Most content leaders I know have tested AI extensively and realized:

– it can’t do the job of pro-level human writers or strategists. 

At best, AI only qualifies as a diligent, tireless assistant.

Case in point:

Being an assistant means it’ll help us:

  • flesh out ideas
  • rewrite and rephrase sentences
  • suggest alternative headlines, etc.

Any attempt to use it as an independent content creator or “thought leader” — instead of an aid — is often a recipe for shallow, inferior-quality content.

But I thought to talk to other content leaders to hear what they think and see how they plan to use AI for content going forward, including which tools they’re using.

Top AI content tools handpicked by 6 content leaders (and their use cases)

I want to say a BIG thank you to Brendan Hufford (Founder at Growth Sprints — a growth agency), Hannah Szabo (COO & Lead Copywriter at We Are Visual — a creative studio), Ryan Baum (Content Leader & Consultant), Francesca Furchtgott (Founder at ConiferCo — a content agency), and Taylor Scher (SEO Consultant for B2B SaaS) for contributing their expertise to this article. Y’all are amazing!

They’ll share their top AI use cases and AI content creation tools. And I’ll be sharing mine as well 😉

1) Leaps: Extract and manage SME insights to create expert-led content

You may have noticed already — Leaps is my baby 😀

It helps you simplify the process of collaborating with subject matter experts (SMEs) for content.

Leaps helps you:

  • interview SMEs in a very seamless way 
  • follow up with SMEs
  • track and manage SME collaborations in one place AND
  • use AI to create detailed content briefs and outlines, showing you and your writers exactly what to write — based on those SME insights.

Case in point: this article has five external SMEs in it.

I simply reached out to them on LinkedIn.

And once they agreed to contribute, I plugged their names and emails into Leaps, set my questions, clicked Send and Leaps did all the work from there.

First, it sent them an email with a link to my questions that looked something like this:

And my SMEs didn’t have to sign up. 

Just one click and they landed on my questions immediately.

 They could also respond via text or voice note

And when SMEs don’t respond immediately, Leaps sends them follow-up emails according to my specified follow-up frequency:

(In Leaps, you’re able to set follow-ups to go out every two days, three days, 1 week, or 2 weeks. So you can set them according to your preference).

The emails only stopped when they answered my questions or when the due date hit.

Once they shared their insights, Leaps put them all in one central location: 

Finally, Leaps used AI to automatically create a detailed, optimized content brief and outline for me — showing me exactly what to write based on my SMEs’ responses:

And no worries about the bare text, I could easily format the headings inside the tool:

Creating expert-led content (like this one you’re reading) is no longer a nice to have in content marketing. It’s the future of content. 

Besides it being my product, this is why Leaps is my top AI tool for content in 2024 :). 

I will be using it a whole lot to: 

  • interview SMEs and 
  • create expert-led content for this blog. 

Get a 21-day free trial of Leaps here.

2) analyze sales calls for topics relevant to buyers

Growth Sprints’ founder Brendan Hufford picked as his #1 AI content tool — and he shared why:

“ is my go-to because their WorkSpaces function does so much more than *just* content.

“For instance, imagine pulling every single sales and CS call into Slack with AI-generated summaries around the topics most pivotal to your business.

“Boom, just fixed sales and marketing alignment.

Brendan shared how helps you understand what your prospects care about, their jobs to be done around your product, and, ultimately what content to create for them.

First, analyzes your sales calls, summarizes them, and sends them to Slack:

(apologies for the blurry images here!)

Next, the summary gets broken down into six key data points — but for this article, I’ll focus on those most related to content.

The first data point is Interest Level Rating.

This shows the level of interest the caller has in your product and shares their specific challenges and what they like about it:

As a content marketer myself, I can already pick out strong content ideas from this example alone… just saying. also pulls out any competitors mentioned during the call:

And then it shares how your product fits into your customer’s existing tech stack:

Next, it outlines the next steps discussed during the call:

And finally, “you can pull those insights into content,” says Brendan, AND use the WorkFlows again to generate ideas and even full blogs, emails, and social media posts from what you hear in those calls.”

3) Penfriend: create SEO articles

We Are Visual’s Lead Copywriter & COO Hannah Szabo chose Penfriend as her #1 AI content creation tool — and she says:

“It’s the best AI tool I’ve seen that creates quality, not-cringy content for resource-strapped marketing teams.”

Here’s how it works 👇🏼

Enter your SEO keyword and click generate:

Next thing you’ll see is a list of titles you can pick from for SEO content:

Once you select your preferred title, the tool then creates an outline and then an article.

