AI, or artificial intelligence, is turning the content marketing world on its head. Whether you do your own marketing or use an agency, tools like ChatGPT are bringing up plenty of FAQs.
Among the biggest: What should you use AI for? And how much should you use it?
We understand. Here at Zoe Marketing & Communications, we’re figuring it all out, too. And we’ve tapped into our 35+ years of creating high-quality content to craft some core guidelines — joining others in the industry who are setting responsible-use standards.
Here, we’ll outline our 6 AI principles and 7 AI policies for creating content. These apply to Zoe and our sister companies, Chicago Parent in Chicagoland and Metro Parent in metro Detroit.
By exploring this blueprint, you’ll better understand how to enhance your marketing with AI in an ethical way that keeps human-led creativity front and center.
6 key AI principles in marketing
“People talent” is at the heart of creating engaging content and effective processes. AI is like an assistant that helps make it all more efficient. At Zoe, these are our guiding AI principles.
1. Human-AI collaboration is essential
AI enhances human-led work; it doesn’t replace it. People’s creativity, judgment and decision-making are central to the marketing process.
AI improves efficiency and reach. In other words, AI supports and augments the people — it doesn’t replace them.
2. Uphold ethics, copyright and privacy
AI can pose challenges to ethics, copyright and privacy. Sometimes it’s clear; others, it’s less obvious. That’s why it’s important to use AI responsibly, especially for content creation. A few key areas include:
Strive for trust: Never use AI technology to deceive or spread misinformation. On a related note: Cross-check any “facts” gleaned from AI. Be a good gatekeeper.
Honor copyright laws: Don’t use AI to attempt to infringe on others’ creative work.
Respect privacy: Feeding people’s personal information into AI tools can potentially put that data in a more public position. Always avoid putting people’s privacy at risk.
3. Be transparent about AI usage
Put it out in the open. Let others know which tools you’re using — and why and how you’re using them. It could be in a blog like this one, or it could be internally. Have a way to educate.
AI isn’t a magic solution. Rather, it’s a tool. And like all tools, it has shortcomings and possible dangers — such as those possible privacy concerns mentioned above. And, due to the fast-growing nature of AI, these are subject to change at any time.
Due diligence is key here. Keep tabs on the changes, and consider the limitations and risks when using AI.
5. Share what you know
When we’re open about what we’re doing with AI, we all learn and develop together. Share your knowledge, ideas, experiences and processes.
An open approach can help others in marketing and even other industries.
6. Foster an AI growth mindset
Stay aware. Keep learning and adapting — even if it’s gradual. Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp, says of AI: “Start curious, stay curious, know what it’s capable of and, when the necessity strikes, figure it out.” AI can feel overwhelming, after all!
The TLDR AI newsletter is one great way to keep a finger on the general pulse. Start small and evolve those processes and skills along the way.
7 key AI policies in marketing content
When it comes to “generative AI” — i.e., tools that use prompts to make content like text, images, videos, audio and more — there are extra layers to consider.
At Zoe, we use various AI tools, including ChatGPT, ChatSpot, Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, Fireflies.ai and PhotoShop AI. These are our AI policies in using these tools.
1. AI use in blog content creation
Do NOT use AI to autonomously write any published blogs or articles. This includes sponsored content and blogs written for clients and this website.
There are many issues with using generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, to write these stories wholesale, including:
They can dilute a brand’s “voice.” Even as AI evolves to capture tone and style, blogs are more authentic and accurate when written by people.
They nullify ownership. When an article is written wholly by AI, the AI platform holds the copyright. Only original works created by humans can hold copyright ownership.
They can introduce inaccuracies. AI is still prone to errors, especially when based on older information (e.g., ChatGPT as of 2023). Independent verification is paramount.
Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can, however, be used in the blog-writing process:
Generating story and outline ideas
Creating headline ideas
Creating rough drafts as jumping-off points for original writing
2. AI use for all other text-based content
AI tools are used to create the following types of content, always under the supervision of a human editor who makes edits as needed:
Social media posts
Web landing pages
Other similar types of content
3. AI use in visual content
Occasionally use AI-generated images or videos under strict conditions. This includes respecting artists’ creative inputs, not imitating existing work, and not infringing on copyright.
Most often, use images from a paid iStock Photo account or properly credited submitted photos to support artists’ work directly. Artists may also use AI to brainstorm (but not copy) ideas.
Finally, AI tools may be used to edit or enhance images that are correctly copyrighted and credited.
4. AI use in editing
Under human guidance, use AI tools (Grammarly, Hemingway, etc.) as part of the initial editing process. Whenever possible, also use in-house editors for final review.
All editing is a human-led process to maintain accuracy and relevance.
5. AI use in research
Use AI tools as research aids, helping with tasks like summarizing documents or suggesting story ideas and details. However, always combine this with traditional research methods. Cross check for accuracy against original, reputable sources via search engines, first-hand accounts, etc.
6. AI use in sales
Harness AI to streamline sales processes, efficiencies and writing. Use it to guide pitches and related content — again, always with human guidance.
7. Review and approval
A human editor always reviews and approves AI-generated content suggestions before publication. This ensures accuracy, relevance and adherence to quality standards.
Next steps for fostering quality marketing
AI is rapidly evolving, and it can feel like a lot. The key is to keep aware of the changes and use AI responsibly. (That’s good advice for any new tech!)
In this blog, we highlighted our 6 principles around AI use and 7 key AI policies for content creation to get you started. As you explore AI, tailor these to your own business and industry.
Want help from a marketing agency that’s embracing AI mindfully? Talk to us. Zoe Marketing & Communications can create a human-centered plan to help you meet your goals.
Figuring out your marketing path solo? Get your bearings with these articles:
As Zoe Marketing & Communications’ content manager, Kim Kovelle brings nearly 20 years of writing and editing experience in metro Detroit. She has strong roots in community journalism and a knack for making complicated topics make more sense.