How Association Content Creators Can Unleash AI’s Potential

By Sarah Sain, CAE • June 1, 2023

It’s not an understatement to say that artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the way content is created, consumed, and shared.  

From automating content creation to enhancing content personalization, AI has emerged as an indispensable tool for content creators seeking to enhance their productivity, engagement, and impact. However, it’s a tool that also has limitations, so understanding what AI can and cannot do – or perhaps more accurately what your association is willing or unwilling to allow it to do for you – is an important distinction.  

Let’s explore what association content creators need to know to leverage the power of AI effectively and ethically. 

How Generative AI Works 

Most AI tools gaining popularity in recent months are generative AI applications. Generative AI is a category of AI models and techniques that are designed to generate new content that mimics or resembles human-created content. 

One of the more well known and widely used tools is ChatGPT, a large language model created by OpenAI and launched for free to the public in November 2022. Users can ask ChatGPT a question or pose a prompt. The technology will respond, and then users are able to have a “conversation” with the technology by asking for clarifications, corrections or revisions to the content provided. ChatGPT can generate ideas, conduct research, and provide insights that can help associations create compelling and engaging content in a fraction of the time. 

Similar models utilize generative AI technology to create images and video, translate text or audio, simplify and repurpose technical content, and personalize communications, to name just a few of the practical uses. 

A Virtual Personal Assistant 

With over a third (35.7%) of associations saying that their being understaffed and under-resourced is a barrier to member engagement, AI tools can help increase productivity and simplify tasks that will allow association content creators to redirect their time and energy toward work and projects that drive strategy. 

Think of these tools as your own virtual personal assistant. Some of the entry-level ways content creators could use generative AI to enhance their work include: 

  • Generating a list of topics for blog posts 
  • Creating questions for a member Q&A 
  • Writing social media posts 
  • Creating email templates 
  • Outlining education session proposals or agendas 
  • Conducting research or gathering data on a topic 
  • Preparing an argument for/against new legislation or regulation 
  • Enhancing accessibility features 

By utilizing AI technology to jump start idea generation, speed up basic research and create first drafts of content in a variety of formats, association content creators can take advantage of the time saved to focus on deeper learning, creative thinking and community building. 

Serious Ethical Concerns and Limitations 

Upon logging into ChatGPT, the site lists the technology’s primary limitations as follows: 

  • May occasionally generate incorrect information 
  • May occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content 
  • Limited knowledge of world and events after 2021 

These drawbacks are to be taken seriously but shouldn’t inhibit associations looking to take advantage of the real benefits that generative AI can provide. Instead, set guidelines around how your writers and content contributors can use new and still-to-be-developed AI tools that clearly outlined acceptable use cases, and then revisit your policies as the technology evolves. By navigating these ethical concerns and limitations with transparency, your association can act responsibly by putting safeguards in place that protect your association. 

For example, content created using AI should be edited and proofread for factual accuracy, particularly if data or sources are cited, tone and tenor should be reviewed for bias or misinformation, and recommendations should be scrutinized to ensure it aligns with your association’s mission, vision and values statements. 

What’s Next for AI? 

It’s hard to predict the future of AI with any certainty. It’s been described in recent months as everything from “transformational” and “inevitable” to an “extinction risk.”

It’s a technology that is quickly evolving, and both its theoretical and practical uses are being discovered every day as new models are introduced to the market. For association content creators who are open to the potential of how AI can make creative work more efficient, there’s a real opportunity to use the technology to drive engagement effectively and responsibly. 

The future of content creation lies at the intersection of human imagination and AI-enabled innovation, where creativity and technology converge to create a more connected and engaging experience for your association’s members. 

Editor’s Note: Supporting information supplied through ChatGPT. 

About The Author

Sarah Sain, CAE is vice president of content services for Naylor Association Solutions. She is responsible for the overall strategy, leadership and development of Naylor’s content and design teams. Reach her at [email protected].