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My last two emails
Great. Just as I decided not to publish anything on the blog in March, here comes the Koala Promotion, and I’m getting so many questions that I have to publish anyway.
I’ve had so many questions come in in emails and the comments section here. Some of them I’ve already answered in previous emails, and people were asking if I could send them those.
So, to save myself time, I’m going to post pieces of the last two emails in this post. The links to existing articles that were shared exclusively with the list, as well as some inside information about how we run our operations, were removed from this post. You are welcome to join the mailing list to get access to the full texts in the future.
Note: These are raw emails, including my grammar errors and what not. I don’t have time to edit these today, sorry. In fact, today was supposed to be a day off for me, but instead, I’m spent it recording tutorials for our AI Wranglers.
Another Note: Our COO was concerned about some of the information that I shared in the original emails, so she reviewed it and made some changes.
She has also helped me immensely with putting together our AI Wranglers, so it’s a good opportunity to give a shoutout and another recommendation to Sheba Consulting’s Fractional COO services! If you’re serious about scaling, check them out.
I won’t be sharing the full versions with people who missed them. Those links and additional details are information I prefer not to post on the blog. Unfortunately, I really don’t have the time to send old emails to specific people – sorry!
The Big Transition to AI: Insights and Examples (3/22/23)
What a crazy week this has been so far. Especially yesterday.
We’ve decided to take the plunge and switch our operation to AHA (AI Human-Assisted) Content.
As I explained in previous emails, this means training our team members to create AI content in a way that generates the best possible end result for users.
The system that we’re going to use at this point is KoalaWriter. We will train our writers to use it properly and I will be sharing some key points of that training here.
As promised, I will also share a couple of live examples of articles that I created using Koala.
Before I go into all that. I wanted to thank those of you who already purchased a Koala lifetime deal using my affiliate code. The 30% discount coupon is still available and should remain active until Monday, the 27th.
Connor let me know that after that date, the lifetime deal is going away for good, and so will any discounts.
Click here for the LifeTime Deal and use coupon code YEYS to get the discount
I received a bunch of questions about Koala and about our transition to using AI content.
If I have time, I will incorporate them in today’s email. Otherwise, expect another email in a couple of days with the Q&A.
A major transition
Had I been working solo, or with just a couple of writers, things would have been so much easier.
But a larger organization requires a far more complex process. And so, my yesterday was comprised of long Zoom calls with various team members, as we planned the transition process.
We plan on letting the writers know that very soon, we will no longer require writing services. Instead, we invite them to join us as AI Wranglers.
Those who are interested will be asked to apply, share their current experience working with AI tools and why they think they could be a good fit for the job.
Remember, these are people that we already know and trust. They have signed consulting agreements, including NDA’s, are on-boarded on Clickup , and know our company’s goals and work style.
We will provide a short training for those we feel would be a good fit. They will use their free Koala trial accounts to produce a couple of articles.
We will then evaluate the results and decide who will become our new AI Wranglers.
We will also re-train our editors because editing will still be a part of our workflow. We want to make sure each and every article adheres to our standards. In fact, I expect the content to be better than ever before.
We’re also recruiting professionals in the various niches who will review the articles for us to make sure they’re accurate and provide good information.
We are already doing that on one site, and I can tell you that our resident expert is pleased with the final versions of our Koala articles.
Did I mention this was a LOT of work?
Our Key guidelines for using Koala
This part is still work in progress. I will be creating the training materials over the next couple of days.
They will be company IP, so I won’t be sharing them per se, but I did want to share the key guidelines I have in mind. Mostly because I’d love to get your feedback on those!
Using GPT3.5 to save on tokens
I think that model works very well for most of our needs. For technical topics, I want to invest in GPT4 content because it tends to be more accurate.
While I’d like to achieve accuracy in non-technical topics as well, it will be easier for our team members to notice and correct mistakes with those.
