

“Otter.ai is great for recording and transcribing these interviews automatically so I can focus on what the sources are saying without worrying about missing anything,” says Pophal.

“I also like Grammarly, Hemingway App, and AP Styleguide online, and have begun experimenting a bit with ChatGPT, not to actually write my content but to help with outlining and getting a head start in fleshing out ideas,” she adds.

Reddit

Cai Ellis finds Answerthepublic and Reddit great for content inspiration.

“If you’re writing on a niche topic, diving into that Subreddit is the best way to get authentic and unique insight quickly,” Ellis recommends.

Joe Karasin also uses Reddit and Quora for topic research and to learn what people are talking about surrounding your topics.

“There are probably questions your audience has that you haven’t even considered. Write about those topics, and you’ll experience success,” Karasin advises.

Google Search And Suite

Jamie Press goes for a simple Google Doc for writing and collaborating with colleagues and clients.

Kaitie Frank uses good ol’ Google for research and optimization.

She believes that the “SERPs (search engine results pages) will tell you all you need to know about which headers to use and which information to include.”

Sam Hollingsworth shares a similar outlook.

“Like many old-school journalists, I don’t rely too heavily on many tools to help me optimize content or even come up with ideas to write about, but it’s nice to have them when needed.

It’s amazing how much direction and ideas we can get from free resources like Google Keyword Planner, as well as traditional Google Search.”

“For help optimizing content, MarketMuse and Frase are great tools to have available in your efforts,” Hollingsworth adds.

Editor’s note: All interviews have been lightly edited for clarity, brevity, and adherence to our Editorial Guidelines. The views expressed by the interviewees in this column are theirs alone and do not necessarily represent the view of Search Engine Journal.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

How To Avoid Plagiarism: Don’t Devastate Your Writing Career via @sejournal, @ronlieback

Stephen Covey, the motivational educator who wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” says, “Trust is the highest form of human motivation.”

As writers, trust is your greatest asset. Your reputation is merely a representation of our trust and authority.

Unfortunately, there is no easier way to betray that trust than by committing plagiarism.

While most people think avoiding plagiarism is simple, it’s a little more nuanced. Occasionally, plagiarism arises accidentally, such as through improper citations or forgetting to add an appropriate link.

Furthermore, plagiarism is not just a concern of academia but can also be a major issue for any type of writing, including blog writing, journalism, sales copy, and even technical or medical writing from authors who originated an idea.

This guide will provide actionable strategies to avoid plagiarism and define what constitutes actual plagiarism.

What Is Plagiarism, And When Is It Not Plagiarism?

Merriam-Webster provides a more formal definition. We can define plagiarism as the deliberate act of copying one’s ideas and passing them off as your own.

However, it’s important to distinguish what constitutes plagiarism and what does not.

The borrowing of one’s ideas or even the elucidation of which does not necessarily implicate plagiarism if the writing is original or if they cite their source.

For example, if I write a short blog on the fundamentals of SEO in my own words, I don’t have to give credit or cite whoever the first person to coin the term SEO was to avoid plagiarism.

In any field, the sharing of ideas is essential to the development of its knowledge base.

For example, we can see Schopenhauer’s influence over Nietzche’s early ideas without the latter having to cite the former necessarily.

Additionally, anything considered common knowledge would not be plagiarism. If I said that Joe Biden is the president of the United States, I do not need to cite a source.

Furthermore, stating idioms, such as “crossing the Rubicon,” does not require one to source Caeser.

However, content written almost verbatim of what another person has written without proper citation constitutes plagiarism. So if someone were to copy and paste that last sentence into a blog, that would be deliberate plagiarism.

Additionally, even if the wording of a message is changed, but its ideas and message are almost verbatim what another person has written, this could qualify as plagiarism.

Why Plagiarism Is Bad

It almost doesn’t need to be said that “plagiarism is bad” is a common truism in our society and requires little further explanation.

However, there are both practical and ethical reasons why plagiarism is bad that should be reinforced:

  • It’s a form of intellectual theft.
  • It compromises the integrity and reputation of the writer.
  • Ignoring plagiarism sets a bad precedent for all the arts and sciences.
  • Plagiarism blunts your writing skills and makes you a lazy writer.
  • It doesn’t feel good when it happens to you.

With that said, I don’t believe a majority of plagiarism instances arise out of some malevolent act but rather out of ignorance or haste.

Common Sources Of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is easily preventable using modern tools and by planning ahead. For example, many academic students plagiarize because they procrastinate on assignments or don’t know how to cite things properly.

Some common sources of plagiarism include:

  • Deliberate theft.
  • Improperly cited quotations.
  • Poorly paraphrased research.
  • Using a broken hyperlink to cite something.
  • Not understanding that something isn’t common knowledge.
  • Reusing previous work of your own without realizing or properly citing it.

To help you avoid plagiarism, I’ve outlined seven practical tips to adopt to your writing process to ensure your writing remains clean.

1. Make Notes When Citing Other Sources

If you’re like me, you probably open up a dozen tabs or so to research a topic just before you actually write any words.

