Is ChatGPT really a silver bullet for content writing?

Envisioning the time saved by an AI-powered chatbot that can write and respond to any question is a tempting thought for marketers hoping to reduce expenses. However, this is a daunting prospect for content creators who have spent years refining their skills and strategies.

While it may be tempting to focus on the potential for this technology to disrupt the industry, it is important to recognize that there are big, fundamental concerns that require our attention.

It can write anything!

Finding writers is not the issue; it is finding quality ones that is the challenge. As brand guardians, we must ensure our brand and our reputation are not compromised by subpar writing.

We need writers who:

  • understand the specifics of their subject areas and audiences
  • understand the customer’s journeys and the cultural differences between different markets
  • are able to write for various digital channels with the correct language, structure and tone
  • are able to research topics and come up with original ideas,
  • are able to make even dry topics engaging
  • are able to deal with difficult topics sensitively

Companies may find it difficult to manage content internally due to the need for a variety of specialists, including writers, editors, experts, and people willing to share their personal stories. For the complexity of content creation and management, a single person rarely checks all the boxes. Yet, attempting to form a permanent internal team to handle this could be a waste of resources, often resulting in disappointment with the results.

AI in editing

We tested AI-generated content for medical topics by prompting ChatGPT to write us various guides. Once we had the material, we took note of what kind of edits we would make if we had a writer in the office. Most of the red marks we gave were due to its general advice, which wouldn't be enough for today's search algorithms which prioritize expertise, trust, and authority when dealing with sensitive topics. AI can be used to summarize source material, but it will always need another layer of expert revision to build trust.

Additionally, we noticed structural issues, such as starting almost every sentence with "it's important to," which can create confusion for readers and impacts readability. Good writers consider the context of their subject and use repetition sparingly or deliberately for some effect. This is why writers need experienced editors to refine content, structure, tone, fact-check, and proofread. AI-generated content requires even more attention from editors, and there is no cost saving in that. Editors also help to interpret client briefs and feedback and turn it into actionable changes. This is a job that requires human-to-human interaction.

You can ask it anything!

ChatGPT can be used as a starting point for source material, but one needs to have an idea of what they are looking for beforehand, as the AI can only draw from existing material. People are still necessary to provide original ideas and manage support structures like: defining the content and channel purpose, testing strategies, keeping on brand, prioritizing best ideas, controlling the vocabulary and voice used, putting the context into perspective etc.

AI cannot play a diplomat between people with subjective opinions. Although AI can be taught, it relies on having very specific and implemented content foundations for it to be able to pick it up. This is where the real work is.

But we can put it to good use, right?

Definitely, for example, for SEO metadata – it's a tough and repetitive job that at scale can get mundane. If we control it and make changes as needed, then AI such as ChatGPT can help us out a lot. As content creators, we should never assume that more words, at a lower cost, is the only thing we need to make connections with people.

This is an overly simplistic view of the complicated process of creating meaningful connections.