Choosing the right tone
I’m not too crazy about Koala’s “SEO” tone. I find it too technical. I much prefer the “friendly” tone, but for some articles, “excited” works even better.
You can add more prompts under “Advanced Settings” -
Our wranglers will encourage Koala to use short paragraphs and an engaging tone. It doesn’t always help, but sometimes it does.
Using live-data and outlines
I love both of these features. Live data is very useful because you can see where Koala gets the information from.
In many cases, having the source links in articles is helpful to the readers as well. Plus, I’m all for spreading the love and linking back to sources when it makes sense.
We’re going to teach our Wranglers how to work with outlines. They will need to take a minute to read through the outline and adjust it if necessary.
Editing the final result
While the end result is typically no worse than that of a human writer, I like to edit it a bit more. It’s easy and doesn’t take more than a few minutes.
I find that with some topics, Koala tends to be a bit repetitive. I think this happens because it attempts to reach a minimum word count, and when the scope of the question is too small, it will start to repeat things.
They will need to keep an eye out for repetition in the final text and edit that out.
I also like to use Grammarly. I don’t accept all its suggestions, but it can help catch some redundant verbiage and clean things up.
Rewriting the introduction if necessary
When using the friendly tone, the introductions are usually not bad at all. I also like to add specific words or instructions in the introduction prompt. That helps too.
But it is something to pay attention to. If I feel the introduction is too dull, I grab that and feed it to KoalaChat, asking for a rewrite to make it more exciting, enticing, and engaging, or whatever tone you’re looking for.
Rewriting the title if necessary
I don’t think KoalaWriter is great with titles. Either way, it only offers one. I like to ask KoalaChat for more options. It can do that based on the introduction alone.
ChatGPT has really improved on conciseness, and I find that using the Koala version with live data makes it less prone to mistakes.
However, it’s a good idea to follow up on the links, or even just Google the question, and verify its facts. Especially with specific and detailed questions.
That’s pretty much what I have for guidelines.
Those of you who have been using Koala and found more tips and tricks, I’d be grateful if you could share them with me in an email. Thank you!
Moving on to the live examples
I avoid sharing sites publicly. I realize that by sharing them on the mailing list I’m putting them out in the open.
I would appreciate it if you could avoid throwing them out there. I’ve had my share of negative SEO attacks and have no desire to make it easier for that to happen.
Yes, I know I’m writing this to thousands of people, but I figured it’s worth asking.
Example #1: shared with subscribers in that email
I used the GPT3.5 Koala version with the following settings –
- Tone of voice: Friendly
- Extra title prompt: Title should be fun and viral, but still include the topic
- Extra content prompt: Keep paragraphs short. Use a conversational, engaging and captivating style.
- Extra Introduction Prompt: Keep paragraphs short – no more than 1-2 lines of text per paragraph. Use a conversational, engaging and captivating style. Make sure the reader knows what we’ll cover in this article and that they find it interesting enough to keep on reading.
Notes: No outline – I wanted to see what it would come up with.
It took me five minutes to edit the article based on the guidelines I listed above. Keep in mind that I do know the topic very well, so that probably helped.
While Koala produced the text, I went over to Shutterstock and downloaded my images.
From start to finish, the whole process took me 15 minutes to get this published: shared with subscribers in that email
As you can see, I gave ChatGPT credit for its contribution.
The site where this was posted is a forum site with an active team of volunteers who help manage it. I asked them what they thought about it, and the responses were very positive. That tells me the article is good enough.
By the way, I also submitted the article via Google Search Console. The following day, it was ranked at number one on Google for the query.
Then it dropped a few places but I hope it will make its way up the SERP’s again. Interestingly, it outranks other sites with content articles but Google still preferred UCG over any of those.
Example #2: shared with subscribers in that email
Extra title prompt: Choose a catchy, intriguing title
Extra Content Prompt: Maximum of 2 lines of text per paragraph. Be Concise, and avoid fluff and repetition.
