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Unlocking Success in the AI Era: A Guide for Website Owners, Publishers, and Bloggers

Unlocking Success in the AI Era: A Guide for Website Owners, Publishers, and Bloggers

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The world was taken by storm when ChatGPT was released. This is no exaggeration: since launching in November 2022, ChatGPT became the fastest-growing consumer product of all time; more than TikTok, Instagram, or any other app, platform, or tool. It reached 100 million active users just a couple months after launching.

The world is still figuring out what this all means — it’s been called the “End of High School English,” providing decent-enough answers to virtually any question or query users type in. World leaders have been scrambling to make sense of it all, attempting to conjure security protocols and regulations based on a tool that has never existed like this before. 

In the digital content world, it caused an uproar at Google, who for the first time experienced the sudden meteoric rise of a competitor from seemingly out of nowhere, with talks of how AI might replace search engines entirely (which isn’t true, but the questions were asked). Hundreds of new AI tools, plug-ins, apps, and support tech are being released every week. The age of AI is here, and countless people are excited, thrilled, unsure, but ultimately ready to see this new age come to pass.

But there is one particular demographic that is watching this revolution happen closer than many others:

Publishers. Content creators. Website owners. Bloggers. Influencers. Anyone who relies on traffic to their platform to make a living.

There’s a lot that is still being figured out, and no one has all the answers yet. Still, there are legitimate causes for concern for people who have spent the last five, ten, even twenty years understanding how search engines work, optimizing their sites with SEO and traditional content strategies to maximize their ad revenue and other sources of online income. Will those matter anymore? Will ChatGPT replace your site? Has it already stolen all your best content? What can you do to stay relevant?

Although this may be a scary time for some, it’s ultimately a wonderful and exciting time for publishers and site owners, providing you with incredible opportunities and potential to completely change how you reach your audience, spread your message, and earn revenue. 

Ezoic CMO Tyler Bishop gave a short talk on this subject, which you can watch here:

Let’s break down what this all means, and what publishers like you need to know.

How Napster Almost Destroyed the Music Industry…But Ended Up Recreating It

To better make sense of the impact AI will have on society, we can learn a huge lesson from Napster.

For those of you who remember, Napster was a monumental invention for society in the late 1990s. Developed by Shawn Fanning, Napster was a pioneering file-sharing service that revolutionized the music industry by allowing users to share and download MP3 files directly from one another’s computers. Napster gained immense popularity, boasting millions of users and a vast library of music.

There was talk (and fear) that Napster would forever change — maybe even destroy — the music industry. Before, you had to buy physical versions of the music, like CDs and cassette tapes; Napster made it so that you could bypass the decades-long standard of buying physical copies of music and get music directly (and freely) on your computer. Artists wondered if they’d ever make money from their music again. Music producers began balking at paying artists money if their songs would just be downloaded for free online.

Of course, we all know what happened; in addition to the countless legal battles from major record labels who claimed copyright infringement, a court order forced Napster to shut down its centralized file-sharing network in 2001. Still, despite its controversial legacy, Napster paved the way for subsequent music streaming services and ignited discussions surrounding digital copyright and the evolution of the music industry. 

Look at the music industry now — thanks to online downloading and streaming music, there are more musicians than ever, earning more revenue than ever. Services like Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, and YouTube have made it possible for any artist with any-sized following to publicly create and sell their music without gatekeepers blocking the way. Napster wasn’t the end of the music industry, it was the beginning of how modern society could access music in ways that supremely benefited creators and fans alike.

There are lots of similarities between AI and Napster and their effect on society, which is especially true for publishers, content creators, and anyone reliant on the longstanding models of SEO, organic traffic, and search engine strategies. Is AI going to replace your site? Is the entire industry going to be flipped on its head? Will I ever make money again?