There are use cases where AI-generated content like this makes a lot of sense. 

Especially when creating short or long-form content that doesn’t require lots of industry knowledge or subject matter expertise, a tool like this could save so much time.

4) ChatGPT (of course): do research and create outlines

This article won’t be complete without everyone’s OG AI tool: ChatGPT.

For ConiferCo’s founder Francesca, ChatGPT remains her AI tool of choice.

“I’ll keep using ChatGPT as a sounding board and source of questions to help me shape new content. It’s easy to use!”

Francesca shared her steps for using ChatGPT:

“1. I share the topic, target audience, and rough direction of the long-form piece I have in mind.

“2. I ask ChatGPT the 10 primary questions that the target audience would have about the topic. 

“3. I take those questions and weave my answers into my long-form piece. I don’t ask ChatGPT to write anything for me!” 

SEO consultant Taylor Scher also picked ChatGPT — but for reviewing outlines

“I don’t think I have an AI tool of choice yet. 

“I would say that ChatGPT is probably still the one where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. 

“I find it’s great for reviewing outlines that I create to see if I’m missing any information, if I should flesh out any of my answers, and maybe if there’s anything I should include like images, statistics, or insights. 

I tried Taylor’s use case with ChatGPT and it turned out really well.

I entered an outline I did for an article on How To Do Content Marketing for Startups and then asked if I missed anything:

ChatGPT gave me a list of questions to expand my article:

It’s a pretty solid use case for creating content outlines for long-form content.

From this point, it’s just a matter of picking out what’s useful vs. what’s not from ChatGPT’s suggestions. 

5) Toolflow: use flexible AI templates to create content

Ryan Baum’s #1 AI tool for content is Toolflow.

It’s still in beta for now, but he shared how he intends to use it.

“I’m most bullish on the most flexible AI solutions like Toolflow.”

Ryan shares that most of the AI writing tools he’s tried are:

  • too templated, 
  • imposing their marketing POV on his process, and 
  • locking the prompts behind the scenes,

And this is a problem for him because he often needs to customize prompts based on his goals or situation per time:

“I need to be able to break it immediately, based on my approach to content, the elements I prioritize, and the experiments I run.”

Toolflow hits all the important things for Ryan because: 

  • It’s open for you to see and change the prompts. 
  • It builds out repeatable AI workflows — important if you want to reuse them, collaborate more easily, and run comparison tests.

Best practices for using AI content tools (by industry experts)

A few best practices for using AI content tools from content marketers:

1) Go beyond using AI for content generation

I’ve probably seen 1 million posts on LinkedIn and Twitter about using AI to generate content.

But in reality, some of the best AI use cases are outside content generation.

Hannah outlines a few of the main ones:

Hannah Szabo
COO & Lead Copywriter at We Are Visual

“Marketers have six main use cases for AI tools:

1. Generation 

2. Extraction (using AI to extract key ideas from a body of text or video)

3. Summarization

4. Rewriting

5. Classification (using AI to break a wall of text or video into sections)

6. Q&A (using AI as a research tool, asking it questions, and getting answers from its database)”

Hannah also provided some prompts for improving generative AI tool outputs. 

(And these are especially helpful if you’re using a chat-driven AI system like ChatGPT):

“1. What questions do you have for me? (After you’ve fed it some info and context)

2. Check your work. Have you fulfilled the conditions of the prompt?

3. Summarize what we’ve done so far. (After AI delivers an answer to your request)

4. Explain your thinking. (After AI delivers an answer to your request)

5. What have I forgotten? (After you’ve fed it some info and context)

6. What would you do differently? (After you’ve fed it some info and context)

7. Explain [topic] to me using an analogy from [something you like].”

2) Avoid “checkbox marketing” with AI

Brendan shared a concept we all know about how many marketers are using AI today, but I like how he described it:

Checkbox marketing — where marketers focus on ticking off tasks without deeply understanding their impact.

Like… using AI to do things without caring much about the quality of output.

Or doing it without a strong, specific “here’s why/how doing this will drive results for our marketing.”

Here’s how Brendan put it:

Brendan Hufford,
Founder at Growth Sprints

“With so many marketers stuck in “checkbox marketing,” they’re all using generative AI tools to check off more boxes. 

“They still aren’t creating any sort of content that resonates or will drive revenue or is remarkable in any way. 

“Generative AI has not made content cheaper because the same content that works well is still really expensive, and it should be. 

