July 28, 2023 • Productivity

AIO Writing Explained: Content Automation Meets Human Touch

The bots need us.

I first heard the term ‘AIO writing’ while watching one of my favorite SEO YouTube educators recently. I had to rewind the video by a few seconds.

Did he just say A-I-O?

When generative AI became wildly mainstream at the top of 2023, lots of YouTube content questioned whether AI would be the death of SEO. 😧

You should have seen the thumbnails:

YouTube

But by spring/summer, the SEO industry seemingly turned doom & gloom into hope thanks to the concept of AIO writing, or AI-optimized writing.

Perhaps the ‘end is [not] near,’ and we can make friends with the AI ’bots to improve the efficiency of long-form content production for our small businesses.

Here’s what AIO writing can mean for coaches, creators, and small business owners.

What is AIO writing?

AIO writing stands for ‘Artificial Intelligence Optimized’ writing, the process of a skilled human writer optimizing content created by generative AI writing tools.

Generative AI writing outputs are often dull and, worse, sometimes inaccurate.

In other words, the robots (at this time) have zip-zero personalities. Nor context of your brand, tone of voice, or business.

An AIO writer essentially understands and implements a trifecta of SEO, AI writing tools, and brand-specific tone of voice.

AIO writing skill set Venn diagram

An AIO writer needs to know:

  1. SEO best practices so your content ranks high in Search.
  2. AI writing tools to improve the speed and efficiency of content production.
  3. Your tone of voice, brand, and relevant category nuance to give personality.

AIO Writing for Small Business

I’ve studied and implemented the ever-evolving SEO best practices that have increased organic search traffic to my e-commerce business by over 50%.

With these results (including nabbing the featured snippets on a few keywords, too), I became all but obsessed with long-form content, in this case, a brand blog, as a consistent traffic source.

Featured snippet in Google Search for Spoken Flames
Earned the coveted ‘Featured Snippets’ position in Search

The more content and articles I get ranked in Search for my small business, the more traffic to my online store.

It’s a numbers game. 

Write more, rank more. 

And each content piece becomes an evergreen opportunity for increased exposure and brand awareness and can attract leads for your small business.

Writing SEO-optimized long-form content becomes a compounding competitive advantage.

Plus, recent research ​shows​ that:

  • SEO drives 1,000%+ more traffic than organic social media, and
  • 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

Search rules how we navigate the Internet.

AIO Writing for Coaches, Creators & Small Businesses

Even if you don’t have an online store, establishing yourself as a subject-matter expert and thought leader is an alternate goal. 

Such is what I’m doing as a creative service provider with my personal blog discussing business and wellness for coaches, creators, and small business owners—keeping them up to date on things like AIO and other digital insights so they can maximize their presence on the web.

But to stay ahead, you need to write and publish consistently.

Major online publications publish multiple articles daily.

As a small business owner with a tighter team and budget, I don’t quite have the luxury of a group of editors writing and researching for my personal and product-based business brands daily.

So I leverage AI writing tools, and I, as the brand owner, put the ‘O’ in the AIO writing.

I never leave my brand’s tone of voice in the hands of the generative AI.

But I do leverage the principles of AIO writing to enliven long-form content produced by AI, injecting brand personality while increasing the speed at which I can publish content.

AIO Content (Example)

Here’s a real-world example of how I optimized generative AI content for my candle brand, Spoken Flames.

I targeted the key phrase “What does snow smell like” to associate our winter candle scent with this relevant search query.

When I asked AI to ‘Write a blog about ‘what does snow smell like,’’ this was its opening paragraph:

Have you ever stopped to wonder what snow smells like? Many people may not realize it, but snow does have a distinct smell.

When snow falls, it collects a variety of different scents from the air around it. These scents can include the aroma of pine trees, the earthy smell of soil, and even the faint scent of car exhaust or other pollutants.

BO-RING. 😴

It answers the question, sure. But in the context of brand-building and storytelling, that content falls flat.

It’s not engaging.

While some readers may just want a quick answer to the ‘smell of snow,’ there is value, entertainment, and a brand-building opportunity in crafting an insightful article with personality.

Here’s the AIO-written version of the intro:

Another winter rolls around, and your favorite celebrity is spotted in Aspen. The excellent snow conditions attract all walks of life to popular mountain towns in the winter.

