A.I. is already everywhere.
- People are using AI robots for religious services…
- Quantum computing promises to supercharge Siri and other Assistants
- Content, including copywriting is increasingly being written by machines
Imagine you open up a computer program, type in something you sell, who your target buyers are and some other details….
A few minutes (or even seconds) later — BAM!
Better copy than what you could’ve ever written.
But not just copywriting.
Artificial intelligence (A.I.) promises to invade websites (blogs, etc.), technical pieces and even books.
All filled with the words from a computer.
Kinda like deep fakes, but with content.
Spoiler Alert: I use an A.I. content generator later in this article.
To some, this idea sounds magical. No more outsourcing, no more follow-up with contractors.
And to others in the increasing gig economy, it’s a (potential) nightmare.
Here’s a brief depiction of how some freelancers are viewing the AI writing rise:
Sure, slight exaggeration.
Most of us don’t need to worry about A.I. taking our clients.
Not in the same way that many worry about robots taking over physical jobs (over the past 30 years, or so).
It IS something we should pay attention to and prepare for.
Not just copywriters, but marketers and entrepreneurs – really, anyone in any business.
Heck, are you a human being? Then yes, A.I. will matter more and more.
And you’ll want to at least start thinking along the lines of:
- Could this be a viable solution for businesses?
- Will there be a rise of A.I. into more service-based fields?
- What cautions (or precautions) help prepare for this potential rise?
Some even say that the A.I. age is already upon us. But not really in the way you think (like full-fledged, deep copy). I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s dive in and talk about the state of copywriting (plus, other forms of content).
And specifically how A.I. affects these forms of writing.
Advertising Copywriting and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)
While the robots haven’t taken over the copy industry…
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are increasingly being used in marketing and sales departments across the world.
Large companies, like eBay, are using A.I. for copy.
Big finance companies (including Chase and others) are also using it.
News publishers, too.
A bit of thought will tell you that each of these examples have potentially thousands, if not tens of thousands of pages that need to be filled with copywriting.
Let’s get a bit more specific.
3 Examples of Copywriter vs. A.I. Copywriting Battles
Example One: Credit card offers. AI can spin out a fresh page with specifics about the target way faster.
So, you have a 35 yr old male with a 725 credit score who gets one kind of page.
And then, a 50 yr old female with an 805 score.
She gets a slightly different page or ad, perfectly changed and written by a computer.
Of course, this is just one finance example.
Even within the credit card market, you can have geographic, income and other demographic factors that can all change the copy. Potentially millions of pages — all written by AI.
How many humans do you need to write those?
Can humans do it better? Do they even need to?
Example Two: News-type sites, particularly about subjects that require publishers to be up-to-the minute are increasingly using A.I. A site that reviews stocks can publish/update far more content with A.I.
Say someone comes to the site and wants to know if a particular company would be a good investment.
A.I. can change all the data and even the words on the page for a particular stock to give the best overall data.
Note: News sites can also use aggregation to publish way more news for their audience using A.I.
Example Three: Ebay just makes sense for AI, right? Not in the way you’re thinking. Ebay doesn’t really sell anything. That said, millions of others buy and sell on Ebay. And each of these people are different.
eBay uses AI specifically for advertising copy in things like:
- Emails (especially hyper-targeted subject lines)
- Facebook and other internet ads
- Push notifications from their application
I can hear you saying, “So, A.I. can do copywriting?!”
Yes and no.
What Exactly Are The Robots Doing?
In a definition that aims for simplicity, here’s how it works:
Data + software + natural language generation (NLG).
- Data: eBay, financial companies and new stations have data. They understand the readers, the markets and where news comes from (respectively). Now, all you need is to have a program to collect and sort that data.
- Software: The data collected is sorted and used to organize the AI “thoughts” based on segments in the data.
- Natural Language Generation (NLG): This is where the rubber meets the road, or the robot…picks up the pen? Anyway, once the data is gathered and understood, NLG takes the “structured data” and generates texts that are more human friendly.
Note: Keep in mind, these are basic definitions that apply to all AI-generated writing. For a (way) better explanation, check out this amazing article.
So, when there are a ton of variables and even more potential pages — AI is a super-useful tool.
That’s why we’re seeing Fortune 1000s using services to build out massive amounts of pages for their brands.
Should Copywriters and Businesses Be Worried About A.I.?
The short answer is no.
