Will AI replace copywriters and content writers?

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Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are expected to displace 85 million jobs by 2025. There is no doubt that AI will affect writers, but the real question is: will AI replace copywriters and content writers? In this article, industry leaders share their thoughts on this topic.

Many consider artificial intelligence a threat to copywriters and content creators, while others believe it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

The perspective might change depending on your role.

I imagine writers see AI copywriting tools the way cookies see cookie monsters. The rest of the world loves it, but it’d be a nightmare for the writer.

Cookie Monster cookie crumbs

For affiliate marketers looking to churn out a high volume of content every day, it might be a dream come true. At the same time, it might be terrifying for a copywriter or content writer who cherishes the process of writing original content and sees the tech as a threat to his livelihood.

It’s a valid concern. According to the World Economic Forum report, machines and automation will displace 85 million jobs by 2025.

Considering the gravity of the situation, it’s a conversation worth having. This article aims to present various facts and opinions to spark a conversation about AI-powered content creation. Before we get to expert opinions, here is my take on it.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is the ability to simulate human intelligence using machines. It’s a technology that bridges the human-machine gap by mapping out and mimicking cognitive tasks like learning and problem-solving. In other words, artificial intelligence seeks to understand how humans think instead of just following commands.

Here’s my take on it before we move on to expert opinions.

Will AI replace content writers?

AI-powered tools can create basic content that doesn’t require original research or expertise. But it can’t create strategic, story-driven content in line with your brand without human intervention. So, yes, AI writing tools can replace some writers, but they can never replace great writers.

You should think of AI writing tools as assistants rather than writers.
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It can make your life easier by automating repetitive tasks, making data-driven recommendations, and even helping with creative ideas. 

Here are a few reasons why AI ( at least in its current state) can’t replace a human writer. 

  1. AI doesn’t understand emotion.
    AI doesn’t understand what makes humans tick. And if you want to create compelling copy, you need to appeal to emotions. So your writing can’t just be factual and bland; it needs to engage your readers on an emotional level.
  2. AI doesn’t understand strategy.
    AI doesn’t understand business objectives or how to achieve them. It doesn’t know where the reader is in the buyer’s journey or where the content is trying to take them. For example, if the business wants to move the customer from awareness to action, the writer should tailor the message accordingly.
  3. AI doesn’t check facts.
    No amount of AI can replace the crowd-sourcing, fact-checking, and researching that good writing involves. It can only refer to the research and articles that human writers have already collected. Plus, AI is notorious for making stuff up. So you can get into trouble without proper content governance.
  4. AI doesn’t have empathy.
    Even though artificial intelligence is getting smarter than humans in many areas, it can’t replace certain qualities. For instance, AI can’t replicate human-centric traits such as empathy, culture, and values. Despite having tons of processing power and having read 10 percent of the internet, it doesn’t know how to relate to humans based on context. What’s the solution? Combining people with artificial intelligence, specifically those who work with AI. 
  5. AI doesn’t understand your brand essence.
    AI doesn’t understand your brand message, purpose, culture, and values. Sometimes you need your gut and years of experience with the brand to guide you. You have a sense when something is not right, even if everything is in line with brand guidelines. That’s why you sometimes hear designers say, “I know it’s a bad design when I feel it’s off.”

 Now let’s hear from some of the thought leaders in the content marketing and copywriting space.

What content marketing industry experts think about AI replacing humans

They say the last job to be replaced with AI will be the comedian. Probably, all creative communicators fit into that category. No, AI will not replace most creative writers. At least not for a very long time.

AI can help with certain writing tasks (editing, SEO copywriting research, headline testing), but AI isn’t likely to be good at writing, rule-bending writing or inspirational writing. Robots are gunna suck at writing weird and wacky sentences like this one. Or pretty poetic prose sentences like this one.” 

Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media

AI will replace writers.  Low-quality, non-expert writers. It will enhance and amplify high-quality writers and make editors and subject-matter experts the most valuable assets on every team in every industry. Artificial Intelligence will rid the world of bad content and I welcome that reality.

Jeff Coyle, CSO, MarketMuse

“AI will progressively turn content writers into editors. As content creation explodes, you will need to be a highly strategic editor. In a world where AI will make many writers lazy, human creativity will be a huge asset.”

Tomas Ratia, Co-founder and CEO, Frase

AI is definitely a great tool as it allows us to work smarter. It essentially takes over the boring and mundane tasks which need to get done and frees up our time. When it comes to analysing and processing data, AI can be more efficient than humans as it’s quicker and often free from error.

For instance, at Copy House, we use AI to help us transcribe interviews. It works great here because it’s a much quicker way of taking notes, but it also has its downside as it’s not always accurate.

AI should be treated as a complement rather than a replacement. It cannot possibly match the emotional intelligence of humans or have the same empathy as them. At Copy House, we conduct a lot of interviews to generate feedback and provide a better service. AI would not be able to have the same connection as a human would in those circumstances. It won’t be as creative or original when coming up with solutions to clients’ needs when creating content ideas or generating great quality work. Although I do think AI is incredibly beneficial and gives humans more time to be creative, I don’t think it will ever have the capacity to replace a writer as it can never have the same emotional connection as a human.