If Napster was the main disruptor of the music industry, AI has become the main disruptor of the content and online search industry. But like Napster, this story of generative AI is still being told, and the ultimate way AI will impact the world probably isn’t what we all think. Instead of worrying about the future of AI and online search, it’s best to understand how you can best position yourself and your online presence for the future. That’s why:

To Conquer Your Fear You Must Understand It First

The truth is, the world is changing, and the advent of AI, short form video, and the decoupling of audiences from traditional mediums will transform how society uses the internet and finds answers online.

In the past, content creators had to rely on enormous expertise, experience, and skillful content strategies to get successful. The most popular videos were high-production, massive undertakings involving professional public speakers, a camera crew, a studio, and tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, software, and resources. Even setting up a website required no small amount of technical knowledge of coding, programming, and graphic design — not to mention having writing skills to attract an audience.

AI has changed all that, as well as the recent surge of popularity in short form video and other more casual, info-centric content mediums. AI can process and write thousands of words of content before you can take a sip of your morning coffee. It can generate high-quality videos using only your keyboard, almost instantly. And there’s an audience for that, too — AI tools means more content output, which means audiences will have virtually countless new sources of information, entertainment, and answers every time they log in online.

This is great news for publishers.

Why? Because this means anyone, with any sized audience, can instantly create timely, high-quality content with the use of AI tools. Large media companies and corporations with million-dollar studios and video production teams are becoming less important, while smaller creators can deliver great content that audiences love with only a handful of AI tools. 

There are fewer gatekeepers than ever. Budget size, team size, and resource pools can be the smallest ever while still allowing creators to make timely, sought-after content. You can make more content, faster, with the least work ever. Since content will be the easiest part of the process, the publishers that separate themselves from the pack are the ones with the most creativity, skill, and expertise with AI tools as they navigate this new world.

You don’t need to be afraid — chaos is a ladder, as the old saying goes. While the online world of digital publishing is being remade, use this tumultuous time to learn the skills you need to excel in this new age of content.

See, traditional strategies are becoming less and less viable. Decades-old SEO strategies of implementing consistent metadescriptions or creating high-level site schemas might not be as important as before. If tens of millions of users become accustomed to getting a single-line answer to their question, what will they think of a 5,000 word article covering every aspect of their question, 99% of which doesn’t directly answer their specific query? Professional SEO experts have lauded the importance of these reliable SEO strategies, but they may be becoming less viable and more obsolete.

The same goes for single-medium content. Audiences are using more tools and interacting with content in more ways, and personalization is becoming more important than ever. Site owners and content creators that move towards, not away from personalized content will be more set up for success. 

This means using AI tools to recreate your initial content in a variety of ways, to serve your diverse audience’s preferred methods of content consumption. Maybe some of them solely watch short form videos on platforms like TikTok or Instagram. Others may prefer to read longform text-based articles while they sip their coffee in the morning. Others might want longer video essays as a deep dive on the topic.

In the past, publishers could only choose so many platforms and content mediums; they just didn’t have enough bandwidth for every form of content. And it is aligned with the prevailing logic of content strategies; don’t try to be everything for everyone, find your niche and serve your specific communities.

Now, users are on more social media platforms than ever, and are accustomed to hyper-specific forms of content made just for them. Before AI, publishers would either have to hire on more help to serve their diverse audience, or just cut their losses and forgo serving their broad community due to lack of resources. Fortunately, AI changes all that and can do much of the work for you. In many cases, you don’t even need to copy/paste your work; AI can automate the entire process and recreate your initial content into audio, video, and text-based forms almost instantly. This means you can reach more people, in more ways, spreading your message farther than its ever been able to.

AI can do plenty more, if you want it to.

Here’s How AI Can Help Your Site, Today

First, it can help you turn ideas into reality. One of the most frustrating aspects of content creation is the inability to bring all our ideas to fruition. Often, time constraints, competing priorities, and limited resources hinder our ability to execute these ideas. With AI, we now have a powerful ally that can assist in executing those neglected ideas. By leveraging AI-powered tools, content creators can automate various tasks, streamline processes, and transform their ideas into tangible content pieces more efficiently than ever before.

