If you’re a half-decent writer, AI shouldn’t be stealing your job. But it could be making it a lot easier…
I’ll preface this by saying I’m old enough to fear AI.
I’ve watched enough films to know that when robots take over that it never ends well for humans.
After listening to news outlets praise ChatGPT as the future of the written word, I wasn’t surprised to see copywriters declaring that it was time to close our laptops, clear our desks and retrain.
But rather than run scared from our robotic overlords, perhaps we can harness this technology to our advantage.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022. It draws on the wisdom of the internet and some very clever technology to do whatever you ask of it.
It’ll write 5,000 words on baking meringues, a ballad about warring turtles or a limerick about Luton.
The result is copy that’s 100% unique, even if it’s not 100% accurate. And that’s pretty impressive, as most of the things I write are littered with turns of phrase that I’ve pilfered from other writers over the years.
It can even go further and write in the style of other writers.
“In the end they found its lair,
With barrels and a fight to spare.
Quint battled with his heart so brave,
To kill the shark, and the town to save.
And when the shark was finally slain,
The people cheered, and peace did reign.
But Quint was lost, his fate was sealed,
And his sacrifice, to all was revealed.”
That’s an excerpt from the plot of Jaws in the style of Chaucer. I never knew I needed it, either.
There are dozens of actually useful things that ChatGPT can do as well, including:
- write and debug computer programs
- answer test questions
- compose music
- improve your coding
- simulate online environments
- rewrite copy for a different audience
Five ways that copywriters can use AI to make life easier
1. It’s a very handy research tool
If you’ve just taken on a commission on a subject you’re unfamiliar with, chances are you’ll be heading to Google to do some research first. It can be frustrating to have to sift through many fluff and ads to find the information you need. ChatGPT will happily collate this information, saving you time and frustration.
2. Write speedy listicles
They’re the foundation of Buzzfeed and an SEO copy staple. They can also be an awful lot faster with AI. Just ask for “8 reasons Shih Tzu’s are the perfect family dog” or “9 fish recipes for easy weeknight dinners”, and you’ll have an instant outline. It might be worth asking for more bullet points than you need, as not every suggestion will be suitable.
3. Generate headlines
Sometimes the right headline won’t reveal itself. Or you’re doing an elaborate email split test and need several unique headlines for your copy. Use the prompt “Write six compelling headlines for the following text:…” and paste in your article.
4. Repurpose your copy for a different audience
ChatGPT is very good at writing for specific audiences. It can simplify complex information and strip away formality, allowing you to repurpose your copy without duplicating it. You could ask it to take your extensive report on the reproductive habits of capybaras and “Rephrase the text above to make it communicate to an 8-year-old.”
5. Farm out the boring stuff
As a copywriter, I find some jobs more exciting than others. 1,000 words on a topic that I’m passionate about in my unique style?
Bring it on. Fifty unique meta descriptions for a website about aquarium filter components?
Well… ChatGPT will write you a product or meta description for any URL without sighing dramatically.
ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for copywriters looking to improve their skills and increase productivity.
With its vast knowledge base and natural language processing abilities, ChatGPT can assist with generating ideas, refining language, and even conducting research.
Whether it’s developing headlines, crafting compelling copy, or optimising content for SEO, ChatGPT can offer suggestions and guidance to support copywriters in creating effective and engaging content.
By utilising this innovative technology, copywriters can streamline their workflow, save time, and produce high-quality work that resonates with their target audience.
(or at least that’s what ChatGPT told me when I asked for a conclusion).
I’m a content editor at Toast. Content is king and I am its most humble advisor. I help clients to find the right words for what they want to say, as well as copywriting, proofreading and editing. My naturally nosey demeanour means that I also help out in other bits of the business, and will go and get milk as long as it isn’t raining.