Extra Introduction Prompt: Write a very captivating and engaging introduction. Help the user relate to the situation and explain what the article will teach them. Use very short paragraphs. Maximum of 2 lines of text per paragraph. Be Concise, and avoid fluff and repetition.
The outline I received from Koala (screenshot shared with subscribers in email)
I let Koala run with this, pretty much. I liked the result. It even included a table.
I did edit it a bit by breaking it down into shorter paragraphs and applying some Grammarly suggestions. It took me under 5 minutes to do that. The end result link was shared with subscribers in email.
I need to get back to work here
We’ll have to keep the Q&A for another day. I’ll try and issue that email later this week, before the end of Koala’s LTD.
I did want to remind you of one important thing: I only share what I do.
This is not a recommendation for anyone else to switch over to AI-content. Or even to buy Koala or any other product.
Yes, I’m an affiliate and I’m happy with it. So much so, that my entire business is transitioning into using the tool. That’s why I decided to become an affiliate and promote it. Just like I promote Clickup for the same reason.
Whether or not AI content or Koala would work for you, that’s something for you to decide.
Also, I know there are other AI content tools out there, and I have not tested them. I appreciate Connor’s work on this and personally, I feel confident enough to move forward with this platform.
But that’s just me. You do you.
And in case you are interested in grabbing Koala’s amazing Lifetime Deal –
Click here and use coupon code YEYS to get the 30% discount
Ok, back to the salt mines here.
Who said AI means less work for you? Quite the opposite for me so far!
The AI Content Q&A (3/24/23)
I can’t recall when was the last time I was this busy.
Are we sure that AI is taking over the work of humans? Because it feels to me like it’s generating more work for ME.
As I shared in my previous email, I am up to my sleeves in the process of transitioning my web publishing company to using AI-Generated Human-Assisted content. We (our team) call that AHA.
I’ve created a document of guidelines for our AI Wranglers.
It’s 31 pages long.
Tomorrow I’ll start recording the accompanying videos and set everything up in Google Classroom modules.
Here’s how my guide begins –
Welcome AI Wrangling Apprentices!
This guide will show you how to create high-quality sharable articles using ChatGPT (Via KoalaWriter and KoalaChat).
Do not follow this guide mechanically.
Remember – you have to be resourceful and smarter than the AI.
As always, the articles need to be useful to your reader, engaging, and easy to read. Make sure the end result is awesome!
Also, keep in mind that we are all adapting to this new technology. We need our AI Wranglers to be attentive to changes in instructions.
I wanted to share that to give everyone a better sense of how we’re going to use KoalaWriter – and AI in general.
As I explained in previous emails, this will not be some kind of an automated mass-publishing system. If I wanted to achieve that, I would use AI more programmatically.
That’s not our current goal. For now, we need people get the AI to produce the quality of content that we need.
I have so much to do right now, but I promised people that I would be sending out a Q&A email about KoalaWriter.
I’ve compiled this list from all the comments I received for the Yeys review and replies to my previous email.
There were a LOT of questions. Let me try and cover them here.
Should I buy KoalaWriter?
I know many people are still on the fence on whether to grab the Lifetime Deal with the 30% discount (coupon code YEYS).
I am not trying to convince anyone to get that deal, or even to get a Koala subscription. The decision is entirely yours.
For me, Koala provides an opportunity to transition my team so they can use AI to create good articles. I need a solution that I can scale and I think Koala provides just that.
Clearly, we’re still in the early stages.
A month from now, things could be entirely different. As my son explained to me today, GPT4 and possibly other LLMS are proving to be more than just AIs. Their capabilities surpassed what computer scientists thought would be possible.
My son thinks that we’re actually witnessing the de facto birth of the GAI – the General AI. He is a computer scientist by the way.
This has little to do with your decision to buy Koala, but I’m just mentioning it because a. it shows how unpredictable the future is and b. I’m super excited about AI in general and wanted to share that.