AI can also amplify your content discoverability and engagement. Creating remarkable content is not enough if it remains hidden in the vast expanse of the internet. AI can help address this issue by optimizing content for search engines and improving its discoverability. Through sophisticated algorithms and machine learning, AI tools can analyze keywords, suggest relevant topics, and provide data-driven insights to enhance SEO strategies. By utilizing AI, content creators can save valuable time that would have been spent on trial-and-error approaches and instead focus on producing engaging and high-quality content that resonates with their target audience.

Every content creator has faced moments of uncertainty due to knowledge gaps or limited access to resources. AI steps in as an invaluable resource, enabling creators to account for these deficiencies. AI-powered tools can provide instant access to vast databases of information, enabling content creators to research, fact-check, and enrich their content with accurate and relevant data. Additionally, AI can generate content outlines, offer writing suggestions, and even automate content creation for certain types of content. This empowers creators to produce comprehensive, well-informed, and engaging content, regardless of their initial expertise or resource constraints.

Lastly simply levels the playing field, meaning any publisher or content creator has the means to create content that could realistically reach the masses in ways never before possible. Traditionally, smaller content creators often find themselves competing against larger platforms and conglomerates with extensive resources and established audiences. However, AI serves as a powerful weapon that levels the playing field. By leveraging AI-powered analytics, content creators can gain valuable insights into audience preferences, behavior, and engagement patterns. This knowledge empowers them to tailor their content strategy, optimize their reach, and create personalized experiences that resonate with their target audience. AI levels the playing field by placing the advantage with those who are qualified and innovative, providing them with the tools needed to compete effectively against dominant industry players.

Quality Vs. Value in the Age of Short Form Video

In the past, there were a small number of enormous entities creating the vast majority of content for the masses: movie studios, news networks, record labels, and entertainment companies were all the top dogs in their fields, and had virtually no competitors.

This is what journalist and Atlantic staff writer Derek Thompson called mass production + broadcast in his recent podcast interview, where he discussed what 21st century personalization really means. 

Then time passed, and the media got a bit more specific (which Thompson referred to as mass production + narrowcast). Social media and content channels were implementing algorithms that were giving each user a specific experience, based on their interests. Suddenly, two people who Google’d “how to train your dog” could get completely different results, based on their historical data and preference.

Now, we’re entering the age of what Thompson calls individual production + narrowcast, where tools like AI can create extremely specific content just for you — this could mean video games, music, art, movies, books, content, all made just for you.

Can you imagine AI songs written just for you? Can you imagine video games that change in response to individualized user requests so that in effect no one is playing the exact same game…we live in a world of fragmentation…How far can AI take that, where people can individuate their consumption of media so much that everyone is consuming their own personalized thing on their own narrowcast?” Thompson explained.

We don’t need massive entities to create mass-produced content for us anymore. When musical artist Drake, the most-streamed musical artist in the world, won his millionth Grammy award, he told the audience and his countless followers that if they wanted to succeed as a musical artist, they didn’t need a Grammy:

If you have people who are singing your songs word for word, if you’re a hero in your hometown, if there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and the snow, spending hard earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here,” pointing to his trophy. “You already won.” 

He was promptly cut off by the very gatekeepers eager to retain power and prestige in the eyes of fans who were beginning to understand they didn’t need the Grammys anymore:

Short form video has provided countless content creators the ability to bypass gatekeepers — of skill (on-camera presence), knowledge (video creation expertise), and equipment barriers (expensive studio-quality resources) — and make their own popular videos themselves with a simple smartphone, or even from an old dusty laptop with no camera at all. AI has given publishers the ability to enter this surging tide of popular content with the lowest barrier of entry ever.

Nowadays, specific information is superior to production quality. Swaths of beginner content creators have used the most basic tools (a smartphone, a webcam) to create simple how-to videos and gain audiences of millions. Faster, more specific information has become more important than highly polished yet too-broad media, which is great news for everyone except the big media companies who have enjoyed unrivaled success for decades.

