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AI in content writing: friend or foe?

Updated: Feb 16

Friendly robot to represent the AI tools debate

It hasn't been that long since ChatGPT appeared in our lives, but it's hard to imagine the world without it. It's a (boiling) hot topic that is constantly being discussed high and low, far and wide, yet as we navigate this AI revolution, it's becoming increasingly important to truly understand its ins and outs — and “the more you know, the more you realise you don't know”.


There are so many questions popping up in every virtual corner... Should we feel excited or threatened? How will it affect the future of content? How can we use it to our advantage and make the most of it in our day to day?


In this article, we attempt to simplify the debate by discussing the main pros and cons and share some key tips and tricks for making the most of AI in content writing and approaching it in the future.


 

Content table:



 


The cons of AI and why it can't replace us as content writers


It’s quite clear that ChatGPT and other AI tools seem super impressive at first glance, as they can produce tons of free content in a matter of seconds. Almost miracle-like, right? However, all that glitters is not gold, and if we put its content under a microscope, there are some major setbacks to keep in mind.


Here are the 3 main risks when using ChatGPT for content writing:


1. Context and hallucinations 


Context is vital for creating accurate, appropriate, and useful content for your audience. However, ChatGPT isn’t able to navigate through or utilise context as well as humans, limiting their ability to produce the right responses. For example, it can't understand emotional cues, sarcasm, or humour in a conversation.


AI tools need a LOT of information in order to generate a solid response that really goes beyond a surface level. But creating a prompt that will help you get the amount of detail or quality you need usually ends up being insanely long and complex, very time-consuming, and often it’s just not possible to get it to the same level as a human writer.


So, what does this leave you with? Well, you will most likely have to spend a ton of time editing very basic, clumsy, and unnatural responses. Or, what's worse, invented responses, also known as AI hallucinations. Simply put, these are when the AI tool doesn't know the answer and is programmed to invent something instead, providing very inaccurate or ambiguous responses yet presenting them as cold, hard facts. 


But why does it do this? Why can’t the tool admit when it doesn’t have the resources to provide an accurate result? It’s important to remember that ChatGPT is trained to always give an answer, no matter what: Even if ChatGPT doesn’t have sufficient information to answer your question, it will anyway.


These issues can seriously damage your quality and reputation as a content writer, so it's essential to be careful when using it and to always fact-check just in case. 




2. Empathy and creativity


Perhaps the most valuable trait of any great writer is their level of empathy. And the simple fact is that AI cannot feel or provide anything on that emotional level. 🤖


It’s this empathy that we rely on to understand how our users feel, what they need, and how they will respond to certain content — everything that comes together to create their entire user experience. Without it, we cannot even try to deliver something that will have a real impact on our audience. It is this emotional depth and understanding that completely separates us from anything else in this world — especially AI.


Very much tied to empathy, creativity is at the crux of good storytelling and unforgettable impressions. It might shine through a unique tone of voice, anecdotes, or creative wordplay and idioms (our personal favourite!). 


As you might have already guessed, this creativity is pretty difficult, if not impossible, for an algorithm to replicate. It can assist in a creative process, but we cannot rely on it to produce incredible, memorable results that will make a true impact and connection, as the results will be typical, unoriginal, and disconnected.




3. Ethics and privacy 


Unfortunately, AI- tools are not reliable when it comes to vital aspects like plagiarism, accessibility, human rights, and creating bias-free content.


ChatGPT has consistently received major backlash. Here are just a few examples:

  • Political bias: Research shows that when asked “politically neutral questions,” ChatGPT responds on average with more left-wing answers.

  • Gender bias: ChatGPT assumed that the pronouns of an attorney were “he/him”. 

  • Racial bias: When asked to create a Python function to check if someone would be a good scientist based on descriptions of race and gender, ChatGPT suggested returning a positive result if the person was “white” and “male”.


It’s important to remember that this bias is primarily down to the databases it is fed and trained by, as well as the information users provide via prompts. 


As writers, we have a major responsibility to ensure our content is real and fair, as this can have an extremely negative, even harmful, impact on our users. Should we give AI this responsibility? We don’t think so. 




The pros of AI and how it can assist us with content writing


OK, all the information above is pretty damning about ChatGPT, but the truth is that it’s an extremely powerful content tool when used correctly, and it offers many great advantages too.


