As part of my research (on your behalf), I sign up for all sorts of weird and wacky things. Paid newsletters, industry reports, peer-to-peer musings and sandbox coding. My inbox resembles Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not” museum with a sprinkling of email news. It also makes for some fascinating ads as the algorithms try to work out what I will buy next and this week they offered up two AI-generated copywriting sites. You type in your subject, select your keywords and they do the rest. Blogs, e-books, articles – whatever you need. It’s cheap, easy and impeccably proofed.
Computer-generated prose is nothing new. Script-driven copy has always been around and “steal my swipe-file” is a classic copywriting giveaway. It’s also true that a lot of paid blog copy is repetitive, regurgitating the facts for the sake of their SEO rankings. If you are a small business, trying to juggle clients, marketing, social media and finances, buying in some cheap content is very tempting. You may not stand out, but you will keep up with that relentless content machine.
Does this make my profession, as a copywriter, redundant in 2021?
AI is built to be predictable and repeatable. In a word; boring. You might get people to your site through a Google search, but you certainly won’t keep them there. It’s the online equivalent of an automated phone system, where you may be able to talk to a human being after choosing five different options and a secret password. However, a bank or insurance company can get away with that behaviour because they have a captive audience. Here on the internet, we don’t. Within seconds, that reader will jump away again, to something more interesting.
Google loves SEO, but it rewards engagement. More to the point, bored readers don’t translate into excited customers. I can’t think of a single industry where people pay to feel “meh”.
The good news is that AI will wipe out the pennies-per-hour content mills. What will be left are the companies and copywriters who appreciate the value of their audience. For those people, the opportunities have just increased.
How do I know this? Simply by looking at the standard secretarial role. If you go back twenty years, secretaries were numerous and a de-factor career choice for many school leavers. They typed, filed, took notes, handled diaries and ran the offices.
In 2021, almost every part of that job description is now handled by a machine. There are apps for transcription, automatic calendar bookings, filing algorithms and recorded video calls. You don’t even have to have your secretary in the same building as yourself – my VA lives in Ireland. However, a good secretary (or virtual assistant) is more invaluable than ever. They are now free to run all of these systems, keep your clients happy and keep your business on track.
The same applies to copywriters. AI helps me with my research, my spelling, my reports and note-taking. This leaves me with more time to focus on the human aspects; compelling, cheeky prose that educates. It’s a lot easier to get people to pay attention when they are smiling.
Thank you, AI.