And if your invite (like ours) got lost in the mail for that A-list Colorado snow outing, rest assured that you can experience the ambiance and fascinating scent of snow right at home.

This is because the snow has a smell.

Here’s everything you need to know about the smell of snow.

Top-Ranking: Why I Like AIO Version Best

This AIO-written article ranked first in Google search.

It also earned a featured snippet spot, even outranking a dominant candle competitor targeting the exact key phrase.

I optimized the entire article for its respective SEO keyword and wrote an opening that hooked people in.

It was engaging and had personality throughout, which increased time spent on the page, which search engines also factor into determining the content worth ranking.

Having SEO-optimized content with personality pays off.

But it has to be done strategically, without disregarding the core principles of SEO. 

This is why an AIO writer is so valuable.

How to Find an AIO Writer

Whether you hire a freelancer or optimize your AI content yourself, knowing how to hire an AIO writer is beneficial.

I generally turn to Fiverr or Upwork to hire freelance writers, but I also enjoy writing and editing, so I take on AIO writing responsibilities when time permits.

Pro Tip: Aim to work with the same AIO writer consistently so they become very familiar with your brand-specific tone of voice over time.

AIO is a relatively new concept at the time of this writing, and searching that term on a freelance marketplace will yield fewer exact matches. However, consider an established writer with excellent reviews with terms like ‘AI’ and ‘AI Writing’ in their profile. 

There are also a number of content platforms now (or soon) offering AIO certifications. This is a budding industry and role.

Benefits of AIO Writing

AIO writing offers the best of both worlds for small business owners.

We can increase long-form content production without our brands sounding like lifeless robots and remain cost-efficient by hiring a writer who will leverage AI tools to speed up their workflow and increase content output for our brands or businesses.

Here are three benefits of AIO writing you might also consider:

1. Adds color to dull details

Delivering a concept through storytelling is the secret of the greatest orators and writers. A bulleted list (the details) will always pale compared to a retold story that gives context, life, and color to the same information.

An AIO writer can help your content be more engaging, powerful, or moving. So your content can actually resonate with (or entertain) the people in your target audience.

2. Fact-checking

Some AI writing tools candidly disclose that their generative content “may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts.”

A skilled AIO writer will be able to fact-check and edit AI content.

For example, AI once told me that snow was a form of condensation. It was actually for the ‘smells like snow’ article discussed prior.

But my inner elementary school self knew something was off. So I challenged the ’bot and researched further to confirm my knowledge: snow is a form of precipitation, not condensation. 

My 3rd-grade science teacher would be proud.

3. Optimization for SEO & ranking

Before you get too lost in the story, an AIO writer can help ground your content in best practices for SEO.

I first identify my target keyword for an article, then write an SEO-optimized outline.

Generative AI writing tools are typically used to help fill in the blanks (or each section), while I weave in a story and brand tone to help create a cohesive article.

An AIO writer can help you create content with personality without compromising SEO. In fact, personality can help boost your SEO, as explained prior.

In Summary: AIO Writing

The creative human touch is undefeated, particularly when it comes to messaging.

Whether you’re creating long-form content for yourself or a small business, your messages must resonate with a fellow human.

The principles of marketing and sales psychology still apply. And content straight from AI is noticeably generic and lifeless.

The ’bots need our perspective, voice, and intellect—on the rare occasion the AI missteps and calls snow a form of condensation.

If you’re serious about using AI writing tools, you or an AIO writer should edit content produced by generative AI.

You’ll need that human oversight, knowledge, and SEO & writing expertise to show your brand or business in the best voice while ranking well in Search.

AIO writing helps you write faster and publish more. And remember. It’s a numbers game: write more, rank more. SEO principles still apply.

And while the tools are available, there’s still immense value and entertainment in long-form content made fresh from one’s mind.

AIO writing is such a new concept that my AI writing assistant had no opinion on AIO writers, so I wrote this article myself. 

How ironic.

But as a writer and educator, crafting this engaging and educational article is a form of creative expression that hopefully benefits you.

It’s still a win-win.

So don’t hesitate to step away from the AI for some of your content. Speak from the heart, but still keep it SEO-friendly. It’s possible.

I will put my AI writing assistant to work tomorrow as I organize my experience in pushing past procrastination to start a podcast—again, tying a story and adding color to otherwise mundane facts.

Stay tuned!

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