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AI: These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For

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In this episode of marketingXP—AI: These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For—Rachel runs down the benefits and pitfalls of using AI for content creation (and why businesses need to slow the hell down before entrusting 100% of their content marketing to AI). Listen to the episode for the three things to keep in mind when using AI to generate copy and, if you’re looking to impress a client or executive in your life, access the PowerUp for this episode >>>

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:08] In this episode of marketingXP, the powerup is gonna talk about yes, you guessed it. AI. Oh my, have two letters ever swept the entire globe. It’s saturated everywhere. I feel like that’s the buzz acronym, that if you want any attention on literally anything you do, AI needs to be part of it.

[00:00:34] AI standing for, of course artificial intelligence and I don’t know about you, but of course, my Gen X brain immediately goes to Skynet of the Terminator franchise. That may not be where everybody else goes, but we have seen plenty of movies, science fiction, and prepare for all the sci-fi references in this episode.

[00:00:54] The title of this particular episode is AI: These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For. Yes. That is direct reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi from A New Hope, the fourth episode of the Star Wars franchise. That was the first movie released, by the way, ’cause of course you’d had episodes 4, 5, 6, then they went back and did 1, 2, 3.

[00:01:14] We try not to reference those as much. Like I said sci-fi references all throughout this episode.

[00:01:20] Let’s talk about AI though. If you work at a company and you in any way have oversight over the content marketing or content creation aspect of your business, okay, I am talking to you right now.

[00:01:35] Some of you work on the marketing teams that make up those content marketing needs and deliverables for a business. But I’m talking to the people who oversee -you manage the budget; you get to say yes or no to things, whether it’s headcount, it’s tools, resources -you have oversight.

[00:01:51] I’m willing to bet that you at some point in the last mm, six to nine months have seen these magical letters AI flash across your perception. And you immediately saw dollar signs because what you saw was we could get AI to do our writing for us, that means maybe I don’t have to pay for humans to do my writing. I am gonna talk in this episode about AI, about where I think the right approach to AI comes in for content marketing.

[00:02:22] But also the pitfalls of it. It has pitfalls. Y’all those droids are falling into the pits all over the place, like literally Skynet tripping over itself to fuck things up. So let’s just get real about that.

[00:02:35] But companies, again, you’re looking at AI and it’s love at first sight. It’s like the hottest person you ever saw walk into the room and you’re in love.

[00:02:42] You’ll fall over yourself. You’ll make a fool of yourself. You may say and do things that in about three weeks or three months, you’re gonna be like, oh my God, I am so embarrassed. That’s how a lot of companies are reacting to AI right now, y’all. It’s the bright, shiny new thing.

[00:02:57] But you have to slow your roll a little bit. Just dial it down because I need you to be realistic about the fact that if you still are communicating to humans as your audience, you really do still need the humans. Okay? I mean, who wouldn’t love a tool that writes shit for free.

[00:03:14] I mean, it’s great, right? It just accommodates so much. It solves so many problems. It creates them too. So this is not just a, like, magic wand you get to just like, Ooh, I can just erase five figures from my yearly budget or more, and now I just have AI write stuff for me. Mm-mm.

[00:03:32] That’s not how this works. It can save you money and it actually can save you, my content marketers, my writers out there. It is super helpful and I wanna be clear about that. But oh my God, y’all, we just need to dial it back, and really take a cautious look at AI.

[00:03:51] So three things about AI.

Go from blank page to… something.

One: there’s that ever present challenge of the blank page. For any of you who had to write anything, particularly with something where maybe that wasn’t your first choice to write about that thing, you work for a business, you know, you need to write something you may be like oh God, I’ve gotta write about something.

[00:04:11] Maybe I don’t know a whole lot about it. I’m not passionate about it, but I know I gotta turn this out. That blank page can look super blank and lonely, I mean, it is like ghost town. Like you are by yourself in a vacuum and it can stare you down and you get totally stuck.

[00:04:27] A lot of us in writing have heard the missive that, hey, start anything like that out with dear mom, you know, and then write as if you were writing to your mom, or maybe it’s your best friend. Maybe it’s your imaginary pet. You know, whatever you wanna do.

[00:04:39] Well, I do believe AI can overcome that challenge because it does get us out of the blank page. What’s great about AI is you can write a prompt. You can like say, Hey, write me this and it will generate something for you.

[00:04:55] And guess what? No more blank page. Now you have writing there and you didn’t write it. There’s some kind of catharsis there when you have to go in. And I don’t know if all of you agree, but I always find it way easier to copyedit than to copyright because somebody else wrote something already and now you’re going through it and let me fix it, let me tweak it, let me reshape it, let me make it better according to what I think.

[00:05:19] But that’s essentially what AI can accomplish for us. It takes us from blank page to verbosity. I will vouch, I have used AI for that particular reason, ChatGPT I think a lot of us are familiar with that. That’s how AI writing has kind of come on the scene. ChatGPT is one of those AI tools out there. It is open source. What that means, it’s calling the entire public internet to put together things, saying, Hey, if you ask me something, it’s gonna pull whatever makes sense and maybe whatever algorithmically is right there and makes it has the most hits on it and stuff like that. Does that mean it’s right? Uh-uh! But like I said, if your goal is to get from empty page to stuff on the page, that’s doable.

[00:06:05] Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna try to write this in, “write me some podcast show notes about AI. These aren’t the droids you are looking for. Make sure to mention that. Let’s see. AI should be copy edited. Okay, that’s my prompt. I’m just typing into ChatGPT and I’m gonna see what it comes up with this is where it can be nice as a planning tool. It, it is really just getting you from, I can’t think of anything to, oh. I can certainly edit, you know, and critique what you just gave me.

