Introduction to the Cyborg Content Strategy

Lauren Oliver


February 15, 2024

blue glowing hexagonal 3D pattern. concept for cyborg content.

I wanted to put together a series of guides looking closely at generative AI and its impact on the marketing environment — specifically, content marketing. We know that content marketing is a broad umbrella under which we can place a large number of tactics and methodologies that help connect brands to customers. However, AI’s continuous advancements and utilization across just about every industry means marketing teams have to be adaptable and willing to embrace the changes we know are coming.

Already we’ve seen the integration of AI in content creation. Look at the Sports Illustrated fiasco. That’s more at the negative end of the spectrum, but it shows us the problems we could have if we implement AI tools improperly.

Cyborg content becomes the solution to the challenge of keeping content human, but it also offers a huge range of opportunities to improve workflows and streamline marketing processes. And one thing I’m sure many of us can use is a way to simplify all the moving parts that go into a marketing campaign.

In this series, we’ll explore the ways in which this strategy will become increasingly important for your future content marketing efforts. Dive into the cyborg content strategy with this introduction from our Content Manager, Lauren Oliver.

-Dave Snyder, CEO at CopyPress

Jump ahead:

Understanding the Cyborg Content Strategy — What It Is and What It’s Not

Cyborg content is the balancing act between using AI-generated and human-created content in a marketing strategy. Writing, art, video, photography — cyborg content can be present in it all if you do it right.

However, creating the perfect balance between human-developed and AI-generated content is challenging. With the right blend of AI research and human writing, though, you can reach a happy medium that will ultimately make your entire workflow more efficient.

A thought that crossed my mind was to create this intro using generative AI to better illustrate the concept of cyborg content. But, to me, it’s more important to lay the foundation of this concept as humanly as possible before experimenting with the potential that AI tools can provide.

With that said, there are several ways you’ll see AI show up for content creation and development, and presented it best with its breakdown:

Fully Integrated AI

Some take it all the way with full AI integration into their content development workflows. If you’d asked me a couple of years ago what the full use of generative AI would mean for content creation, I would’ve told you that nothing good could come of it.

However, this was during a time when generative AI was under extreme development and wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now and continues to get. We saw the limitations in these early generative systems, but there have been tons of improvements, so more brands are recognizing the usefulness of full AI integration.

From creating content like graphics, text, and even videos, more and more companies are seeing positive outcomes with this maximalist approach to generative AI in marketing.

Plenty can be said regarding the continuous advancements of these language models. Added to that, they generate text faster than a person can and the responses are usually on the ball as far as grammar and spelling.

But even though it’s certainly possible to create all of your content with generative AI, this would still be a poor choice for content development. I’ll hit on why that is further on in this guide.

The Whole Human

Cyborg content won’t be present or have a part in developing content on this end of the spectrum. Brands that continue to depend on entirely human-created content to drive marketing initiatives may continue to have the upper hand when it comes to factual, expert writing.

But, as generative AI continues to evolve, you’re likely to see negative impacts on productivity, efficiency, and thus, costs for companies that avoid embracing generative AI tools — at least for small parts of their marketing efforts.

Supplemental AI

This approach to the combination of AI and human work starts to scratch the surface of the cyborg concept. Here, you will supplement your marketing efforts with generative AI and tools for building your content strategy.

While supplementing a content marketing strategy this way may utilize AI-generated content, it’s not the center of the creation process. You might use AI tools for content ideation and the keyword research process, for example, rather than generating entire blog posts.

The Cyborg

When we think of a cyborg, we usually imagine it as half human and half machine. So, a cyborg content strategy fits into this description in the sense that we’re using generative AI (the machine part) with our efforts (the human part) to develop and manage the entire campaign.

With a healthy balance between technology and people-centric processes, the cyborg method provides opportunities to improve your team’s workflow, uncover critical insights, and build a long-term pipeline for ongoing and successful content development.

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Looking at the Cyborg Strategy in the Wild

The number of big brands and companies that use AI and machine learning in at least some of their marketing efforts is growing, and you’ve probably seen it in action without realizing it. Many of these companies utilize generative AI to create and distribute content at scale, while others employ these tools for analysis, research, and social listening.

