In a world with AI generated images and written content, are blogs even valid? The consensus among marketers in a select audience of high level marketers is that yes, there’s still room for blogs…for a while.

We all know that Google has long harvested content to put as the top search result. AI will only deepen this because AI searches content –  yours, mine, everyone’s, produces a document and Google finds this and indexes it. Right now, it’s demoting that content in favor of human generated (the algorithm can tell) but soon, with their own AI search, they’ll do the same thing  – find, harvest, and present. They’re already doing it, they’ll just do it better and reward it in search results.

This is more than just “I’ll use AI to develop my blog” – because if Google’s AI-powered search simply harvests the answer and shows the “results” to the searcher, your blog won’t be visible at all. The content might, but it’ll look like Google served up the answer, because it did. From your expertise.

If blogs aren’t valid, what are we replacing it with? Video! (and Audio)

Video is an area where AI can’t create content, and we’ve long seen people gravitating toward long and short form video. Our bet is that a combination of video, blog and images targeted toward what your customer wants to see, well-optimized on your product page or website will still garner customers (particularly for product-based sites with unique products), but for those that are just churning out business blogs? Not so much.

A well-optimized site with the right products (and services) will still garner search results – we see it every day on our own websites in both a competitive and a non-competitive product area.  If you sell stuff, you’re likely going to do OK because you’re not just driving people to words or images, but things they want to buy. You didn’t have a huge investment in blogging anyway.

For those of you who want to know where to put your content generation efforts? YouTube and other video content is really the place to be. I look at my own GenZ residents here and know that they’re on short and long form video (Shorts, Reels, regular videos) most of the time. They have no use for word-based platforms like Threads, X (Twitter) or blogs. They still love photos (Instagram.)

You do still need to create a blog post on your site, so Google can read it, but include the video embedded in it (from your YouTube channel.) Include the video summary, any helpful additional information and, of course, the embedded video.

Audio is another bright spot. Despite my GenZ kids watching YouTube videos narrated with the female computer bot voice, most of us want to hear actual people talking. Podcasts are a great way to develop or deepen a relationship with your audience – IF they like podcasts. If they do, (and you asked them about this), go for it! Podcasting is pretty simple to get started. We like the Spotify system – they have a web platform (Anchor/Spotify) and their popular Spotify App. Apple podcast syndication is harder (our blog post talks about that) but you can syndicate to almost any podcast platform once you’ve set it up correctly. Create once, publish everywhere. You can embed your podcast into your website on almost every web platform, including WordPress and SquareSpace / Commerce.

Do what your customers want!

And as I always say, you’re developing content to connect with your audience. If you sell products, focus on selling products and optimizing your product descriptions and pages. If you sell services, you’re going to have to try new ways of doing things that go beyond written blogs with nicely designed images. You’re going to have to tap into what your customers want to see to help them buy, and in many cases, that might be video – but it might also be blogs that you specifically direct your customers through via e-mail. Yes, email!

As a designer, a writer, and a marketer (though my primary business these days is web development and training), this does make me sad. The fresh creativity coming out of our design firms and agencies was really a delight. Now, we’re going to get watered-down, amalgamated written or designed content that is at best functional and at worst, the same as everyone else’s content. And we’ll get more and more of it because it’s no effort to create it. Where does this leave the world? Without art, writing and creativity, the world will be a lesser place. And even in commercial arts (graphic design, commercial writing), funny, creative, thought-provoking and informative content helps us learn professional skills that we need. I’m pushing back on being MORE creative, not less, in the face of amalgamated, harvested content.