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What It Is, Why Use It, and How to Get Started

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A few years ago, I worked at ReferralCandy, a referral program SaaS company. 

The ReferralCandy blog was popular. We were publishing tons of content and getting significant traffic. But none of our content mentioned the product or any of the product’s features. 

Looking back, I think it was possible—at least in my opinion—to consume every article on the blog and yet still have no idea what ReferralCandy did. 

Don’t get me wrong. This is not an indictment of my previous workplace’s content marketing strategy. In fact, if you consider the timeframe, it wasn’t even “wrong.” Back then, the prevailing sentiment was that content wasn’t supposed to “sell,” only educate. 

Many companies were doing the same thing—creating content, generating tons of traffic, yet failing to promote their products or features.

But this all changed after I watched Tim’s Blogging for Business course.

I discovered product-led content.

What is product-led content?

Product-led content is content that helps the reader solve their problems using your product. 

This is not a hard sell. It’s not an aggressive pitch either—we’re not pulling people to the back of the room to buy our products like a personal development seminar. Instead, it’s done naturally by strategically weaving your product and its use cases into the narrative of your content. 

Here’s an example of how this works. We recently published a list of ways to get backlinks.

Under each tactic, we explain how you can find different link opportunities and prospects you can pitch. But to do that, you need a tool like Ahrefs. So, as we explain each step, we also show the reader how to use our tool to execute them.

Example of product-led marketing on the Ahrefs blog.

And this is how we naturally insert our product into the problem-solving narrative. 

What is not product-led content?

Not every piece of content you create around your product is product-led content. 

Some content, like help articles, product-related announcements, and landing pages, has other purposes like directly promoting your product. This is not product-led content. 

Why is product-led content important?

Below are two reasons why product-led content is important.

1. Acquire new customers

A big issue for potential customers is that they usually have no idea how your product works or how it helps solve their problems. This is especially true for software.

This is compounded by the fact that many companies do not mention their product in their content. So, even as prospects are consuming content, they still end up in a state where they know nothing about what the company sells. 

They may often even have to watch a demo video to figure out how everything works. That’s all fine and dandy, but given that demo videos are usually generic, they may not understand if and how your product works to solve their particular set of problems. 

However, if you create product-led content and it ranks high on Google, customers actually seek out solutions to problems themselves and might start to see how your product solves their issues.

This makes it easier for them to decide if they want to work with you. It also keeps your brand top-of-mind since they know everything about how your product works. Later on, when they decide to buy, familiarity with your product helps them convert to a paying customer.

2. Retain customers

Even if customers have bought your product, they may not fully utilize it. 

Product-led content helps continue their education and ensures your customers use your product to its full potential—keeping your customers happy. 

Is product-led content right for me?

Content marketing is ultimately a marketing channel. Its goal is to help you acquire more customers and retain them. 

So, while content marketing is about creating great content, you should also be mindful that it should help promote your product. 

Think about it: If your product can truly help someone out with their problems, you’re doing them a disservice by not letting them know.

Furthermore, by not daring to pitch or mention your product in your content, you’re also signaling to your audience that your product is not good enough to solve their problem. 

How to create product-led content

Ready to get started with product-led content? Here’s how to create it. 

1. Know your product really well

There’s no way around it: To create excellent product-led content, you have to know your product inside out. And this isn’t just for product marketers. All marketers should know their product well. 

You should know your product’s features, use cases, and how it solves your target audience’s problems. 

Put simply, you have to eat your own dog food.

For example, many years back, the Shopify marketing team famously created multiple case studies on how they used their own ecommerce platform to set up a business and start selling products. (And they actually made money!)

Excerpt from the Shopify case study.

At Ahrefs, new marketing team members are expected to complete our academy courses (especially the Certification course.) Plus, they don’t actually join the marketing team directly. They work in our customer support team for at least three months before “graduating” to the marketing team. 