And I don’t really think there’s a “not yet” to follow it…yet.
1. The current nature of the disruption
The main customers for AI copywriting are those who need 1000’s upon 1000’s or more similar pages/ads/etc. of copy.
Yes, A.I. does this now.
However, what if you need to get on the phone with actual customers?
Take notes of their mannerisms, specific words and (most importantly) ask the right follow-up questions to really get to the “why”.
AI can’t do that.
Not saying it will “never” get there, but it’s nowhere close from what I can see.
2. The helpfulness of these tools will propel copywriting forward
Look, A.I. does so much for copywriters and businesses trying to do their own ad work.
Dissemination of data and other tools for copywriters are available now.
Essentially, you can use AI and machine learning to gather and disseminate data (things like demographics, likes and just about anything else).
Then, take that data and do the “natural language generation” yourself.
This is just one thing you can use to leverage A.I. and write the best copy of your life (or have someone who uses these tools write the best copy of your life).
3. The cost is high
It’s pricey, which is why larger businesses are using AI for similar products, mainly relying on brand + computers to spit out millions of words that work.
SMBs aren’t going to fork over the money for this, when their products are sold one page of copy, one ad and one email at a time.
Even the big Fortune 100s will spend money on human copywriting for big-ticket items.
A.I. Tools for Copywriting
The tools (using AI) that are available are nothing short of incredible… for assisting copywriters.
In the hands of a skilled copywriter, tools can:
- Improve research capabilities: AI is incredible at pooling data together and putting it in a raw, yet readable format. This can include demographic, firmographic and many other details about potential buyers and industries.
- Significantly reduce turnaround time: Tools should increase either speed or quality and there are programs to do both in copywriting.
- Scale up the efforts to hyper-personalize copy: So many tools exist that create custom, one-off ads or pages to keep attention while driving meaningful conversions.
Here’s the thing:
For the foreseeable future, a human copywriter will be needed for deep-level, psychological copy.
And to find the intricate, high-end or otherwise detailed copy needed to move what you’re selling.
There are three categories of tools to use (or ensure your copywriter uses).
1. Grammar Tools
Copywriting may not follow all conventional grammar rules. But
writing that is not good bad writing is obvious.
Clunky sentences, mis-communicated offers and easily spotted mistakes distract from the messaging and convey an unwritten, unprofessional message of their own.
There are two grammar tools I’ve used:
- Grammarly: You’ve likely heard of Grammarly. It’s like having an editor over your shoulder while you type. Not ideal for the initial “dump” stage, but critical to polish the final copy.
- Hemmingway: This one is a bit different and identifies things like passive voice. Obviously, you want to motivate readers into action on ad copy.
2. Content Creation Tools
As a copywriter, you want a ton of bad copy.
To get to the best phrase or sentence — you must go through hundreds or thousands of headlines you’ll never use.
It’s kind of like in a meeting when the boss says, “there are no bad ideas”. Except, in this case, it’s true.
Using a content generation tool spits out 1000s of sentences in a matter of minutes.
A good copywriter can skim that pile and find a great line or two, polish it up and have a real find.
Creating that level of bulk content on your own takes hours and hours of thought and writing.
Some copywriters hire this part out, leaving their mind to view the rough copy from a fresh perspective.
Here are some examples of content creation tools:
- AI-Writer: I actually use this tool for the next section of the article below. See for yourself how it did.
- WordSmith: A bit of a more polished software for natural language generation by a company called Automated Insights.
- Articoolo: One of the least expensive solutions which charges by individual article credit. I also tried this one, and it was rough.
3. Conversion Tools
There are some awesome tools using A.I. and machine learning to create custom ads, landing pages and emails — massively driving conversions.
Here are a few:
- Instapage: This tool is used to create custom, one-off landing pages. So, certain aspects about each visitor are used to deliver a custom webpage. Similar landing page tools can do things like create a custom countdown. (Example: If a visitor signs up to your list, a 72 hour discount timer starts, prompting the person to buy.)
- Lemlist: This is an email tool allowing users to send custom images and even videos to their prospective buyers. It’s crazy what it can do.
- AdExt: An AI tool that analyzes and iterates your ad copy, specifically for Facebook and Google Ads.
How You Should React to Copywriting by Robots
You have my thoughts and a ton of resources linked throughout the article.
Now, I’ll share my opinions on how to handle AI, in its current state.
