This essay is based on a conversation with Samantha North, a blogger and content writer in Portugal. Her job and income have been verified by Insider. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
i have Two websites. I started Digital Émigré in September 2020 to provide resources to people who want to immigrate to European countries with the long-term goal of obtaining a second citizenship.
I got the idea when I decided to leave the UK for Portugal as the UK left the EU.
My other website is my personal website, samanthanorth.com, where I teach people how to make money blogging, search-engine optimization and LinkedIn, as well as other forms of digital marketing.
Last year, I earned $115,000 from my blog.
I use SEO-keyword tools
I have a background in journalism and content writing. Before I start using AII will always write my own blog posts.
I would start by reading articles online and researching the topic. I also draw on my personal experience of moving countries to think about what people might be looking for.
I would confirm this by using Semrush and Ahrefs, SEO-keyword research tools, to see how keywords perform.
These tools can tell you how much competition there is from other sites for a keyword topic.
Then, I’ll put together a blog outline. Once I have that, I’ll write different sections of the piece with the information I’ve researched.
I didn’t like the AI-generated stuff at first
I have always been a bad manual typist and started using AI for voice typing.
Last year, I started experimenting with Jasper, an AI tool for marketing content. I’ll input basic instructions, like “write a blog post” on a topic. At first it felt like magic. But then I got used to his style and tone.
AI is great for interrogating my own ideas. When I’m thinking of taking a new direction in the blog, I can ask the AI if it fits well with the existing content and it will give a very good and useful answer. But I can’t put AI stuff in my blog because it doesn’t feel like me. It is very mild.
I started using chatgpt This year, Jasper is focusing more on marketing content. I found it more flexible and versatile.
I subscribed to ChatGPT Plus, which is $20 per month.
I use AI to generate ideas
I found that ChatGPT could not replicate my keyword-research process. It can’t generate the exact keywords I need, with their volume and their level of competition – at least, I haven’t found any of them yet.
But it’s useful for “topic clustering” — generating ideas on or around a topic. For example, if I wanted to use the AI to generate ideas for a blog related to Portugal, I would create a prompt asking it to generate a list of semantically related keywords.
They might not be the exact keywords people are looking for. But seeing them generated helps open my mind to things I might not have considered. Then I can start plugging those ideas into a keyword-research tool to find one of the specific keywords people are searching for.
In the past few months, I have started using Claude 2.
I find the interface simpler than ChatGPT’s. The resulting text is exactly what I write. It is very clean and correct. I don’t need to interfere like chatgpt.
I believe it’s still really important to have personal experiences and opinions in posts. i think Google It supports experience, expertise, authority and reliability in its algorithms.
I use AI for blog outlines and subheadings, post titles and meta descriptions.
More recently, I’ve started using ChatGPT to create intros for blog posts. I ask, for example: “Introduce a post about X, Y, or Z with a catchy hook and use the copywriting framework PAS — which refers to the problem, action, solution.”
Once I’ve written a post, I’ll input it into ChatGPT and ask them to write a summary of the piece and some actionable steps for readers in the body of the article.
I trained ChatGPT to write in my voice
I trained ChatGPT on my previous blog post.
If there’s a section of a general blog, like the history of Portugal, I’ll get ChatGPT to generate it. Later, I’ll edit it and add external links to make sure the facts are correct.
If he’s creating a section full of flowers and adjectives, I ask him: “Write the text less flowery and more down-to-earth.” It usually produces something exactly as I want it.
I ask him to feed me three posts on my voice and describe the tone, voice and style.
Then I ask to create the text in that style. It may need some tweaking, but I’ve found it works well.
I still write many of my posts myself
Using AI has allowed me to create more content, but it still takes a lot of time to manually edit, regenerate and fact-check it.
I don’t let AI do everything for me. I don’t think content generated purely by AI is as valuable to the reader as AI content edited by a human. It lacks human skills and experience. I worry that the Internet may become saturated with generic, AI-generated content. But I use it judiciously because I believe it brings the best results.
If I’m writing something that requires a lot of personal expertise, or if I’m writing about something detailed or specific, I’ll still base it on my own research.
It’s about finding a balance between using these tools and interweaving human experience and data.