Not only does this ensure that everyone on the team interacts with customers directly and understands their pain points, it also turns all of us into Ahrefs experts. 

2. Find topics with search traffic potential

The content you create will not get readers right away. It has to be promoted. And while there are many ways to promote your content, SEO is the channel we focus on. 

For as long as your content ranks high on Google, you’ll be able to get traffic continuously over the long term. 

How do you do this?

To get traffic from Google, you have to target topics people search for. You also have to look for topics where your target audience wants solutions to problems, i.e., looking to learn, not buy. (After all, if they’re looking to buy, then you’re no longer creating product-led content but simply a sales or landing page.)

Here’s how to find these topics:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter one or a few keywords relevant to your business
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
The Matching Terms report in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer.

Generally speaking, topics where people are looking to learn usually contain question modifiers such as why, how, what, etc. 

Let’s switch the tab to Questions to see these. 

The Questions report in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer.

Here, we see around ~195,000 topics that we could potentially target. Eyeball the list and pick out those that are relevant and have traffic potential (look at the TP column.)

There are also plenty of informational keywords that do not contain a question modifier. While 195,000 keywords is plenty to target, you can look for more by eyeballing the entire report to see if there are potential topics without modifiers.

For example, doing this shows us a few topics that we could potentially target, such as “SEO course” and “SEO checklist.” Neither contains any question words. 

Potential keywords for us to target with product-led content.

Recommended reading: Keyword Research: The Beginner’s Guide by Ahrefs

3. Prioritize them using ‘business potential’

Creating product-led content is an art. You have to naturally weave your product use cases into your content through smart copywriting and yet not look like you’re “overselling.”

The trick we use at Ahrefs is to focus only on topics that our product can solve. This way, we don’t look like we’re unnaturally shoehorning our product—we’re simply offering the best solution to that problem. 

How do we do this? We use a ‘business potential’ score. 

The Business Potential scale we use at Ahrefs.

By prioritizing topics that score a “2” or “3,” we make sure that mentions of our product are natural. 

Recommended viewing: How to Prioritize Your List of Content Ideas

4. Create product-led content that ranks

With a list of high business potential topics to target, it’s time to create product-led content that ranks in Google for those topics.

The simplest way to get started is by following the steps in this video.

Don’t forget that your goal here is to create product-led content. So, wherever possible—and as naturally as possible—include mentions of your product within the content. Show your readers—with screenshots, GIFs, and videos—how to execute particular steps with the help of your product. Teach them explicitly how to solve problems using your product. 

Targeting high business potential topics makes creating product-led content easier, but naturally weaving your product into the narrative depends on your copywriting skills. 

Remember not to oversell either. If your product isn’t a good fit for a particular point, don’t force it. You want to be confident about what you’re offering, but not to the point where you’re bordering on lying.

Finally, ranking your content on the first page of Google will require you to acquire links. Learn how to do that in this beginner’s guide to link building or watch this video.

Sidenote.

If you have existing content already targeting high business value topics, update or rewrite them to include your product. 

Product-led content examples

Looking for successful examples of how companies have used product-led content? Here are three to be inspired by.

1. Ahrefs

Alex Birkett, the co-founder of content marketing agency Omniscient Digital, writes:

Ahrefs is the king of Product-Led Content. Actually, you know that whole Product-Led Growth trend that is buzzy right now? Where a bunch of marketing-first SaaS companies changed nothing about their strategy or go-to-market and suddenly called themselves “Product-Led?”

Well, Ahrefs truly is one of those rare creatures who I truly consider product-first, and not simply because they have employees who want to be thought leaders and ride an emerging wave.

Alex Birkett

If you’re wondering how we used content marketing to grow our SaaS to 8-figures ARR, then this very article is basically a start-to-finish guide on how we do product-led content. 

2. Zapier

If we plug Zapier’s blog into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and go to the Top pages report, we can see that the articles sending them the most traffic are “best [topic] apps”-style blog posts:

Pages sending the most traffic to Zapier, sorted by estimated monthly organic traffic in Ahrefs' Site Explorer.

