A lot of hay is being made about ChatGPT being the future of writing. It’s being celebrated by entrepreneurs who are using it to churn out content within minutes, and being given some serious side-eye by actual human writers who, like me, make their living from writing B2C marketing content.
What is ChatGPT, you ask? It’s an AI interface, developed by OpenAI and hosted on their servers, that is being touted as the next step in the evolution of search technology. Basically, it’s an artificial intelligence that answers questions when asked.
But it doesn’t only churn out quick answers for information seekers. It can write entire essays and articles. It can even write fiction. And it does these things well enough that schools and universities are having to crack down on students using ChatGPT to do their homework for them.
Some freelance writers are also using this program to do their work for them – or at least to speed it up. Hire a low-pay freelancer off of Fiverr or Upwork, and you might end up paying for an AI generated piece of content, which may or may not have been edited and polished by your human content writer for hire. Many busy entrepreneurs are skipping the middle man and simply using this program to write their own content without needing to pay anyone.
This new reality is making some freelance content writers higher up on the experience ladder a bit uncomfortable. Once the word gets out that marketers can simply instruct a chat bot to write their marketing content, will that spell the end of our freelance content marketing writer careers?
Not based on what I’ve seen so far. I’ve played around with ChatGPT’s content writing abilities, and here are 5 reasons why I’m not worried that it will be stealing my job any time soon.
- Its writing is perfunctory at best. This is why hirers might not notice the difference between AI-generated content and the usual fare they get from low-pay writers – it’s about the same level of writing skill you’d get from the sort of writer who’s happy to charge under a nickel a word. If I were competing on job bidding sites, I’d be concerned. But the clientele I write for pays a premium for excellently written content, and they’re happy to do so because they know the value of quality content that gets results. Turning in an AI-generated article would fool no one at this level and would likely get me fired.
- The information tends to be high-level and basic. You can keep playing around with it to get it to go deeper, but for as much time as that takes I can just Google some sources or reach out to an expert source with my questions.
- The information it provides isn’t always accurate. ChatGPT has been criticized for, basically, making things up and providing misinformation. Any article it churns out needs to be thoroughly fact-checked and vetted.
- It lacks the human element – for now. I admit, I have some concerns about machine learning and how this AI grows smarter with each use. Will it eventually be able to do a better job of mimicking humans? That’s a somewhat creepy possibility to contemplate. But the writing I produced using this program felt very flat, lacking in style and creative flair.
- It lacks empathy — and empathy is critical to being an effective content marketing writer. My clients need writers who can put themselves in their customers’ shoes and empathize with the problems and challenges that lead them to seek out the solutions my clients offer. An AI simply can’t do that, and I’m not convinced that’s something AI will ever learn to do well.
All of that said, in my experimentation I did discover a few ways that ChatGPT could come in handy for speeding up my workflow and making my job a little easier:
- Keyword research – the AI is excellent at suggesting related key words and phrases that I can work into my articles to enhance SEO.
- Headlines and subheads – I sometimes get stumped when it comes to writing effective headlines and SEO-friendly subheads. ChatGPT can generate some pretty good suggestions that work great with a little tweaking.
- Ideation – Another thing I’m not great at is coming up with ideas for articles to pitch that haven’t already been done to death. It takes some creative question phrasing to drill down to a level that might actually pique an editor’s interest, but it gave me a few ideas that I might be able to develop into something worthwhile.
All in all, I think ChatGPT has the makings of a helpful automated virtual assistant. But I would never use it to do my writing for me, and based on what I’ve seen, I have nothing to worry about as far as my clients deciding to dump me and publish AI-generated content from now on.
At least, for now. After all, we live in strange times. Who knows where all of this will ultimately lead?
Have you tried ChatGPT? What are your thoughts? Are there any ways you’ve found it helpful that I didn’t mention? Let’s hear about it in the comments.