I have documented the first four months of this experiment in this post. Make sure to follow along for monthly project updates.
Are you excited? I am. It’s the first time I get to talk about a unique project that’s been brewing in the background of my operations for a good 100+ days.
My team begged me not to spill the beans earlier (I didn’t – sort of…)
But now that we’ve managed to get everything neatly organized and fully automated, I can finally share the good news:
OK, jokes. I’m no Elon Musk; I can’t possibly know how that mess will end. But I’m Forrest Webber. And I know my blogs and my websites and how much content you need to be pumping out every month to see steady growth.
So, yeah. AI will become a force of nature in content writing in the next decade or two. I know, I know. A touchy subject for most of us. How is it possible to connect with your readers, and tickle their hearts and minds when it’s artificial intelligence producing lifeless, stale words?
Well, my friend, you’ll be surprised. Before I tell you how we’ve managed to:
First, I need to confess that there was a change of heart; how I went from a fanatic anti-AI to an AI enthusiast. With a BIG caveat near the end.
So, my strategy and philosophy when it comes to business are to become a lifelong student.
I believe I can learn from anyone, whether they’re just starting or they’ve already made their millions. This is the only way to grow into the future.
For me, this translates to keeping tabs on my “comrades,” i.e., competitors in the space. People I respect and look up to. This is why I hang out in Facebook groups, private chats, forums, etc. I’m EVERYWHERE.
And I get to see every new method, every peculiar SEO technique, every unorthodox money-generating idea. 90% of them get filtered through my Bull-S detector. But a few of them pique my interest and have made me enough $$$ to make it worth it.
About a year ago, the hot topic of the week was AI.
If you’ve been around the block long enough, the “artificial intelligence is going to make everyone’s job obsolete” comes up every few months. Usually, it’s a GPT-3 update or a (heavily-edited-by-a-human) text snippet from obscure software that triggers a discussion.
But this time… this time, it was different.
Someone I’ve been following for years, I won’t namedrop, shared how he has been using AI software to write his Twitter content. With great success – gaining a good 150 followers after a no-growth 2 months.
“Hmm… interesting,” I thought.
I visited his account. The first thing I noticed was that the number of tweets had increased. A LOT!
The quality – not so much.
I’m not big on Twitter. Sure, this was proof of the concept that AI can work in a closed environment with predefined parameters and short content.
But I run successful blogs. I have assembled a team that can grow a page from scratch in a matter of months. Produce content and pump out real links on real websites. How can AI software compete with that???
Still, the thought kept bubbling up from the recesses of my mind. Every time I’d come across an article discussing AI and what if echoed.
What if I can take advantage of these machines to create quality, readable content? To be frank, I also wanted to find out firsthand if all that talk was just that – all talk and no trousers.
I asked around if anyone had done this before. The projects I saw were promising but ultimately failed because they committed a very serious mistake.
One that most veteran bloggers already know. I’ll let you know what that is in a minute.
In any case, where others saw failure, I saw opportunity. The “prototype” was obviously not working, but after doing research and learning the ins and outs of the most popular AI writing tools, I found how to make this work.
At this point, I need to tell you a couple of things.
It’s a personal project where we try all sorts of unconventional methods, crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. I don’t even know what it’s going to look like by the end of the year. My team and I are going to provide live updates monthly. This brings me to my second point.
I think it’s wise not to disclose the niche or the URL of the website.
But I promise once we hit about 50k monthly views, the newsletter subscribers will be the first to find the name of the website, the metrics we’ve been tracking and the AI configuration.
Having said that, after reading the next part, the most perceptive of you might figure it out anyway – let me know if you do.
How I was able to outperform the average blog using an AI writing tool (step-by-step)
OK, so where were we?
Oh, yeah. I remember it was late March when I brought the idea to the team. If we were to do this right, we needed to follow the same internal protocols we’ve used for the rest of our human-based blogs.
But there was one issue. Remember when I said that most of the projects I saw made one grave error?
Well, I also said most experienced bloggers are aware of it, but I didn’t say it was easy to avoid.
I’ve talked many times about how in the current digital landscape, it’s practically impossible to keep up with the publishing schedule Google is (indirectly) enforcing. This is why we provide a content service to fully automate that for you.
But see, AI can pump out 1000s of words every day, so it doesn’t have that problem.
Hence, it becomes impossible to retain your readership or earn backlinks organically.
Yet, we found a way to circumvent all of that 👇
We had to find a very specific website. One that didn’t require the kind of carefully written, highly titillating posts to build authority.
But rather, *curate* content ⬅️ wink, wink, this is a hint.
The verdict isn’t out yet on whether Google can differentiate between AI-generated content and a human writer, so we had to be extra careful to avoid getting penalized.
After about 9 days of extensive research, we found a suitable candidate for “sacrifice.”
It’s a unique little blog we had purchased long ago but was sitting in the bottom drawer of our unfinished digital projects. It had some content, but it wasn’t performing well.
Minimal traffic, practically non-existent domain authority, zero links.