Kathryn Strachan, Managing Director and Owner, Copy House

Writers are nervous about artificial intelligence, and rightfully so — we can’t ignore the potential for AI to automate away jobs. AI writing tools will become the new industry standard. That being said, it is becoming increasingly clear that AI will be unable to replace our human ‘spark’ that makes writing so magical. Humans are needed for adding context and emotion to copy, for brainstorming strategy, for editing and fact-checking. At Copysmith, we focus on augmenting workflows — removing bottlenecks that prevent you from creating content at the speed and quality you are capable of, with the intention of complementing rather than replacing.

Anna Wang, CTO and Co-founder, Copysmith

So then, should writers completely ignore and avoid AI writing and go about their happy business?

Absolutely not!

I believe every content writer should use AI to their advantage. 

How can content writers and copywriters use AI to their benefit?

Brainstorm and overcome writer’s block

It’s no secret that creative thinking is one of the strongest skills you can have as a writer. But even the best writers can experience writer’s block or miss their deadline (because they binge-watched the latest episodes of Hit and Run on Netflix). Fortunately, there’s a solution.

AI can help come up with content ideas, marketing angles, taglines, or headlines. Add your prompt, click a button, and voila! You have a ton of ideas to build on.

How writer can use Copysmith AI for brainstorming

Here is the output for my imaginary product, ‘Taco Sleeping Bag.’ 

My product description: We make plush taco sleeping bags that are pretty comfortable.

Product name: Taco Sleeping Bag

Audience: People who love tacos and sleeping

Output

Tagline one: Take a nap in a taco. It doesn’t get better than this.

Tagline two: Sleep in taco-shaped warmth.

Tagline three: Taco-ception.

Not bad at all. Maybe I should send this to the folks at Appsumo; I hear they’re big on tacos.

AI-powered Content optimization 

According to a McKinsey report, data collection and data processing are the most likely to be automated. Writers can leverage SEO tools that analyze Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and make data-driven recommendations using machine learning and natural language processing (NLP).

Research showing data processing is the most automatable activity for writers

Tools like MarketMuse use deep learning and NLP to analyze thousands of pages and create topic models in a matter of seconds. It also uses Natural Language Generation to generate text. You can read my full MarketMuse review here. Creating expert-level SEO-optimized content has never been easier.

AI-powered topic model created by MarketMuse

You can use the data to improve search engine rankings, write better, and even understand search intent.

I’ve been using a few AI-driven content optimization tools, and I am impressed with the results.

Content creation at scale

Another application is to create content at scale. Having an AI content generator can be a dream come true for many solopreneurs and boot-strapped startups who can’t afford a dedicated content department.

For example, imagine having to write 100 product descriptions for your e-commerce store in a day. You can quickly achieve this with an AI writer to assist you. Here is a quick demo of using Jarvis.ai to create product descriptions.

An ai copywriter can create full-blown product descriptions from a list of features.

Rewrite the existing text to avoid duplicate content

For various purposes, such as location pages, it might be necessary to use the same content differently. AI content generators are perfect for such scenarios. You can use it to rewrite existing text to avoid duplicate content and ensure your website is always original, but the benefits don’t stop there.

AI generator is better than a typical text spinning tool because it produces original content.

Copywriting frameworks for beginners

Most of the AI copywriting tools out there have their algorithm trained on several copywriting frameworks. You can use frameworks like PAS (Problem, Agitate, and Solution) and AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Call to Action) to create conversion-optimized AI copy.

Copywriting frameworks generated by AI writers

Strategic content planning

You can use artificial intelligence to identify content clusters and create content strategically to establish topical relevance. For example, Surfer SEO content planner gives you a list of topics, along with relevant keywords and search intent. Each topic comes with a list of keywords (primary and secondary) that you should target with one piece of content. You can avoid duplicate content and avoid competing with yourself by planning your topics in this way.

Surfer SEO AI driven content cluster planning tool

Identify hidden opportunities and quick wins

You can use AI to uncover more traffic opportunities. Tools like Frase can cluster data from Google Search Console and help you identify quick wins, hidden opportunities, and decaying content. You can also track performance at the topic level instead of monitoring individual keyword performance. You can read my Frase review here.

Frase AI content analytics

Conclusion

If history is any indicator of the future, more jobs will be created than displaced, albeit at times with lower real wages. Automation is most likely to occur in repetitive jobs that follow a clear set of instructions. Humans will likely remain in jobs requiring emotional intelligence and jobs that require some form of decision-making or strategy.

When it comes to technology revolutions, it’s either disrupt or be disrupted. Content writing as we know it might change, but content writers will not be replaced by robot writers as long as you’re willing to adapt. 

Being part of the modern workforce, we should try to take advantage of emerging technologies to improve our workflow and system. Use AI to make sure your business stays one step ahead of the competition. Rather than just creating content, writers should try to move into a strategic and consulting role. This is an exciting time for marketers and writers, and I hope you’re ready to learn new skills and embrace the change.