When used as what it is–a tool–AI can be a powerful member of your business strategy. It’s not a replacement or a magic wand (wouldn't that be cool?), but it’s definitely an ally that can help you save precious money and time, something those of us in small teams particularly appreciate.
As with any tool, it helps to know how to wield AI to make the most out of it. Although there is nothing like practice, a pointer or two from an experienced sufferer (that’ll be me for today) can’t hurt. So here is a list of the best AI tools out there, designed to help you squeeze lots of value from the beautiful technology available to us right now.
AI for content writing
Blank page syndrome haunts the best of us, and there is nothing worse thank knowing exactly what you’d like to say, yet not be able to just write it; so you close the untitled draft, and promise to come back again tomorrow.
AI can help. And as far as writing tools go, the list does go on.
Often the first one to come to mind, and a recurrent fan favorite due to its ease of use, Grammarly helps users write cleaner content through writing suggestions, spelling, and punctuation corrections on your text. Is great at spotting typos on an email–or a blog–and keeping a consistent tone through your writing.
It’s also introduced a number of AI powered tools recently, including a desktop app designed for writing, and an upcoming AI writing generator under the name of GrammarlyGO.
But as far as AI writing generators are concerned, the internet has its fill of those. Creaitor.ai is one of those copy generators that truly tries to cover all bases. From website copy to blogs, song lyrics, and even love letters, all the way to marketing content such as social media copy and Google Ads—the list goes on.
Creaitor's interface is easy to use and intuitive enough, and as with most AIs available, the output you get is only as good as the input you give. Specificity yields the best results, and though there’s truly many shiny things you can do, I see it best as a tool to use with a specific goal in mind. Say, writing an ad with certain keywords, or laying out a few copy ideas to pick and choose a final one.
Here is me dorking around and asking Creaitor to come up with a recipe based on some basic ingredients. I was hoping for pancakes, and that’s exactly what I got, so 10/10 on that one. (Though it's a rather simple request, so definitely amp up the expectations for anything relating your business' content.)
Designed primarily as a tool for writers, Sudowrite takes out the fad and gives you a perfectly neat space to focus on what you need to do: write. The AI is comprehensive and responds well to instructions (e.g. a short script for a movie based on four characters looking for x, y, and z), plus, it allows you to edit your drafts and pick from the best parts of each version, which is nicer than going back and forth on different drafts and different docs (been there, done that).
Sudowrite is ideal for bloggers. It’s perfect for bouncing ideas, outlining articles, and brainstorming or rewriting content. It’s impossibly simple to use, and offers very basic–and therefore very effective–options for the writers in your team.
None of the tools above will write groundbreaking copy in your stead (phew!), but they will help you get through blank-page syndrome, and can overall help you become a more effective writer; Especially if you are juggling content creation alongside the many other responsibilities of running a business, or if you are just getting started with website copywriting, or blogging, and need a little push to feel more confident.
AI for design
To my chagrin, I'll admit I am not the most skilled designer, and often rely on my teammates skills for visual assets, which isn't always ideal when you have limited capacity. Though definitely a hard-skill I need to work on, it's relieving to know there are currently tools out there that can help me now.
I’m a fan of tools that do one thing, and do that one thing well. Colormind is one of them. It gives you a neat color palette in seconds using colors taken from a picture, or a hex-code. It prompts out user cases and several templates to use, and it's overall a solid tool if you are looking to harmonize (or create) brand elements.
A hub for everything visual, Runway offers AI generated video and imagery, as well as advanced editing tools for creators. It's packed with tools, including background noise reduction, subtitle generation, and green screen backgrounds for videos; plus color changes, blur, and filters for your images.
You can also “train” your AI model and customize designs to look exactly how you want them; as it goes with AI, the more you use it, the more it learns.
I’m not running to have this one framed or anything. But for a vague prompt of <<cats eating tomatoes>> I’ll admit it’s got its charm (maybe don't look at it too closely, though).
With its latest round of updates comes Canva Create, a new branding hub with text to image, advanced picture editing, and AI writing and design, where–in a step further from their traditional approach–you can now simply tell Canva what you’re looking to create, and let the engine build the templates for you. Or work from an image, as I did below.
