How do you showcase genuine expertise in an age of AI?

The internet is being flooded with mediocre content produced by artificial intelligence software, making high-quality human content harder to spot. Fortunately, AI content has weaknesses that you can target to stand out in a crowd

Media transparency organisation NewsGuard says it has identified more than 770 websites that “operate with little to no human oversight and publish articles written largely or entirely by bots”… and is continuing to log new ones. Meanwhile, a survey conducted last year found that three-quarters of US marketers were using generative AI to produce content. The result? The internet is increasingly flooded with machine-produced material.

That wouldn’t be such a problem if that content was high-quality, but how can it be? Generative AI tools like ChatGPT produce content that reflects the articles already in their database. Although these systems have been trained on a wide range of material, trying to match new requests typically results in an average of what has been published before, with no new insights, context or data added.


That equals bland writing, devoid of new ideas. It can be a solid starting point if you are willing to spend time improving the AI’s work, adding personality and checking facts and sources, but most sites pumping out this material are not doing that. Their game is publishing as much as possible, as quickly as possible, to draw in traffic.

If you are reading this article, then you understand the importance of producing quality content that engages your audience, resonates with them and that they will clearly remember reading. Can this still work in an AI-dominated world? Yes, it can. In fact, it can be more successful, if you think hard about what you have to say. Here are five things to keep in mind to help you stand out amid the machine-generated dross.

1. Be specific
Quantitative market research shows that it’s possible to use a small sample of a population to predict the opinions of a larger group, such as how many will vote for a political party. However, qualitative market research understands that talking to a selection of those people will show that, even if their voting intentions are the same, they can be motivated by very different reasons.

Generative AI content is like quantitative market research: it can deliver a good enough overview of an issue by extrapolating from its available data. That leaves an opportunity for you to write the ‘qualitative’ articles – ones that examine specific experiences in detail, bringing experience and expertise to bear. For example, generative AI might write a solid overview of supply-chain optimisation, but it can’t discuss how you helped a customer fix an unusual supply-chain problem by tailoring your products to their needs. That story will help those in similar situations – and only you can tell it, so embrace the opportunity to showcase your originality.

2. Share expertise
The one-size-fits-all aspect of generative AI is its weakness, and a good opportunity for you to stand out. If the market research analogy doesn’t work for you, think of it as fast food to your fine dining, or an off-the-peg suit versus your bespoke tailoring. You can bring expert credentials to readers who are more discerning.

An AI-generated article can only ever reflect other people’s expertise. So talk to your company’s experts about what they know. For example, ask them about the easy answers people in your industry often reach for, but which usually turn out to be wrong. AI content will reproduce the easy answers, but you can showcase deep and genuine insights and knowledge, which will be vastly more valuable to readers.

3. Find data
People crave new information, and clues to what the future may bring. It’s useful to know that, say, customs delays were the main cause of supply-chain inefficiencies in 2022, but readers will immediately wonder whether that has changed since. Can you share current data? Do you have evidence of an emerging trend? That won’t be in the AI’s training data yet, so you can get there first.

Finding that data means thinking like your audience. Companies often take for granted their everyday knowledge. For them, it is familiar. Yet they don’t realise how much of what they know would surprise their customers. Perhaps everyone in your business knows that improperly packed shipments cause a certain percentage of customs delays – but do your customers? Has anyone written about it? If not, you have a story that generative AI can’t tell.

4. Find your audience
The businesses that fill their websites with AI content are adopting a ‘pay and spray’ model. That might get them noticed by search engines, but it runs the risk of overwhelming the audience – or bringing to their website people who aren’t part of the target audience. If your content is better targeted, then it won’t matter that you publish less often, because it will be reaching the people most important and valuable to you.

Success here means finding your audience. Perhaps your LinkedIn page has a good following, in which case share it there – and ask colleagues to do the same. If you have a monthly newsletter for customers, then include it in your next issue. Or create a PDF for the sales and marketing team to send to contacts or distribute at conferences. You could even distribute it through a paid content partnership with a publisher such as the Financial Times.

5. Inspire them to want to read it
Wherever you publish, you must inspire your audience to want to read it. There is a lot to see on LinkedIn, and the wider internet, so you need to give potential viewers a reason to click on your article. Typically, all they will see in their feed or in search engine results will be the headline and summary, so you must make those enticing. That doesn’t mean using cheap, attention-grabbing tricks that promise much, but don’t deliver. Instead, emphasise your originality and create headlines and summaries that highlight your unique data, expertise and stories.

There’s no doubt that it will be harder to stand out in a world of AI-generated content. That is why you’ll want to make sure you have the right expertise available. FirstWord, for example, is staffed by journalists with decades of experience in some of the world’s leading newsrooms. We’re no strangers to gaining attention in noisy environments – and doing it with skill.

But however you choose to tackle the problem, remember that where AI is weak, you are often strong. Set out to walk your own content path with confidence.