I have experimented with AI as a content writing tool for over two years. In its early stages, the AI tools generated poor content that often needed a complete rewrite. ChatGPT marked a dramatic turn in the quality of content produced, leading to a sudden change in content writer’s roles. As more people adopted AI tools, it became a development that threatened the writing profession.
Today, AI does not feel as much like a looming threat to content writers. Rather, it has become a collaborator, a tool that supports the process rather than overtakes it.
In this article, I will share my thoughts on how AI has changed content writing and address some common misconceptions.
Three common misconceptions about AI and content writing
1: AI will replace writers. While AI tools have quickly become more usable, they cannot replace writers. AI creates content based on patterns and data. Often, it will make up facts. It also does not work on current information, with ChatGPT’s training data only including information as recent as January 2022. Instead of viewing AI as a competitor, it’s more accurate to see it as a tool that complements human capabilities rather than replaces them.
2: Writers that use AI lack authenticity. AI excels when given lots of context and information. To use AI effectively, writers must first ideate and research. They must have a clear understanding of the content they want to create. People still play a crucial role in shaping, refining, and infusing their voice into the content, ensuring it is appropriate for the target audience.
3: Anyone can write using AI. AI gives anyone the ability to generate content, not to write. Writing content with AI requires a discerning writer who has done their research, understands the elements of compelling content, and can remove all the superfluous synonyms that AI uses. As I said, AI often makes up facts if you ask for statistics. So, we still need writers to conduct research and write credible content.
Writers use AI as a collaborator
The key to using AI in content writing is not to fall for the assumption that it understands what it is writing about. While generative AI can provide you with ideas, most of these will not be unique or specific enough if the writer does not first understand what is needed. For this reason, AI is more of a collaborator in the content writing process rather than the sole creator. People bring their perspectives to content, and AI supports the process by quickly generating ideas and acting as a sounding board.
Generative AI helps content writers brainstorm different angles of an idea. For example, rather than ask AI what to write about, ask it to provide some blog title ideas for a specific topic that you have in mind. From there, it’s easy to review those titles, get the ideas flowing, and come up with some good angles. This process accelerates brainstorming in the early phases of content writing and introduces ideas that might have remained overlooked.
Research and prompt building have become the key skills
Getting a good output from AI requires the right prompts and ample information. Without context, AI might fabricate information or come to conclusions that do not make sense. So, content writers must dedicate more time to writing out prompts, finding information to fill these prompts and conducting research to ensure accuracy in AI outputs.
A general or vague prompt might yield generic responses that lack specificity or depth. A well-crafted prompt with lots of information for the AI to use leads to outputs that align closely with the writer’s intent.
Where writers once spent most of their time writing, with AI, they focus more on researching and tweaking content. The better a writer’s knowledge of a topic, the better they will work with AI to produce engaging, high-quality content.
Writers focus more on editing rather than writing
AI can produce good results when given enough information, but it still needs someone to monitor and edit its responses. Too often, AI misses the mark regarding tone of voice and factual accuracy. The nuances and context writers infuse into their pieces are elements AI seldom captures without further prompting.
Instead of primarily generating content from scratch, many content writers have become curators and editors. They fine-tune AI-produced content, ensuring clarity, engagement, and impact.
AI also becomes a valuable tool in the editing process. When provided with a few paragraphs and the right prompt, it makes suggestions for narrative changes, points out sudden transitions or improves overall readability. It provides feedback that a writer then applies themselves. The AI’s recommendations might not be any good the first few times, so the writer must pick and choose what works.
AI in content writing has redefined processes but not in the way initially thought. While AI brings numerous benefits to the table as a collaborator in the content writing process, it is essential to recognise that not all of its ideas are good, and it requires a content writer on the other side to reject and rework content.
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