Content Therapy is Managing Editor’s twice-monthly advice column, where Paul Chaney responds to your questions about the messy dilemmas content marketers face in their work. We are (obviously) not licensed therapists. Send us your questions!

Help! My Company’s Making Unethical Claims in Our Content!

Dear Content Therapist: I’m reaching out to you today with a deep concern about the ethical practices within my content marketing agency. Recently, I’ve noticed a growing trend of misleading and exaggerated claims in our content to attract more customers and drive sales. These claims are being driven by the business and product teams rather than by errors made by content people. 

I understand the pressure to meet revenue-related targets, but I also believe that compromising our integrity and deceiving our audience isn’t the right approach. I want to address this issue with leadership and advocate for a more ethical content marketing strategy, but I’m unsure how to navigate this conversation. 

Can I use any specific strategies or resources to promote ethical content practices and create a culture of transparency and honesty within my organization? How can I effectively communicate my concerns without jeopardizing my position or damaging relationships within the company? — ETHICS-MINDED CONTENT MARKETER

Paul Chaney: Your question brings to mind Seth Godin’s cult classic “All Marketers Are Liars,” which explores the power of storytelling in marketing. Despite the message implied by the book’s title, he argues that the most successful marketing campaigns build on authentic stories that people want to believe. 

Perhaps the best way to communicate your concerns is to take Seth’s advice and use the power of story. Start by crafting a compelling narrative that illustrates the long-term risks of misleading content, including lost trust and potential damage to the agency’s reputation. 

A couple of real-world examples you could use include Volkswagen’s admission in 2015 to installing software in millions of its diesel vehicles worldwide to cheat on emissions tests. This scandal, known as “Dieselgate,” resulted in billions of dollars in fines, a significant drop in stock price and a massive hit to the company’s reputation. 

Another is the Theranos scandal, which became a Netflix limited series, “The Dropout.” The company promised to revolutionize blood testing with technology that could quickly conduct comprehensive tests with just a few drops of blood. However, it was revealed that the technology didn’t work as advertised, leading to inaccurate test results that could have endangered patients’ lives. Founder Elizabeth Holmes went to prison, and the company was dissolved. 

Contrast these with brands that have thrived by maintaining high ethical standards and transparency. For example, Patagonia is renowned for its commitment to environmental sustainability and ethical business practices. The brand’s transparent approach to sharing its products’ origins, environmental impact and dedication to social responsibility has earned it a loyal customer following. 

Buffer, a popular social media management tool developer, has made transparency one of its core values. Buffer shares nearly everything about the company’s operations, from its pricing model to employee salaries and the state of its finances. 

Spend time researching other examples that may better suit your agency’s situation. I’m sure there are many. 

When presenting these examples, emphasize the long-term consequences of misleading content versus the enduring value of trust and transparency. Highlight how Volkswagen and Theranos suffered financially and reputationally, making recovery challenging and costly. In contrast, convey how companies like Patagonia and Buffer have cultivated deep trust with their audiences, leading to sustained success and loyalty.

Support your narrative with data that showcases the value of trust and transparency in marketing. Research can include case studies demonstrating how ethical practices lead to better customer retention, increased brand loyalty and long-term revenue growth. Highlight studies that show consumers’ growing demand for honesty and integrity from the brands they support.

Play to your audience’s bias. For example, stress that ethical content marketing practices aren’t just about doing the right thing; it’s a strategic business decision. Make it clear that this approach will differentiate your brand, attract customer loyalty and drive sustainable growth.

Don’t shy away from standing up for your values. You can’t go wrong by doing what’s right. If that puts you at odds with agency leadership, you may need to find another, more ethical place to work. 

What Else Should I Be Using AI for?

Dear Content Therapist: I’m always trying to be as productive as possible, especially as a content marketing leader with my own workload. We sometimes use AI in content marketing tasks, such as crafting SEO posts, social copy, etc. But I’m curious to learn how people in the industry are leveraging AI beyond content creation. 

Is there any data about how content marketing leaders use AI for admin tasks, to automate workflows or to manage projects? I’m also curious about how I can use AI to help speed up data analysis and inform content strategy. What are my options for using AI to improve productivity and what are you and other content marketers using it for? — THE AI-CURIOUS MARKETER

Paul Chaney: There are a wealth of opportunities to use generative AI to perform tasks outside of what content marketers typically think: ideation, writing and editing. Here’s a lengthy but not exhaustive list of possibilities.

Workflow Automation

Generative AI can handle mundane tasks like content scheduling, publishing and optimization, freeing content managers to focus on strategy and analysis. 

Adobe’s integration of Sensei GenAI within the Experience Cloud is an example. It allows brands to craft and adjust copy for digital interfaces with tools for creating personalized customer journeys. 

AI platforms like UiPath automate repetitive tasks, such as data entry, file transfers and report generation. Another tool,, automates a variety of tasks by connecting common apps like Google Sheets, Notion, HubSpot, and other integrations. 

Data Analytics

AI-powered tools can collect and analyze large amounts of data, offering insights that inform content strategy and decision-making. It can track engagement and conversion rate metrics, helping refine marketing strategies based on data-driven insights.

Besides AI capabilities being added to many existing analytics tools, consider options like MonkeyLearn and MarketMuse. They offer sentiment analysis, competitive analysis and predictive analysis capabilities. They can spot trends and suggest content direction based on historical and real-time data. 

Email Management

AI-powered tools like Superhuman and Sanebox can help with:

  • Sorting and prioritizing emails
  • Drafting responses to common inquiries
  • Scheduling follow-ups based on email content

Don’t forget applications such as Grammarly Business, which help you refine your communication in many formats, including email responses.

Calendar Optimization

While calendar scheduling might seem straightforward, advanced scheduling assistants can utilize AI to analyze complex meeting requests, consider availability and suggest optimal times. 

Tools that help automate and simplify this task include: 

  • Sunsama – A guided daily planner
  • Sidekick – AI-enabled scheduling software

Project Management

AI can help streamline content creation workflows by:

  • Automating task assignments
  • Setting deadlines and providing reminders
  • Tracking project progress and suggesting optimizations 

Tools that fall under this category for content marketers include, Motion and ClickUp

Let’s not forget ChatGPT-4. OpenAI’s inaugural generative AI platform offers the flexibility to perform a range of tasks, including document search and analysis, code generation, image creation, language translation and so much more. It is the “jack of all trades” among large language models, despite all the alternatives to ChatGPT available.. 

As you can see, an AI tool or platform is available for just about any function. It just comes down to finding the right one for the job — and that may take some time. 

Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for advice from a licensed mental health provider, health care provider or legal professional.