Short answer: Yes... but also, not quite.
This year, I spent 3 months rewriting 50 AI-generated articles for a well-known brand that actually seems to have tossed those articles out the window altogether, because they haven't published a single one yet.
When I say re-writing, I mean I didn't keep a single word from those original articles.
This company had to pay for the AI content first. Then they paid me.
I don't want this to be you!
Now, their either slow to publish because they lost their Head of Content, who was my point of contact (hence my lack of updates from them as well)... or, they've just decided that the articles are too far off-base from what they generally publish.
I'd have to agree with that latter statement.
I've worked with this brand for a while. Their articles have always been top-tier. Exceptionally insightful, full of personality, and often first-hand accounts from a team member.
The AI-generated content, and particularly the topics, were just... not them.
They were surface-level. Bland, really, even when I beefed them up as much as I possibly could and layered on the brand voice.
There are a lot of companies today giving AI a try, and rightfully so. There are about a million ways to use AI. If you've paid any attention to social media you'll see loads of posts on how they're implementing this great new writing tool.
Sadly, a lot of companies don't know how to get the most out of AI. They think it's a shortcut to creating a lot of content, fast, and for a lot cheaper.
If you're thinking about using AI to create blog content, you might want to think again. I'll dive into my 3 reasons why AI content isn't a great substitute for a freelancer (or in-house writer).
Reason 1: You can actually tell the difference between AI content and human-written content
Sure, AI writes as well as, and sometimes even better than some new-to-freelancing writers, especially if those writers aren't native speakers.
(p.s... I know a lot of non-native writers that are amazing. Do not discount them.)
However, AI content has some tells. Some giveaways that it's not quite human-born.
Here, I'll show you:
Bullet points- AI really likes to use bullet points or numbered lists. Ideally, you would take the AI-generated content and turn those bullets into sections you'd expand on. But a lot of brands don't. If you're turning to AI content, it's thought of as a shortcut. Not something you want to work on further.
You can see that here:
Uniform paragraphs- AI tends to keep a very uniform look, with paragraphs that are all about the same length.
It's the most bland SEO type content you'll ever find- what I mean is that it follows that same old SEO content style. You know the ones... They have exceptionally boring intros. They have one or two sections at the top of the article that are purely for SEO purposes (ex. "What is AI?", which I saw on a competitor article human vs AI writing). The content itself never gets very deep (more on that later).
It uses a lot of bland sentence intros (examples: however, in contrast, finally, lastly...)- granted, there are still a lot of writers that write like that. But they sound exceptionally college-paper-like and most professional writers have moved on from that.
Reason 2: AI content follows a very generic formula
If you look at enough AI-generated articles, you realize that the tool follows a specific formula for every single article.
It usually looks like:
First we will
Second we will
And it'll usually even say some iteration of that.
The intros, specifically the first sentence, is generally something generic, like: "In the rapidly evolving landscape of B2B SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, a robust content strategy is no longer a luxury but a necessity."
From there it'll have:
One or two of those purely SEO sections
Sections that don't really say all that much
A lot of those bullet points I mentioned
A conclusion that literally says "conclusion"
That sounds like a basic article, but when it all looks too much alike, it's very... boring.
Reason 3: The content never really says ANYTHING
Honestly, this was a huge complaint of mine before the advent of AI-- a lot of content production with very little meaning.
The problem is, AI generates content based on what's already on the internet. AKA, it's regurgitating what it already sees. If what it sees is a ton of really crap content, well, that's what it's going to produce.
Take this section from an article I rewrote, for example:
Say what the f***?? Honestly, does this really say anything at all?
Sure, the first paragraph gives you a dictionary definition of full-path attribution, and a line on what it takes into account. But that's about it.
Everything after that is fluff, fluff, and more fluff.
It's also clearly redundant, infusing the piece with some marketing buzzwords in the hopes that you won't notice too much.
"gain valuable insights..."
It's listing benefits, but do you notice that it doesn't tell you HOW to apply the model? Or how to create the model? Where to create it? How to convert those insights into action?
Sure, I don't give you the full article, but I rewrote the piece, and I can tell you that the original absolutely did not go into any of that.
A lot of content on the internet is just as surface-level. But that's part of why brands have a hard time standing out.
Do you really want to keep propagating that kind of content?
So, are AI tools like OpenAI or ChatGPT going to take content writing jobs away?
Yes, there are plenty of brands that are already producing surface level content, and they're content in continuing to do so.
Right now, it's not impacting their SEO. In fact, it may be helping, because they're used to using lower end writers that may not be as skilled in SEO and they can now produce a lot more content.
For those brands, sure, AI may replace writers.
But there are tons of brands that want actionable content that fits their brand, and is built entirely for conversions, sales enablement, and brand positioning.
That only comes from demonstrating that your brand is an expert in the industry.
That's something AI can't generate.