Guess what? Zapier allows users to connect the different apps they use to automate workflow. 

So, if we click on one of these articles—for example, the one on best to-do list apps—we see that Zapier has featured many to-do apps that they integrate with. Not only that, they even featured the specific “zaps” you can connect using the app they mentioned:

Example of product-led marketing from Zapier.

And it goes on for every other featured app on the list:

Example of product-led marketing from Zapier.

This is a perfect example of how you can naturally mention your product in the content you’re creating. 

3. Beardbrand

Is product-led content for SaaS companies only? I don’t think so. Sure, SaaS companies typically have tons of features and use cases, making them easier to promote in content about a wide variety of topics. But B2C e-commerce companies can do product-led content too.

Take Beardbrand, for example. Beardbrand sells beard products like beard oil. And if we plug Beardbrand’s blog into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and go to the Top pages report, we can see that their most-trafficked pages are beard-related (duh!):

Pages sending the most traffic to Beardbrand, sorted by estimated monthly organic traffic in Ahrefs' Site Explorer.

Clicking through to their article on the best beard styles, we see that they have naturally and creatively mentioned their products wherever possible.

For example, one of the beard styles is the “scruffy beard.” Rather than simply explaining what it is and moving on to the next point, Beardbrand expertly mentions how you might need a conditioning product (aka theirs) to relieve the itch:

Example of product-led marketing from Beardbrand.

The same goes for another beard style—the Verdi—where you might need a beard trimming scissors (and Beardbrand mentions they have one too):

Another example of product-led marketing from Beardbrand.

It’s not a hard sell. It’s done gently and naturally. Beardbrand simply mentions that they have the perfect product for the beard style you want. 

Final thoughts

Content marketing isn’t just for branding. It can be a customer acquisition channel too. 

Create product-led content that naturally promotes your product as the best-fit solution to the problems your customers are facing. 

Any questions or comments about product-led content? Let me know on Twitter.



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Email Marketing: An In-Depth Guide

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Email Marketing: An In-Depth Guide

Email has revolutionized the way people communicate. From facilitating remote work to monitoring bank balances, it has become an integral part of everyday life.

It has also become a powerful tool for marketers. It has changed the way brands and customers interact with each other, providing incredible opportunities to target audiences at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

In other words, when it comes to getting the most bang for your marketing buck, nothing matches the power of email.

Providing an average return on investment of $36 for every $1 spent, email marketing is one of the most profitable and effective ways of reaching your targets.

Globally used by more than 4 billion people, it has unparalleled reach and is perfect for every step of the buyer’s journey, from generating awareness to encouraging brand loyalty.

If you’re not currently using email marketing to promote your business, you should be.

But to reap the biggest benefits, you need to do more than just dash off a message and sending it out to your contacts. You need a strategy that will help you nurture relationships and initiate conversations.

In this piece, we’ll take an in-depth look at the world of marketing via email and give you a step-by-step guide you can use to launch your own campaigns.

What Is Email Marketing?

If you have an email address of your own – and it’s probably safe to assume that you do – you’re likely already at least somewhat familiar with the concept of email marketing.

But just to avoid any potential confusion, let’s start with a definition: Email marketing is a type of direct marketing that uses customized emails to inform customers and potential customers about your product or services.

Why Should You Use Email Marketing?

If the eye-popping $36:1 ROI stat wasn’t enough to convince you to take the plunge, here are some other key reasons you should use email marketing to promote your business:

  • Email marketing drives traffic to your website, blog, social media account, or anywhere else you direct it.
  • It allows you to build a stronger relationship with your targets via personalization and auto-triggered campaigns.
  • You can segment your audience to target highly specific demographics, so you’re sending messages to the people they will resonate with most.
  • Email marketing is one of the easiest platforms to version test on, so you can determine exactly what subject lines and calls-to-action (CTAs) work best.

Even better, you own your email campaigns entirely.

With email, you own your marketing list and you can target your leads however you like (so long as you stay compliant with CAN-SPAM laws).

There is no question that you should be using email marketing as part of your overall marketing outreach strategy.

Now let’s look at some of the different ways you can do that.

What Are The Types Of Email Marketing?

For every stage of the sales funnel, there’s a corresponding type of email marketing. Here are some of the different types you can use to engage your audience and generate results.

Promotional Emails

When you think about email marketing, these types of messages are probably what you think of.

Used to promote sales, special offers, product releases, events, and more, these are usually one of the least personalized types of emails and tend to go out to a large list.

Usually, promotional campaigns consist of anywhere from 3 to 10 emails sent over a specified time frame. They have a clear CTA that encourages the recipient to take the next step of visiting your site, booking an appointment, or making a purchase.

Informational Emails

This type of email includes company announcements as well as weekly/monthly/quarterly newsletters.

They may include information about new products, company achievements, customer reviews, or blog posts.

The CTA is usually to visit your website or blog to learn more about what’s happening.

Welcome Emails

Sent to new customers or people who have filled out a form on your website, welcome emails encourage recipients to learn more about your company or offering.

These commonly include trial offers, requests to book a demo, or other offerings a new customer will find valuable.

Nurturing Emails

Any salesperson will tell you the importance of creating multiple touchpoints with potential customers.

Lead nurturing emails focus on building interest in people who are drawn to a particular offering.

The goal of these messages is to push them to the consideration stage of the buying journey.

Re-engagement Emails

Nurturing emails’ slightly more aggressive brother, re-engagement emails are used to warm up customers who haven’t been active lately.

These tend to be more personalized, as you’ll want to show the subscriber that you know and understand the challenges they’re facing.

Survey/Review Emails

User generated content (UGC) lends your brand an authenticity you simply can’t achieve on your own.

One of the best ways to generate this is via emails soliciting feedback from your customers.

This type of email also gives you insights into your brand’s relative strengths and weaknesses, so you can improve your offerings.

There are a number of other types of emails you can use as part of your marketing efforts, including seasonal emails designed to capitalize on holidays or events, confirmation emails to reassure recipients their purchase was completed or their information received, and co-marketing emails that are sent with a partner company.

In fact, it’s email marketing’s sheer versatility that makes it the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy. You merely need to decide what you hope to accomplish, then create your campaign around it.

Now, let’s take a closer look at creating and managing your own email marketing.

How Do You Perform Email Marketing?

Step 1: Establish Your Goals

The section above should have made it clear that the type of email campaign you’ll run will depend on what you’re hoping to accomplish. Trying to do everything with one email will lead to confused recipients and a watered-down CTA.

Set one goal for your campaign, and make sure every email in the series works toward it.

Step 2: Build Your List

Now it’s time to determine who will be on the receiving end of your campaign. You do this by building your email marketing list – a process you can approach from several directions.

The most basic way to build an email list is by simply importing a list of your contacts into your chosen email marketing platform (more on that later).

One caveat: Before you add anyone to your list, make sure they have opted into receiving emails from you – otherwise you’ll run afoul of the CAN-SPAM Act guidelines mentioned above.

Other options for building a list from scratch via a lead generation campaign: provide potential customers with discounts, compelling content, or something else of value and make it easy for them to subscribe and you’ll generate high-quality leads.

Some marketers buy or rent email lists, but in general, this isn’t an effective way to perform email marketing.

The primary reason you don’t want to do this is because of lead quality. You’re not going after people who are interested in your brand but instead are blindly targeting leads of questionable quality with emails they haven’t opted in to.

In addition to violating consent laws, which could potentially hurt your IP reputation and email deliverability, you risk annoying your targets instead of encouraging them to try your offering.

Step 3: Create Your Email Campaign

Now that you know who you’re targeting and what you’re hoping to achieve, it’s time to build your campaign.

