So, have you seen all those Facebook ads promoting AI writing bots named Jasper or Jarvis who can create blog posts, emails, and other online content ten times faster than a human being? Are you convinced these robots can only pump out ridiculous-sounding content like this hilarious “bot-written” Batman movie script (actually created by writer and comedian Keaton Patti)?
Or do you feel this is the beginning of a robot apocalypse where AI content generators will make human freelance writers obsolete (or worse — editorial assistants to our stuck-up robot overlords?)
Well, take heart. While AI is improving and will almost certainly play a role in future automation, there are plenty of ways humans can remain relevant in the writing world. Let’s take a closer look at how AI content generators work, and how human writers can adapt in this new environment.
Artificially intelligent (AI) writing bots are a type of software that use natural language generators and predictive modeling to produce natural-sounding content based on the writing patterns of millions of documents it sources online. These days, bots are used to create headlines, slogans, brand names, blog topic ideas, and even blog copy.
People who use AI content generators enter a keyword phrase along with their writing guidelines and rely on the software to produce an article based on their specifications. While AI has been known to unintentionally produce some goofy-sounding content, the natural language generators have been improving, and today’s AI-generated content can offer more human-like phrasing.
Even so, human writers still edit, fact-check, and polish most of the chunks of content bots produce before the copy gets published.
But not always. For instance, big publications like the Associated Press have been using bots on a regular basis to generate their content — sometimes with minimal or no human intervention. Since 2014, the AP has been partnering with technology company Automated Insights to automate its quarterly earnings reports. Even today, you can find the byline “This story was generated by Automated Insights” at the end of many of its “Earnings Snapshots.”
But does this mean that businesses will soon no longer need human writers? Not quite.
While it is true that AI software is constantly upgrading and learning to produce more natural-sounding copy, here’s what’s also true: human writers can also upgrade their skillsets and improve their writing skills. This will play a big part in determining whether or not your freelance writing services become obsolete in the future.
Consider the following tips for staying relevant in this developing digital age:
Some freelancers, like Medium writer Daniel Rosehill, predict AI writing bots will be taking over a lot of content writing jobs. However, these jobs are currently being done by generalist writers who produce content like the reviews affiliate marketers commission to drive traffic to their sites or the keyword-heavy articles assigned by content mills for low pay. Since these types of clients tend to care more about quantity than quality, they’ll be satisfied with whatever content an AI writing bot produces.
So, what does this mean for freelance writers who want to stay in business?
It means finding a specific niche for your writing content and becoming a true expert in your field will be more important than ever. AI writing bots may be able to process large amounts of online content, but writers who have used bots find many bots like do not produce good research-heavy pieces and require humans to constantly check the facts it provides.
If you show your clients that you have a proven track record of providing well-researched, factually correct work that will help make their brand more trustworthy, you’ll market yourself as a writer with essential skills. AI writing bots may work cheap, but they don’t necessarily produce the most accurate work.
AI writing bots may be able to produce more readable copy thanks to their natural language generators and predictive modelling, but that doesn’t mean their writing style is engaging. Although AI can rearrange text in an attempt to prevent plagiarism, the writing isn’t truly original. Many readers still find AI phrasing awkward and unable to replicate human emotion.
You, on the other hand, can assess your writing, ask yourself how it makes you feel, and edit your content to make it resonate better with others.
You can do more than just arrange data in a blog article — you can relate your personal experiences to your writing topic, offering real-life examples and stories bots don’t have access to.
Likewise, you can bring other voices into your writing by interviewing experts (preferably human) with unique perspectives on your article’s subject matter. All this draws your readers into your writing in a way that can’t be easily replicated by AI.
AI writing bots don’t have to become your robot overlords. In fact, if you learn how to work with them, they can actually become effective writing assistants.
This doesn’t always sit well with some writers. Medium writer Daniel Rosehill, for instance, once received a query from a prospective client who promised to pay less than his usual rate since he’d be supplying an AI tool to write the actual article.
However, if you decide to download an AI writing assistant for your own use, you may find your productivity increase as you use it to quickly generate first-draft copy through well-thought-out prompts and commands. From there, you can edit the material, increasing your writing speed. Naturally, you’ll want to be sure to check the facts and infuse your own unique voice into the piece.
Pro tip: writers who’ve used AI bots as writing assistants find the software works best on light topics like listicles on throwing parties. If you’re working on a more research-heavy piece, you might work faster by doing it all on your own.
Just don’t become so reliant on your bot that you let your own writing skills atrophy. <tweet-link>Simply being human doesn’t automatically make us better writers than our robotic counterparts — regularly honing our skills does.<tweet-link>
There’s a lot more that goes into building a successful freelance writing career than just writing. Good writers know they need to connect with their audience and provide them with the kind of content they want.
This could mean establishing a good working relationship with your clients and being available to listen to their ideas for your next blog article topics. You can also pitch them your own ideas and offer suggestions for their content strategy. Even the most sophisticated bots aren’t likely to start hanging out with their bosses at a coffee shop and share their thoughts on the latest Tom Cruise movie (although come to think of it, that would be kind of cool…).
Likewise, you can connect with your online audience by making sure your content resonates with them. Spend some time on online forums and see if the questions you’re answering in your blog posts relate to topics they’re concerned about. Encourage readers to comment on your articles, opening up opportunities for dialogue. Knowing there’s someone listening on the other side of a blog and responding to their needs often means a lot more to an audience than getting new content fast.
Like it or not, AI bots are here to stay and will eventually become an accepted part of future online content.
But that doesn’t mean human writers are going anywhere either. As long as you take the time to keep honing your writing skills, producing the kind of content your audience wants to read, and building your own special niche, there’ll be a place for you to thrive in the freelance writing world.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t still use a little help from your mechanical friends. Moxie makes organizing your freelance responsibilities and managing your clients much easier. Start using our app for free — we won’t start the robot apocalypse from your laptop. We promise.