Recent developments in AI chatbots seem to be threatening the future of evergreen content, and marketers are scrambling for an antidote.
They’ve noticed that chatbots can curate the information in evergreen content from several sites, summarize it, and give people answers sometimes without providing a reference link. Marketers are justifiably concerned that people won’t bother clicking through to their sites.
Just a little while ago, marketers were really excited about Generative AI (GenAI) as a great tool. It helped them create content quickly. However, now people online worry about chatbots disrespecting intellectual property and spreading malware, which could affect sales later.
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What Is Evergreen Content?
Timely content aims to share the newest updates, discuss emerging trends, or increase people’s understanding of fluid situations. News sites are prime examples of businesses that rely mainly on timely content to get traffic.
Evergreen content remains relevant and exciting for readers for a long time. It’s not tied to a specific moment in time, year, or season.
Examples are guides, how-tos, reviews, or any other information-dense format about places, people, or products. The aim is to provide useful information that will stay relevant about topics that people care about.
Twin Factors Are Converging To Threaten Evergreen Content
Many websites are built upon the very principle of publishing product reviews and getting income from referral partnerships and affiliate programs.
They take great care to optimize reviews and rank high on SERPs because they need their readers to buy the products using a special link. But the Status Quo is at risk because of two factors:
1. GenAI Is Being Misused To Produce a Glut Of Poor Content
Marketers were quick to adopt GenAI, but now, GenAI is starting to choke the internet with content sludge. Any marketer worth his salt can instantly spot AI-generated content: It’s often gutless and inane. And there are other risks associated with generating content via apps like ChatGPT:
- It’s often inaccurate
- AI doesn’t speak like humans
- There’s no depth
- It’s prone to plagiarism
- GenAI output requires extensive human vetting and editing if you care about quality
There’s also the certainty that Google can spot the difference and may adjust its search algorithm to start devaluing regurgitated content.
In fact, researchers are raising the alarm that GenAI is beginning a phase where it’s training itself on its own, previously generated content. Google has just released a March 2023 update. Do we know why?
2. AI Chatbots Are Being Used As Glorified Search Engines
Evergreen content is usually optimized to the hilt to attract search engines, so when a user asks for “the best kettle,” a search engine can navigate an arrow-straight path to your content. However, since the general release of Google and Microsoft’s proprietary chatbots, people have been using them as glorified search engines.
AI is well suited to summarizing information from several sources to give the user the information he asked for. If fifteen sites all offer product reviews, the AI can learn from each, then present the reader with a curated review that may or may not include a link to your site. There is a massive risk that people won’t bother clicking through to your site, and that means you will start losing sales.
What would happen if the developers further monetized chatbots? Could they turn these coveted clicks into a bidding war where each chatbot only shows the products it makes the most money from?
Search engines already have a smooth bidding engine in place. What’s to stop them from expanding the bidding process to charge a premium for a spot in the Chatbot results?
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The Landscape Will Be Very Fluid for a Considerable Time
The GenAI situation is in flux. Developers are rolling out new, small patches to GenAI every day.
Now’s the time for marketers to keep a level head and avoid putting their eggs in just one basket.
It’s a brand-new technology that complicates the already turbulent marketing landscape where new social media platforms appear (and fall) overnight; search engines and social media platforms change algorithms that impact ad performance, and an uncertain economic climate looms.
Explore New Opportunities Without Losing Your Focus
Do a thorough vetting of your resources. Can you accommodate a mix of evergreen and timely content, or will it alienate your core customers?
- Use GenAI to help repurpose your written content fast: Expand your digital footprint across different social media platforms. Investigate opportunities in newsletters or special offers like downloadable content. Can you venture into podcasting or video? Overhaul and optimize old content on your site.
- Enrich content with multimedia: Use reels, videos, graphics, slideshows, infographics, music, voice, and a whole load of other trade tricks to translate your message to different social media platforms. Notably, the use of visuals in content has been on a steady rise. According to a Venngage survey, the usage surged from 71% (2018-2019) to a remarkable 91-100% (2020-2021), demonstrating the growing impact of visual content.
Percentage of Published Content Contained Some Kind of Visual (2020-2021)
- Stick to your content marketing plan: Stay within your planned goals. Use partnerships and collaboration to make your voice known.
- Watch your stats like a hawk and dive into your analytical reports: What works? What can be improved?
- Review and revise: If you get clear signals from the marketplace, review and adjust your strategy to adapt and remain effective.
- Focus on quality to protect your brand: Protect your brand against mass-produced content. Don’t compromise on quality – and that means you dare not rely solely on AI-generated content. Use human talent wisely.
Keep building your brand around quality rather than quantity. Content marketing is in for a storm of change, and you’ll need a cool head to steer your brand through the choppy waters.
Navigate it by replying with bold perspectives, strong storytelling, and creating vibrant emotional resonance. Watch developments like a hawk, diversify, and experiment with new trends.
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