Gaenzle-Marketing

The Rise of AI Writing Assistants and Their Impact on the Copywriting Industry

AI writing assistant

It’s official. Pandora’s Box has been busted wide open, and if you believe the hype, the wordsmithing robots are taking over the writing industry. Or are they? 

Fans of the Terminator and I Robot films are undoubtedly drawing parallels from the cinematic universe to our own. But before we envision a full takeover, let’s define which AI tools are the topic of this hot debate: 

  • ChatGPT
  • Jasper
  • Article Forge
  • Copy.ai
  • Rytr

Essentially, any generative AI tool that claims to complete the writing for you is what’s at the core of the writing industry’s concern. A tool like Grammarly is safe and would not be in the same class. Grammarly helps you spot spelling mistakes and grammatical errors which not only elevates the quality of your content but actually trains better writers. 

I think we’d all agree that there’s no putting AI back in the box. However, over the last year or two, as we’ve watched the scope of AI offerings unfold, three schools of thought have emerged from the debate. 

The AI avoiders, the AI adapters, and the rest of us.

Image By Sanket Mishra | Pexels.com

Emerging Schools of Thought

The AI avoiders are resistant to AI. As a whole, they’re highly suspicious of any content they purchase and want unreasonable assurances that there is no hint of “robot” associated with their content.

The AI adapters are looking to create the same premium quality, well-researched, and high-performing content for the cost of goldfish and dreams – or less. 

The third group, the rest of us, see the value of some AI tools within a limited scope but will never be convinced of their ability to fully replace human creation, lock, stock, and barrel. 

As an agency owner in the content and copywriting industry, I can tell you we’ve seen more of the first two than the third. 

The Impact Of The AI Avoiders

Many AI avoiders eagerly come to my agency to take advantage of our 100% human-written content and copywriting services. These innovative minds are excited to set themselves apart from the AI-generated noise being shuffled around online. 

They saw the rise of AI writing assistants as I do – an opportunity to create something truly unique, to stand above the rest with a fresh, human-created take. Something the bots can’t do.

But this was a double-edged sword. With a few of the more radical avoiders also came their so-called AI-detection tools. Their way of verifying what they were getting was indeed human-made. 

I’ve tested many of these detection tools, and ALL of them have failed. My team and I tested them with pieces written years ago, long before Elon Musk dreamed up ChatGPT and before AI writers were on the market. 

Still, the results were flagged as partially AI or worse. The AI-detection software I’ve encountered has been wholly unreliable and incapable of differentiating the bogus from the bonafide.

The Impact of The AI Adapters

On the other side of the aisle, some AI adapters are hoping to get what they think is the best of both worlds. They want content writers to manage their entire content creation process and produce the same premium quality writing but drop the price laughably low. 

As you can imagine, this is unsustainable. If there is an agency prepared to fulfill this demand, produce the same quality deliverables as if they were not using AI, and still claim to turn a profit – I’d have questions.

Another fallout of this viewpoint is that many brands are attempting to bring the whole process in-house. They’re training their own team in the art of coaxing AI tools to do their bidding instead of training them to write. 

While this could be a temporary fix for larger, market-dominating brands, it simply doesn’t work for the smaller startups or companies that are just beginning to scale. This market is where the opportunity for content-driven growth and visibility is the most accessible and when it is the most critical. 

The View For The Rest Of Us

I am not on a witch hunt to deactivate AI tools at large. As an agency owner, I do not allow any form of AI-generated content to pass through our fingertips. However, I have personally seen the benefits in other ways, specifically for brainstorming. 

For example, one way to ethically and effectively leverage an AI writing assistant would be to share the topic you already have in mind and generate ten different ideas to present it. The result is essentially a text-based mind map that offers ten different points of view for a single topic. You can take or tweak what you like and leave the rest. 

AI tools possess the knowledge contained in the internet at large but cannot know if that information is true, well-written, or helpful. That requires a human. In many ways, asking AI is no different than asking Google. Where Google is the librarian, pointing you in the right direction, AI is cracking open the books and showing you the page. 

How you use it is a matter of ethics. If you’re dry on topic ideas, check with your friendly neighborhood AI to see what shakes and what gets your creative juices flowing. 

But if you’re trying to avoid the content creation process entirely, you’ll end up with watered-down content that is merely a cleverly disguised scrape of what someone else already wrote. 

The Overall Impact of AI-Generated Content

I’m not worried in the slightest about the future of our industry. Artificial intelligence is just that, artificial. Therefore, the content it creates is based on the information it has been fed or crawled for. Information that’s already online. 

This means AI-generated content is content that already exists and has simply been regurgitated.

As brands and writers increasingly rely on AI and more and more content is written in this way, the message will become watered down and unvaried from what’s already out there. 

One of the most concerning aspects of this conversation – and the most significant ethical question mark – is that AI-generated content is being published directly as-is, with no human elements added to enhance it. 

Earthweb reports that between two and three million articles are published daily, both on and offline.[1] Even more staggering is that out of 1,000 business leaders surveyed this year, it was revealed that one in four companies have replaced workers with ChatGPT.[2] 

If 25% of companies are using ChatGPT to create content, generative AI could be responsible for a significant chuck of it. That’s a significant amount of potentially unreliable and unquestionably regurgitated data flooding the internet.

If this is the new normal, and AI writing assistants can only produce content based on what it has already seen, then what they produce adds little to no value to the overall conversation. In the end, it’s just the same noise from a new instrument.

The Purpose of Content

What so many brands and marketing teams are forgetting in this debate is the true purpose of content. It’s not just to get the click. If the purpose of content was just to get the click, everything on the internet would be of dreadful quality and stuffed with keywords.

The purpose of content is to make a connection. To resonate with your target market in a deeper way that feels natural and organic. AI tools can’t do that. They can only mimic what they’ve seen other writers produce – human or otherwise.

The trouble with using AI writing assistants to generate content is that you greatly diminish your opportunity to stand out and highlight what makes you, your brand, or your products unique. Without the human-centric viewpoint that SEO content writing services capture with every piece, you only serve to expand the void of poor-quality content online.

What To Do About It

If you’re in the copy or content writing space, don’t panic. While I don’t think AI is going anywhere anytime soon, I don’t believe it has any industry over a barrel. 

If you’re looking for copy or content writing services, be circumspect in your choice. Read all the fine print and be transparent about your expectations. 

I believe the best way to approach the rise of AI writing assistants and their potential impact on the copywriting industry is to understand its limitations. An AI writing assistant is not:

  •  A writer
  •  A subject matter expert
  •  An editor

As such, it cannot realistically be expected to act like one. It could be leveraged as a springboard for fleshing out new ideas or as an easy way to organize your thoughts. 

But make no mistake, AI tools are unquestionably incapable of creating something wholly and completely new, like a human could.

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