Artificial Intelligence in Copywriting: Looming Threat or Powerful Tool?

“Are you worried AI will replace you as a copywriter?”

It’s a question I’ve been asked so many times, I wish I charged a fee for each response!

I’ll admit, when I first heard about ChatGPT, I was a little wary of this new kid on the tech block. I listened to stories, podcasts and conversations on what ChatGPT was capable of, especially in terms of copywriting.

I heard it could write social media copy, blog posts, website copy, ad copy – you name it. And it could mimic whatever tone and writing style you plug into it. What?!

It sounded too good to be true.

And in some ways, it is.

Many businesses have jumped on the ChatGPT bandwagon, using it and other artificial intelligence (AI) tools to cut content creation costs and boost their bottom line. I get it, it’s a time saver. Why not save costs in one area and use those funds to invest in another?

It seems like a simple solution to skyrocketing inflation and cost of living pressures. After all, you’ve still got to pay your employees and take something home yourself to pay your bills, right?

The question is, will artificial intelligence hurt or harm content creation for your business and is it worth ditching human resources for? The costs saved in the short term could have longer term consequences that can’t yet be seen.

It’s a business decision that every entrepreneur, business owner, communications officer and marketing director will need to make for themselves.

For this copywriter, I choose to view AI as a tool rather than a threat. And in this blog post, I share why.

What is artificial intelligence?

Before I get into the why, let’s start with the what. There’s so much talk of AI and it’s a hot topic between business partners, colleagues, co-founders, friends and board members. But do we really understand what it is?

Let me take a crack at explaining it as best as I can.

According to my Google search “what is artificial intelligence” (original, I know), AI is the ability of machines, including computers to solve problems and perform tasks by mimicking human intelligence processes. These machines are trained by humans to reproduce intellectual processes – language, learning, problem solving, reasoning and perception.

AI isn’t a human, but it’s the next best option.  Slightly unsettling, isn’t it?

The thing is, AI has been around since the 1950s (read more about that here). We see AI in online chatbots, Face ID, iPhone autocorrect (can we recall that one, please?), virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri, phone navigation apps and social media algorithms. AI is all around us and practically embedded in our everyday lives.

So, AI is nothing new. And with each evolution of AI, we’ve learned to embrace it and use it to our advantage. As with each new technology that emerges, its use requires wisdom.

The most recent iteration that affects most business owners is AI for content creation. I’m talking for writing, art, photography, videos, music, etc. For this blog post, let’s specifically look at copywriting.

AI-powered copywriting

AI tools have been instrumental in helping copywriters produce better work for quite some time now. Many of us use the tools without even thinking they’re powered by AI. They help us find SEO key phrases, craft headlines, edit for grammar, check for plagiarism and so much more.

Now, ChatGPT has taken it to the next level.

You can feed it specific instructions and it’ll spit out an entire sales page in a matter of seconds. Plus, like I said it before, you can instruct it to mimic your tone of voice, so it sounds like you (it’s got a bit of work to do here). Here’s an example – I asked ChatGPT to write an Instagram caption and fed it some of my previous copy to detect the right tone:

Screenshot of ChatGPT prompt which reads: I'm going to feed you some copy. I want you to use this copy as a reference for the style and tone of voice I want you to mimic.

After feeding it the copy, I got this response:

Screenshot of ChapGPT response to copy prompt, identifying a tone of voice that is: professional and authoritative, empathetic and understanding, informative and helpful, and engaging and conversational

Pretty accurate in detecting my writing style, don’t you think?

I then fed ChatGPT the topic, purpose and target audience, instructing it to keep in mind the above style and tone it had detected. The output was good but not great. Did I end up using the caption? No. It was generic, vanilla and didn’t sound like me. But I could see why someone who isn’t a writer would use it.

Why pay a professional to do it when you can get a machine to do it for free? Well, a few reasons. When you use AI instead of a copywriter:

  • Your copy will read and sound like that of many other businesses, causing you to blend in rather than stand out.
  • Though you can feed it a specific tone of voice, it will never truly sound like you.
  • You’ll need to watch out for plagiarism – AI copywriting tools merely regurgitate from existing content swimming around the internet.
  • There’s a risk of inaccuracy – rather than checking for accuracy, it’ll just say whatever it can to give you the output you want. Fact-checking is key!
  • It’s no match for human emotional intelligence – there’s something about having your copywriter read between the lines as you share your vision for your website copy and watch your facial expressions to see what resonates and what doesn’t.

What about emotional intelligence?

Now, let’s zoom in on emotional intelligence.

Thanks to a comparison of various dictionary definitions, I’ve landed on defining emotional intelligence as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions as well as recognise and understand other people’s emotions. Strong emotional intelligence involves responding to such emotions in a way that improves interpersonal relationships.

Emotional intelligence (a.k.a. EQ) is unique to us as humans, the complex beings we are. Although, some of us have more EQ than others.

But it can be learned.

And apparently not only by humans. Have you heard of conversational AI? It’s a form of AI that can copy a more human-like conversation between a human and a computer. It does this by drawing on patterns of data to understand the context of the conversation and improves over time as more data is collected.

Conversational AI can detect emotions to help provide intuitive and human-like interaction experience to users. The investment and use of this tech is only growing. It’s expected to grow to a market size of over $55 billion by 2026!

As I said before, AI and emotion detection software is no match for human emotional intelligence. Humans connect with humans. No machine can tell a personal story like a human can. A story that others can relate to. A story that evokes emotion.

It’s also worth noting that a key attribute of emotional intelligence is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand what others feel, see things from their perspective and respond appropriately.

I go on about empathy because it’s at the heart of human connection. It’s why I believe in empathy-powered content. Crafting content with the main goal to create a genuine connection with your audience. Even with empathy at the centre, there are many ways to use AI to take human-written copy to the next level.

How to use AI in copywriting

I’m all about working smarter, not harder. And I commit to doing it in a way that maintains my integrity and aligns with my values. So, I use AI less so to write copy and more so to optimise my workflow.

Here are several ways I’ve incorporated AI into my copywriting process that may help you with your content creation, too:

  • Idea generation – sometimes I just need a general brainstorm of ideas to spark my creativity.
  • Research – great for gathering research from different sources into one place.
  • SEO – coming up with key phrases to use when writing a blog post.
  • Social media captions – for first drafts when writer’s block sets in (I usually end up writing my own because it’s never good enough!)
  • Summarising long blocks of content – helpful for distilling long blog posts or scripts into a few main takeaways.
  • Writing headlines – provides a good start for writing catchy headlines that I then enhance myself.
Screenshot of ChatGPT response to copy prompt for blog headlines
Above: An example of a conversation I had with ChatGPT to generate a headline for my blog on brand voice.

AI can be a game-changer for copywriting, but it should be used with caution. To reap the full benefits the key is to know how to use it properly and learn how to feed AI tools with the right prompts. Be specific, know what you want and always edit!

I believe there’s room for AI tools and copywriters to work side by side. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Yes, using AI is cheaper and more efficient. But to create creative, original content that stands out requires a human touch.

So, before you consider letting your copywriter go or reconsider hiring one, think about the benefits of using both. You may even want to ask your copywriter how they use AI tools in their copywriting process to understand how they’re using this technology to give you the best value.

Now, I’ve done all the talking (um, writing), it’s your turn. I have two questions for you, and you can answer by leaving a comment below:

  1. Do you think AI wrote this blog post for me? Why or why not?
  2. How do you use AI in your business or work? Content or not content related.

If you’re wanting for some support in writing engaging copy with a good dose of empathy, book a free discovery call with me. Let’s chat about what that could look like for you.

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