Will AI Kill the Copywriting Business? The Top 3 Pros and Cons of AI Copywriting
Anytime robots do human things, we as a society get anxious. This doesn’t exclude us marketers, either. This now begs the question; will AI (Artificial Intelligence) replace copywriters?
With the rise of AI chatbot tools, marketers have the option to use AI to assist with SEO keyword research, social media caption writing, and even entire blogs and web pages. But first, let’s explain what AI writing tools actually are.
What are AI Copywriting Tools?
An AI copywriting tool is software that uses machine learning and natural language processing algorithms to understand the context required to generate human-like text.
AI content writing has been discussed in the marketing industry for a few years. However, it wasn’t until the recent launch of ChatGPT and the rise of similar AI writing tools that it became a hot topic.
Some people are excited about AI’s potential to create high-quality, engaging content, while others remain (rightfully) skeptical.
Below, we outline the advantages and drawbacks of using AI and consider whether it can replace copywriters entirely.
The Top 3 Advantages of AI
Streamlines the Writing Process
This is perhaps the most important advantage—AI copywriting tools can generate content much faster than humans.
No matter how many words per minute you can type, producing thoughtful copy always takes time. First, you have to have a solid idea. Then, you have to do both keyword and topic research, which you have to piece together to make a complete document.
It’s been boasted that you can save approximately 90% of your time writing with AI tools. In Copy.ai, one of the most popular AI copywriting tools out there, all you need to do to start generating a blog is select these three items:
- Blog Title
Can Produce Content In Multiple Languages
When you have a business that serves different countries or ethnic groups, it can be costly to hire translators for each language you serve.
AI can translate your copy into multiple languages within minutes – or even seconds. While most tools can currently translate content into 10+ languages, some can translate into as many as 30+.
However, as with every facet, AI should serve as a supplement and not the replacement. Translation errors, or even content that reads like a generic Google translation, can cost you customers—and hurt your reputation.
Cost Effective (For Now)
This is an obvious advantage for business owners. Many AI copywriting tools are free to start, or feature a relatively inexpensive monthly/yearly subscription. When a tool is 10x faster and maybe 10x cheaper than hiring a copywriter, you may think, “Why wouldn’t I rely on AI?”
However, it’s worth noting that many “free” tools carry hidden costs. Additionally, some once “free” tools have exclusively converted to paid subscription modules.
While it still may be cheaper than hiring a full-blown copywriter in the short term, it’s worth keeping an eye on to see if you’re truly getting the most bang for your buck.
The Top 3 Drawbacks of AI
Lack of Fact-Checking
While more AI tools feature plagiarism checkers within their algorithms, the fact-checking department remains weak.
For example, read the answer below straight from ChatGPT’s FAQ section:
“ChatGPT is not connected to the internet, and it can occasionally produce incorrect answers. It has limited knowledge of the world and events after 202, and may also occasionally produce harmful instructions or biased content. We’d recommend checking whether responses from the model are accurate or not.”
The same goes for other similar tools. Take, for instance, Copy.ai. Even if you provide it with precise guidelines, it can produce incorrect information.
In this example, I asked Copy.ai to provide me with an event description for the 2023 CSC Annual Convention. This is what it produced.
Not only is the date and location wrong—the event was held in Las Vegas on March 2nd-3rd -3rd—but it’s the entirely wrong event!
Why? Because the chat bot doesn’t know the difference between the CSCNetwork Annual Convention, a commercial laundry industry show, and the CSC Center for Space Commerce’s Annual Convention.
This, although simple enough to fix, is why we still need one (or two) extra sets of eyes to review all content before going live.
Impersonal and, You Guessed It, Robotic Voice
Perhaps the most notorious con of AI is its impersonal nature. Just recently, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School apologized to students for using AI to write an email regarding the Michigan State University mass shooting.
Additionally, the university cited OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI language model towards the bottom of the email, which begins as follows:
“The recent Michigan shootings are a tragic reminder of the importance of taking care of each other, particularly in the context of creating inclusive environments.”
You can read the whole email here. Let’s dissect exactly what’s wrong with the email:
- The email stated the Michigan shootings, when the tragedy occurred at one Michigan university.
- A list of campus resources, such as mental health services, is notably absent.
- It just sounds robotic.
This is where the human touch to copywriting is invaluable. Without someone with the eyes and ears to look out for potential errors, your business can easily land itself in scalding hot water.
Wordiness, Poor Grammar, and Little Punctuation
According to a 2019 Brand Content Survey by Adobe, wordy or poorly written content irks readers most—so much so that three out of five consumers will leave a website without making a purchase or signing up for its newsletter.
The AI algorithm uses millions of sources of information to help build a single piece of content. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always result in the crisp, clean piece of content you were hoping for.
Most pieces of content created through AI copywriting tools are inconsistent at best when it comes to grammar and punctuation. For example, here’s a section that an AI tool generated for this blog:
If you have only 100 customers but need them all served in person by your staff on demand 24/7/365 (which would be impossible), then again AI would probably come in handy here too! But if each customer only needs one item per month from your company (or less) then there isn’t much point using any kind of automation tool because there won’t be enough volume for efficiency gains through economies of scale.
Now, the content isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s unnecessarily wordy—and honestly, really clunky to read. Here’s how I, as a copywriter, would clean this up:
What if you only had 100 customers, but needed all of them to be served in person by your staff, on demand 24/7/365? This would be impossible, and where AI could come in handy. However, if each customer only needs one item per month (or less) from your company, there is little point in automating your sales process. Why? Because there simply won’t be enough volume to justify the cost of the automation tool.
While both versions carry roughly the same word count, the edited version features less run-on-sentences, proper punctuation, and a varied, yet simple sentence structure—which required a human’s written skills and attention to detail.
The Verdict Is In: AI Helps, But Cannot Replace, Copywriters
Let’s make this clear; we are not against AI writing. In fact, we, as an agency, use AI copywriting tools to help outline our talking points for client blogs, web pages, and even collateral pieces.
However, we only partially rely on it—and will never rely on it entirely. No matter how “smart” their algorithm actually is, AI writing tools lack the creativity and personal touch that is only present in human-generated content.
Simply put, your business needs both humans and automation to have the most efficient and effective marketing in this day and age. As a full-service marketing agency, we ensure that the day-to-day tasks are done seamlessly, and with the human touch always in mind.
Need help generating thoughtful content for your business? Contact us today!
*Blog written by a human, Sydney Fairman, Mar. 1st, 2023