Back to the question.
What made me get Koala was simple enough.
Having tested it for a while, I could see that it provides the opportunity to create GOOD content (albeit with some help and editing) at much a much lower cost.
I can either pay a writer $50-$60 per article, or I can get a similar article (just as good) at $1.5-$8 from Koala.
That’s pretty much it. We’ve debated this over and over again, and couldn’t get past that bottom line.
Why get the Lifetime Deal? What if something changes next month?
Koala offers both monthly subscriptions and a Lifetime Deal. Connor, the developer, has graciously invited me to be one of the first affiliates (probably because I was nagging him and asking for new features).
He also offered me a 30% discount coupon for the LTD. I am passing this along to you. Coupon code YEYS.
Now it’s your turn to look at the various plans. Consider your operation, your scale, your plans and yes, the current volatility.
Buying a lifetime deal is always a risk and a trade-off. We’re all adults here, and should be able to weigh the pros and cons.
You can get the lifetime deal.
You can get the subscription.
You can get neither and not buy it.
Do whatever works for you.
But can’t I get the same kind of content using ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is awesome. I have a paid subscription and I’m not about to cancel that. I would keep it even if I weren’t a web publisher.
Just because it’s awesome.
I can’t wait for the new plugins and visual abilities to roll out to paying subscribers.
You can certainly use ChatGPT to write articles. In fact, when using Koala, you ARE using ChatGPT.
To the best of my limited understanding, you’re getting three things when using KoalaWriter instead of directly using ChatGPT:
- The system is pre-prompted to follow a blog post format.
- You have a simple form interface to tweak and add prompts
- It has live data access to the internet, allowing for more accurate and up-to-date information
If I were a blogger who writes a couple of articles a week, I would probably stick to ChatGPT. I enjoy the back and forth with ChatGPT.
I need a solution that allows me to produce good-quality articles in a systemized way and relatively fast. For my needs, KoalaWriter works best.
How about KoalaWriter vs. Jasper?
I also have a Jasper annual subscription. It’s a great tool and service.
Jasper is more expensive, as far as I can tell. The Boss Mode option at 500,000 words and up to 5 user costs $500 a month. By comparison, 500,000 words with Koala is just $179 a month. That’s the highest I could find on their pricing page.
Also, as far as I can tell, they don’t offer GPT4 (I could be wrong about this – check for yourself and let me know if you find a different statement on their site).
Jasper has some great features. It offers multiple templates, and it’s great for some uses.
If you have a Jasper subscription and you don’t have a lot of team members, you probably don’t need to switch to Koala. There’s no magic in Koala, other than pre-prompting, an easy to use interface and (maybe) a better and more expensive version of GPT.
There are so many AI writing tools out there – why should I get Koala?
You don’t have to get Koala. Have I mentioned that already?
I chose to go with Koala because of the features detailed above, combined with the low price.
Koala has its cons. The main one for me is that it’s a new venture.
I’ve known Connor for a while now. He is a fellow member of the Fat Stacks forums. He is one of the people who seem to know his stuff, and he’s also pleasant.
Along with other forum members, I got to watch how he developed Koala. Also, he’s always responded promptly to my questions and feature requests. That’s why I feel comfortable enough to trust him enough to invest in transitioning and training my team to use Koala.
I’ve been around for long enough to also know that there are risks associated with working with a new and small operation.
Koala could go belly up in a month’s time. I’m not saying that it would. Just that it’s always a risk. By the way, Jasper could also go belly up. As could any other service out there – AI-related or not.
I’m just trying to keep it real. You weigh your pros and cons and your own situation and make your decision on which AI tool to use. If any.
Do I need a ChatGPT account to use Koala?
No you don’t.
(Finally, an easy question with a short answer! Yay!)
GPT3.5 vs GPT4: How do you decide which one to use in KoalaWriter?
