I think it’s finally time we talked about AI and content.
Because I see a lot of discussion about how to create content with AI and not enough about why you’d even want to create content at all.
I’ve been doing “content strategy” in one form or another for about 17 years now, and here’s the thing: The reason we started making “content” all those years back is not because it was popular—it was because nobody else was doing it.
It wasn’t a “best practice,” then, it was differentiation.
Content allowed businesses to demonstrate their value to customers in a way their competitors weren’t. Merely having content wasn’t the point, it was demonstrating value with content that mattered.
And still matters.
If you’re rushing to create content with AI now, without asking why you’d want to create content at all, you’re making a classic mistake.
Following the crowd is not a winning strategy—the crowd is lost. The average business goes out of business.
And a lot of businesses are creating—or about to create—a lot of average content right now.
Soon, if not already, more “content” will have been shoved online thanks to Large Language Models like GPT than had previously been produced in all of human history.
The last thing anybody needs now is more content—including you, and probably including your business.
And yet here we both are, writing and reading content.
Because it was never about the words, it was always about the value they delivered or demonstrated.
This content, right here, is not about the words, it’s about the special combination of my experience and yours—my perspective and yours—meeting up together and synthesizing into something brand new to both of us.
An idea in your mind, delivering value.
That’s what all this content garbage is about. Not the words, but the value they deliver or demonstrate.
And if AI can deliver the same or greater value than you can, no amount of content is going to help.
But content can help if your business delivers something AI or language models won’t, don’t, or can’t. Something that’s unique to you, and uniquely valuable to the customers who want it most.
We need to leap past “should I create content with AI?” and all the way to “GPT is the absolute floor.”
With that mindset, you’ll end up creating your own proprietary content, increasingly focused on what you do best and better than anyone (or any LLM) else.
So here’s what to do:
First, get to know GPT. Know what it does well and what it doesn’t do at all. Don’t ask or tell it anything you wouldn’t want the whole world to know (and know about you in particular), but take a look and get familiar with it.
Then, get to know your business’s primary resource of value: When people could buy from anyone else, why would they still buy from you?
Then, find a way to deliver a demonstration of that resource of value at a distance—via content.
Not everything’s great for a podcast, not everything fits a newsletter. Short-form video has its perks, but it might not be for you or your particular value. Search for an especially efficient way to demonstrate your particular value to your particular audience.
And before you create anything, answer these questions:
1) What do I have an endless supply of? For me, I have an endless supply of curiosity about how models, frameworks, and ideas work. I like to break things open and explore, and articulate new solutions, and I can do that forever.
2) What do I have exclusive access to? If GPT has or could read, see, or experience everything I have, it can create better content than I can. But it hasn’t. It’s my responsibility to figure out in what particular way I have exclusive access to something that amplifies or enables my ability to efficiently deliver that resource of value via content.
For me, my particular life experiences combined with the “training data” I’ve supplied my own “language model” and “knowledge graph”—like a heck of a lot of out-of-print books that have never been digitized, let alone provided to GPT—give me exclusive access to seed data that makes what I produce truly unique in the world.
Uniquely valuable? I hope so, but unique at the very least. And that’s the prerequisite to profitable content.
Because now that you know your primary resource of value and how to best demonstrate it via content, you too can lean into what gives you energy and motivation to focus and learn and improve.
And you can grow and nurture the resources you have exclusive access to that provide you with context no AI could ever replicate.
Jumping on a new technology just because it’s popular is pointless. Ignoring a new technology because we don’t like it is foolish.
But identifying the specific ways we can uniquely benefit from a change in the world we have no control over?
Because in a world of AI content, making content won’t help.
It’s the last thing anybody needs.
But creating value, in your particular way, based on your particular resource, for your particular clients?
There’s a never-ending need for that.
So what will you create?