Email marketing tools like HubSpot, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp include drag-and-drop templates you can employ to create well-designed and effective email campaigns.

We’ll dive deeper into these platforms a bit later, but now, let’s talk about some fundamentals and best practices to help you get the best results:

  • Make your emails easy to read – No one wants to read a long wall of text. Structure your emails using strategically placed headers and bulleted lists for easy scanning.
  • Use images – Ideally, you want your emails to capture the reader’s eye and attention. Visuals are a great way to do this.
  • Write a compelling subject line – The best-written email in the world is useless if no one opens it. That makes a compelling, intriguing subject line paramount. Don’t be afraid to try different iterations, just be sure to keep it short.
  • Add personalization – Emails that are targeted to a specific person, including addressing them by name, are more likely to generate responses. Your email marketing platform should allow you to do this with relative ease.
  • Make conversion easy – If you want click-throughs, you need to make it easy for readers. Make sure your CTA is prominent and clear.
  • Consider your timing – As with most types of marketing, email campaigns tend to perform better when they’re properly timed. This could mean a specific time of day that generates more opens, a time of the week when purchases are more likely, or even a time of year when your content is most relevant. This will probably require some experimentation.

Step 4: Measure Your Results

You’re not going to get your email campaigns right the first time. Or the second. Or the fifth. In fact, there’s really no endpoint; even the best campaigns can be optimized to generate better results.

To track how yours are performing, you’ll want to use the reports section of your email marketing platform. This will help you understand how people are interacting with your campaigns.

Use A/B testing to drill down into what’s working best.

Generally, you’ll want to look at key metrics like:

  • Open rate and unique opens.
  • Click-through rate.
  • Shares.
  • Unsubscribe rate.
  • Spam complaints.
  • Bounces (the number of addresses your email couldn’t be delivered to).

Choosing An Email Marketing Platform

Manually sending out emails is fine if you’re only targeting three or four people. But if you’re trying to communicate with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of targets, you’re going to need some help.

But there are currently hundreds of email marketing platform on the market. How do you choose the right one for your unique needs?

Should you just go with one of the big names like HubSpot,  Klaviyo, or Mailjet? How do you know which one is right for you?

While it may initially feel overwhelming, by answering a few questions you can narrow down your options considerably.

The very first thing you need to determine is your budget. If you’re running a small business, the amount you’re willing to spend on an email service platform is probably considerably less than an enterprise-level company.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll probably find that a lower-priced version of a platform like Sendinblue or Constant Contact provides you with all the functionality you need.

Larger companies with bigger marketing budgets may wish to go with an email marketing platform that provides higher levels of automation, more in-depth data analysis and is easier to use. In this case, you may prefer to go with a platform like Mailchimp or Salesforce’s Pardot.

The good thing is that most of these email service providers offered tiered pricing, so smaller businesses can opt for more inexpensive (or even free) versions that offer less functionality at a lower price.

The next thing to consider is the type of email you want to send.

If your primary send will be newsletters, a platform like SubStack is a great choice. If you’re planning on sending transactional emails, you may want to check out Netcore Email API or GetResponse.

For those of you planning on sending a variety of marketing emails, your best choice may be an option that covers multiple email types like ConvertKit or an omnichannel marketing tool like Iterable.

You can narrow down your options by determining your must-have features and internal capabilities.

Some things you’ll want to consider include:

  • The size of your lists.
  • Your technical skill level.
  • Your HTML editing requirements.
  • Template variety.
  • Your need for responses/workflows.
  • A/B testing needs.
  • Industry-specific features.

While there is significant overlap in functionality between email marketing platforms, each has some variation in capabilities.

Ideally, you want something that will integrate with your other marketing tools to help take the guesswork out of the equation.

You should request demos and trials of your finalists to find which is best for your needs. If you’re working with a team, be sure to loop them in and get their feedback.

Tips For Maximizing Your Results

Email marketing is a powerful tool for any business. But there’s both science and art to it.