Here are a few well-known cases of the cyborg strategy in the wild:

  • Netflix: The brand uses AI to improve personalization to make better recommendations to users. Tools like Evolve AI and Optimizely are a couple of options out there that you might use to experiment.
  • Nike: The brand made a smart decision when it embraced AI in its effort to improve the customer experience. AI apps let customers design shoes and apparel, and Nike uses this info over time to make more personalized shopping recommendations.
  • Volkswagen: Plenty of car manufacturers have been using AI for a while, but Volkswagen extends this to its data analysis and predictions on buying decisions. Using AI to collect and analyze the data, the brand continues to cut ad costs and increase sales of its automobiles.

These are just a few of the examples of a cyborg approach at work. Many more brands are utilizing AI and machine learning to improve the way they plan, develop, and manage large-scale marketing initiatives.

Mailmodo provides an excellent look at some of the well-known brands that are using the cyborg method in marketing.

Reaping the Benefits of a Cyborg Content Strategy

The essence of using a cyborg content strategy lies in the feedback loop this technology can give us. Improving a content marketing campaign relies on the research and analytics that tell us what’s resonating with audiences and what’s working to drive sales.

Performance measurement goes deeper than that, but it boils down to the data and feedback. As we can see from the companies embracing the cyborg approach to marketing, there are inherent advantages to this method:

Greater Efficiency

I mentioned previously the advantage of AI tools as a means to simplify and streamline strategy development. We’re in a place where now, it doesn’t make much sense to spend hours, days, or weeks on research and analysis, ideation, and even monitoring a marketing campaign. Technology makes so many of these processes faster and more manageable, whether it’s a single person or an entire marketing department.

The truth is that AI and the LLMs we have today make it entirely possible to cut the time we spend developing sales and marketing initiatives in half. This is extremely valuable since time and cost are typically at the top of our priorities.

Beyond that, a lot of these tools support remote collaboration, increasing accessibility to large projects and campaigns. Ultimately, teams that use a cyborg approach to managing their content marketing efforts are more likely to see greater efficiency than those that don’t.

More Ways To Personalize

Personalization in content marketing relies on data. Period. How do you know what kind of content to get in front of your audience with no information about interests, problems, preferences, and even search habits?

This is where the cyborg approach becomes valuable to content development. Using AI, we can analyze huge amounts of data to uncover what we need to create more personalized marketing campaigns.

At CopyPress, for example, we have developed Thematical Lite, which leverages AI and machine learning algorithms to aggregate data so we can better understand user behavior, preferences, search intent, and more.

There are plenty of free tools out there to get you started in this area of AI integration, but the key is to use this data to personalize your branded content — from blog articles and social media posts to eBooks and marketing emails.

Multiple Applications

One of the biggest advantages of a cyborg content strategy is the many applications and tools that can help different aspects of the whole workflow.

Aside from generating text, generative AI and open-source LLMs have proven to be extremely valuable tools for processes and practices such as:

  • 3-D modeling.
  • Data visualization.
  • SEO and keyword research.
  • Curating customer data.
  • Outlining content resources.
  • Finding stats and data.
  • Content optimization.
  • Competitor analysis.

The multiple applications of these tools make them exceedingly valuable as resources for a content marketing campaign. Ultimately, using a combination of AI plus human-created content is what makes the cyborg approach such a powerful strategy for achieving successful outcomes with your marketing efforts.

Later in this series, Dave and I will delve into the various areas of content marketing where these tools can be extremely valuable.

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Overcoming the Challenges of AI-Driven Content Development

For all the advantages that AI can help us leverage in our marketing, there are plenty of drawbacks. We have seen the inherent challenge of producing completely unbiased, factual, and reliable content with generative programs like GPT-3 and 4. There’s too much room for error when taking AI-generated content verbatim.

Another inherent weakness of AI is its inability to produce content in ways that humans can. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: there is no substitute for human experience, creativity, and emotional nuance. Context is lacking in AI-generated content, and there’s no ingenuity in the responses you get from these applications.

While we can definitely reap the benefits of a cyborg content strategy, we have to be vigilant and employ it appropriately to ensure we have the healthiest balance between AI-driven initiatives and people-centric practices in our marketing efforts.

Be sure to catch the next guide in this series, where we will look at the cyborg approach to researching and planning briefs for your content marketing strategy.

Check out these resources for more insights into AI and leveraging a cyborg content strategy:

  • Jump in and start exploring AI with 35 free tools found at FastCompany.
  • Explore the effects of generative AI on productivity and quality of work in this episode of CXOTalk.
  • MarTech dives into the very real problem of AI hallucinations — and what you can do to avoid them.

Author Image - Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver

Content Manager at CopyPress

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