Canva has paved the way as an accessible design tool for the every-day user; bulk creation features save tons of time, adding your branding elements simplifies the content creation process, and being able to post (or schedule) straight from the app makes social media management a breeze. Though its AI features are still in beta, they are already a valuable addition to the Canva toolshed, and one certainly worth keeping an eye on.
As far as design is concerned, AI is making strides every day, and in the meantime, for the designers out there, there are plenty of tools and extensions available to make their current workload a tad lighter.
AI for marketing
We are not yet at the stage where an AI engine can create and run a media strategy for us—but we are getting close.
What a time to be alive, when there is a little AI engine that can seamlessly help us optimize advertising dollars across the web.
That’s exactly what Albert does! It works across all major social media and search platforms (Meta, Youtube Google Ads, the lot), and helps test and tweak campaigns to optimize your campaign money; It scouts for advertising blind spots and automatically redirects the target to make the most out of the content, time, and money you’ve predetermined.
Reporting is comprehensive and data-rich, with top insights prioritized to help you and your team make better decisions, faster.
Maybe I have a thing for writers, maybe I recognize how important good content is, and how critical it is to have it be SEO optimized if you want to see its performance soar. Maybe I’ve just been using the Surfer SEO tools for a while, and happen to enjoy them quite a bit. Who knows.
The fact is that few tools offer such an optimized experience as Surfer does. From SEO friendly outlines, the handy keyword finder, all the way to the content editor, it really is the home for SEO optimization.
The sweetest part? Most of it happens automatically!
Though its text recommendations can at times be wonky-looking, they’re not meant to be a final product, but a guide to help your copy be as search engine friendly as it can be, bringing out relevant keywords by region, industry, and even demographic.
The <<all-in-one>> of content marketing, ready to run campaigns, optimize your SEO, run your social media calendar, and track everything with its analytics solution. The bulk of its value lives in the SEO solutions, going beyond keywords search and ranks, the tool-shed includes backlink building solutions, domain audits, and in-depth SEO writing support powered by AI.
It’s also got competent advertising and marketing features, especially for things like PPC advertising, and competitive research.
AI for sales
Sales enhanced AI is one of those game changers that gives you back the one thing you can’t have more of: time.
More time to invest in the good leads, less time lost in the unqualified ones, and less time spent adding contacts, and following up, and adding meeting notes for the next person to find, and updating that mailing address, and... you get it.
Coming from sales myself, I can’t tell you how much I wish we’d had at least a few of these technologies available way back when.
Best known as a one-pit-stop CRM for small businesses, HubSpot has recently introduced a couple of new AI enhanced features, and our eyes are particularly pointed to its ChatSpot.ai, designed to make the HubSpot experience a seamless one.
ChatSpot can pull HubSpot data for quick reference, draft follow-up emails, add contacts to your leads lists, and even prospect new sales opportunities for you. Combined with other HubSpot AI resources (such as data cleansing and import), it truly takes the power of a good CRM to a new level.
Packed with integrations (Marketo, LinkedIn, Outreach, Salesloft, Demandbase…) People.ai is an optimizer to the sales cycle, needling its AI superpowers into every step of the pipeline, guaranteeing salespeople make the most out of every qualified lead, and, perhaps more importantly, leaving out the noise of unqualified prospects.
One of the most competent chatbot solutions out there, Drift’s AI is able to qualify leads, answer customer questions, and automatically merge to the sales pipeline, all in multiple languages!
It integrates with Salesforce, Marketo, Salesloft, Fullstory, HubSpot, MS Dynamics and GSuite, to name a few.
Drift also helps you accelerate the buyer journey and connect qualified buyers to your sales team, monitoring every step of the way to optimize the sales process and increase productivity.
AI is only going to get smarter from here, and the plethora of tools flooding the market today are only a small fraction of what we can expect to see in 2023 (and beyond).
Personally, I’m excited to continue trying the technologies that simplify every-day tasks, and give us more time for big-picture stuff (exciting product updates! writing thought-leadership pieces! stamping Umso’s marketing all over TimesSquare!), and though most of these tools are still in early stages, there is plenty of value to be reaped from them as they are, and only more to look forward to.
What AI developments are you looking forward to? Are you using ChatGPT4, or any of its variants into your strategy? Let us know!