This post is about ChatGPT and AI in copywriting. Will my clients want to use AI to create their content? Should I adapt and use it to help me work faster? I decided to find out more. After a little research and much thought, I arrived at the view that AI will change copywriting and content marketing but not exactly as we expect. I believe the impact of AI will be far more nuanced than we might at first think, and that it could create a two-tier environment for online information. Here’s how I reached this point of view.
ChatGPT and AI in copywriting
I decided to test some AI writing tools. It is clear that AI platforms help you to create a logical article, so they will benefit people who find writing difficult, and those that don’t already plan the structure of their work.
On the morning I tried to use ChatGPT it was not available so I assumed its servers were overloaded with other people testing it out. Accordingly, I played with another AI writing tool to get a feel for what it could do and how it works and, importantly, the terms and conditions that go with it. This is what I discovered from my tests and a little research.
Everything written by the AI tool is derived from content that already exists online. When you use the platform, you grant other people rights to use your own written work, and other people can take what you have written and use it in their own content.
Consider AI’s terms of business
The legal terms for the tool are interesting and are probably difficult to enforce. The terms state that you are responsible for not infringing other people’s rights to their work. By this I understand that you accept the risk of any copyright infringement and at the same time exonerate the platform from any copyright responsibilities. It looks like a legal minefield to me, unless you take the view that copyright is going to become an outdated concept. The AI copywriting engine works by systematically plagiarising other people’s work including any errors they have made! We will need to check AI-generated text carefully where this could be a risk.
I was curious to read that the terms say you should not “pass off the work as human-generated” or use the platform to generate spam. Surely that’s exactly what people want to do with generative AI tools, and no-one will want to mark their blog posts as generated by a bot?
If you agree to the platform’s terms of business, you can use, copy, modify and sell your AI-generated work for your own commercial purposes. It’s clearly got potential for content marketing if you just need generic text and if you are not very fussy about what it contains.
Will AI work in content marketing?
Chat GPT and AI tools have advantages and disadvantages for copywriting, but I’m not sure at the moment if my clients will want it to write their content. If I use an AI platform to generate text for a client, the platform will compose its text by copying from similar pieces it finds online. In a niche B2B market sector this means it will be working from my clients’ competitors’ work. And surely if this process continues over time, won’t we all end up publishing articles that are almost identical? We’ll also be repeating any errors or untruths that are lurking in the content. That doesn’t feel very positive for my clients’ branding and SEO needs. A brand needs to signal the special essence of an individual company and communicate that in words and images, and set a business apart from its competitors.
Unsurprisingly, the AI-based copywriting tools seem to mimic the way that human writers work. Both scan the internet for research, but a human adds their own thoughts and produces an original article. If there isn’t anything original, this has implications for SEO. Search engines prioritise recent authoritative information and downgrade duplicate content, so they will prefer new human-generated content against AI generated content. This is especially true because the current AI tools are only trained on internet content up to 2021.
AI’s weaknesses in content marketing
At the moment, the platforms’ output seems quite simplistic. With time, generative AI will probably learn to write with more style, but it won’t be able to do everything a copywriter can do. I cannot imagine an AI engine attending a meeting, taking notes and interviewing experts. That may come in future, but at present it still feels quite a way off.
Remember that ChatGPT was trained on public web content published prior to 2021. This makes it two years out of date and highlights a major issue: how can you be sure that facts are correct? Fake news and misinformation abound on the web and AI writing platforms don’t acknowledge their sources in the way that a professional journalist, blogger or academic writer does. Also, I heard there were cases where AI simply added made up names to add at the end of a scientific paper! If or when AI-generated content becomes large scale, it will bring an overload of low quality unreliable information.
What will marketers do?
For people who find writing difficult, AI will help. Some content managers will use a platform to create an outline of an article and then add their own viewpoints and edits. This would speed up the writing because AI writing tools can clearly create web pages and blog posts very fast.
However, content marketing is already something of an arms race and AI could simply escalate the competition. Ironically, the current trend is for human readers to “consume” smaller bites of content because there is already too much content out there, and often it contains very little new information. Already our audience are skimming text and not reading articles in depth, especially online. With this in mind, some marketing managers may decide to switch to other formats or a different communications strategy altogether.
How ChatGPT, AI and copywriting tools could bring a two-tier web
Putting all this together, I reached the conclusion that if we use tools like ChatGPT and AI in copywriting, we will quite possibly end up with a two-tier web. Some people will use content generation platforms, but not everyone. I think one likely outcome is that the organisations who own high quality content will want to place it behind gates or paywalls to facilitate their leads generation and prevent others from using their work. And some publishers will retain the option of charging for subscriptions.
If businesses adopt tools like ChatGPT and AI to write their content, it may ultimately lead to a situation where the free-to-view internet is full of low value text that is biased towards businesses’ marketing messages. This will happen because AI-generated text can only be derived from these freely available sources. It would widen the gap between valuable commercial information and the low-cost content generated by bots. Effectively, we would have a two-tiered web.
For now, I feel that my clients will still use real writers to create complex B2B marketing copy. The human writer adds the insight and critical thinking that make a story worth reading. If you need a writer or found this interesting and would like to contact me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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