In many instances, plagiarism can result from simply forgetting to cite something you may have posted to a draft or written down without realizing it.

That’s why it’s important to properly track all sources you cite, especially if you use any direct quotes in your article or need to cite a statistic or research point.

Keep track of things you’re sourcing by adding comments, highlighting, or hyperlinking to any material you are sourcing from other people.

When in doubt, if you’re unsure something requires a source, add a hyperlink or citation to be on the safe side.

From an SEO perspective, linking to authoritative third-party sites is considered best practice, regardless.

2. Add Citations Or Links In-Text

Next, we need to figure out how you will cite the sources you include in your document.

For now, much of academia requires APA citations, meaning you will need to add a footer after any quote from your source or a parenthetical citation, such as (Lieback, 2023).

For fields outside of academia, inserting a hyperlink over a portion of the anchor text related to the source can be an easy citation.

For example, if I was citing Zeus as the world’s largest dog, according to CNN, I could have used “Zeus,” “CNN,” or “the world’s largest dog” as my anchor text for the source link.

Finally, adding quotes and mentioning the author or source’s name can also be an adequate form of citation in more informal fields outside of academia.

For example, citing Steve Jobs as stating, “Stay hungry, Stay foolish,” is adequate without linking or creating a formal citation.

3. Paraphrase Information With Original Ideas

If you are not copying someone’s ideas verbatim, you will likely not need to source them, especially for more informal writing.

Ideally, I encourage my writers to try and paraphrase ideas but present them in a new light. Use the ideas you gather from your research to support your own ideas and conclusions, which should be drawn independently once all the facts are gathered.

Not only does this ensure your writing is clean, but it also makes you a more critical thinker.

One has to ask themselves, what is the point of writing about someone else’s ideas if you are not going to offer a new perspective?

Use the information you paraphrase as information, not gospel, to ensure that you always avoid plagiarism.

4. Undertake Rigorous Proofreading And Editing

The most straightforward way to avoid plagiarism is to catch it before you publish a paper. Taking the time to edit your piece and your citations will ensure that your piece remains clean and is not in danger of any ethical violations.

Again, check to see if the writing is original and that the writer derived their conclusions independently. This will make you a better editor as well.

5. Use A Plagiarism Checker Like Grammarly

Plagiarism tools are incredibly helpful for catching errors that humans can’t possibly perceive.

In the example below, I copied and pasted a bit of text from a recent post on the SEJ website, and the tool told me that the text was 100% plagiarized and even gave me the source link.

Grammarly plagiarism checkScreenshot from Grammarly, January 2023

These tools are great for citing any internet research, but they may not be effective against things cited from books, PDFs, ebooks, or anything not available in an internet index.

6. Plan Ahead Of Time

Avoiding procrastination will ensure you have adequate time to proofread pieces and draft your outlines accordingly.

This allows you to keep track of all of your sources, figure out how to cite them correctly, and help you avoid other errors.

7. Commit To Presenting Original Ideas

Finally, this point speaks to the ethos of why we write.

By resolving to be an independent writer and thinker, you will never have to worry about plagiarism. Most importantly, you will be much more successful because of it.

Avoiding plagiarism isn’t necessarily difficult, but it requires discipline and proper planning.

More resources:


Featured Image: GoodStudio/Shutterstock

The 5 Best Ways To Outrank Your Competitors In 2023 With AI

Here are five ways you can use Contentedge to streamline your workflow and step up your content strategy.

1. Get Complete Control Over Authoritative Long-Form Articles Written With AI & GPT-3 Content

Long-form articles can often be the most challenging type of content to create for your website.

They take more time to create, and articles that perform well typically have the expertise that comes from knowledgeable writers.

If you’re one of the many businesses that does not have a large pool of knowledgeable writers, Contentedge can help you quickly and efficiently generate the high-ranking articles you need to deliver organic results.

Contentedge uses highly advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to ideate and create long-form content that looks and sounds human-made.

“Remove the human element without sacrificing the human connection.”

By combining the power of AI technology and real-time search engine data, Contentedge is able to refine every detail and provide accurate, authoritative content.

With the advanced capabilities of GPT-3, you’ll produce writing that reads naturally and delivers information that’s fine-tuned to your audience’s needs.

“Our software crunches the numbers and analyzes millions of data points to provide valuable insights. Figure out what keywords impact your audience most, determine what readability levels are appropriate, and more.”

With this uniquely accurate content optimization tool, you’ll be able to maximize your productivity by:

  • Saving time by generating authoritative content within seconds.
  • Increasing engagement with relevant, contextual content.
  • Producing all the high-quality articles you need, regardless of budget.

How Can I Create Unique, Authoritative Content With AI?

With OpenAI’s GPT-3, a short prompt is all you need to complete an article.

Contentedge will replicate your exact speech pattern to continue your prompt, creating content no one will suspect was written with AI.

Articles created with this technology are modeled from high-ranking pieces, so you can attract your target audience with highly-relevant, contextual content.

Is AI-Generated Content Plagiarism-Free?

Yes. With the right tools, you can avoid accidentally replicating content from elsewhere on the internet.

