ChatGPT is nothing short of a dirty word among the content writers of today. First of all, what self-respecting content writer would admit to using it? Isn’t that akin to saying ChatGPT can write better than you can? And there’s the idea of the quality of Chat GPT. How good can the product be without the human touch?
I felt the same way until people started asking me about it. I wanted to be able to answer them honestly. So I took a closer look.
It’s important to note that ChatGPT is not a unique invention; it’s just available for free now. In fact, content AI has been around for many years. It’s been used regularly by companies that provide a high volume of very basic, impersonal blog content for companies that need regular site additions so the constantly-changing search engine algorithms continue to index them as relevant. AI in content writing began with spellcheck incorporated into our word processing programs. It developed into applications like predictive text and then products like Grammarly, that offer suggestions for better writing. The Jasper.ai content platform came on the scene in 2021 and led the way in helping content creators reduce the time it takes them to create content. However, it was a well-kept secret by big players in the content marketing industry who could afford it.
Knowing I’m a content writer, Jasper has targeted me with ads for years, but I never bit. I had moral objections to AI, but I also lacked the volume of content needed to justify the expense. However, when ChatGPT came along, and people were abuzz about it, I couldn’t help but wonder, could this robot produce content better than I can? With the tool available for free, it was time to try it and evaluate the good, the bad, and the ugly of ChatGPT.
Here’s what I found.
ChatGPT is Amazing.
I must admit I appreciate how quick and easy the tool is.
In many respects, the human mind can’t compete with AI. Most of the things I write start with an in-person interview with the client, fortified by my own research. Unfortunately, I cannot scan and gather information from hundreds of websites in even a fraction of the time it takes AI to do it.
ChatGPT answers your queries in article format, making it easy to get the information you need without having to scour websites, weeding through mediocre navigation. Admittedly, I often chuckle at the content the tool writes, delivered in the elementary-school style: “I’ll tell you what I’m going to tell you, I’ll tell it to you, and then I’ll tell you what I’ve told you” format. However, it’s just a starting place for negotiations with ChatGPT. You can ask for a friendlier tone or style, which it will deliver. Decently.
In that respect, ChatGPT makes an excellent research assistant to answer simple questions and provide basic information. For example, if I want to know how something works, in a matter of seconds, it comes up with an easy-to-read description I can use as a springboard for my writing.
ChatGPT Isn’t Always Easy or Comprehensive.
ChatGPT is only as good as the questions it answers. It only sometimes gives you the information you want on the first query. The art of querying AI takes experience and practice, and in my experience, ChatGPT can never “finish the job.” You must use it as a basis to complete your work, as you check facts and personalize it for the audience you are addressing–another thing that I believe humans do better than AI. Heaven help the company that plugs a query into ChatGPT and merely copies and pastes the content onto their website. It will undoubtedly confuse their customers!
A friend shared a meme with me in answer to the scuttle about ChatGPT is displacing creatives. The gist was that AI will not replace creatives until clients know what they want. So content writers are safe because we’re the ones who help clients figure out what kind of content they need and what it should look and sound like!
As a content writer, I deliver content PLUS strategy. Therein lies my real value and passion. Before using AI for any task, you must be clear on your objective and what you want to accomplish. ChatGPT doesn’t care WHY you’re writing. It just delivers the words. That’s where we differ most. I help clients find a strategy to develop content that converts customers,, long before I write my first word for them.
Chat GPT Cannot be Trusted.
When I use the tool, I remove my content writer hat and put on my fact checker one. Case in point: ChatGPT told me the Rickenbacker Inland Port was one of the main avenues of intermodal transportation in Columbus, Ohio. As I know that Columbus is a landlocked city, I investigated further. I think ChatGPT meant the Rickenbacker International Airport. Glad I checked!
I’ve also heard stories about how ChatGPT produces reviews of products that haven’t been released and provides flat-out false information. Unlike humans, ChatGPT does not lie on purpose, but its inability to determine fact from fiction or objectivity from subjectivity in source information is concerning to those of us who strive to develop quality content. Anything provided by AI must be scrutinized for accuracy and bias.
ChatGPT, when asked, even admits its weakness:
As an AI language model, I strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information based on the data available up until my last update in September 2021. However, please note that I don’t have real-time access to current events or the ability to browse the internet. Therefore, there is a possibility that some of the information I provide may be outdated or no longer accurate. It’s always a good idea to verify the information from reliable sources or consult the latest news for the most current and accurate information.
Take this as a warning to carefully check your facts before publishing anything created by ChatGPT.
ChatGPT Doesn’t Cite Sources.
One of the tool’s most significant drawbacks (that I’m sure they will remedy in the future) is that ChatGPT doesn’t tell you where they got the information they deliver. For human writers, this is unacceptable. If you are writing something that requires citing a source and ChatGPT serves up a tantalizing fact, you must find the source yourself. You must locate it, check for accuracy, and create the correct citation. ChatGPT doesn’t save you much time there.
Unfortunately, so much of the churned-out, low-quality content on the web is not concerned with citations. Therefore, ChatGPT is a boon to them. Not so much for me, as I usually need to produce ta source for what I write for my clients.
ChatGPT Isn’t Secure.
This is one of the biggest criticisms of the tools to date. Apparently, corporate communications teams plug company secrets into open-source AI to write things for them. I don’t understand this for two reasons.
Most of the things I write for clients begin with first-person interviews. In the time it would take me to formulate and input specific questions for ChatGPT about that new “secret weapon,” I could have a good start on the content piece myself.
Secondly, why would you trust corporate secrets to open-source software? Content writers are much more discreet. If you contract me to write something for you, be it an ebook, a whitepaper, or a social media post, I honor NDAs about your company or any secrets you ask me to keep. Not so with AI.
ChatGPT Does Not Have the Human Touch
Believe me when I say I did not touch ChatGPT to write this blog. Even if you can’t detect the difference between this blog and something spit out by ChatGPT, know that there is more that makes a good content piece than the information inside. There is style, point of view, and tone. To be fair, you can request tweaks of each of these from ChatGPT, but for most content writers, it’s just easier and more soul-satisfying to draw from our vast resources within.
I know that ChatGPT is here to stay and will continue to populate the internet with boring, one-note content that is restated from something else on the internet already. People will not search for me or call me because they can use AI to produce content. That’s okay because my goal will always be to deliver something proprietary content to clients that is unique to their mission and their brand. That includes case studies specific to the company, new product launch content, lead magnets unique to the organization, and more. I have faith that doing so begins in the heart and mind of a writer who wants to see their clients successful, like me.
If I can help you produce high-quality, personalized content or generate ideas on how to use content to further your brand or lead generation, let’s talk. Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.