AI can help you with all this, from providing content suggestions to automating countless backend tasks for you so that you can create more specific content, much faster, and spread it to more places, all of which gives you more data to use to fine-tune your approach. 

In this era of rapid change and uncertainty in the online landscape, the triumph and success of publishers lie with the early adopters and those who embrace flexibility. By being proactive and open to new ideas, early adopters gain a competitive edge by swiftly incorporating these new strategies and processes into their work. 

Being flexible allows publishers to adapt swiftly to the shifting reality of an AI-filled internet, enabling them to navigate unforeseen challenges and seize new possibilities that we haven’t even considered yet. In this dynamic landscape, the ability to embrace change and uncertainty becomes a catalyst for triumph and success, empowering individuals to thrive amidst constant evolution.

How Do I Get Started? What Do I Do Now?

It’s time for action, but…where do you start? What should you do first? What’s the plan?

That’s where Ezoic is stepping in, and we want to help you get started on the right track to have the most success possible for your site as soon as possible.

Right now, countless publishers are fretting over very real issues: how do you master this emerging tech? What’s an “AI agent,” and how do you get one? How can you make your content more available, but make sure it’s not getting stolen? How do you actually use AI in your WordPress site? What do you do?? 

There’s an easy answer: Ezoic.

Ezoic is constantly launching new resources for publishers looking to understand and incorporate AI into their business. We’ll have a wealth of trainings, discourses, and how-to guides on everything Ezoic publishers need to be successful in this new online landscape, such as:

Use AI to Speed-Up What You Do Already, or Wish You Had Time For…

  • Have AI help you do research
  • Research and improve old content
  • Write and fix-up articles that rank, but rank poorly
  • Produce lots of content, and then only keep the winners

Try new things like producing video, audio, and more image-rich content…

  • Add diagrams and charts — add unique images and better alt tags
  • Bring-in citations or add research for more credibility (EAT)
  • Turn articles into short-form videos or begin making videos using only your keyboard
  • Harness new channels with your new formats
  • Build brilliant thumbnails like a pro
  • Let AI do the social media

Make Your Content Future-Ready…

  • Use new technologies to mark-up and add hidden or modular parts to your content
  • Make AI-agent friendly sites that are plug-n-play with powerful new auto-marketing agents
  • Optimize for everything all-at-one, instantly… super fast…

We’ll be constantly adding new materials, trainings, and resources to this tool, led by Ezoic CMO Tyler Bishop as he helps publishers learn how to master AI to make their site as successful as possible. 

In Conclusion

We find ourselves in the midst of an AI revolution that is reshaping the digital content landscape. While there is still much to be learned and understood, website owners, publishers, and bloggers have an incredible opportunity to leverage AI tools and embrace the changes brought forth by this new era.

Just as Napster disrupted the music industry but ultimately transformed it into something amazing, AI is poised to revolutionize the content and online search industry. Rather than fearing the future, it is crucial for publishers to understand how they can adapt and position themselves for success.

Traditional strategies are becoming less viable, and personalized content is gaining prominence. AI tools allow content creators to reach their audience through a variety of mediums and cater to individual preferences. With AI as a powerful ally, ideas can be turned into reality, content discoverability and engagement can be amplified, and knowledge gaps can be bridged.

Furthermore, AI levels the playing field, enabling publishers and content creators of all sizes to compete effectively and create content that resonates with their target audience. Quality is being redefined in the age of short-form video, with specific information taking precedence over production value.

Embracing AI and its capabilities will open doors to new opportunities, enabling publishers to connect with their audience in unprecedented ways and redefine how they deliver their message and generate revenue.

As we navigate this transformative period, it is essential for website owners, publishers, and bloggers to embrace the power of AI, adapt their strategies, and stay ahead of the curve. By doing so, they can unlock the full potential of the AI era and thrive in this new landscape of digital content creation.

Anthony Moore is a writer, speaker, and coach. He's helped hundreds of entrepreneurs create successful businesses, and has gained over 7 million views for his work on entrepreneurship, personal growth, and productivity.