In the title sequence of The Powerpuff Girls, Professor Utonium adds sugar, spice, and everything nice to create the perfect little girls.
When Professor adds ‘Chemical X’ to his formula, he creates the Powerpuff Girls — superheroes who can fly, beam lasers, and fight criminals.
Without Chemical X, the girls would’ve been regular kindergartners unable to fight crime in Townsville.
There’s a strong parallel between the Powerpuff Girls and content marketing. Many marketers see content as stringing together the right words in the right order to gain views and conversions.
They’re disappointed when their content doesn’t perform well. This is because if your idea of content marketing is writing keyword-dense articles, you’re attempting to create a “Powerpuff” article using the bare minimum ingredients.
The missing ingredient in your articles — your Chemical X — is a point of view. This can be your perspective (as part of thought leadership) or crowdsourced (drawn from data). Having an opinion is your edge.
Other businesses don’t express an opinion because they’d have to stand by it. Since nobody wants to offend or alienate anyone, they choose the path of least resistance.
They skim the top search results and rehash those points into a Frankenstein-esque article. The result is tired, undifferentiated content that leads to content amnesia.
AI makes this worse.
AI generates costless content
Content has always been costly. The biggest bottlenecks were production and distribution. You wrote the right content for the right people to drive brand awareness and conversions.
Limited resources meant limited content. You had to prioritize your topics and give each piece your best effort. Google punished thin content that lacked credibility, and social media platforms throttled distribution for non-engaging content.
Then AI writing tools arrived.
ChatGPT — a free app — can generate thousands of words on any topic in seconds. It pulls information from millions of articles in its training data to compile a halfway decent (read: average) article on your topic.
This approach lowers the cost of content but removes your business advantage. Your peers have access to ChatGPT, too.
Secondly, ChatGPT has no conscience or opinion. It says stuff, sure, but it doesn’t care what it says and can’t be held accountable.
This matters because, beyond form and function, you choose a business for its values. Expressing values, perspectives, and opinions is costly, which makes them more valuable.
Tesla thinks self-driving cars are the future. Apple values good UX above all. Planned Parenthood believes in the right to choose. These are all expensive opinions that attract adherents and attackers.
ChatGPT doesn’t care what you drive, what device you use, or whether you give birth. Its words carry no weight.
Opinions are your edge
What you think (your point of view) and what others think (survey data) set you apart from every other company generating content today. This is doubly true in the face of competitors relying on AI writing tools to cut costs.
Content is meant to be costly — if not financially, then socially. Costless content isn’t valuable enough to attract a community. It carries no heft.
This is how SparkToro, Refine Labs, and Andy Raskin have built their brands. They have strong opinions on their fields (in this case, marketing), and have drawn their lines in the sand. You know exactly what they stand for.
You can find examples of opinionated leaders in any field — from sales and cybersecurity to advertising and engineering.
When people talk about ideas and projects in these spaces, they reference the best-known names — often industry leaders with strong opinions.
By all means, use AI writing tools to work faster. Compile data, generate outlines, and write first drafts with them.
But if you want to stand out, you must have strong opinions, weakly held. Adding Chemical X — your point of view — helps you create potent content.