How Businesses Should Handle AI Copywriting
Unless you’re recreating thousands of pages for unique products (like Ebay or Chase), it’s highly unlikely you need an AI copywriting service, like Persado.
If you’re doing your own copy, you can totally benefit from some of the tools I mentioned. And if you’re writing content (for a blog, or something similar), you can totally use the content tools to gather and disseminate data way faster than you can with Google and some note taking.
How Copywriters Should Handle AI Copywriting
If you’re a current copywriter, there are a couple of ways you should handle AI.
1. Use It
All of the tools mentioned are relatively inexpensive and can cut hours (or even days) off of your working month. Not to mention, make more money for your clients — better shielding you from a potential AI takeover down the road.
2. Future-Proof Yourself
AI is great for bulk + brands, right now.
Meaning “Chase” can sell based on their name, allowing them to use artificial intelligence and create bulk ads.
But when they have a new, exclusive offer for 1% of their customers — they’ll likely hire a living, breathing wordsmith.
To future-proof yourself:
- Niche down: Choose an industry with more complicated products or learn more about the target buyers of said industry, standing out from just any old copywriter.
- Price up: Charging more means the ability to take fewer clients. That said, you should probably be worth more money — bringing me to the next point.
- Get better at writing copy: Study formulas, buyer psychology and language to become a powerful copywriter.
Resources for Improving Your Copy and Fending Off the Robots
- 7 High-Converting Copywriting Formulas
- AAA Funnels: Acquire More Customers and Profits
- 33 of the Most Powerful Copywriting Methods You’ll Ever See
What About A.I. and Other Forms of Content?
While AI and machine learning is coming along well in the copywriting world, content seems to be a different story.
In fact, the best way I could see to talk about A.I. in content writing is to actually try it.
Disclaimer: I know that testing one service cannot show the state of an entire industry. So, take what you read/see with a grain of salt.
During research for this resource, I came across several A.I. content services.
After finding one that seemed popular and reputable, I gave it a try.
All I did was put in a topic (A.I. and copywriting) and gave them my email address.
About 5 minutes later, there was a 900+ word article (with sources) for me to review.
Things that Impressed Me:
- Speed: I can’t pump out 900 in 5 minutes, not sure anyone can.
- Sources: There are a bunch of sources, readily available. This tool even summarized each source in 3 lines, which is super handy.
- Options: I was met with two separate articles, one that is more “quoted” and sourced (like a research paper). Another article that was “more unique, less fluent”.
Things that Annoyed Me:
1. The writing itself
Here’s a snippet of the best portion (in my opinion):
“It’s hard to believe that without a deep and detailed understanding of the above, engineers can develop computers that can give us ideas.
Artificial intelligence is unlikely to replace human writers in the foreseeable future.
Websites offering services such as HireRush or SearchEngineLand will continue to have the desired copywriting services for a long time.”
Note: Here is a link to the source used by this service, it’s great!
And here’s a bit of some of the worst:
“But instead of worrying about something, we see real value for B2B communication.
At least for writing texts has the ability to do repetitive work, so that people can enjoy the true value of innovative and creative texts.
Moving professional writers from here will be a more difficult task, especially for people like me who are just starting out in an area where there are other possibilities.”
2. The issue of “copying“…
Yes. All of the sources are cited, but unless you’re a news-heavy site — you don’t want your entire article made up of sources.
To check, I ran the “less unique, more fluent” version of the AI article through CopyScape (screenshot below).
Not as bad as I thought, but still rough.
And, in case you’re interested, here are the results from the more original version:
Is the A.I. Takeover of Regular Content Here?
No. But I’m genuinely surprised at its current usefulness.
To be honest, I would either:
- Selectively choose a couple of sentences/paragraphs and ditch the rest of the article I have.
- Choose the best citations and write entire sections of original content around them. So, write my own thoughts about that topic/subtopic and then cite a source.
The sources are all solid, in my example. In a long enough article, using all of the (properly sourced) material wouldn’t be a bad thing.
In fact, I’ll probably go back and put a few in this article :).
Bottom Line: I could see a content writer or small business owner using an AI content tool to quickly gather thoughts. Almost like a search engine specifically put together for writers.
A.I. is a lot more useful than it used to be — to where it’s now handy in the world of copywriting.
Eventually, artificial intelligence may move from “useful” to “replacement”.
But we’re not there yet.