Contentedge ensures that all content created with their tool will be completely unique and plagiarism-free.

Any articles you produce with GPT-3 technology will be catered to your specific niche and crafted to your precise parameters.

Try Contentedge for free and get your first authoritative, plagiarism-free AI article today.

2. Streamline Your Website Copywriting Process By 10x With An AI Text Generator

Don’t have the resources to hire skilled copywriters?

Do your internal teams have time to dedicate to creating content themselves?

If you answered “no” to either of those questions, it’s time to try Contentedge.

Whether you’re creating completely new pages for your website or refreshing your existing content, this advanced AI writing generator can help you get it done 10 times faster.

Smooth Roadblocks & Clear Out Your Content Pipeline

Sometimes, small roadblocks can turn into lengthy project delays.

Even if you’re uncomfortable using an AI-content generator to create a full piece of content, you and your team can leverage this powerful tool to turn copy around faster and overcome:

  • Writer’s block.
  • Burnout.
  • Process delays.
  • Missed deadlines.

Instead of getting bogged down with website copy, you and your team can focus on improving your content strategy and taking on bigger projects.

“Contentedge can knock out just about anything in only 15 seconds. This allows content to be more consistent, it helps writers produce better content, and it clears out the content pipeline so things always stay moving.”

Ready to rank higher, drive more conversions, and take your digital marketing strategy to the next level?

Sign up for the Contentedge free trial, and start creating engaging, SEO-optimized website copy more efficiently.

3. Produce Captivating Blog Copy & Rank Higher In SERPs With Automated SEO Content Writing

According to SEO best practices, it’s important for websites to publish blog posts on a regular basis for consistent engagement.

However, only blogs of high quality and readability are likely to rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs).

So, when you’re aiming to improve your position on SERPs, you should focus on blog posts that are:

  • Optimized for search engines.
  • Well-written and easy to understand.
  • Engaging and relevant to users’ needs.

As one of the best AI blog generators available, Contentedge can help with those three tasks by checking those boxes on everything from short high-impact pieces to full-on how-to guides.

How To Use AI SEO Content Writing To Rank Higher On SERPs

With just a simple project brief and a few target keywords, you can create high-ranking posts in less than a minute.

All you have to do is:

  1. Choose the parameters for your blogs.
  2. Plug in a keyword headline.
  3. Give your AI tool a short description to start with.

From the keywords and the short description, AI technology can create a unique blog in 15 seconds.

When you use Contentedge, you’ll also get a suite of powerful SEO tools to help you:

  • Track the performance of your blog posts.
  • View analytics to perfect your strategy.
  • See how you measure up against your competitors to make sure you’re ranking for the right things.
  • Access millions of data points to make sure your content serves your audience, drives traffic, and climbs the Google rankings.

Improve Content Engagement With Semantic Keywords

Contentedge generates content by using your primary keyword phrase, looking at the high-ranking search results for that query, and suggesting semantic keywords.

What Are Semantic Keywords?

“Semantic keywords are closely related to the original keyword and often have a lot of search volume. Sometimes the competition for these keywords is lower too, despite them having good search volume.”

With Contentedge, you’ll rank for more keywords than ever and draw in a more targeted audience, thus creating more conversions.

Try the AI blog-generating tool for free, today.

4. Use AI Copywriting To Create Highly Engaging Sales & Marketing Copy

Sales copy can be pretty difficult to pull off.

Plus, we’re all oversaturated by ads and sales pitches daily, so usually, only the most highly-engaging marketing copy tends to get through.

Capturing the attention of your target audience and continually coming up with top-quality sales copy can easily become a struggle.

So, how can you produce content that appeals to potential customers on a consistent basis?

“What if you could have both quality and quantity?”

Contentedge makes it simple to create marketing content that meets the needs of and answers the queries of your target audience, while also being engaging and interesting. This highly complex AI assistant is powered by GPT-3, so your sales copy always sounds like it was written by a skilled content creator.

“Simply provide Contentedge with a keyword headline, a short description, and then click to generate the content. That’s all it takes to get amazing, unique sales copy in just seconds. You can even optimize your marketing and sales copy for SEO, ensuring you get those target keywords integrated.”

This AI-driven tool also pulls keywords from the top marketing content on the web, helping you remain competitive.

It’s time to leave bland, generic copy behind and take your ads and webpages to the next level.

Try Contentedge today and start creating engaging sales and marketing content within a fraction of the time.

5. Write Summaries & Blurbs Effortlessly With The Help Of An Article Summary Generator

High-impact blurbs and summaries are essential to any content marketing strategy.

Summarizing a more expansive piece of work can be quite challenging.

With Contentedge, it’s never been easier to create the condensed text your brand needs to thrive online.

Cleverly written, short-form content can effectively drive traffic and boost results for your business – whether you’re generating metadata for SEO purposes, crafting short synopses to feature as search engine snippets, or giving your audience a quick preview of works to come.