GPT4 is superior to GPT3.5 when it comes to reasoning and conciseness. In other words, it is smarter.
It’s also more expensive.
Right now if you use KoalaWriter in GPT4 mode, you will pay five times more.
If you buy a plan with 100,000 words and use GPT4, you’ll run out of credits after 20,000 words.
The final price varies by plan (including whether you got the lifetime deal with the discount or not). Roughly speaking, an article would cost you $1.5-$3 when using GPT3.5 and $7-$15 when using GPT4.
Check the calculations because I’m not good at math and I don’t have time to run through them again right now. And I’m very tired by now lol. But seriously, I believe that’s the general price span.
Either way, GPT4 is X5 in credits.
We plan on instructing our AI Wranglers to use 3.5 by default. If they come across a topic that they feel requires more, they can ask to use GPT4. It’s going to be a case-by-case basis.
But again, that’s me. You decide based on your own preferences.
Does KoalaWriter generate accurate content?
I have tested Koala with multiple articles. I’ve let an expert in one niche check some of the articles for us. I also fact checked a few, and looked into others that were in a niche that I know a lot about.
They checked out.
This was while using GPT3.5 with live data internet access.
Does that mean you can assume it’s always accurate?
That’s why we’ve instructed our wranglers to fact check articles.
They’re asked to check anything that they suspect might be inaccurate, and also anything that discusses numbers, quantities, places or times.
In other words, things that are easy to check quickly. We asked them to let us know when they find inaccuracies.
On top of that, with some niches, we will have niche experts review each articles and give it their stamp of approval (or not…)
It’s not that the AI is always accurate. It’s just that in my experience, it’s not less accurate than a good human writer.
And it’s still cheaper. And also fast and overall, polite and nice to work with. Making the choice even easier for me.
How current is the database from which Koala draws its information?
Koala runs on ChatGPT. ChatGPT cut-off date is September 2021. If you use Koala with no live data, it won’t be able to include information about anything that happened after September 2021.
Fortunately, Koala has a live data mode.
Here, I just asked it to write an article about the 2022 Winter Olympics. I haven’t fact checked anything here but I do know the games were held in China, so I think it got it right –
Does it provide sources for attribution and external links?
Yes. Sometimes it provides them out of its own accord. I think it may be related to what the background prompts are for the settings in the form.
Either way, in my experience, if you prompt it to add sources, it does. You can use the additional options to add something like “Add links to sources” and then you’ll get those. And in my experience, they work.
Would Google rank these articles?
Well, it has ranked a few of mine, so I guess the answer is yes.
I’ve only been using Koala for a couple of weeks. We rolled out on smaller sites, where it’s going to take weeks, if not month, for content to rank. If it ever ranks.
But I don’t think this will be on Koala. It’s just not that easy to rank web pages these days (more on this later).
I can’t tell you for sure, but my impression, short experience and intuition all say that these articles would have the same chance at ranking as any other articles. We’ll see though.
Isn’t switching your entire operation to AHA content dangerous?
Yes, it is.
It’s dangerous because it’s new.
I don’t recommend that you do that. Just because I don’t recommend that you do anything. All I can do is share what I do.
In this case, I recognize the risk. In my best judgement, it’s a risk worth taking *for me*. We’ve been thinking about this for months now, and Koala just gave us the last push.
After seeing pretty good articles produced within a couple of minutes, I just couldn’t go on justifying paying X20 and more to human writers.
But that’s just me. You do you.
If everyone gets this – won’t the internet be flooded?
Now that is a good question. Of course, this does not relate to Koala necessarily. It’s about AI-generated content in general.
Here’s my take on that.
The internet is getting saturated with informational content. Fast.
The trend started long before ChatGPT and I blogged about it here. Let’s face it, you could produce lousy content at 1 cent per word long before AI.
And Google can’t always tell good content apart from lousy content. Especially when people use link building and otherwise manipulate the search results.
