Content marketing isn’t optional for successful beauty brands in the current industry landscape — it’s essential. Over my years of working with brands on their marketing strategy, I’ve come across plenty of brands who struggle to nail their written content output, because of the simple fact that good quality content is expensive. Brands often focus their marketing budgets on visual content, because it’s quicker to produce and has a more immediate impact — and it’s easier to gather user-generated visual content, too.

Written content, in the form of blog posts, newsletters, website and product copy, and even PR articles for third party sites and print publications, is about playing the long game. And beauty brands aren’t always willing to play that game to a high level, even though doing so will improve their brand messaging, increase brand awareness, trust, and product education; and bolster customer loyalty and longevity.

Improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) tech have several implications for use in the beauty industry. But one potential use that brands have yet to tap into is content generation — because AI is getting very good at writing entertaining, informative, and even emotionally effective (yes, really) blog posts and articles.

The Challenge Of (written) Content Production

The key challenge for brands is that content production is expensive and time-consuming. Content writers and researchers are skilled professionals, and they don’t come cheap. Factor in agency costs if you want the convenience of having an external company manage your content generation, and that cost could be significantly higher. Digital marketing firm Investis Digital notes that content research alone — an audit of your brand’s current output — costs between $5k and $25k. Following that, the development of a content strategy will cost between $5k and $50k, depending on the size, scope and goals of your brand. And all of that is before a word has even been written for publication on your platforms.

The cost of writing the content itself also varies greatly, but it’s not uncommon for a good writer or agency to charge between $500 and $3k for a solid blog post or series of blog posts; and many writers and agencies charge an additional fee on top of that if you want that content to be SEO optimized.

All of the above also takes time. The fastest content production team out there will still need to factor in hours for proofreading and fact-checking, and occasionally, a brand can miss an opportune moment for publishing a specific piece of content (for example, releasing a blog post pinned to a current event before every other brand on the market gets there first) because the content provider just doesn’t have capacity to move quickly enough.

Research by ecommerce analytics service Metrilo found that the best customer and sales acquisition sources for beauty brands (specifically in the DTC category) are not social media platforms. Instead, the brands included in the study converted the most customers through Google Search (22.9%), Google Cost-per-Click (CPC) (20.9%), and direct traffic to their sites (26.95).

What does this mean, in relation to content? Basically, it means that good blog content, website copywriting, and product information pages are really, really important. Content that contains good, high-value information and education, and is optimized for organic SEO, will place a brand higher in Google searches and CPC rankings — so your brand will benefit from more clicks, discoveries, and purchases. So it’s clear that content can’t be overlooked; and it’s also clear that it’s an ongoing strain on many brands’ marketing budgets.

Enter AI: A Cost-Effective Alternative

This is where AI content generation can come in. For those of us who value the power of the written word as a means to connect with others — including customers — on a human level, the idea of tasking AI with writing our content is a bit of a leap. But new AI products on the market are proving their worth, and they offer a much more cost-effective way of producing high quality content on a regular basis, and without having to rely on the availability of your brand’s writers of choice.

The quality lies in the way this tech works. It doesn’t auto-write everything, but writes in collaboration with the human writer; turning your ideas and information into a well-structured, SEO optimized text, and incorporating creative and style elements to make it read very naturally. AI content product Jasper, for example, has a range of modes to switch between in order to generate the kind of content you’re aiming for; like a ‘storytelling’ mode to communicate brand values with a strong voice, and a ‘blog introduction’ mode to make the opening lines of a blog post punchy and captivating. As a user, you can switch between these different narrative designs within the same piece of writing. The tech was developed with the input of SEO and direct response marketing experts, who taught Jasper how to write effective content.

Meet Jarvis – The Future of Writing Content With AI (Official Trailer)

Say “Hey!” to Jarvis. Your AI writing assistant makes it fast and easy to write content for your blog, social media, website copy, and more.Writer’s block ha…

A blog post written by this kind of tech is roughly 80% AI, and 20% edited by humans. The AI writer isn’t slowed down by indecision, error, self-doubt, or commitments outside of the job — so the process of creating a piece of writing can be significantly sped up. AI products have access to a huge bank of data to help them create fresh ideas or come up with flipped perspectives on over-done concepts; and multilingual AI means you can write effective content in multiple different languages without having to hire a translator, which could extend the reach of your beauty brand’s content into different international markets.

How Does AI-Generated Content Compare To Human Writing?

I’ll be the first to say that AI-generated content probably isn’t appropriate for every situation. But for product education and brand messaging that’s based on clear information, and that has a clearly defined goal (to acquire clicks, customers, or convert sales), this tech could be a game-changer. And if you look at content examples from Jasper, it’s evident that although the content might be written by a robot, it doesn’t read as robotic.

According to Forbes, renowned media outlets including The New York Times and Reuters already use AI to generate some of their digital content — and far from being steadfastly formulaic, AI is now capable of writing creative work; even poetry, and novels. One AI-generated novel, The Day A Computer Writes A Novel, made it past the first round of selection for a national literature prize in Japan in 2016; meaning it managed to convince literary judges that it was worthy of merit alongside novels written by conscious human beings.

And if AI can write a novel, I’m confident it can help beauty brands write on-point content for ecommerce sites and social media. Indeed, some brands are already doing this; probably more than we know, as AI providers like Jasper note that their collaborations with big cosmetics names are usually kept out of the public press, for ‘commercial reasons’.

So, to the real question: did I write this with AI? No, not this time. But if I was writing content to convert sales for a beauty brand, instead of articles to help beauty brands stay ahead of the market and maximize their impact then…yes, I’d definitely consider AI. The tech today is more than capable, and it has the potential to help brands make their messaging more consistent, concise, effective — and expand their reach without increasing their content spend.