The status quo of content automation
How useful are text generators, who uses them and what for?
What is content automation?
Why is content automation useful?
The pros of automated content generation
- Content automation increases efficiency.
- Content automation enhances productivity.
- Content automation makes it possible to realise large-scale e-commerce projects.
- Automated texts are unique.
The cons of automated content generation
- Automated text is relatively easy to spot.
- Content automation only makes sense for very large amounts of text (appr. 1,000 texts per month).
- Automated text is not suitable for every type of web copy.
- Automation tools are very costly.
Where is automatic text generation useful?
However, it’s a legitimate question: Is this always such a bad thing? Do you really care about a high-quality, entertaining text when buying a pair of shoes in your favourite web shop?
In our opinion, content automation is useful in the following cases:
- e-commerce and web shops: large amounts of product texts with a similar structure
- open data projects: texts that are largely based on data and have to be updated frequently (daily or even more frequently) – e.g. weather, news, sports, stock exchange quotations
In contrast, content automation is not suitable for the following text types:
- online magazines and blog entries
- static websites
- one-off projects
How do text generators work?
Common automation software extracts data from a database – for instance, product details for a fashion web shop or football league results. Text engines take the semantics and meaning of said data and turn it into meaningful copy. These texts are further based on words and phrases stored in an additional database.
It’s astounding what artificial intelligence is capable of: For instance, the software can identify recurring wins of a football team and will accordingly add superlatives to the respective copy.
Smart web copywriters will have noticed it by now: Automated web copy is only as good as the data in your database!
In times of increasing search engine optimisation demands, the past years saw the emergence of various text spinning tools. It’s easy to mistake these tools for content automation tools. However, all they do is replace and swap individual words in existing texts – which is anything but unique content!
How is automated web copy generated?
Here’s an overview of your individual steps:
- prepare your databases
- create sample texts
- create web copy prototype
- test your content
- generate automated web copy
You can also use content for certain personas in this initial step.
Our tip: Keep in mind aspects like SEO and define the respective fields in advance!
- product data variables such as name, colour, material, ingredients, quantities, etc.
- suitable places for synonyms – this makes your automated copy more individual
- potential dependencies to underline certain product aspects (example: an attractive travel offer becomes a last-minute bargain)
In addition, your web text prototype defines conditions for when to use or not to use certain phrases/words.
For testing purposes, the database is fed with a small amount of data, which will generate only a few sample texts. This should be enough to see whether your texts are suitable for a large-scale web project or whether you have to go one step back. If the latter is the case, you have to start all over again until the output of your test phase is more satisfactory. Don’t worry, it’s normal to do several test runs!
Is content automation really the future of web copywriting?
For one, usability is the key to any automation process. What’s more, not every type of web copy is suitable for automated content. On the other hand, many e-commerce projects simply wouldn’t be possible without content engines.
We’re sure that web copywriting will change over the next years – after all, it always has. However, we’re also sure that high-quality content will remain the one defining factor for online success.
By the way: This text was not generated automatically.