Will content writers become the chimney sweeps of the 21st century?
While being a chimney sweep is still a profession, it is a role that has become associated with 18th century industrial England for most of the population. A role that was required until the advent of newer and cleaner forms of heating.
Is content writing by a person for websites and blogs destined to go the same way as chimney sweeps? The role of the individual content writer swept away with the relentless rise of A.I. We have previously written on the increasing impact of A.I. in our lives.
A.I. content writing software is one area that is rapidly increasing and having an impact. From software such as Grammarly and Writer that checks grammar to programs that write blogs such as Jasper or Article Forge, to name but two of the many available programs. These programs promise to make life easier.
The irony of modern life is that despite advances in technology and A.I. designed to make our lives easier, we remain time-poor. As indicated in a previous article, the average length of time to write a blog is 4 hours. For business owners, C.E.O.s or marketing managers who are time-poor and do not have 4 hours of uninterrupted time to write, the allure of an A.I. writing tool is compelling.
However, as tempting as it may be to think an A.I. writing program is a more cost and time-effective choice than engaging a content writer, we need to consider several factors.
The time-saving advantages of A.I. writing programs are often highlighted in the marketing of these programs. However, what is not mentioned is the time investment that is required to train the program.
A.I. writing programs, like most A.I. programs, require an investment of time. This is because most A.I. programs work by scraping the web and looking for content. You have to train the program on what content you need to write about. Initially, you must train the program on what to search for each time you write on a different topic or a different angle of a previous topic. The amount of time required to teach the program is often understated in advertising.
As well as training the program, you still have to research the topic of interest to your clients and think through how the services you provide meet their needs. This all takes time. When the program provides content on the topic, you must still edit, check and adapt the information the program has provided for your readers. This will be explained under the next heading.
The illusion of sitting back and catching up on your latest Netflix series while the program writes your blog is simply that. An illusion. A.I. writing programs take an investment of time.
As mentioned, A.I. programs scrape the web looking for content around the topic you have entered. This creates the risk of unintentional plagiarism.
One of the purposes of writing a blog is to establish credibility and authority in your business area. Plagiarism is one swift way to destroy credibility and any sense of authority. Readers do not draw a distinction between deliberate and unintentional plagiarism. Any plagiarism makes it appear you are simply imitating others who have the authority.
When you or the copywriters have engaged in researching a topic, you can acknowledge it by referencing it. Referencing and acknowledging the work of others builds your own credibility and honesty.
The other aspect of plagiarism is the potential impact on your content from Google. Google also considers A.I. content to be spam, which affects the performance of your content in search engines. Search engines prefer human-written content that provides a satisfying experience while still using SEO best practices and can penalise content produced by an A.I. program.
Linked to this aspect is the Google algorithm E.A.T
E.A.T. stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Google’s quality rater guidelines assess content according to these three qualities. Most A.I. content lacks these three qualities, which means quality raters will not trust it in the same way as content written by a person. Content written by a person who includes their experience provides more significant trustworthiness and hence, a higher rating in the search engines.
A.I. programs cannot convey nuances, emotions and complexities as people can in their writing. These tools tend to be overly simplistic and, for example, do not understand the use of sarcasm in writing, nor do they have emotional intelligence.
For example, they cannot convey the subtle emotional tones and nuances people can in their writing. A.I. programs will create “new” content by combining the collected data. However, this new content is simply old content rearranged rather than a unique perspective or content applied in imaginative ways.
This lack of understanding and the inability to imagine new and different perspectives makes it difficult for A.I. written content to engage emotionally with readers. When you are looking to build trust and connection with clients, this ability to write creatively and emotively is essential to building trust and rapport.
Given these factors, it is highly unlikely that content writers will go the way of the chimney sweeps of 18th-century England.
If A.I. writing programs place us at risk of plagiarism and are not able to comply with Google’s quality rater guidelines of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, what place do they have, if any, in content writing?
When our car has a flat battery, we use jump leads to recharge the battery so we can drive the car till we can get the battery changed. In the same way, A.I. programs can act as jump leads when we get writer’s block.
At some stage, anyone who writes consistently will experience writer’s block, which gets progressively worse the closer the deadline for the article gets. Writer’s block can arise from several causes. Sometimes, it is because of tiredness and fatigue from the pressure of life. Sometimes it is because writers are not giving themselves enough space to renew and refresh their creativity.
Whatever the reason for writer’s block, A.I. writing programs can be helpful because they collate information that will often give the writer a seed thought from which to write. Just as jump leads help start a flat battery, an A.I. program can help jump-start our creativity when used wisely.
This is one area where A.I. apps or programs like Grammarly or Writer are essential for content writers or people writing blogs for their business website. As writers, when we check our writing, we read what we think we have written rather than what we have actually written. Consequently, we can read over mistakes we have made in grammar or spelling. This is where A.I. apps prove their importance because they check and pick up errors in grammar or spelling.
It is the old adage; you get what you pay for. It may seem a less expensive option to subscribe to an A.I. platform rather than pay for a content writer. However, as described above, an A.I. program potentially puts you at risk of plagiarism and being penalised by search engines. It is also likely that these posts will not engage your clients or customers because the human element that allows for connection and trust to be built is missing. When these factors are considered, purchasing an A.I. program is not as cost-effective as engaging a content writer who can produce nuanced, emotionally subtle content with a creative range.
For content writers doing a lot of writing, A.I. programs can enhance your writing by jump-starting your creativity when it begins to flag. A.I. programs can also increase grammatical accuracy by providing a necessary check before publishing your work.