If you’re looking to save time and money without sacrificing quality, Contentedge can help you simplify your writing process by harnessing the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

How To Write Summaries & Blurbs With AI

Using a tool like Contentedge:

  1. Use the text content generator to set your parameters.
  2. Input a title.
  3. Provide a detailed description.
  4. Let the AI do the rest to deliver high-quality overviews that sound human-made.

Try Contentedge for free, and experience firsthand how this AI tool can improve your workflow and upgrade your content strategy.

Start Outranking Your Competitors With Contentedge

Whether you’re looking to write better SEO content 10 times faster, or get more out of the content you’re already producing, Contentedge has just what you need to fill the gaps in your content creation process.

Start boosting your conversion rates, while increasing workflow efficiency today.

Try Contentedge for free and find out what advanced AI content writing can do for your business.

Creative Intelligence And Its Role In Online Advertising – Ep. 298 via @sejournal, @lorenbaker

You may have heard of artificial intelligence, but what about creative intelligence?

Alex Collmer, CEO of VidMob, joined me on SEJ Show to talk about creative intelligence and its role in helping marketers, especially in today’s market conditions.

Gain insight into how creative intelligence optimizations and data transparency can help you make the right decision when running your creative campaigns.

Find out how it plays in with privacy updates and running campaigns across various ad networks, mobile devices, and social media apps.

One of the things that creative intelligence can do is help people get a reality check on how original and unique that creative is vis-a-vis the myriad of things in the market today. It’s a tool to help people monitor culture to understand how trends are progressing and when the moment has passed. –Alex Collmer,15:34

Before, it was about getting the click to go to the site. Now everything is so intertwined. It has to be quite a chore for a creative team to fill in all the blanks and then utilize that data to alter, refresh, or make those adaptations to the creative itself. –Loren Baker, 03:54

This isn’t A/B testing. You know that that’s sort of like the thing we did yesterday. This is a whole new world and opens up visibility into the why of creativity for the first time. –Alex Collmer, 07:20

[00:00] – About Alex.

[08:03] – How creative intelligence relates to AI.

[10:53] – How fast a campaign gets creative feedback.

[13:40] – Where originality comes in.

[17:55] – How important is Creative Intelligence regarding data privacy?

[19:46] – Can Creative Intelligence report on demographics?

[21:16] – Can you optimize for different age groups simultaneously?

[22:57] – Can data sync from handheld devices to traditional advertising?

[25:20] – Alex’s take on Augmented Reality and Snap.

[31:37] – Insights on rich media style advertising on Amazon.

Resources mentioned:

VidMob – https://www.vidmob.com/

We built technology to enable people to ingest all of that creative they might be running across an account on Meta, YouTube, TikTok, or Amazon. We process those billions of creative attribute signals and pull all the performance information from those platforms. The likes, clicks, views, engagement metrics, and purchases are included. –Alex Collmer, 06:22

Intelligent creative gives people data they can react to in real-time in a software platform that enables them to be very agile in their creatives. They can optimize the market and dramatically improve the results they see from their campaigns.–Alex Collmer, 10:35

As the media side loses effectiveness, the creative side has to take over more of the responsibility. –Alex Collmer, 19:14

For more content like this, subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/searchenginejournal

Connect with Alex Collmer

Alex Collmer founded VidMob, the most prominent video creation platform that enables anyone to maximize their video presence and make a brand impact. He is an engineer who specializes in technology, design, and entertainment. Alex’s multifaceted expertise paved the way for him to co-found Autumn Games, a renowned publisher of video games, before founding VidMob.

Alex is an all-around man with many passions and talents! He’s an enthusiastic husband, youth sports coach, ultra runner, and tech/digital media entrepreneur. Equally impressive are his specialties in intellectual property finance (movies, video games & music), investment/fund management & media private equity – Alex sure knows how to make the most out of life!

Connect with Alex on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexcollmer/

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/collmerica

Connect with Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal:

Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lorenbaker

Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorenbaker

6 Best Content Calendar Templates To Use In 2023 via @sejournal, @donutcaramel13

Chances are, as a content creator, you’ve experienced creating a post spontaneously, without any planning.

While it may work for some, it’s not ideal. Why?

To quote the iconic motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, “Success is when preparation meets opportunity.”

If you want your content production to scale, you need to plan and execute with a well-thought-out strategy (while using limited resources).

And what better way to do that than with content calendars? They’re essential tools for anyone who wants to create great content consistently.

They allow you to plan out your content creation process from start to finish.

In this article, we’ve rounded up the top 6 templates so you can get started right away on next year’s content plan.

But if you’re new to the idea, don’t worry; we also have an in-depth guide about creating content calendars if you need help getting started.

But First, What Is A Content Calendar?

Content calendars are essentially time management systems that organize your workflow into weekly or daily blocks.

This helps you stay organized and focused on creating high-quality content.

Content calendars are extremely useful for bloggers, freelancers, and other content creators.

You can create your own using Excel sheets, or make a copy using the free templates below, then adjust it to your brand’s needs.

Why Should I Use A Content Calendar?

Whether you’re the only content specialist in your in-house ecommerce company or an agency social media manager, a content calendar makes you better organized with your campaigns.

It helps heaps, too, when you’re trying to collaborate with multiple teammates, so they know what’s needed and when.

Why? At a glance, it’s easy to understand what went live, along with the copy and asset used. Sort your posts by social platform and assign some color coding. Usually, each tab is marked by month.

Because you can see the bigger picture (at least a month in advance), you can go ahead and map out themes and daily social posts ahead of schedule, plan well-researched infographics with your designer, and track how your posts are doing.

You’re better equipped to craft your message to your target audience, keeping in mind their wants and needs when the seasonal trends come and go.

You can plan around holidays and big world events, from Valentine’s Day to Pride Month or any national event relevant to your brand values.

(Not to toot our own horn, but we have our own marketing calendar to help you with just that!)

Plus, since you’re planning ahead, you’re less likely to commit a faux pas since the content will be brainstormed, briefed, approved, and published before crunch time. It’s a protective measure, really.

Without further ado, here are our picks (most of them are free!).

Top 6 Content Calendar Templates (And Tools) For 2023

1. CoSchedule

CoSchedule content calendarScreenshot from CoSchedule, December 2022

If you’re running a WordPress blog, CoSchedule may be your best bet. It truly shines in content marketing and is ideal for individual bloggers, influencers, or freelancers.

The intuitive calendar is easy to use, with seamless integrations including WordPress, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, MailChimp, and more (11 apps in total, and not just social media).

We recommend this one if you manage your blog and social media.

  • Cost: Free – just create an account.

2. Airtable

Airtable content calendarScreenshot from CoSchedule, December 2022

Do you have an existing Google Sheet, Excel file, or CSV file of a content calendar but wish to move to an app?

Airtable would be a great pick.

With its automation (Slack or email) to remind you of certain posts and its ability to handle multiple fields of data without needing formulas (for non-Excel fans), Airtable can save you time and hassle.

I especially like that it has the necessary fields that a content specialist would have in mind when assigning blog posts: Title, Writer, Due Date, Status, and Image. And you can create more customized fields.

You can also view your calendar in a grid, kanban, or calendar form. I’d expect project managers and specialists working with a larger marketing department to find this useful.

  • Cost: Free with a 14-day trial; then, you’d be switched automatically to a free version.

3. HubSpot (Free Template)

 HubSpot content calendarScreenshot from HubSpot, December 2022

Excel geeks, rejoice!

HubSpot’s free Social Media Content Calendar is pretty flexible. Just insert the month + year, and adjust the template to suit your brand.

There’s a tab for Schedule, Content Repository, Twitter Updates, Facebook Updates, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

What do we love about this one? HubSpot listed a couple of examples for each platform.

And there’s even a PDF that goes with it when you download the template to help beginners map out posts and monitor them.

It’s more for social media than blog posts, so we recommend this one for social media specialists in startups and in-house social media managers for ecommerce brands.

4. Trello (Free Template)

Trello content calendarScreenshot from Trello, December 2022

A popular project management tool, Trello is an ideal content calendar choice for massive teams already on an Agile framework and using similar products (Jira, Confluence, etc.).

The drag-and-drop functionality is easy to use. One glance, and you know what the task status is.

It’s easy to assign subtasks to team members, set due dates, attach revisions, and give feedback.

We recommend this one for massive enterprises or busy publication teams who need to have a better grip on their content production next year.

5. Loomly

Loomly content calendarScreenshot from Loomly, December 2022

What I liked about Loomly was that it felt fit for purpose, especially for social media managers. And creative people, take note!

What sets it apart: It can pull from your RSS feeds and present up to 90 post ideas or automatically create quick draft posts.

It’s a cool feature for people who are perpetually experiencing writer’s block (like I am). I didn’t really see that feature on the other apps.

Fashion, beauty, travel, arts, and other creative product type brands social media specialists would benefit the most from choosing Loomly.

  • Cost: At least $26 monthly after a 15-day free trial.

6. Hootsuite (Free Template)

Hootsuite free templateScreenshot from Hootsuite, December 2022

Similar to HubSpot’s template, Hootsuite has a downloadable, free Google Sheet spreadsheet with five tabs: Instructions, Strategy, Monthly View, Weekly View, and Evergreen Content Library (for Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any platform).

The weekly view is a feature I haven’t seen on the other templates.

What I like most about this template is the key dates available throughout the year under January to June and July to December. Events like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday (USA) are pretty helpful for B2B.

The simple-to-use template is ideal for Excel pros who don’t want to use a paid tool and the extra features that come with it.

Conclusion

Initially, this list was a lot longer (around 10), but some of the ones I cut out meant their signup or download process was cumbersome – too many steps, crazy pricing, too hard sell, or lead to a 404 page.

As long as I couldn’t download their calendar within two minutes for some reason or another, I didn’t put it on this list.

Knowing I did the dirty work, you can rest assured that one of these tried-and-tested calendars should work for you next year.

Try them out and go with what feels right; choose the one you can live with for at least another year.

Leveling up on your blog posts, overall marketing campaigns, and social posts takes a lot of planning.

With some hard work, creativity, and planning, these tools can help propel your brand to new heights.

Happy New Year, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

More Resources:


Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

9 Examples of Highly Shareable Content via @sejournal, @BrianFr07823616

Social media is a powerful tool for marketers.

Unlike most forms of customer outreach and branding, it creates an opportunity to initiate and maintain a conversation with your targets. 

This, in turn, lets you speak directly to them, address their needs, and explain why you offer the best solution.

But to get this started, you have to have the type of content that will first get their attention and then encourage interactions. 

And for maximum exposure, you want something they’ll share.

This brand evangelizing lets you break out from your own circle of contacts and followers and tap into new groups to which you otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed. 

So, how do you create shareable content that others will want to repost?

That’s exactly what we’re going to look at in this guide. We’ll examine different types of shareable content, what makes content shareable, and give you examples of formats you can employ.

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

Creating Shareable Content

If you’re Beyoncé, you can probably skip this section.

For anyone else, who doesn’t have tens of thousands of adoring fans who will repost anything you share, let’s take a look at some of the common features you’ll find in highly-shared content:

  • It’s useful – People share content they find helpful with their friends and family, so they can also get help.
  • It’s entertaining or amusing – Everyone loves to laugh. If you can make your target audience laugh, they’ll pass on that tickling item to others. 
  • It tells a compelling story – Since the first cavepeople gathered around a fire, humans have always loved discovering and sharing stories.
  • It takes a clear stance about your values – No one will retweet something that says, “Both sides raise valid points.” Don’t be afraid to take a stand if it aligns with your values. Others who agree will share it.
  • It has a visual component – While it can go viral with a text-only post, it’s a lot harder than something with a visual component. 
  • It’s timely – Latching on to trending cultural topics will generate a lot more exposure than a stale and outdated reference or meme. This includes “Keep Calm & (literally anything)”, jokes about Harambe, and any references to “all the feels.”
  • It’s original – If you’re just recycling content that’s readily available, it will be largely ignored. Look for unique angles and make something new. 

Now that we’ve discussed what makes content shareable, let’s dive into different types of content you can use to generate shares.

Types Of Sharable Content

1. Infographics

32.5% of marketers say they use infographics more than any other type of visual in their visual content marketing efforts.

Why? Because they provide information in an easily understood and digestible format. 

green endorsement infographicImage from author, December 2022

A versatile medium that can be employed for many different purposes, infographics are visual storytelling tools. Some of their more common uses include:

  • Timelines – Used to show planned steps, tell the history of an organization, or discuss future projections.
  • Statistical – Numbers make a powerful point. Creating infographics with statistics gives your viewers an easy way to understand and retain specific data.
  • Flowcharts – Breaking down components into steps, flowchart infographics can be a great way to simplify complex tasks.
  • Comparison – Infographics can be the perfect way to list various options’ pros and cons or differences in a head-to-head format.
  • Maps – Nothing conveys geographical information quicker than a map, which makes them perfect as infographics.                             

2. How-To Guides

Life is full of problems and hassles – and most people are incredibly grateful for any tips that can help them save time or energy. 

They appreciate learning a new or better way to do things and want to share this new knowledge with their social or business circles. 

That’s why how-to guides are incredibly shareable on social media. They can be videos, blog posts, or even infographics. Here’s an example:

Whether you’re trying to show existing customers the easiest way to use your product, help them envision a better quality of life, or navigate a mechanical process, step-by-step guides are the answer. 

And that makes them popular shares. 

3. Lists/Listicles

Not to get too meta on you, but this piece is a great example of our next type of shareable content.

Known as a listicle (a portmanteau of list and article), posts like this one are a reliable way to generate social traction. 

There are two main reasons for this:

  • They set expectations upfront – A headline of “5 Foods That Fight Belly Fat,” immediately tells you what the article is about and what readers will receive from reading it. 
  • They’re scannable – A study from 2008 found web users only read around 28% of the words on a page. Most people are skimming for the highlights and main points, which list posts make clear. 

You can also share images with graphic representations of lists. 

4. Videos

Whether it’s a first-person view of what a downhill skier sees or videos of people using your product, videos are an effective and share-friendly form of content. 

Extremely easy to consume, video engages, entertains, and informs the audience in a familiar format.

Now consider that Americans spend, on average, 6 hours and 23 minutes per day watching video content on their mobile devices. 

These run the gamut from music videos to influencer videos to sports clips. And they all have one thing in common (aside from being videos, obviously) – they generate a lot of shares.

5. Memes

Since the advent of the internet age, memes have been a big part of online culture. Memes are shareable cultural “inside jokes,” and are usually funny and relatable. 

They’re also extremely popular with younger people. 55% of internet users between ages 13 and 35 share memes every week, while 30% share them every day.

That’s a lot of brand exposure if you can get them to share something from your social accounts. 

Just make sure your meme content is with the times.

Nothing gives off “How do you do, fellow kids” vibes like a meme format that hasn’t been used since 2015.

6. Current Events/Limited Time Promotions

Breaking news makes for highly shareable social content.