Whether you’re a content marketer, copywriter, content strategist, UX writer, etc., here are the 4 main ChatGPT use cases that successfully assist us in our content creation processes and that we wish we had known sooner!


1. Building content foundations


ChatGPT may not be your best bet for creating a final, polished piece of content, but we’ve found it super helpful to build content foundations for multiple areas, saving us a ton of time on repetitive tasks!


With the right prompt, you can use ChatGPT to:

  • Outline kickoff sessions and creative workshops

  • Create content materials, such as writing guidelines or checklists

  • Build briefs and create templates

  • Structure key information


Using ChatGPT to help set up your content foundations will free up time for strategic, logical, and creative thinking. For example, you can use ChatGPT to research key language and grammar principles to develop your content style guide or best practices to establish a good workflow with the right steps to follow for an efficient process.




2. Research, brainstorming, and drafting


With the right prompt, you can use ChatGPT to:

  • Discover trends and keywords

  • Gather market insights and understand your audience

  • Help generate new ideas and write drafts


ChatGPT allows you to save hours on research and drafting. For example, you can generate lists of concepts you can then fact-check, analyse, and elevate.


It is also a great tool for brainstorming ideas at scale and can become a good ally to overcome writer's block and get those juices flowing. After all, we’ve all been there when an initial idea has caused a chain reaction that leads us to that final, perfect concept! For example, you can use it to generate drafts for some of your content, like headlines, product names, or conclusions, and then add your human touch and intuition.


This can be a slippery slope, especially when you're on a tight deadline, but it's vital not to make the mistake of picking out AI-generated content that seems good enough just to muddle through. AI should always be used to assist, NOT replace, and we must always add our unique and creative spark for a proper outcome. However, what used to take all-nighters and litres of coffee can now be done in just a few hours.




3. Refining, proofreading, and quality control


There are already so many great editing AI tools, like Grammarly, that many of us are using daily, and they’re just getting better. With any text, you can use these tools to automatically improve:

  • Grammar 

  • Spelling 

  • Punctuation 

  • Structure 

  • Tone

  • Cadence

  • Coherence 

  • Readability

  • Clarity


AI tools are also great assistants when synthesising, summarising, or shortening your existing texts in multiple contexts. ChatGPT can become your objective standpoint to make your content more concise and engaging, and enhance overall quality. You can shave hours off your task in just a few clicks! For example, AI can analyse the text structure, suggesting improvements to sentence flow and overall coherence.




4. Translation and localisation


With the right prompt, you can use ChatGPT to:

  • Ensure consistency in language usage and terminology

  • Maintain a cohesive brand voice

  • Enhance user engagement and cultural resonance


AI-powered tools also significantly accelerate the translation process, allowing content specialists to handle large volumes of content swiftly. Automated translation processes reduce manual effort, empowering content specialists to elevate the quality and impact of their work in a globalised landscape. For example, in a product launch, you can use it to ensure product descriptions or CTAs are consistent while maintaining them within a specific word count so the localised version adapts to the design or vice versa.





How content professionals (like us) should approach AI 


So, what has our experience taught us about how fellow content professionals should use AI? Well, for us, the obvious answer is never to rely on AI tools to do all the work. When we take ChatGPT from its original purpose and try to turn it into an omnipotent content creator, more issues arise. Not only will your content lack the quality, accuracy, and originality needed, but your audience deserves that human touch — always. 


For us, it’s also super important to be upfront and honest about your AI approach with your colleagues, clients, and users. Let them know how you’re using AI, which areas it assists you in, and, more importantly, the areas in which it won’t have any input whatsoever.


Here's our AI premise, which we also share on our website:


We use tools to assist, not replace. As support to elevate us as content writers so we can dedicate more time on strategic thinking and other tasks that bring even more value to each project. We use it mindfully. We provide original insights and human perspective to combat AI-biases, building AI-systems that are fair and inclusive. We always bring imagination, compassion, originality, and empathy to every project, turning vague, repetitive, generalised, content into personal experiences that respect your audience - from human to human.

If you identify with these words, feel free to use them as your mantra to ensure you always have a good relationship with AI.


What does the future look like with these AI content tools? Who knows! We’ve seen some extraordinary things created with AI, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going away anytime soon. What does matter is that you can set those boundaries now so that we don’t get too carried away wherever it takes us next.


Want to learn more? Leave us a comment below on what you'd like our next AI-related post to be about, and we'll be sure to cover it soon! 🙌

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