29 September 2022
Netflix recommendations. Spotify playlists. Suggested text in messages and emails. Plenty of things have been digitised – with great results, I might add (though sometimes AutoCorrect can be ducking annoying).
And over the past few years, content creation has gotten involved in the automation action – or rather, developers have gotten amongst it by creating bots that can generate pieces in mere moments.
Some digital marketers are using these tools to write everything from blog posts and web copy to social media posts and eDMs. Sure, there are a few situations where leaning on the machines might be a more efficient and cost-effective way to get you where you need to go content-wise. It’d be disingenuous to say there aren’t. If you have thousands of product pages, or long lists of FAQs with generic answers, then AI might be an option.
But before you cast your lot with the bots, here are three reasons why you might want to think twice about trusting AI-generated content.
Coming up empty on empathy
You’re trying to reach readers on a human level. To do that, you need to be human – in word and deed.
Empathy is the secret code for connecting with your readers. Only when you look at things from their perspective can you write with their needs in mind. Bots can’t walk a mile in your audience’s shoes – bots don’t even wear shoes. Who better to know how to communicate with a human than a human?
Writing without empathy opens you up to all sorts of dangers. You can come across as tone deaf and out of touch with what people really want and need. And if your irrelevant messages fall flat once, you risk losing your audience to somebody else.
The hard stuff
We know a computer could wipe the board with us writers in chess. But what it can’t do is tell a coherent, attention-grabbing story that hooks readers and gets your key message across.
A huge part of communicating with your audience is explaining your product or service – and how it can help them – in terms they can understand. This is done in a variety of ways, including simpler phrasing, real-world examples and similes and metaphors.
This stuff takes real thought – and could require interviews and extensive research (not to mention footnoting). And that’s where the machines fall short.
Losing the numbers game
If there is one place where you might think AI-generated content could come in handy, it’s for SEO. Not so fast, trend friends. Google has come out and said it considers AI-generated content spam. So, if ranking is part of your plans, you might be in for a rude awakening.
While we have long preferred to put our human readers first with a compelling narrative (and avoid keyword stuffing), this is yet another reason why AI content might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
We get heaps of help from the bots in our day to day, whether it’s from transcription services helping us quickly dig into in-depth interviews or Google’s magical algorithm helping us find the stats that matter.
The machines definitely have a lot of answers and finding how they can increase work efficiency and quality is important in all industries. But what’s just as important is remembering that tech should augment human skills – not replace them. And more and more we’re seeing how true this is in writing.
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