It’s no longer futuristic to talk about AI-powered robots or voice-activated assistants. These things have quietly become part of our everyday experience.
Think about AI’s use in education, health care, manufacturing, transportation, and countless other industries. And you may have picked up on the latest buzz… AI is infiltrating the creative process of marketing content and copywriting… or is it?
There’s considerable debate about this and what it means for writers. Let’s take a closer look….
AI Has Already Altered the Way We Write
The digital age brought changes aplenty to the kind of writing needed for successful marketing efforts. And the roles of writers and marketers will continue to evolve with the explosion of AI.
My first reaction to hearing about the use of machine learning in creative storytelling was, “Oh my God! I’ll be replaced by a robot that can write an opus in seconds!” I immediately jumped to the conclusion that AI was a foe, not a friend, and I would become irrelevant.
When I stopped hyperventilating, I pondered a more useful idea. If AI can make me more productive, isn’t that added value I can bring to my clients? And couldn’t that lead to higher earnings for me?
I began tracking how many times I already use AI throughout my day. I was surprised by how much I rely on machine learning tools, and I daresay you would also come up with a similar shocking result.
For example, do you think twice anymore about asking Alexa or Siri questions, rather than asking the flesh-and-blood person sitting next to you? I tap into the omnipresent database in the sky far more often for research than any other resource. It’s so common to search for things using Google, that “google” has become a verb.
Well, it turns out Google is an AI tool – one of the most commonly used. And it’s the same database many AI software tools scan for content creation.
Stay with me in this rabbit hole for a moment, as we look at how AI affects marketing.
We know the demand for content never stops. But not all businesses and entrepreneurs have the luxury of a marketing department, and even those that do can find themselves in a losing battle to keep up. Not surprisingly, AI services are clamoring to fill the void.
Tools like Anyword, INK Editor, Jasper, Writerly, CopyAI and the amazing ChatGPT promise to make writing easy and painless by identifying trends, automating certain aspects of content creation, and saving time and money.
To do that, these tools strive to make AI-generated output sound more “human.”
This begs the question – if you can buy a writer “in a box” or do it yourself for less than hiring a professional writer… would you? Should you?
Can AI Capture the Level of Nuance that Makes Writing Feel Genuine?
The, “Would you?” question is one of practicality.
AI-generated text relies on large language models and statistical analysis of existing text. Even with massive amounts of computing power and access to unfathomable amounts of text, language models are still like calculators with limitations.
Just as you must enter the right numbers into a calculator to get correct results, the same applies when using AI tools. The information you enter into AI software to “calculate” or write content must be relevant.
At a minimum, this information – often called a prompt – generally includes a title, a summary of the output you want, keywords, and the tone you wish to convey.
Judge for yourself. See if you can tell the difference in the paragraphs below. One is written by me, the other by AI.
Here’s the prompt I used…
Title: The impact of AI on marketing content and copywriting
Intro prompt: No Matter What Happens, Stay Human
Keywords: Content and copywriting
The key phrase I use when describing the evolution of AI in marketing is that it’s an enhancement, not a replacement, for copywriters. Quality writing still benefits from a “human touch” while creating prompts for AI software, as well as in editing and applying the final output in a personalized way for specific audiences. A sense of humor is hard to replicate, and it’s impossible to have a “style” without a personality.
No matter what happens, staying human is essential. We are all different and have unique experiences and perspectives. When we stay connected to our humanity, we can better relate to and understand each other. We can also find compassion and hope, even in the darkest of times. So no matter what happens, remember to stay human. content copywriting can help you do just that. By crafting content that is relatable, authentic, and empathetic, you can connect with your audience on a deeper level. And when you do, you can make a real difference in the world. So don’t give up and don’t forget what it means to be human. Stay connected to your humanity, and you will find the strength to carry on through even the toughest of times.
I wrote Option 1.
The AI output is riddled with cliches when trying to speak on the human experience. This is where AI struggles the most, and why I chose this subject matter. I can’t explain why there’s also a typo (not using a capital letter to start a sentence).
(Note these same data prompts can produce completely different results with further use or when using a different AI tool.)
AI software can create content, but it needs a live person to guide it. You must feed it the right questions, ideas, and themes, then add your own secret sauce for best results.
And then you must edit and augment (and fact check) the result to make it something worth reading.
Here’s What Two Very Smart Marketers Say About AI Crashing the Party…
Brian Clark, founder of CopyBlogger, Further, and Unemployable
Excerpts from American Writers & Artists (AWAI) 2022 Bootcamp, October 4, 2022:
“Aren’t you amazed that the biggest advances in AI have been in writing and design? Two areas we thought we were so safe as creative people. Although, some of the best writers I know use AI assistance like Jasper for getting the research aspects in place for a first draft. But, the first drafts aren’t ready to go because there’s no “you” in it, or if it’s for a client, no brand voice. Will AI get there? I’ll never say never, but… not yet. Good writers know the magic happens in editing. At this point, I see more of a demand for writers augmented by AI than any threat of them being replaced.”
Kaci Nielson, copywriter and email specialist:
“We should embrace what makes us better writers. AI is a tool, like any other. The definition of the right tool for the right job relies greatly on the skill of the person using it. I use AI to boost the amount of my copy so I’m not starting with a blank page. A lot also depends on the type of content you are creating. If there’s a need for statistics or historical data, having that at your fingertips through AI is useful. Certainly, most writers already use the web for research.”
Professionals of all stripes aren’t automatically going to become capable writers because of AI. If anything, they’ll continue to rely on capable writers to wield the AI in a way that delivers a good result.
Moral and Ethical Questions
The, “Should you?” question is one of morals and ethics.
We are discussing AI as it relates to marketing content and copywriting specifically, yet this touches upon a greater topic. Imagine laboring over an article such as this… or a white paper… or something larger – like a book. Think of it being added to the big AI database in the sky. Now, consider these questions as they relate to your own sweat and tears:
Is AI a Fancy Word for Paraphrasing or Plagiarising?
- Should AI credit human authors for the original ideas it samples from their work, or provide citations when pulling information from research data?
- What are the criteria AI tools use when conducting “plagiarism checks”?
- As AI learns from the data it amasses and adopts a certain writer’s persona (style or tone of voice), isn’t that also a form of plagiarism?
- Is AI-generated copy “copyrightable”?
How do you handle a credit when another writer’s work sparks an idea in you, but you aren’t pulling directly from their text? This is already a tricky area. AI doesn’t yet acknowledge or credit sources.
When using AI-generated copy, the general consensus appears to be that the result is so filtered, it no longer resembles the original writing it scans, so maybe citations aren’t necessary.
For us humans, the rule of thumb is that no unoriginal text should be pasted or otherwise entered into a work in progress without an immediate citation being applied.
At least I hope most writers honor this.
For businesses, creating content is often an effort, in part, to build authority and credibility. And again, they’ll need writers to carefully edit and fact check and source any AI-generated copy… otherwise they risk damaging their reputation rather than building it.
The bottom line is, large language models like Jasper and ChatGPT are powerful tools, but only if guided by a skilled writer. Which means they really can enhance your productivity, add value to your bottom line, and give you a new skill you can bring to your clients.
In next week’s article we’ll look at some of the ways you can use AI tools to do just that.