Social media has become the dominant news platform, with 71% of Americans getting their news via Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites. 

But if you’re not in the news business – and most of you probably aren’t – it can be difficult to jump on these “hot” stories. And if you’re not in the news business, you probably don’t want to anyway.

So, what do you do?

The answer is to use limited-time offers. Create posts advertising a 30% off sale at your business, and your followers will share it with their friends who have similar needs for your product or services. 

Or use current events as a way to generate extra exposure. It can either be something related to your field or something completely random that you can link to your brand in a clever way. 

For example, who could ever forget Arby’s epic Twitter “beef” with Pharrell Williams? 

brand mention example for TwitterScreenshot from Twitter, January 2014

And keep an eye on trending hashtags to see if there are any you can use to your advantage.

7. Heartwarming Stories

People love feel-good stories. And just as important, they like passing them on so others can feel good too.

Content that can inspire strong positive emotions tends to get passed around.

This can either be things like posts about charitable work your business just did or even content that encourages others to dream about something good, for example, “how to make your wedding day the best ever.”

8. Interactive Content

Thanks to advances in technology, people expect to be able to engage with content. That means they don’t want marketing to speak at them; they want something they can interact with.

From BuzzFeed quizzes to playable ads to polls, the internet age has led to an audience that wants to be part of the story, not just listen to it.

Facebook engagement example pollScreenshot from Facebook, December 2022

Give your audience more than something to read; instead, give them experience. They’ll pass it along to their social media followers if it’s a good one. 

9. Controversial Opinions

It has been said that all publicity is good publicity.

With this in mind, if it suits your brand, don’t be afraid to rouse a little rabble. People love getting their blood up – it’s the principle talk radio was built around. 

And a study from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania found that anything that evokes high-arousal emotions like anger or anxiety is often a conversation starter among audiences.

If it’s something that fits in with your brand’s image, a strategic attack on a popular stance can lead to a flood of shares, both from people who agree with your position, and those opposed to it.

In addition to the attention this type of content attracts, it also allows you to lead the conversation. Beware; it’s easy to cross the line from being controversial to being offensive. 

In general, if you’re going to use antagonism to your brand’s benefit, you need to do all the following:

  • Take a stance on a popular issue.
  • Explain why your stance is correct and the other is wrong.
  • Back up your argument with statistics and resources from reputable sources.
  • Stand by your convictions confidently.

You also need to understand that a misstep with this kind of content can have disastrous results, so use it with care. 

Optimize Your Sharable Content

There are countless types of content you can use to encourage social media shares, and as you can see, there can be some overlap between these types of content.

You could have a video that is also a how-to guide or an infographic that’s also a list. 

However, with planning and forethought (and a little luck), you can create the kind of social content that leads to more shares and improves your exposure.

And once you find something that’s working, don’t be afraid to use it more than once. 

More resources: 


Featured Image: Merkushev Vasiliy/Shutterstock

Finance Marketing: How To Form A Successful Content Strategy via @sejournal, @sejournal

As a financial service business, you’re facing a unique set of challenges when it comes to creating content.

  1. Finance isn’t a particularly glamorous or entertaining subject to write about, which can make it tough to engage your readers.
  2. There are heavy regulations and strict guidelines in Google results that limit what you can say, as well as how you can say it.

So, how can you overcome these challenges to form an effective content strategy?

How do you create finance content that’s responsible and accurate yet still compelling and convincing?

Our new ebook, Content Marketing For Finance, walks you through how you can develop a content strategy that respects the rigorous demands of the financial space while truly connecting with your target audience.

“Audience is at the heart of every content marketing strategy and should always be kept top of mind,” writes author Chandal Nolasco da Silva.

Download your copy and learn how to meet your customers at each stage of their journey and create the kind of content that consistently converts.

What’s Inside This Finance Content Marketing Ebook?

This pocket guide has all the insights you need to navigate the ins and outs of content marketing within the finance industry.

Topics covered include:

  • Content marketing principles, best practices, and how to apply them specifically to finance.
  • Solutions to the unique challenges of finance marketing: slow adaptation to change, difficulty getting buy-in for digital efforts, and managing complex content and content marketing in an industry with high scrutiny on advertising.
  • Key marketing channels for finance and how to use them effectively.

Key Takeaways:

The contents of this marketing ebook can help you navigate complex issues, such as the:

  • Very long sales cycles in the B2B space, as well as the long delays at the bottom of the funnel. The finance industry has been notoriously slow to digitize, so new products and services are dealing with slow movers that are resistant to change.
  • Stark reality of required due diligence processes with lots of different stakeholders involved. There can be complications with regulators, operational delays, reference checks, or other risk-reduction processes involved. These are increasingly important and lengthy, depending on the institution or firm size involved.
  • Fact that sometimes traditional channels don’t perform as well as they do in other industries; instead, more traditional ways of doing business, like in-person meetings, are sometimes better. Money is involved, after all.

If you’re a financial service professional looking to step up your content strategy for 2023, download the ebook now!

