What Marketers Need to Know about AI Copywriting

To use A.I. or not to use A.I. – this is now a question facing marketers amidst the rapid growth of artificial intelligence copywriting platforms. There are dozens of sites offering AI-written content, from headlines to social media posts to full-length novels. Copywriting and content strategy are key pillars of marketing, and whether or not marketers choose to use AI-driven services, it’s important to understand how they fit into the marketing mix.

How AI Copywriting Works

AI copywriting platforms follow the same basic steps in their user interfaces: a user chooses the type of content, enters some key points, selects a tone (e.g., professional, friendly, conversational, etc.), and assesses the results. The user can then choose to keep tweaking using the platform or take the copy as a starting point and work on it from there.

When to Try AI Copywriters

When the Stakes Are Low

Drafting a PR-related public apology is not the optimal time to test out an AI platform. Similarly, specialized and heavily regulated industries such as financial services, healthcare, and legal services have higher copywriting stakes. A single word mistake could alter the meaning of a communication and lead to misunderstandings or worse. If you’re evaluating whether or not to begin using AI-written copy, or trying to choose between service providers, start with low stakes, lower-value copy that won’t impact the bottom line, customer retention, or your brand reputation.

When You Have Access to a Human Editor

AI platforms are impressive, but they’re not perfect. Languages are nuanced and complex. Copy that may be technically correct can still have an off-putting tone – such as an error message that reads, “Error! You failed to complete the form” instead of “please correct the highlighted fields.” Both phrases are accurate, but the latter is more user friendly. Even though a marketer can select the type of tone they want, a “professional” tone can mean different things to different people.

Also, because AI platforms start with human-drafted input, the end product is a result of that input, which could include mistakes, awkward wording, or omissions. A human editor can review and finalize content to ensure that it’s up to standards and on message before it’s shared.

When It Doesn’t Shortchange Clients, Customers, or Users

Customers or end users don’t necessarily need to know how the sausage gets made. Someone can read a newsletter and absorb the information the same way, whether it was written by a platform or a person. However, agencies and freelancers often charge a premium for experience, such as invoicing a higher rate for a senior copywriter vs. an intern, and it’s a best practice to be transparent where the copy is coming from. AI-generated copy could potentially become a negotiating point for creatives and their clients. For example, an agency could offer a client a lower price point if they select the AI-led copy option, or a client could request human-only writing for their particular project.

Considerations when Using AI Copywriters

Ethical AI and Copywriting

Ethical AI is a growing field, with ongoing considerations. While AI can be programmed to follow parameters aligned with human-provided values, such as user privacy and non-discrimination, it can’t ultimately make judgment calls. This is an issue that goes far beyond copywriting. Industry standards for the use of AI in advertising and marketing are just now being developed, and guidelines are nascent. In the last two decades, when social media and data privacy guardrails weren’t as clear, some organizations learned internet ethics lessons the hard way. It’s wise for marketers to make ethical considerations a key factor of any AI adoption decision. 

The Future of Creativity

Since machine-written copy is a relatively new phenomenon, it’s unclear what the future holds. Will AI copywriting platforms become career killers, doing away with the need for human copywriters the way iPods dispatched CD stores? Or will these platforms simply co-exist alongside established copywriters, in the spirit of e-readers and paper books? Similar debates are happening on the design side of marketing, with questions about platforms like Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud Express, and whether or not they curtail design career opportunities or simply shift the skillsets needed. Marketers’ roles have always centered around combining their own creative intelligence with the tools and mediums available, and they will continue to face questions on how to strike the right balance.

The Bottom Line on AI copywriting for Marketers

AI copywriting platforms’ primary audience, at least for now, is non-marketers and non-writers. Non-marketers who feel they don’t have the skills, budget, or resources to produce copy for their marketing needs now have an online option they can utilize (although the need for an editor still applies). Still, marketers shouldn’t underestimate the increasing role that AI could play in marketing in the future, especially as these platforms improve and evolve. In the meantime, these platforms are operating in the background, while established marketers continue to lead the industry forward.

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