Step 2: Keyword Research
Since we can produce a ridiculous amount of content using the AI software, we figured…
And by BIG, I meant HUGE. You should see our excel sheet.
Anyway, this is business as usual. We utilized all of our methods, techniques, proprietary tools, and resources to create a long-term plan. The goal is to cast wide and completely saturate the market with our content.
(The first big milestone was 1,000 sessions which we hit in less than a month)
We created a content calendar with a strict daily publishing schedule to streamline the process. Write the content, edit, upload, and hit publish.
Wait! Something is missing.
Totally forgot! Who’s actually doing the writing? This isn’t a philosophical question, mind you.
I believe we tried about a dozen different AI writing tools. Some were “ok,” and others were outright creepy. This was a big sticking point for me. I realized that the technology wasn’t there yet, despite the promising promises. It was at this point that I almost abandoned the project.
Fortunately, a friend of mine with a tech-oriented mind gave me the right recommendation in a clutch only a day before I pulled the plug.
See, everything Jasper writes is a notch higher in quality than the rest. The machine is much faster but also cheaper. Most importantly, it has a marketing mind, meaning the content is SEO calibrated and optimized for conversion.
But these aren’t the main reasons I went with Jasper, no. No matter how good it is, it still cannot compete with our human writers.
It’s a short sentence that convinced me to go for it: “The Best AI Writing Assistant.”
That’s exactly what we did. We trained a human editor (I don’t know why I specified the human part) to use and edit Jasper and also to take care of all the administrative stuff of the website. It worked like a charm!
Step 5: Achieving Full Automation
At this point, we had a powerful one-man and one-machine force on the ground that followed a plan and executed it day in and day out. In less than 2 hours per day, we achieved the same amount of work that takes days to complete for other blogs. That’s the power of AI.
Of course, we still had to go in and iron out some of the kinks. We used our developers to optimize for speed and redesigned the website using unique brand elements.
So, while full automation is the goal, always keep in mind that if you go down that route, you’ll need to get your hands dirty from time to time.
Alternatively: Should you invest in an AI writing tool?
Let’s do a quick recap:
- In late March, we began to research and lay the foundations for an AI-based website
- We did keyword research, created a content calendar, we trained a human editor to operate Jasper
- Middle of April www.[redacted].com goes live. We hit the milestone of 1,000 sessions in May.
- May is the first month everything is fully automated. We published 109,320 Words.
- In the last 30 days, we’ve published another 60k+ words, hit 8,182 pageviews, and set projections to hit 50-100k traffic in 9-12 months.
Total monthly cost: $500 (this is a rough calculation based on the hours spent on the project as well as the distributed cost of the software)
Profit: I won’t disclose just yet. Bookmark this page for future updates.
Being realistic for a moment, this kind of growth wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have a battle-tested team pulling the strings; keyword research, content planning, competent VAs, and developers are only a few of the parameters that accelerated our traffic growth.
The AI software alone is a force multiplier. It takes a proven-to-work system and multiples its efficacy by x10.
The year is still young, so I can’t confidently state my experiment has been a success.
But as a general comment on AI:
Machines still cannot compete with humans. Not by a longshot. But with the assistance of an editor, they can work wonders in content-heavy/affiliate websites (another hint)
There you go. I don’t know if you agree or not. I don’t even know if I agree with myself! This is the whole point of the experiment.
So, make sure to sign up for my newsletter and all that jazz. I’m going to hang out with some real people now. All that talk about artificial intelligence – I’m telling you, the future is going to be interesting, to say the least!
Google Helpful Content Update
That’s what I told myself at least…
It’s been a month since I wrote this article, and we delayed publishing so we could talk about the latest algorithmic “magic”.
As I’m writing this, the Helpful Content update hasn’t completely rolled out yet. But I figured now is as good a time as any to make a prediction.
Because, on paper, our blog seems to be the prime target. Yet, as I said, I won’t panic. In fact, I’m excited 👇
Google IS unpredictable. You won’t know how each update will affect your website in the long run until a couple of months have passed.
So, my advice, in general, is to stick to the fundamentals. Common sense SEO etiquette:
- Valuable content that answers search queries honestly
- Real, organic backlinks
- Technical on-page SEO
Don’t rush to make drastic changes until you have more data.
(This is an example of an update that looked awful for us but was eventually course-corrected on its own)
It is true, though, that AI-heavy websites might be in trouble…. if you’ve produced generic content using software you’ll get the axe.
But see, that was always the case. Poor quality content that’s simply a placeholder for keywords won’t cut it.
Personally, I’m not worried. If you read the article carefully, you’ll notice that we’ve anticipated these changes. We’ve made sure to use Jasper in a way that’s organic and useful to the reader.
My prediction: We won’t get affected. And if we ARE affected, it won’t be because we used AI software. But don’t take my word for it. I’ll make sure to let you know how things are looking in a couple of months.
All in all, I’m optimistic about the latest update. In the long run, I feel that it’ll encourage genuine writers to hone their craft and return to the blogosphere.
But what do YOU think, dear reader?
Until next time.