Finance Marketing: How To Form A Successful Content Strategy

How To Analyze Your Content & Craft A Winning Strategy In 2023 via @sejournal, @lorenbaker

When it comes to content marketing, finding writers and producing content is easy.

But creating quality content that hits your business KPIs? Well, that’s something else entirely.

Suppose you want to succeed as a digital marketer. In that case, the key is to establish an effective content strategy as your foundation.

The right content strategy can help you outrank your competition and achieve your goals.

On November 16, I moderated a webinar with Sabrina Hipps, VP of Client Success, and Jeremy Rivera, Director of Content Analysis at CopyPress.

Hipps and Rivera provided critical content insights, practical knowledge, and hands-on techniques that are fully compliant with Google’s policies and highly relevant to the recent helpful content and core algorithm updates.

Here is a summary of the webinar. To access the entire presentation, complete the form.

Key Takeaways

  • Take a fearless inventory of existing content and review its ability to provide a satisfactory answer for searchers. At larger companies with established volumes of content, it’s helpful to do this by category.
  • Identify topics that are opportunity areas.
  • Brainstorm pain points and problems that need to be solved. Ask your experts what should be used to create a list of new articles.
  • Leverage SEO data for People Also Ask (PAAs), featured snippets, and relevant groupings of keywords. This can be used to fuel new articles or revise existing content.
  • Utilize your content analysis tool for deeper insights.

[Start analyzing your content & win] Instantly access the webinar →

How To Craft A Winning Content Strategy

Crafting content that wins involves:

  • Identifying content that works for you.
  • Quantifying the quality of your current content.
  • Determining if your content is authoritative as well as relevant.
  • Identifying winning competitor content topics.
  • Organizing a content strategy to audit/clean up existing content.
  • Prioritizing and scheduling new, high-quality, authoritative content based on findings.

As you prepare for next year with your overall content strategies, you’ll want to start with goals.

So, let’s dive in!

Step 1: Gather Your Own Ranking Data

Start by performing a gap analysis of your own content.

Doing a practical gap analysis that gives you true insights requires different data sources.

So, begin by gathering data from:

  • Google Analytics.
  • Search Console.
  • Your 3rd-party SEO data tool.

Use the outcomes of this data for step 2.

[Get detailed instructions] Instantly access the webinar →

Step 2: Qualify Your Content & Ranking Data

Now, to expand your strategies beyond the data, you’ll need to look at two different sides of your outcome:

  • Your valuable content.
  • Sections of your site that people navigate to most often.
How To Analyze Your Content & Craft A Winning Strategy In 2023CopyPress, November 2022

These numbers can help inform your strategies, but first, you’ll need to take the next step.

Step 3: Quantify Your Content Quality

Take a moment to critically read your content.

Then, instead of creating additional using the same techniques that may be harming you, such as walls of text, consider the questions people are searching for and the answers they want.

To create higher-quality content, stop and ask what is the question you’re trying to answer – and did you respond to it effectively?

The intent of that query is going to inform your content.

[Learn how swapping walls of text for search intent can boost your content quality] Instantly access the webinar →

Step 4: Identify Competitors

Next, it’s time to see what your competitors are ranking for that you aren’t.

Is there anything you’re writing about that’s not hitting the mark?

Start by looking at your three kinds of competitors:

  • Direct competitors.
  • Indirect competitors.
  • Search competitors.

Once you know who your competitors are, it’s time to perform a keyword gap analysis.

[Get the keyword gap analysis process steps, now] Instantly access the webinar →

Step 5: Group Your Gap Keywords Into Topics

Focus on search visibility through a competitor keyword gap analysis.

List the words and phrases that multiple competitor sites currently rank for and that your site underperforms for.

Note that gap analysis is different from competitive analysis.

[Watch this step in action] Instantly access the webinar →

Step 6: Identify The Link Gap Between You & Your Competitors

Start by making a competitive domain comparison, as shown below.

How To Analyze Your Content & Craft A Winning Strategy In 2023CopyPress, November 2022

You want to see how many referring domains you have compared to your top competitors.

This can help you understand the budget behind your competitors. If you’re a small outfit trying to compete for some of these terms and phrases, you need to know how much work you’ll have to do to build links to these articles.

Step 7: Supplement With Human Insights

Now, you’ll complete your research by mapping the data to your actual target audience.

When you identify people’s pain points, you will be able to create content that eases your audience’s problems.

You’ll also find that tapping Subject Matter Experts is valuable in creating so much more helpful content.

Step 8: Justify Your Campaign With SEO ROI

Estimate the potential return on investment for a campaign by calculating your potential ROI.

[Discover how to calculate ROI] Instantly access the webinar →

Make sure you have conversion data available because you’ll take the keywords you’ve found and look at their search volume for this step.

How To Analyze Your Content & Craft A Winning Strategy In 2023CopyPress, November 2022

[Slides] How To Analyze Your Content & Craft A Winning Strategy In 2023

Here’s the presentation:

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

Is Social Media Search The New Google? How To Boost Organic Traffic In 2023

Join our next webinar with Rachel Schardt, SEO Success Manager at Conductor, and learn how you can take full advantage of social media next year.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal