ai content editing

AI Content Editing: How to Edit Your Content to Avoid the Pitfalls of Generative AI

More than a buzzword, Generative AI is a useful tool for many professionals. However, the results can be disastrous without the right skill set. A professional painter can use a paint gun to do the job faster and more efficiently. Someone else — even someone with construction experience who knows what a professional paint job looks like — might find themselves with nothing more than a paint-smeared mess if they tried to employ the same tool. As with any other type of content, AI-generated content requires safeguards and professional insight for successful deployment. That is where AI content editing comes in.

AI content editing keeps unvetted AI content from harming your company’s reputation and credibility. However, successfully editing AI-generated content requires time, patience, attention to detail, and instincts that only come with experience. This guide can provide a foundation to get you started.

The Pitfalls of AI Tools for Content Writing

AI-generated content is prone to many of the same errors human writers make, and it lacks some key characteristics of human writers, such as personal experience. However, due to how generative AI functions, it can pass those mistakes off as truth.

Lies, Errors and Mistakes

Blowups over inaccuracies in AI-generated content have already been big news. One of the most prominent came early on when the major tech news outlet CNET was caught publishing AI-generated errors.

These weren’t just simple content editing mistakes either. One involved an erroneous claim that $10,000 at 3% interest would earn $10,300 in the first year. By its nature, generative AI will always be susceptible to such errors. To understand why, you must understand more about how generative AI works.

AI Hallucinations: A Feature, Not a Bug

Generative AI creates convincing fiction that appears factual. As Air Canada discovered, AI will even make up company policies simply to keep the conversation flowing in the right direction. These “hallucinations” are often attributed to bad training data or incomplete information. This is a bit like blaming the available inventory for the tactics employed by a dishonest car salesperson. Generative AI is designed to decode and reproduce natural human language. It reproduces patterns, not information.

A dishonest car salesperson will sell you a car from the available inventory, regardless of whether it suits your needs. The salesperson’s specialization is making sales, not matching you with the perfect car. Generative AI specializes in reproducing patterns. It can create statistics, government agencies, and place names that mimic the patterns of real facts. It will even make up sources. Humans use contextual clues to spot lies. When a lie has the same pattern as the truth, a human may never give it a second glance.

AI Content Editing Fixes Formulaic Writing

AI tools for content writing use formulas like any writer. However, AI is much more restricted than human writers in its ability to iterate on those formulas. The result is uncreative content that repeats the same four or five patterns over and over again. That formulaic writing is part of what AI detectors look for.

AI content editing reintroduces the essential human element and breaks up the patterns. Importantly, it fixes the AI content without wasting time completely rewriting it from scratch. An experienced editor can quickly cut away the fat and adjust formulaic patterns to stand out from similar content.

Ensuring Your Content Has Value

From the reader’s perspective, there is no “free” content. The audience “spends” time reading your content, expecting something valuable in return. If your audience wanted an unvetted answer from a chatbot, they would ask a chatbot.

Anyone with computer access can generate endless content with generative AI. You should not be competing for your audience with every person with computer access. Further, as search algorithms adjust to this influx of AI-generated content, reliance on unedited AI content will hurt your visibility in search results.

Unedited, AI-generated content lacks originality and is less valuable than the time invested in publishing it. AI content editing gives AI-generated content value. It is the difference between a lump of clay and finished pottery.

AI Content Editing to Maintain Brand Voice

Your brand voice is as important as your logo or color scheme. It provides consistency, but it also impacts the way customers perceive your company. Even the tone of your content sends a message about who you are and what customers can expect of you.

There are tools meant to mold AI content to your brand voice. However, all that amounts to is additional parameters fed to the same AI that will periodically make up a government agency that doesn’t exist.

Even professional writers who have worked for years with the same brands will sometimes get the brand voice wrong. Editors working with human-written content constantly adjust to maintain a brand voice. In the same way, AI-generated content will always need some adjustment to fit your brand.

How to Edit AI Content

Whether content is human- or AI-generated, the basic editing steps are the same, though there are also AI-specific considerations. You might be tempted to ignore normal editing steps when dealing with content created by a computer, and that makes it all the more important to ensure you follow through with each step.

1. Fact-Check

Checking for factual errors is the most important and the most tedious part of editing. The ability of AI to lie so convincingly makes it all the more important and tedious for AI content. Depending on how niche your subject is, fact-checking can take hours.

You can’t just type a term into a search engine and trust the top result, either. The first result you see may have been AI-generated, or it may simply be the inaccurate source that the AI was referencing in the first place. To protect your brand, you need to think like an investigative reporter or a police detective and assume that people are trying to trick you.

2. Examine Context, Flow and Readability

Generative AI is always moving forward. It never looks back to see whether it could have been more succinct or used better wording. Researchers are trying to make AI able to check its work before providing an output. However, generative AI will never be able to creatively iterate like a human.

Check for whether the content makes sense in the order it’s presented. Look for redundant phrasing and unnecessary words. Ask yourself whether you would read the content if you didn’t have to.

3. Ensure Brand Voice and Audience Relevance

An editor understands brand voice. Generative AI just knows patterns. Brand voice is more than a pattern, and AI can easily get the pattern wrong. Even with more advanced AI-writing services that analyze and attempt to reproduce brand voice, AI can easily get lost reproducing some other pattern from its training data. Make sure that the brand voice isn’t just present in your content, but consistent throughout.

Consider your audience and whether they will find value in the piece. If it isn’t going to draw in your customers, why would you publish it? AI-generated content can require extensive rewrites or additional content to make it worth your audience’s time.

4. Add Human Insights

If you have a subject-matter expert, have them review the piece and make suggestions. Get their insights before you feed your prompt to the AI, and include some of those in the prompt. However, even when you include company documents or insights, still have your experts check over the final product. Remember, generative AI takes a set of patterns and attempts to reproduce those patterns in a new form. Without careful review, there is no guarantee the result will have the same information as the original pattern.

Get Expert Help

It is easy to underestimate the time, effort, and skill involved in editing AI-generated content. As a system that reproduces patterns, AI creates outputs that seem much more polished and informative than they are. For someone not specializing in editing AI content, the added concerns specific to AI can even turn editing into more work than rewriting it from scratch.

ContentWriters’ AI content editing service employs experienced professionals who specialize in making AI-generated content shine. They understand what it takes to turn “OK” content into great content. Learn about how our editors return great results for our clients, or reach out today to find out how we can meet your needs.

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