Writing content for a living does present its fair share of unique and frustrating challenges. Any experienced content marketer or freelance writer on PeoplePerHour would tell you the same. Not only is the market highly competitive, but there is always the obstacle of writer’s block, not to mention the creative differences you can encounter with clients, all of which plague the most seasoned of wordsmiths at some point.
A new challenge for online writers
Furthermore, with the somewhat sudden emergence of artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT (OpenAI’s innovative new chatbot), many are wondering what this means for writers in the industry. It doesn’t help matters when you consider how many organisations consider using ChatGPT to pump out content in spades, including landing pages, blogs, articles, emails, social media posts and many other types of content. Statistically, one in four companies
- surveyed by ResumeBuilder.com - have replaced workers with ChatGPT.
Considering ChatGPT’s speed at generating text on request, it’s understandable to marvel at how much time can be saved using this instead of entrusting a human to plan, research, write, proofread, edit, and publish content.
Having said that, a quick dive into the depths of the internet will tell you some of ChatGPT’s drawbacks and inconsistencies do not qualify it
as a suitable, adequate replacement for any gifted human writer. There are staggering issues with its accuracy, with OpenAI admitting
that its knowledge pre-dates 2021, so there are bound to be substantial gaps in information. In short, the writers of the world needn’t worry yet.
However, one clear point to raise in light of the evolving ChatGPT legitimacy debate is that this tool shouldn’t be seen as ‘the enemy’ of writers. Instead, it’s important to look at it with a different lens, observing its quirks and features that can actually help copywriters and content writers everywhere. It might appear odd to imagine an AI tool helping with the content creation process, improving workflow and generating fresh ideas, but the truth is it can.
How can ChatGPT help content writing and marketing?
Let’s explore how ChatGPT can help marketers and writers plan, research, and curate content.
Long-form content outlines
One of the most effective uses for ChatGPT is creating a general and passable long-form content outline to work from.
While there is nothing stopping you from prompting ChatGPT to write an entire article, blog, landing page, guide, or something similar from scratch, when you see the results, you’ll likely question the content’s accuracy, readability, and tone of voice.
Does the generated copy match the writing style and tone that you, as a writer, would incorporate into the text you write for your client(s)? Does it capture all of those unique nuances and USPs that the client wants to highlight in their text? It’s probably unlikely, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the basic, formulaic outline of the AI-generated text and formulate some more accurate and authoritative prose from that.
If you were to assess the content writing quality of a long-form article or blog spewed out by ChatGPT, you’d likely spot some tautologies, inconsistencies, and syntax that flows like molasses. But some writers like having predefined structures and barebones articles to work from, and ChatGPT can produce that to help you piece together something more engaging and relevant to your client’s target audience.
ChatGPT can also be a handy tool for generating new ideas. Given that you can have a ‘conversation’ with the AI chatbot, you can think of the tool as someone to bounce content ideas back and forth with. The beauty of AI in this instance is that you are unlikely to miss anything important and obvious to include in any informative, customer-facing content, such as FAQs.
Again, take the concepts and points that ChatGPT will dispel your way with a hefty pinch of salt. It’s unlikely that every fact and opinion stipulated will be 100% correct and accurate, but you can then find some more trustworthy, legitimate sources to back them up.
The point is if you haven't considered some angles from which to write, or potential sections to include in your content, ChatGPT can be a good brainstorming partner in that sense.
While ChatGPT can’t generate opinions, you can ask it to share suggestions on how your article can be improved. It’s not uncommon to find ChatGPT giving you ideas for improving the content, structure and effectiveness of examples to illustrate your points.
If you are trying to find an alternative angle to clarify and present your ideas, or are trying to condense your content down into fewer words while not losing credibility or coherence, ChatGPT can either give you some pointers, or rewrite paragraphs based on your new criteria.
For instance, you may find that multiple research-heavy paragraphs about highly-technical services and processes
would appear bulky in a blog post, and may instead look more engaging as a bulleted list.
ChatGPT can be an effective sub-editor in places, saving you valuable time rewriting section after section and bringing your content to the ideal word count. However, again, it’s important that you do not rest on your laurels and check the validity and authenticity of the content, adding your own spin to make it unique and compelling for the desired target audience.
One of the most eye-catching elements of any piece of content is its title or headline. There is a fine line between titles that encourage someone to read what you’ve written with enthusiasm and intrigue, and titles that drive people away in droves because there is nothing to grip onto.
Not only does the average human attention span a mere 8 seconds
, but 80% of people won’t even read content beyond the headline
! Therefore, titles are crucial to get right.
If you’re at a crossroads when coming up with some potential new title ideas to write about, you can ask ChatGPT to generate a handful of headlines based on themes, keywords, or search terms that you can stipulate in your prompts. This saves you lots of time brainstorming potential ideas and hitting your head repeatedly against a wall when you run out of possible headlines.
Again, while the AI-generated titles may not be 100% perfect, they can give you food for thought when it comes to your own writing.
On-page SEO elements
While you want to exercise caution when letting ChatGPT run amok with its content generation, you can be more specific with your prompts to make it generate something more useful and relevant.
Some of the most common roadblocks for marketers and writers are on-page SEO elements such as Page Titles, meta descriptions, H1s, H2s, and others, which ChatGPT can write for you.
You can even prompt ChatGPT to produce content based on a specific target keyword, keep to a certain word count, and use a specific URL. Some other things you can task ChatGPT to generate include content briefs and outlines focused on optimising articles for search engine rankings, which is handy if you’re focused on generating SEO-focused content.
Similarly to the other points raised, it’s crucial to double-check the information to ensure it’s relevant and accurate. SEO and content marketers have lots of criteria to meet when writing and optimising content to suit evolving search engine ranking factors, so, again, cast a watchful eye over this.
Should you adopt ChatGPT?
While ChatGPT isn’t the second coming of any truly exceptional writer, it does its job well - which is to deliver formulaic and basic content on request. If you want enticing, gripping, valuable content, that’s still your responsibility to relish, as a writer.
ChatGPT is most effective when you ask for some plausible thoughts, inspiration, and outlines, and for that reason, when you find yourself stuck for ideas and could really do with an extra ‘voice’, by all means, use it. However, don’t expect it to do anything complex or highly creative.