Here are some additional tips to help you get the most from your campaigns:

  • Avoid being marked as spam – According to HubSpot, there are 394 words and phrases that can identify your email as junk mail. These include “free,” “lowest price,” “no catch” and “all new.” You should avoid these whenever possible. To be doubly safe, have your recipients add you to their safe senders list.
  • Run integrated campaigns – Email marketing serves to amplify the power of other marketing channels. If you’re running sales or promotions, you should include an email aspect.
  • Clean up your list regularly – Keep your email database up to date to ensure deliverability and higher engagement. If a subscriber hasn’t responded to your re-engagement efforts after six months, it’s probably safe to scrub them from your list.
  • Harness the power of automation – Autoresponders are a great way to follow up with customers and subscribers, or strategically target someone after a certain event or action. Learn how to set this up on your email marketing platform and it will save you lots of time while boosting returns.

Email Marketing Is A Powerful Tool

There’s a reason why email marketing is prevalent in the modern world – it works.

And that means you should be using it to promote your brand and drive sales.

Hopefully, by this point, you have a good idea of not only what email marketing can do for you, but how it works, and how to create and optimize your own campaigns.

There’s really no better way to connect with our audience and convey the value of your brand.

Now get to work – you have customers to attract.

More resources:


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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

Elon Musk, owner and CEO of Twitter, announced that starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators. The new policy applies only to ads that appear in a creator’s reply threads.

The move comes on the heels of YouTube launching ad revenue sharing for creators through the YouTube Partner Program in a bid to become the most rewarding social platform for creators.

Social networks like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have similar monetization options for creators who publish reels and video content. For example, Instagram’s Reels Play Bonus Program offers eligible creators up to $1,200 for Reel views.

The catch? Unlike other social platforms, creators on Twitter must have an active subscription to Twitter Blue and meet the eligibility requirements for the Blue Verified checkmark.

The following is an example of a Twitter ad in a reply thread (Promoted by @ASUBootcamps). It should generate revenue for the Twitter Blue Verified creator (@rowancheung), who created the thread.

Screenshot from Twitter, January 2023

To receive the ad revenue share, creators would have to pay $8 per month (or more) to maintain an active Twitter Blue subscription. Twitter Blue pricing varies based on location and is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

Eligibility for the Twitter Blue Verified checkmark includes having an active Twitter Blue subscription and meeting the following criteria.

  • Your account must have a display name, profile photo, and confirmed phone number.
  • Your account has to be older than 90 days and active within the last 30 days.
  • Recent changes to your account’s username, display name, or profile photo can affect eligibility. Modifications to those after verification can also result in a temporary loss of the blue checkmark until Twitter reviews your updated information.
  • Your account cannot appear to mislead or deceive.
  • Your account cannot spam or otherwise try to manipulate the platform for engagement or follows.

Did you receive a Blue Verified checkmark before the Twitter Blue subscription? That will not help creators who want a share of the ad revenue. The legacy Blue Verified checkmark does not make a creator account eligible for ad revenue sharing.

When asked about accounts with a legacy and Twitter Blue Verified checkmark, Musk tweeted that the legacy Blue Verified is “deeply corrupted” and will sunset in just a few months.

Regardless of how you gained your checkmark, it’s important to note that Twitter can remove a checkmark without notice.

In addition to ad revenue sharing for Twitter Blue Verified creators, Twitter Dev announced that the Twitter API would no longer be free in an ongoing effort to reduce the number of bots on the platform.

While speculation looms about a loss in Twitter ad revenue, the Wall Street Journal reported a “fire-sale” Super Bowl offer from Musk to win back advertisers.

The latest data from DataReportal shows a positive trend for Twitter advertisers. Ad reach has increased from 436.4 million users in January 2022 to 556 million in January 2023.

Twitter is also the third most popular social network based on monthly unique visitors and page views globally, according to SimilarWeb data through December 2022.


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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

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.

Image 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.

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