Can AI replace copywriters? Although the hype and advertising around AI says it can, I’m not convinced and remain sceptical.

On the one hand, I’m sure that many owners of small businesses would welcome the chance to pass the responsibility of writing posts for their business to AI. However, on the other, I’m not sure AI provides the solution or is the perfect replacement for good writing?

Are you considering using AI to produce text or blogs for your business? Then please take on board the pitfalls outlined below because you may not have considered how AI generated text can affect the authenticity of your brand voice or your Google ranking.

Can AI replace copywriters?

The pitfalls of AI

1). Originality

Where does AI get its information? The answer is from pages already published on the internet. Why is this a disadvantage? Because Google likes original and fresh content. Your website ranking can suffer as a result of duplication.

The advantage of hiring a real person to write for your business is that they will conduct research before they begin writing. They will then draft the article in your authentic brand voice, including SEO key words and phrases where they make sense within the subject matter.

2). What is the source?

When undertaking research for clients, copywriters read read lots of information before putting pen to paper. Any articles used are quoted or referenced in the text via a link. Therefore, the copywriter is not copying their work, merely using it as a reference. However, with AI, you have no idea where the information came from, who wrote it or whether you could be plagiarising their work when you publish.

3). How old is the information?

Not only do you have no idea where AI may have found the information, you have no idea when it was published. Some of the information presented as facts could be out of date.

4). What does AI know about your business?

When I write for clients, it is part of my job to find out about their business before I start writing. Otherwise, how can I know what voice to use? At the very minimum I study their website and LinkedIn page. I will also discuss their business, goals and target audience with them. Does AI do this?

You can read more about the kind of information a copywriting brief should contain on my FAQ page, where you will also find a blank brief to fill in or download.

5). Tone of voice

Most businesses spend money on their visual branding and getting the ‘ brand voice’ exactly right. How can AI express an authentic tone of voice to talk directly to customers? It is only by understanding their clients’ businesses and customer base, that copywriters can express the written word in the right tone of voice.

How does your business talk to customers? For example is everything informal and ‘we’? Or are you more corporate, and prefer the company to be treated as a separate entity? Or maybe you are a one-person business, preferring the direct approach when addressing  customers? You will engage customers by expressing opinions and thoughts in the right tone of voice. Furthermore, if you are a sole trader, does AI generated text reflect your own personal insights?

6). Choice of words/phrasing

As well as finding the right tone of voice, copywriters use the right phrasing and written inflections for written text to be expressive. It is only by knowing their clients that copywriters can incorporate appropriate phrasing into copy. Text written by AI is not personalised, too often sounding like it is being said by someone else, someone who isn’t the client, their business or a customer.

Also, watch out for US phraseology, expressions or spellings!

7). Forming a connection

The whole point of blogs is to form a connection with a target audience. Text generated from existing sources may be factual, but does it engage customers? The best way of making a connection with customers is to sound authentic as well as presenting the facts.

8). Correct Grammar

In some of the examples I saw, the grammar used was inconsistent or incorrect, so if you go down the AI route, please check!

9). Your USP

Your business is unique, with its own USP. AI may be able to ascertain information about your industry, but will it be applicable to your business? The information may be too general and non-specific. It is up to you to make sure that any information presented by AI is relevant to your customers.

10). Incorrect standards

Depending on where AI finds information, it could quote incorrect benchmarks, standards or even laws, for example, US or EU. Since Brexit, the UK is no longer a member of the EU and applicable standards or laws from a couple of years ago may no longer apply. You will therefore need to check out any standards or laws within AI generated text.

11). Duplication

What happens when two competitors inadvertently type the same question into AI? Will it produce identical text for two completely different companies? How would you feel if you looked on a competitor’s website and found and identical article? Apart from being detrimental to your Google ranking, it wouldn’t impress customers or highlight your authenticity or uniqueness!

Check, check and check again!

There is a wide choice of options available, and like everything else, you get what you pay for. However, I would urge anyone using AI for written content to check the text carefully:

  • Check the facts – are they relevant to your business?
  • Check the spelling and grammar – are there any ‘Americanisms’?
  • Check for similar content – duplication will damage your Google ranking
  • Check the information is up to date – copy pulled from existing information may not be!
  • Rewrite in your brand tone of voice – for authenticity and to engage your target audience
  • Placement of key phrases – do they make sense within the copy?
  • Is the content addressing your customers and their problems?

Can AI replace copywriters or is it a time-saving shortcut to bad content?

Only you can answer this question for your own business and in fairness, there are some benefits to using AI in certain circumstances. For example:

  • When you are short of time and need a framework or pointing in the right direction
  • If you think you may have forgotten an important point
  • To give you an external, unbiased view of the facts (although these may be outdated)
  • AI generated text may provide ideas for written content
  • As a starting point

So, can AI replace copywriters? From a personal standpoint, I have more than 25 years writing experience and make my living from writing, so regard AI generated text with scepticism and a massive pinch of salt!

However, if AI copy has to be checked, amended, corrected and researched, it can take more time than you envisaged. Nor can you expect AI to know your business and write using your brand voice. Although you think it will save you time and effort, there really isn’t a shortcut to good, original, well-researched, and authentic written content for your business.

As an alternative to AI, if you would prefer to discuss your web content with a real person, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation.