While speaking with a prospect recently, I was surprised to learn she hadn’t heard of Claude or Bard, two major generative AI tools that have been around for at least a few months.
That surprise made me wonder whether others might want to know about the most popular large language models: ChatGPT, Claude, Bing Chat, and Bard.
In this article, discover the basics about these generative AI tools, including my assessment of their strengths and weaknesses and how you might use each tool for content marketing.
In parts two and three of this series, see how the models stack up through a content marketing use case.
Ready? Let’s dive in, starting with the mightiest contender in our upcoming showdown, the most popular model, ChatGPT.
ChatGPT—the granddaddy of AI chatbots
Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT launched in November 2022 and is trained on data through September 2021. Free and paid versions are available; the paid version costs $20 monthly.
Despite ChatGPT’s lack of knowledge about anything after 2021, there seems to be a consensus that ChatGPT is the best generative AI tool (so far) in 2023.
Miguel Rebelo at Zapier puts ChatGPT in the lead above 22 other tools. In a poll that garnered 40,000 votes, PCMag’s readers ranked ChatGPT on top.
ChatGPT is also my number one generative AI tool, although it does have several frustrating weaknesses:
- Broken links—90% of the time, ChatGPT gives me broken links (most often), hypothetical, empty links (often), and wrong links (least often).
- Conversational crud—ChatGPT seems to lose sight of a conversation’s details if the conversation goes on for too long.
- Lack of search functionality—When you use ChatGPT as much as I do, you amass a lot of conversations or threads. But ChatGPT doesn’t have search functionality, so you can’t search across your conversations.
A note about ChatGPT hallucinations
ChatGPT has often been accused of hallucinating—or providing the wrong information. But that’s not been my experience, as the AI provides me with correct details at least 90 percent of the time. I’m not alone; in a recent webinar, David Taylor, co-founder and CEO of PromptMaster, said he hasn’t experienced ChatGPT hallucinations since early this year.
Statistics on ChatGPT for content marketing
Because ChatGPT is so popular, I thought I’d look for statistics on its usage for marketing and, specifically, content marketing.
- The 2023 State of Marketing AI report says 98% of marketers already use AI.
- The same report also says 64% of marketers feel AI is either important or very important to their marketing success over the next 12 months.
- A Forrester study commissioned by Grammarly found that 80% of respondents using generative AI for writing and editing do so without their company’s support.
Even more telling, the Forrester-Grammarly report says that by 2025, nearly all enterprises will be using generative AI for communication.
ChatGPT for content marketing
As a content marketer, I use ChatGPT in my work every day. As reported in this column, I’ve used ChatGPT for email marketing, brainstorming, outlining, researching, and writing small content like meta descriptions and social media posts.
Here are the top three ways you can use ChatGPT in your content marketing operations.
- Blog posts—ChatGPT can help you generate outlines and drafts for blog posts. It can also generate meta descriptions, alt text for images, and lists of relevant keywords.
- Email marketing—Feed ChatGPT a creative brief and ask it to generate an outline for an email campaign, email drafts, and A/B testing recommendations. The AI can also personalize emails for different segments.
- Social media posts—ChatGPT can write social media posts, either one-offs or a series of posts derived from existing content, like blog posts, webinar transcripts, and research reports.
Claude—the helpful, honest, harmless AI chatbot
Developed by Anthropic and launched in March 2023, the latest version of Claude—or Claude 2—was trained on data through December 2022. According to Anthropic, the AI might also know some events in 2023.
Access to a basic Claude 2 account is free, and a professional version is now available for $20 monthly.
Anthropic calls Claude “the helpful, honest, and harmless AI assistant.” Curious, I asked Claude to tell me more.
I have no desire to rabble-rouse Claude by putting its values to the test, so I’ll take its word.
Claude is my second favorite generative AI tool, despite several glaring weaknesses:
- No internet access—Like ChatGPT, Claude also lacks access to the internet, but later training data means that I often get better responses to queries.
- Broken links—Like ChatGPT, Claude seems unable to provide links to sources reliably; at least 95% of the links it gives me are wrong or broken.
- No new tabs—Claude does not open links in new tabs. I pointed this pain out to the model and asked it to report the issue to its developers—that was two months ago, and the issue still exists. I suppose Anthropic has bigger fish to fry.
On the plus side, you can search across all your conversations with Claude, which makes finding that nugget you’re looking for a snap.
Claude also has a better memory than ChatGPT. It doesn’t seem to lose its way or forget details in long conversations because its context window is approximately 75,000 words—a far cry from ChatGPT’s window of 4,000 words.
Claude for content marketing
Claude is a great tool for complementing your creativity and research. I recommend using Claude for:
- Reviewing and editing content for accuracy—Claude’s training focuses on factual correctness, so it can help catch inaccuracies or mistakes in draft content.
- Answering content research questions—Claude can provide helpful context, background information, and facts you can use to inform your topics and content.
- Summarizing long-form content—This use case is one of my favorite time-savers. Feed Claude any long-form content, whether a research report or academic study, and the AI will digest it and return key points and helpful summaries.
Bing Chat—the freely available AI chatbot
Bing Chat, Microsoft’s brainchild, is powered by ChatGPT. The tool launched in February 2023 and is accessible for free on every Edge browser.
Although I don’t (yet) consider Bing Chat my primary AI companion, I use it often because it’s baked into my browser and has internet access.
Weaknesses of Bing Chat include:
- Inconsistent or inaccurate responses—Because Bing pulls directly from the web, it can surface old, outdated web content in responses. Bing also gets confused about web sources, often quoting or summarizing without clarifying the source’s origin.
- Limited conversational skills—Bing Chat often gives me long, rambling responses. It’s also not as good as the other two tools at carrying on a conversation. I can’t count the number of times Bing Chat has shut down a chat for no apparent reason; you’ll see an example of this maddening attribute in a moment.
- Limited conversational depth—Whereas ChatGPT starts to forget details if a conversation goes on too long, Bing Chat doesn’t allow conversations that span more than 30 answers.
A funny example: I had forgotten the number of answers Bing would give before forcing a conversation to close. So I asked. At first, the chatbot began typing that it does not have limits, but—as I watched—that answer suddenly disappeared and was replaced by a strange reply.
Notice how Bing ended the conversation and asked to discuss another topic? Even so, I spotted the answer in the lower right corner: Bing calls it quits after a maximum of 30 responses. I’ve never gotten that far in any conversation with Bing Chat, though.
Bing Chat for content marketing
Bing Chat is known for its ability to generate poems, stories, and songs. But it does offer some functionality for content marketers, including:
- Search intelligence—Because Bing has access to the internet, it can suggest search terms and queries most likely to return relevant market research results. Bing can also suggest related search terms and topics to help you discover new insights and data.
- Competitive research—Bing can quickly compile information about competitor products, pricing, positioning, and more to help you with your competitive analysis.
- Trend forecasting—Bing can also help guide your content strategy by analyzing search trends and spotting rising opportunities and fading areas of interest.
Bard—the least relevant AI chatbot for content marketing (for now)
Bard, Google’s AI chatbot—at this point still billed as an experiment—is a newcomer to the generative AI scene. Announced in February 2023, the tool is available now as a free “experiment.” Although Bard is likely trained on more recent data than ChatGPT, its experimental status makes it a poor choice for content creators.
As you’ll see in my next two articles, where you’ll see the results of the head-to-head competition, Bard does not stand up to any of the other bots. I’ve found it completely useless and have given up wasting time there.
Even asking Bard about itself is a fruitless endeavor.
Most of what I read, however, points to Bard quickly overtaking ChatGPT when it leaves its experimental status. I certainly hope so.
Digital marketing expert Neil Patel says Bard, with its superior data set and longer development time, is expected to outperform ChatGPT in the long run.
But others, like Forbes contributor Jon Markman, say expectations for Bard are low, pointing out how Google has fumbled other important product launches.
Up next: Putting the AIs head to head for a content marketing test
In my next two articles, I’ll put ChatGPT, Claude, Bing Chat, and Bard through their paces for a content marketing use case.
Who’ll win? Who’ll lose? To be notified when I publish the articles, follow me on Forbes.com.