“But it has driven the cost of bullshit to zero.”

Instead of “checkbox marketing” with AI, find areas where AI can genuinely support your content marketing efforts.

And then find the AI tools that can fill the gap.

3) Flesh out main ideas with AI

“What’s the goal we’re trying to hit with our content?” 

That’s the question to ask before mapping out topics in your content calendar. 

And your answer should determine the topics you’ll be covering.

Once you figure topics out, you’ll then need to establish your points of view (POVs) on each of them.

Like… “What do we want to say about this topic, and that topic, etc.”

That’s where AI comes in. 

You can direct AI to flesh out your ideas and POVs.

It shouldn’t start the content creation process, but support it. 

I like how Francesca put it:

Francesca Furchtgott,
Founder at ConiferCo

“Many people recommend using AI to create a first draft. But let’s be honest: the first drafts are so generic

“Editing them to give them a clear point of view almost defeats the purpose because you’re tied to the outline that the AI started with. 

“You might as well start from scratch on your own. 

“I prefer to use generative AI to prompt questions that will help me flesh out long-form content ideas – the ones that are most time-consuming, difficult, and valuable to write.” 

5) Let’s not spam the internet with AI content

There’s the real danger of using AI to make the internet a hub for crappy content.

And it’s already happening.

Not too long ago, our industry got criticized by that Verge article about how SEOs have ruined the internet.

There’s an argument about whether or not this allegation is true.

But the truth is, we can’t deny the damage “blackhat SEOs” have done.

Taylor even says he’s seen tools that can publish 500 pages in one click! 🤯

Taylor Scher,
SEO Consultant for B2B SaaS

“I’ve seen tools that can put out at least 500 pages with the click of a button.

“No one’s really fact-checking this content and there’s no human element that’s involved with reviewing that content. 

“So, one, it’s not going to provide any usefulness to the people reading the content. 

“And two, it’s just going to spam the web. 

“The point of SEO is to create content that’s not copying what your competitors have already created. 

“And the thing with AI is that it’s using previous data to write this content for you. 

“So, rehashing what’s already out there. 

“And that’s not to say that AI can’t be good at creating content.” 

Taylor says he’s used AI to help him flesh out ideas with creating content which has helped him add in new insights and new sections he hadn’t thought about. 

He concludes by saying, “You need to have more of a human element involved rather than just relying on it entirely.”

5) Prioritize good thinking for good writing 

I’ve touched on this a bit above, but it’s worth repeating.

Before using AI in content creation/distribution/etc., think about:

  • goals you’re looking to hit with content
  • which topics will help achieve those goals
  • what your POVs are on those topics, and so on.

There’s a lot of good thinking that goes into good writing.

Ryan puts it like this: Ryan Baum (Content Leader & Consultant

Ryan Baum,
Content Leader & Consultant

“Good writing requires good thinking, and it’s a process. 

“Most people read to get new perspectives and insight; outsourcing writing to AI provides the opposite. 

“Even if you just use it to “get a first draft on the page,” I think something vital is lost. 

“I find the best ideas usually come in the messy middle between the blank page and the shitty first draft. 

“I’m not sure if I can edit to a second draft of comparable value without that context.”

6) Remember to use AI as an assistant

Victor Ijidola,
Co-founder, Leaps

I’ll re-iterate my #1 best practice for using AI in content:

While many of these tools create content with speed (think 20 articles in 1 hour), things like headlines and core points (subheadings) in our content should come from the POV of a subject matter expert (SME) — folks with real-life experience on the topic.

And then AI can come in to support your already formed ideas, flesh them out, and so on.

For instance, in writing this piece, I’ve used the Wordtune Chrome extension to rewrite several sentences for clarity.

But that’s AI helping me, not thinking for me.

AI shouldn’t be your thought leader. 

It’s a natural language processing tool, not a human with real-life experience.

Hence, it should only assist your content creation processes.

Next steps:

Now, you’ll need to decide:

  • which tools to use for different use cases
  • determine which ones really support your work, and
  • to what degree you want to use artificial intelligence (instead of a human’s)

In all, lead with human intelligence. Support that with AI. ✌🏼

Co-founder at Leaps | Website | Articles

Hi, I’m Victor 👋🏽 — co-founder @ Leaps — a tool that makes it super easy to run SME interviews for content at scale without calls & meetings.

This way, you're better able to create content that:

- truly connects with decision-makers
- shows thought leadership and builds brand
- moves deals forward, drives pipeline, and so on