[00:06:43] That’s what it can do. So this segues nicely. Maybe I’m also gonna do this, now rewrite it with a country music tone. Yep. That did it. Now it’s got stuff like wrangling the wild west, so it’s super fun to play around with.

Copyedit the shit out of it.

[00:07:02] And that brings me to shiny point number two. It is great for catapulting you in from blank nothingness into somethingness, but you copyedit the shit out of it. Okay? I use a premium AI writing tool at work and even then, I am always going in because there will be times it might repeat itself.

[00:07:23] I’ve actually seen where it uses almost the same sentence in the same project. So, like I said, it’s not perfect. This is where the human factor comes in. It’s great that it got me from nothing to something, but then I’ve gotta make sure as I’m the expert in whatever job or deliverable I am completing, I will need to add my expertise.

[00:07:45] I need to add, maybe I need to add stats, I need to add verification, I need to vet quotes. I can’t tell you how many times I have used AI generated copy and it’s pulling a quote from some random thing. ’cause it thinks, Hey, maybe that’ll be helpful. And then I’m like no. Never ever, ever, ever have AI generate something for you and then you just copy and paste that without reading it thoroughly.

[00:08:09] And I always recommend reading things out loud. AI can generate copy for you. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gonna roll off the tongue and say what you wanted to say. It’s great for getting you to the point where you can edit though. Okay. So copyedit the crap out of it. I don’t find that to be lazy. I know there are some purists out there who are fully against AI. They’re like, no, if you’re a writer, do your job.

[00:08:35] Have you seen my task list my deadlines and the fact that people are insisting that maybe an AI can get all this stuff done before I can? Y’all. I think it’s totally fine for copywriters out there to be using AI to get you farther along in your projects to be that helper.

[00:08:53] And then lastly, and this is the biggie.

Beware of AI bias.

So one thing you do need to be aware of from AI is bias that can appear.

[00:09:02] A lot of this can come into how you write your prompts, and I do want y’all to play around with that. You can get a radically different result based on the kind of prompt you enter.

[00:09:10] But do y’all remember, go back with me a little bit, even if you never used Twitter now known as X. But a few years ago a Twitter account was created and it was purely AI. Within 24 hours, that Twitter account turned completely racist because it was ingesting what it was getting from other Twitter users.

[00:09:30] There’s a lot of lessons to be taken from that. I mean, you can get results sometimes where it is absolutely not keeping any of that nuance in mind. And it could have inherent bias. I have a good friend Rachel Couples who is a recruiter at Textio and they talk about this a lot. They work in AI and it helps for recruiting, but they certainly address how biases can really enter into the copywriting or editing that you’re getting from AI.

[00:09:55] And if you’re not careful and you’re not looking at it through that lens of trying to consider all of your audiences, could it be skewed or interpreted certain ways by an audience of a particular background possibly. That’s what you have to be aware of. Anytime you’re working with something that is open source like that and it’s learning from the internet.

[00:10:14] So those are the three things I wanted to drop in there about AI. Worth experimenting with. Don’t trust it fully. It’s a machine. And Terminator does give us, you know, the, the nasty side of, of AI where it turned into Skynet and destroyed the planet.

[00:10:31] And then cut back to Star Wars where they’re able to easily manipulate droids and things like that. It can be a bit manipulated and it’s very helpful, but you always take it with least a few grains of salt as you’re using AI and trying to incorporate that into your workflow.

[00:10:45] My tool tip recommendation for this episode is I did apply for them at one point. I didn’t get the job, but I was so impressed with what their tool does, especially for content teams. I actually use it for my team at my current job as a branding and communications director.

[00:11:05] Not only can it help you write just about anything, it’s got a feature in it called Ask Writer and you can like say, Hey, I need you to write me a greeting card for my dad’s 75th birthday, which is coming up in like two years.

[00:11:20] Or I could say, I need you to write me a white paper that has six points in it. But even better than that, is it also because you’re paying for it, it’s going to learn from things you have already done in it.

[00:11:32] Plus it has a writing style guide that it incorporates in there too where you can set up your whole writing style for your company and share that out via a public U R L. I love that. Oh, and the best part I like about this too, so I’m a big fan of inclusive language, but also readability.

[00:11:52] I managed a government website and I had a lot of people inputting onto that website, and it often included a lot of policy. And so people with master’s degrees and doctorates tend to write policy.

[00:12:04] They often were using so much legalese in this policy language. That gets to readability. So it’s super helpful. And again, no shame in using AI to get shit done.

[00:12:16] Now, maybe you can’t afford a paid service like Maybe you are using ChatGPT. Again, they’re different in that where they’re sourcing from and kind of what their purposes are.

[00:12:26] Just be mindful, you know? I’ll always try to do a Star Wars reference AI: these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

[00:12:33] But you know, you can still have a good relationship with the droids, you know, and the droids help you do stuff and make your life a little bit easier. Just companies out there, this isn’t your one end all, be all solution to replacing humans with machines. Don’t do that. Okay. Stop.

[00:12:52] All right. Thank you all for listening to this episode of marketingXP. If you like the show, please follow us, subscribe to us, review, love them reviews. I work in marketing. We love all the reviews. It’s how we know if these are any good. So please let us know how we’re doing.

[00:13:10] Also, if you visit the website You’ll see a link to the podcast there. There’s a form too, should be one on just about every podcast page where if you have a topic you’d like to suggest for a future episode, I will take that into consideration.

[00:13:26] I’ve got about 40 more episodes planned that I’m just like, these are short, sweet you know, little things about marketing that I think people should know. And if you don’t, then you should, and you’ll be a better marketer for it. So thank you all for hanging with me and I hope you enjoyed this episode.

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