Are Chat GPT and AI writing tools the future of copywriting?

This article has been adapted from my fortnightly newsletter Thusfar, Untitled. If you want first access to my content marketing and SEO insights, subscribe here.

It’s time to address the elephant in the room. I wanted to wait until after BrightonSEO to discuss it.

Whether you’re already using it, tried it once, or really don’t give a shit, these tools are here to stay. At least for a little while. I’ll be really honest, I’ve been avoiding it.

Low key hoping it would be the next crypto. Some weird abstract thing a group of dudebros circlejerk over in their own little corner of the internet that I never have to care about.

But I do have to care about it. Especially as an SEO copywriter.

Let’s get into it:

  • Genuine benefits of ChatGPT and other AI tools
  • Drawbacks of relying on AI for your copy
  • Some thoughts from a BrightonSEO roundtable

Some genuine benefits of using ChatGPT and AI tools for your marketing

I asked some lovely folks at BrightonSEO, on Twitter, and on Instagram what their main uses for AI tools and ChatGPT are. And here were the most popular answers:

  • Organising your to-do lists
  • Writing pitch emails (individually, not on mass)
  • Organising research and existing notes
  • Great for frameworks, outlines, and collecting ideas
  • Drawing conclusions from large banks of data
  • Repurposing content from existing human-written copy
  • Reorganising social posts

And all of this comes with several huge caveats

  1. The briefs need to be detailed and specific
  2. You need to invest time checking for errors (especially at this stage, AI writing tools are incredibly error prone)
  3. They are helpful for either reorganising existing content or creating a very rough first draft of something.

Essentially, AI tools are great for speeding up certain processes or help when you are stuck for ideas.

A realistic look at AI writing tools (and their impact on small businesses)

Long story short, AI writing tools are not really your friend. And I am concerned for a future where people rely on them too much without enough human intervention.

Consider who benefits from AI writing tools

It makes absolute business sense for agencies and DIY website software to use AI writing tools. It is also important to consider if it makes business sense for you.

The benefits of AI writing tools

  • Quicker first draft process
  • Don’t need to think about it as much
  • Good for clearing a blank page/getting the ball rolling

Drawbacks of AI writing tools

  • Doesn’t save time as they need a lot of human intervention
  • Error prone
  • Doesn’t consider important SEO and UX elements like internal linking
  • Can imitate a tone of voice but not capture things like business perspective on specific topics
  • AI doesn’t give a shit about your business goals or struggles

To quote my friend Nikki Pilkington,

If you want to use AI writing tools, you may as well ask your competitors to write your copy. Because that’s all it does. Collate information that is already out there.

Successful, impactful copy (especially website copy) relies on the human element. Never say never. AI tools may someday be amazing for all kinds of copy.

But right now these tools need a lot of human intervention (from extremely detailed briefs to editing and SEO changes). To the extent that you won’t save much, if any, time.

And may still end up with mediocre content. Which sounds like a lose-lose to me.

Some thoughts from BrightonSEO

Last week, I attended the very first freelancer’s roundtable at BrightonSEO. And naturally there was a lot of talk of AI/ChatGPT.

One of the chaps at the table, a website developer said something which left me feeling reassured.

Cast your mind back to when Squarespace and Wix’s DIY platforms became really popular. Freelance web designers and developers saw a dip in projects for smaller clients as many jumped at the chance to do it themselves.

Then, 12, 18, 24 months down the line often came to regret that decision. And decided if they really wanted to grow and be taken seriously, they needed to invest in a professional service.

The same is happening with copy. As folks soak up the buzz around AI, there is a subconscious devaluing of copywriting. But it won’t last forever.

If you’re looking for a human to write your website copy, fix your SEO, and improve your rankings, you have come to the right place. Get in touch about your project or jump straight to it and book a call so we can have a natter over a coffee.

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