The Rise of AI Writing Assistants: What’s the Impact on the Copywriting Industry?

The ideation and development of AI tools and generative AI content creation has reached a pinnacle. There are artificial intelligence-based tools to create words, software code, images and even processes. 

These internet-educated robots seem to be taking over every creative avenue online. But is it for real? Should copywriters be worried? 

While I’m sure that sci-fi fans are losing their minds with the big-screen comparisons to what is now reality, let’s not be too hasty to count out human ingenuity and creativity. 

Why I’m Not Worried – And You Shouldn’t Be Either

AI tools like ChatGPT, Jasper, Article Forge, and Rytr are examples of generative AI software that handles the content creation process FOR you. They can whip out in minutes what would take me or someone from my team hours to plan, develop and write. 

Enter the crux of the problem. 

The AI brain is merely spitting out what it has read somewhere else. It has no personal experience, subject matter expertise or human wisdom to “know” what it’s talking about with any real authority. 

It can’t even tell what is true and what is not – potentially feeding you, and thereby your audience, unverifiable data that is just dead wrong. Only a human can think outside the bot and make inferences or judgment calls based on the information at hand. 

There’s just no substitute for that.

While I’m under no delusions that these AI tools can be snuffed from the face of the internet, it’s definitely brought some diverging schools of thought to the forefront: Those who shun AI, those who embrace it, and then there’s the rest of us.

The Various Schools of Thought Regarding AI

Those who shun artificial intelligence do so usually out of a healthy fear. Fear of accidental plagiarism. Fear of incorrect data. Fear of losing the connection with their audience. 

This group tends to be highly suspicious of any copy or content they purchase, especially from at-scale copywriting services like an agency. They may even ask for unreasonable assurances that their content is free of any AI associations.

Those who are adapting to the newest trending AI ability are often looking to produce the same high-quality deliverables but without a lengthy timeline and a “good buddy discount.” The type of well-researched and high-performing content that brands and thought leaders should be sharing cannot be developed and delivered so flippantly. At least, not if you want it to have an impact. 

The other group, the rest of us who are not on the fence but really just not in the same field, see some AI tools for what they are: a powerful tool with limited scope. Those of us who fall in this category can see the benefit of some features but recognize its failure to replace truly authentic and original human skills. 

What Has Been the Impact of Those Who Shun AI Tech?

As a content and copywriting agency owner, my team and I have encountered all types of questions about AI. Many of those who shun AI tech are eager to take advantage of our 100% human-created deliverables. 

These are the folks who are looking for collaborative solutions to create resources and assets that set themselves apart from their competitors. They’re not interested in the same-old same-old fluff clogging the internet. 

Like me, they view the rise of AI writing assistants as a never-before-available opportunity to rise themselves. To position themselves as an authority in their niche and elevate their materials’ quality with a fresh, human-centered perspective. 

However, a few on the extreme spectrum brought their AI detection tools. Supposedly, THE thing to ensure they’re getting what they pay for.

If you’ve never used an AI detection tool, let me save you the trouble. They’re a joke. It’s wholly unreliable and consistently inconsistent. Even when tested with my own pieces from YEARS ago – long before AI writing assistants ever blipped the radar – they were still flagged as partially written by AI. And yet, these tools exist.

What Has Been the Impact of Those Who Embrace AI Tech?

Those who have bought into the AI trend are in it – lock, stock and space bar. In my experience, they want the grass to be green on both sides of the fence. 

They think everyone is or should be using AI, so why does everything still cost the same? They’re looking for a completely done-for-you content creation process and highly skilled search engine optimization or SEO content writing services without paying for the time and energy it takes to bring that to life. 

Of course, this ideology is unsustainable, and I’d be highly suspicious of someone offering to deliver premium content and support at barrel-scraping prices.

As a result, many companies are attempting to handle their content creation and development process in-house – training interns “how to use AI” rather than helping them develop actual, marketable skills. 

I predict (and have seen) that they will find this to be a short-term solution with disappointing results. Large-scale corporations can likely get away with more flexibility on this as the sheer volume of content they produce is much higher. 

But where most businesses are on the cusp of life-changing growth and the ability scale, you can’t afford to simply do what everyone else is doing. Visibility and credibility are never more important than at this stage. Handle your content and deliverables with intention and strategy.  

What It’s Like for the Rest of Us

Nobody here or on my team is on a secret mission to eliminate AI tools or writing assistants. Of course, as an agency, we do not allow any AI-generated content. Period. But that’s not to say there’s no place for it at all. 

ChatGPT has specifically shown itself to be a helpful brainstorming tool to “talk through” your ideas and generate new perspectives to consider or an alternate approach. It essentially becomes a mind map of sorts as you shuffle through your content strategy. 

The Thing About AI Writing Assistants Is…

…They gather and populate information. Data, words and content that already exist. However, it has ZERO capacity to know if the data it has collected, compiled and curated is good or even accurate. This distinction requires a human touch. 

My favorite example is to refer to Google as the librarian, pointing you to the resources that you may find helpful. The rest is up to you. AI writing assistants and AI research tools are ripping pages from the books that contain the data you want – with no context or ability to fact-check it. 

How you use AI writing assistants really comes down to a question of ethics. If your aim is to completely pass off content creation to a generative robot, the result will be diluted content that’s just a twisted repeat of what someone else – person or bot – has already created.

AI-Generated Content and Its Impact on the Online World

The key point to remember when dealing with generative AI tools and writing assistants is this: Artificial intelligence is artificial. Anything it delivers is merely a reenvisioning of something else it was fed. 

In the end, AI-generated content, specifically writing, is content that, at some level or another, already exists and is simply being regurgitated. 

As content creators lean heavenly on these tools to do more with less or create at scale, the overall message becomes diluted and redundant as it parrots what everyone else in your niche or market is already saying.

One of the most alarming practices that has surfaced from this phenomenon is the high likelihood that AI-generated content is being taken at face value and distributed on the internet – copied and pasted completely as is. This is where the trouble really lies. 

If this is the new normal of content creation, no one is actually contributing anything authentically unique to the online conversation. Worse, content creators could be flooding the internet with unverified information. 

The flip side of the argument is that “if you feed it the right kind of prompt, it will generate new content.” Additionally, “you can always alter what it generates to make it different.” If the objective is to save time with content generation, this is where you lose. 

If you must feed and coax the AI writing assistant to give you the desired results and then spend more time altering the voice and fact-checking the data, have you truly saved any time or energy? Additionally, prompting and “teaching” generative AI tools is a skillset – as are content and copywriting and any other creative endeavor. 

If you’re going to learn a skill set, why not learn the one you actually need? Take content or copywriting courses and put your newfound knowledge to good use. 

We’re Forgetting the Purpose of Content

As brands and marketing teams get excited about the “newness” of generative AI writing assistants and distracted by the false sense of ease, they forget why we create content at all. 

The purpose of content is to make a connection. To spark a conversation. To serve the needs and goals of others. 

If it were anything else, everything online would be poor-quality, keyword-stuffed garbage that mimics what was there before. We can do better. 

The best way to address the rise of AI writing assistants and consider their impact on the copywriting industry is to acknowledge the scope of their limitations. Contrary to what many gurus would have you believe, an AI writing assistant is NOT a skilled writer, a subject matter expert, an editor or a fact-checker – it’s a data collector. 

A human must always play a significant role in creating content to generate something truly worthy.

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