People-first content is back in the spotlight with the rise of ChatGPT and other AI writing tools. Is it possible for the two to coexist?

In a recent Google post entitled, “Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content,” the search giant goes over what it means by “people-first” and gives some key guidance on what it’s expecting from its Page One population. The whole thing is worth reading, but it’s the parts on automated tools that raised an eyebrow for me.

That’s partly because I’ve had fun with ChatGPT like everyone else. I’m currently using it to assist with client blog posts, write a children’s book series featuring our Police Department’s Police Cat, and even listen to it for career advice. But like many, I’m also incredibly untrusting of it. That’s because it isn’t perfect, it’s biased, it makes up facts, and it’s so far ahead of where it was even one year ago, that I’m concerned for how many human workers it might end up eventually displacing.

Despite all this, I see enormous potential for it when it comes to creating people-first content, and in this post, I’ll be discussing why. But first, a question:

What Is People-First Content?

People-first content is a concept centered around creating content that puts people and their experiences first. It means creating content that focuses on the individual, rather than an organization or brand and prioritizes telling stories that create meaningful connections between humans. People-first content is also highly accessible and inclusive, making sure everyone can benefit from it by using plain language and avoiding stereotypes and bias.

5 Elements People-First Content Must Have

People-first content is a clever buzzword in this day of Generative AI, but what does it mean? Look at all the top-rated articles for a given topic on Google, and you’ll find that they break down into five basic elements, simple to understand but difficult to master. In short, great people-first content must:

  1. Speak to the People, Not the Brand: People-first content must focus on engaging with a target audience first and foremost. This means being relatable, approachable, and understanding of their needs in order to build trust and relationships. It’s important to avoid corporate buzzwords and self-promotional language as much as possible in favor of connecting with people on a deeper level.
  2. Put Experience Before Any Other Considerations: When creating people-first content, it must be optimized for user experience. Creating content that caters to different reading styles, including skimmable text, visuals, or illustrations, can help make it easier for readers to engage with your material.
  3. Use Plain Language: Avoid using jargon or technical language when creating content as this can be difficult for many readers to understand. Using plain language also helps ensure any message is clear and concise without losing its intended meaning or purpose.
  4. Avoid Stereotypes and Bias: People-first content should strive to accurately represent real people in an unbiased way so that all readers feel included regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs. Be conscious of potential stereotypes that could occur unintentionally and seek to avoid them at all costs.
  5. Make Content Highly Accessible: People-first content should be designed with accessibility in mind so that everyone is able to get the most out of it regardless of any physical barriers they may have such as visual impairment or hearing loss. This includes providing closed captions for videos, transcriptions for podcasts, and making sure colors are in high contrast for those who are colorblind or have vision issues.

How AI Can Help

Now that we’ve covered the elements, let’s take a look at how AI can make each of these areas a reality. It’s worth noting that AI isn’t a push-button solution, but tools like ChatGPT 3.5 (and now 4) are destroying the fear of the blank screen and being able to enhance content to the max as long as you let your writer’s brain and lived experience take over. In short, AI can:

  1. Speak to the People, Not the Brand: AI writing tools can use natural language processing to analyze user data and assess their preferences in terms of a content type. AI-generated content can then be tailored accordingly for maximum relevancy and engagement.
  2. Put Experience Before Any Other Considerations: AI writing tools can make use of semantic analysis to determine the suitability of a piece of content for different user needs and contexts. This allows them to create tailored content that not only meets expectations but also exceeds them by providing an optimum experience for readers.
  3. Use Plain Language: AI-driven algorithms can identify even subtle differences between words and phrases, determining which ones are more fitting for a given context or audience. By analyzing grammar within large datasets, AI models can suggest better alternatives that are accurate yet easy to understand.
  4. Avoid Stereotypes and Bias: AI-based applications like tone analyzers can automatically detect any unconscious biases in content generated by humans, helping organizations ensure they produce non-discriminatory materials that reflect diverse cultures and experiences accurately.
  5. Make Content Highly Accessible: Thanks to Natural Language Generation (NLG) capabilities, AI writing tools have the ability to quickly adapt existing materials into various accessible formats such as Braille or plain text files without compromising on quality or accuracy. They are also capable of transforming visuals and videos into easily readable audio scripts via speech recognition technology in order to provide access for people with hearing impairments.

When AI Tools Fall Short

Unfortunately, AI tools can make it so easy to create, that everyone now thinks they can do it. But the vast majority won’t take the time to learn the nuances of the technology to produce quality results. I’m sure you’ve seen what I’m talking about on social media. The ads that claim to write “great blog posts in seconds”?


It still takes time to create the kind of people-first content Google wants. If you just expect to give ChatGPT one prompt and have it all done for you, then you’ll never be able to:

  1. Speak to the People, Not the Brand: AI-generated content can be overly promotional and lack the genuine human touch, which could make it come off as inauthentic or too corporate.
  2. Put Experience Before Any Other Considerations: AI writing tools might lack creativity when creating content, resulting in generic material that doesn’t hold the reader’s attention for very long.
  3. Use Plain Language: If not properly monitored, AI-generated materials may contain unsuitable language or spelling mistakes that could give readers a bad impression of your brand or product.
  4. Avoid Stereotypes and Bias: Depending on the quality of data fed into AI models, it may be possible for them to produce biased content with stereotypical messages or unfair representations of people from certain ethnic backgrounds or walks of life that could only serve to further alienate them from the conversation.
  5. Make Content Highly Accessible: Poorly designed accessibility features such as auto-generated closed captions and transcriptions can lead to inaccurate results that are difficult to understand and thus render them practically useless for those with disabilities who rely on them in order to access materials online.

Bottom Line: Proceed With Caution

AI writing tools are a great resource for creating content quickly and efficiently. However, it is important to remember that these tools still require human oversight to produce quality results. If you’re looking for help with crafting engaging content that speaks directly to your target audience while avoiding bias or stereotypes, then I am here to help.

For more than a decade, I’ve told my clients’ stories in a way that showcases their knowledge and experience. Let me know how I can do the same for you. Contact me today with any questions or to obtain a free quote.

[Image via OpenAI]

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