Why You Shouldn't Let AI Write Your Content
Who wouldn't want to save themselves the time to write another newsletter if a computer can do the work for you? While AI, like ChatGPT, can be a tremendous timesaver, here is a good reason to resist.
"A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Grammarly Business in May 2023 found that 70% of respondents used Gen AI [Generative AI] for most or all of their writing and editing."
When I read this sentence, I thought, "70%, that's huge!"
The ease of using Generative AI tools has probably contributed to its enormous popularity and stunningly fast adoption.
In the last few months, we tested ChatGPT, a generative AI tool, to see if it could help our clients write newsletters or blog posts or us edit them.
The results were discouraging.
It wasn't that ChatGPT produced poorly written copy. On the contrary. The texts ChatGPT wrote were perfect — too perfect. Spelling, grammar, and vocabulary were all excellent.
However, the content ChatGPT created sounded somewhat generic and bland. It lacked authenticity of the brand the newsletter and blog post was intended for. In other words, the brand voice was entirely off.
As much as we tried, the results were pretty much the same. Perhaps the outcome would have been better if ChatGPT had been trained on my client's past newsletters and blog posts. But right now, that is not an option for non-famous people. Who knows what the future brings?
YOUR BRAND VOICE IS LIKE A VERBAL FINGERPRINT
Branding — the act of shaping a brand — uses visual and verbal design elements to influence how a brand is perceived. Part of this toolkit is your brand voice. Your brand voice is the way you talk to your customers. It encompasses everything from the words and language you use to the personality and image you want to invoke in your audience. It is crucial in conveying your brand's message through long-form text (editorial storytelling).
How your brand tells its story is unique.
The words can be more friendly, lively, or factual, and the sentences shorter or longer. The kind of words you choose and how you put them together in a sentence is like a verbal fingerprint.
Just compare famous authors who write in the same genre. Their writing style can be very different. Many readers are huge fans of particular authors because they love the way they write.
Unless you are famous and your books have been part of ChatGPT's training model, AI wouldn't know your brand's unique voice. That's why ChatGPT's output often sounds generic and bland.
GOOGLE CONSIDERS AI-GENERATED CONTENT AS SPAM
Since it only takes a few keystrokes and even fewer mouse clicks to instruct Generative AI tools to produce texts of any length, the internet is being inundated with AI-generated content. One of the reasons is to rank higher in search results. Of course, Google seems to be pushing back by considering AI-generated content as spam, demoting such pages in its search results.
COULD AI BE A STARTING POINT FOR YOUR WRITING?
I often read that AI enthusiasts suggest Generative AI could serve as an idea prompt or starting point so that you don't start with a blank sheet of paper — or a blank computer screen.
I tried that.
Perhaps it worked for others, but it didn't work for me. When reading the perfectly written text that ChatGPT came up with, my brain is somewhat primed to follow ChatGPT's structure, "thoughts," and sentences. In all this, I lost my brand voice and had to start over — beginning with a blank computer screen as my starting point. I came to realize that I prefer more subtle help, like Grammarly. It nudges me to improve my writing style without doing the work for me.
While I see some use cases for Generative AI, I am concerned about replacing human-written copy with AI-created text.
Whether AI-generated content serves as a starting point for your writing or you publish it unedited on your website, the long-term economic damage from losing your brand voice and weakening your brand could be much higher than the time you save.
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