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Should You Use AI-Generated Images in Content Marketing?

A man sitting down using his laptop.

There’s a lot of chatter surrounding AI-generated content. From AI tools like ChatGPT’s ability to write conversational content to the latest topic of AI-produced images, technology is changing how marketers interact with customers. 

With AI-generated images, marketers can use text-to-image models to verbally request an image. AI creates a new image based on its own internet research for relevant pictures. 

While it’s a unique concept, like most advances in tech, there are a lot of questions about AI-generated images. Will artists soon be out of a job? Will artists whose images have been used to help AI create new images be paid fairly for their work? Or at all? And what about copyright laws?

In February 2022, the U.S. Copyright Office determined that under the current copyright laws, art generated by artificial intelligence has no owner because copyright protection requires human authorship

For marketers who are on the fence about using AI-generated images in content marketing, here are some pros and cons to consider before making your decision.

Pros of using AI-generated images

Less reliance on stock imagery

If you’ve ever browsed through a stock photo website for that perfect image to complement your text, you may have been frustrated by the limited choices. This is where AI-generated images shine.

By analyzing trends and patterns in existing art or creating new pieces using algorithms, marketers can rely on the technology to develop unique and innovative art that fits their specific needs. 

No more worries about using the same stock photo as your competition; AI helps ensure that your artwork is more unique based on your criteria and input.

No designer needed

There’s also something to be said about efficiency and cost. Without the need to hire an artist or photographer, model, studio, venue, or costumes and props, AI can drum up a specific image based on the parameters chosen by the marketer. 

In addition, the technology can sketch, color, and adjust everything from skin tones to backgrounds to provide a hyper-realistic image pulled only from data.

Accessible for all

Because AI-generated images can be developed using spoken words, even marketers with mobility impairments can turn their ideas into visual art.

Cons for using AI-generated images

Loss of the human connection

In a somewhat ironic twist, technology has helped people both stay connected and lose emotional connection. So, too, is the case with artificially created content. Marketers who value the emotional connection that comes from working with artists, graphic designers, and photographers may not like the robotic feel of requesting images.

Job deterioration for artists

Artists, too, worry that they’ll eventually be replaced with artificial intelligence. Beyond their own income, there are questions about our reliance on technology. If computers can create beautiful pieces of art, will society lose the value it has placed on artists’ talent and creativity?

Ethical roadblocks

There’s also the ethical concern about AI-generated art. Without a conscience, could computers be used to create images that are offensive or unethical? While a human artist might be willing to draw the line at requests for artwork that promotes harmful or illegal images, computers may not be able to recognize the detrimental effects of their creations. 

Major players in AI-generated imagery

Marketers who are eager to use AI-generated images may want to research the big platforms in the arena. Here are the top three:

  • Shutterstock: The well-known stock photo company has launched an AI-generated image service through its Creative Flow online design platform. Powered by OpenAI’s Dall-E 2, Shutterstock has entered into a partnership with Mega to provide image and other media libraries to develop Meta’s AI dataset and hone its algorithms. 
  • Midjourney: This self-funded, independent research lab has an AI program that creates images from textual descriptions. Marketers can use the free trial and get free credits for commercial use.
  • Stable Diffusion: This AI vendor offers a text-to-image model that’s getting a lot of attention in the industry. However, the brand is currently involved in a lawsuit with Getty Images, which claims its image library was used to train Stable Diffusion’s AI-image generator.

Tips for creating AI-generates images

As you venture into AI-generated images for your content marketing needs, consider these tips.

  1. Word order matters

Place the most important elements of your description first, leaving details at the end of the description. Start with the basics, such as “portrait of a cat in an astronaut suit on Mars,” and modify your description with keywords to see how they alter the image.

  1. Brush up on art styles and terms

Adding phrases such as “in the style of Andy Warhol” or “impressionism” can help images reflect a mood and tone that resembles recognizable art. The same is true for terms used in photography, such as “backlit” and “silhouette.”

  1. Choose the highest resolution

Low-res, pixelated images not only look unprofessional but they can’t be used in print media. If you plan to repurpose any of your AI-generated images into brochures, printed advertisements, or on a large scale, you’ll want to choose the highest resolution. 

Still too small? Upscale your image with third-party software like Photoshop or other online applications. While you’re at it, you can use photo editing software to clean up any imperfections in your image.

While there are still some logistics to work out, AI has the ability to elevate your content marketing. Take some time to play around with different creation platforms and see if artificial intelligence can help you reach your content marketing goals

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