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5 Free AI Tools That Can Take Your Content to the Next Level

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a multi-decade entrepreneur across various sectors — including marketing, finance and technology — I’ve spent most of my career bootstrapping companies without the assistance of artificial intelligence technologies. While I certainly leaned on my invaluable friends, professional network and mentors, I can’t say I ever had ChatGPT or an AI program to help me out.

But I wish I had! Today’s entrepreneurs don’t know how easy they have it by comparison. Nowadays, I leverage a multitude of cutting-edge AI technologies —many of which are totally free to use — to help me develop my companies and provide excellent customer satisfaction.

A recent IBM survey found that 35% of businesses are using AI, and an even larger share are exploring the possibility of using AI technologies. If you want to stay competitive in tomorrow’s entrepreneurial landscape, it’s about time you get on board with AI, too.

In this article, I’ll share my favorite AI technologies (that aren’t ChatGPT) to help you take your entrepreneurial projects to the next level.

Related: 8 Reasons Using AI Will Improve Your Content Creation Process

1. Gen-2 by Runway

My personal favorite AI technology of the day is Gen-2 by a lab called Runway Research. This isn’t a single technology, but rather a massive suite of AI-powered tools that can totally transform your creative output. Here is just a brief glimpse at what Gen-2 is capable of doing for your business, instantly and at the click of a button:

  • Text-to-image generation

  • Text-to-video generation

  • Instant photo colorization

  • Instant audio transcription into English

  • Text-prompted image correction

The best use cases for Gen-2 are as follows:

  • Creating lifelike or cartoon-style videos for marketing campaigns

  • Creating social media-friendly images for social marketing posts

  • Generating human-like text for written marketing projects

  • Transcribing audio recordings of meetings or interviews into written text to save time

Personally, I use Gen-2 almost every day. As a marketer or creative worker, it’s virtually indispensable.

2. Stable Diffusion and ControlNet

If you want mind-blowing images to use in your marketing materials, social profiles or banner ads, I highly recommend the magic of Stable Diffusion. In my opinion, this tech is probably the best text-to-image AI service on the internet, but it comes with a far steeper learning curve — especially if you use its add-on, ControlNet, which expands its possibilities.

I use Stable Diffusion for super lifelike images, which, in my opinion, is always a better option than relying on stock images. From an SEO perspective, stock images (especially common ones that have been used in thousands of other pieces of content) can have harmful effects on your search engine rankings. That’s why I prefer to use totally original image content generated with Stable Diffusion rather than stock image services.

3. Quilbot

This one is a lightweight Chrome extension that anyone can use without any prompt engineering skills. Quilbot is a terrific paraphrasing tool that can take any text and rewrite it near-flawlessly in a matter of seconds.

Now, it’s important that you don’t use this tool to plagiarize or steal someone else’s ideas. Rather, this tool is best used for two legitimate purposes:

  1. As a Grammarly replacement that spellchecks and fixes tone and grammar

  2. As an SEO tool to refresh or rephrase old content

Google’s PageRank algorithm favors content that is frequently updated. I use Quilbot to rewrite portions of old blog posts or pages, and fairly often, the result is that the content sees an SEO ranking boost within a week or two of the new content going live.

Related: The Complete Guide to Effectively Using AI Writing Tools in Content Marketing

4. Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO has been around for years — long before ChatGPT kicked off the consumer AI revolution last year. However, it’s only now getting the praise it rightly deserves. Basically, Surfer SEO is an optimization tool to ensure that your on-page elements (i.e., text, metadata, titles, formatting and images) are perfectly utilized to improve your search engine performance.

This tool is quite affordable, and many savvy SEO specialists have used it since 2019. I can personally attest that this tool is the real deal, and I run every blog post I publish through Surfer SEO’s Content Editor before it’s released. Be warned, however, that Surfer SEO does tend to “over-optimize” in some cases, so don’t feel tempted to apply all of the tool’s recommendations to each and every blog post you write.

5. GraphMaker

Any written or social content provides way more value if there are charts, tables and graphs that help visualize numerical data. The problem is that it’s a pain to create original graphs and charts, especially if you’re not exactly a math whiz.

Fortunately, GraphMaker makes it way easier for me to quickly whip up visually captivating graphs that add a ton of value for my readers. For example, if you plug in inflation rates over time alongside, say, the U.S. exchange rate against the British Pound Sterling, you’ll get a wonderful line chart that depicts how inflation impacts the strength of the U.S. dollar.

It’s one thing to tell your readers about the subject at hand — but it’s far superior to show them. I recommend using this tool to help show and demonstrate numerical phenomena to your readers, which is always a great idea for captivating their attention.

Related: Top 5 Ways AI Can Enhance Your Content-Creation Process

Diversify your AI tech

If you think a simple OpenAI account and a knack for prompting ChatGPT will cut it in tomorrow’s market, think again. Your competitors are using a diverse variety of AI technologies, and I suggest you adapt to these changing circumstances if you want to stay afloat as well.

My advice is to use the technologies I’ve listed above as a mere starting point in your journey. New AI tools are being released every day, so I recommend staying abreast of the industry and experimenting with new AI software as they come out. The early adopters of these technologies will, more often than not, find themselves at a competitive advantage in their industry.

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