But even when you’re looking at higher-quality content, during 2020-2022 the competition over longtail queries became stiff.
This is an industry-wide problem (again, see my blog post above).
Will AI content make it worse? Yes, I think it will.
You know what’s going to make things even worse? Far far worse? AI search assistants like Bing.
Forget about the competition. Search engines will turn into answer engines and getting people to your site will become harder than ever.
That’s the harsh reality of it, in my opinion.
There are ways to offset this and I’ve talked about them here and also in previous emails.
One thing that’s clear (to me, at least) is that paying 4-5 cents a word instead of paying a fraction of a cent per word won’t solve the problem. If anything, we need to become more efficient. And that’s what I’m trying to do.
Back in 2020, I could rely on an average of $400 in revenue per article. It didn’t matter if I paid $50, $60 or $100 per article. We were still in profit.
Now? Who knows how long informational articles will hold up? So, at the very least I can try and lower my costs.
Can you share the prompts that you use with Koala?
I shared a few examples in my last email, but honestly, they don’t matter. There was nothing special about my prompts.
Use your own prompts. It’s ChatGPT. It can understand what you’re telling it. Experiment and see what tone of voice and style work for your site and for your needs.
It makes no sense to repeat the exact same prompts every time. And even if you did, you still wouldn’t get the same results.
We don’t provide our Wranglers with specific prompts either. The whole idea here is not to work mechanically.
If there were magic prompts that would guarantee something, I would share them with Connor and ask to have them included in the background.
And if you need prompt inspiration, my go-to source for prompts is… ChatGPT. Just ask it and it will teach you how to prompt it to get whatever you need.
OMG I’m finally done answering the questions!
This has been such a long day. I haven’t typed so much in a long while.
I do want to add something personal here before I leave.
I’m an affiliate of multiple services and products. I’ve mentioned many of them on Yeys and in the emails.
When Connor approached me with this promotion, I was happy to help him out. I also supplied him with an honest testimonial for his site.
I never expected this promo to trigger so many responses.
Most of the responses were positive. However, some people seem to resent the fact that I’m promoting something. Or maybe specifically that I’m promoting an AI product. I believe the word “hype” was thrown about.
Here’s the thing.
My motto with Yeys has always been that I merely share my web publishing journey. I am not a guru. I am not here to tell you what to do or not to do. What to buy or not to buy.
I am extremely fortunate to have had some success and growth with my business. I started blogging before that happened and over the years, more people started to follow the blog.
I’ve met some wonderful people thanks to that – online and IRL and I’m grateful for that. Unfortunately, over the last week I’ve also encountered some negativity.
Maybe this huge change is affecting people. I believe we’re witnessing a shift in paradigm. A change akin to the industrial revolution. Possibly even bigger.
It’s scary. Not everyone likes it. Heck, I’m not sure I like it. I could do without the craziness, the volatility, the uncertainty and the extra work.
Maybe that’s what making some people more on edge? I don’t know.
Either way, I’ve always tried to be helpful in this email and on Yeys. Yes, I will get a commission if you buy Koala, or any other product or service on my site. Thank you for using my link.
No, I am not trying to push anything on anyone. If you feel this way, you are hereby invited to use that link at the bottom of this email and unsubscribe. No hard feelings.
And in case you are interested in grabbing Koala’s amazing Lifetime Deal –
Click here and use coupon code YEYS to get the 30% discount
Good luck- whatever you choose!
RE: “Unfortunately, I really don’t have the time to send old emails to specific people – sorry!”
Most ESPs have an archive feature that you can use to link to previous broadcast emails you’ve sent. For ConvertKit, I believe it’s the Broadcasts page in your account. (I switched to ActiveCampaign several years ago, so I’m going off memory here.🙂)
Yeah, I’m aware of that feature but prefer to keep this as an email-only sequence. Once it’s done, I plan on publishing it as a sequence that people will be able to sign up for.