How to Compete and Thrive in the Era of AI in Writing
Are you burying your head in the sand?
Freelancers who learn how to use AI in writing—and who highlight their understanding and use of AI in their marketing—will have a strong competitive advantage over freelancers who bury their head in the sand about AI. Learn how AI in writing can help freelancers succeed, what AI can’t currently do, and what to say about AI in your marketing.
Read time: 6 minutes
When AI and the use of AI in writing started making a big splash everywhere, I tried to bury my head in the sand and ignore it. I just didn’t want to deal with it.
But as I started reading LinkedIn posts, listening to podcasts, and reading reports about AI in writing, I realized that if I wanted to be able to survive in the era of AI and provide value to my clients, I had no choice—I had to learn how to use AI in my freelance work.
AI is here to stay and if you’re a freelance writer, you too must learn how to use AI in writing. Right now, the technology isn’t very good (as of October 2023). But it’s improving very fast.
“This is not a flood that will stop, says Gordon Graham in a High-Income Business Writing podcast.
“During a flood, you run to higher ground. Commodity writers and content mills will be flooded. They can’t compete,” he says. The low end of the freelance writing market is likely to use AI-generated content with little human involvement.
But the best clients will use AI wisely and they will need freelance help to do this. So Graham and other experts on AI say that freelance writers who want to survive need to build AI skills. Clients will expect writers to use AI.
“We need to change our skill sets so we are using this tool to help us do the things we do for our clients,” says Rob Marsh in a High-Income Business Writing podcast.
In this blog post, I’m going to show you:
- How AI in writing can help freelancers succeed
- What AI currently can’t do
- What to say about AI in your marketing.
How AI in Writing Can Help Freelance Writers Succeed
Freelancers who learn how to use AI in writing—and who clearly explain their understanding of AI in their marketing—will have a strong competitive advantage over freelancers who bury their head in the sand about AI. We can add value to our relationships with clients by educating them about what AI can and can’t do.
Like all technology, there are both benefits and limitations of AI in writing (as of October 2023). AI can increase our efficiency, once we learn it. It can help us plan content, brainstorm ideas, and summarize data and information.
AI can very quickly summarize large amounts of text and provide concise summaries that capture the key points and main ideas. It can be a great starting place for a writing project. Also, AI can analyze content to ensure consistency in writing style, tone, voice and adherence to specific guidelines and optimize content for search engines.
“AI can increase production and improve our thinking and strategizing,” says Marsh.
Learn How to Use AI in Writing
Using AI in writing is a skill and practice helps us build any skill. Experts say to just start experimenting with ChatGPT.
If I can learn how to use AI, then you can too. Technology has always been a struggle for me. And like most freelancers, I’m really busy.
But I knew that if I wanted to survive as a freelance writer in the era of AI in writing, I had to learn how do use it. I started out by following discussions on LinkedIn. Then I listened to podcasts and read reports.
Since I didn’t want to waste time trying to figure out how to use AI on my own, I took a course: Introduction to Medical Writing and Artificial Intelligence from Michelle Guillemard at Health Writer Hub. This forced me to actually start using ChatBPT.
Learn more about how I’m learning about AI in writing
Current Problems with AI in Writing
While AI writing tools can help freelance writers, they can’t replace our expertise, judgement and critical thinking skills. Using AI in writing effectively requires much more than simply typing in a topic. Writers must know how to prompt the AI tool to deliver decent content and carefully review and validate the content generated by AI tools. That requires skill.
“Writers are better positioned to be good prompters than clients or non-writers, says Gandia. We also need to be able to evaluate AI-assisted content. Effective prompting and evaluation add value for our clients.
Lack of current information
ChatGPT, the most widely used tool for AI in writing, only has information from September 2021. So the latest information, which freelance writers often use, isn’t available to us.
Lack of subject matter expertise
AI doesn’t have the subject matter expertise that is so important in many freelance writing projects.
Writers understand the context of the project, the client’s needs, and the audience. AI doesn’t.
Interviews with expert sources are a key part of many writing projects, providing information that’s not available anywhere else. Expert sources can also recommend the most relevant background sources for writers to use.
“Without experiences to draw from, AI writing often feels somewhat hollow below the surface,” says Marketing AI Institute.
Along with generating dull, ineffective content AI in writing may be inaccurate.
Lack of client-specific information
AI doesn’t have information about our clients that’s not publicly available. It doesn’t have information about the client’s needs, perspectives, insights, or strategies.
Freelance writers who want to create effective content still need to get information from the client. Often, we also need to interview experts.
Lack of creativity and originality
AI in writing uses common existing data to generate responses. Without human creativity and intuition, the result is dull, generic, and repetitive content.
Even ChatGPT acknowledges its lack of human creativity and expertise. When I asked ChatGPT what freelancers should do to learn how to use ChaptGPT, part of the response was: “While ChatGPT is a powerful tool, it’s essential to remember that it is not a substitute for human creativity and expertise. Consider using ChatGPT to augment your writing process rather than replace it entirely.”
Lack of empathy and the human touch
Without a human touch, AI content doesn’t sound like a real person, or a real company, wrote it. And it can’t generate the empathetic and compelling content that is crucial in writing or tell personal stories.
AI doesn’t understand your client or their audience’s pain points, needs, preferences, and behaviors. The content it generates won’t meet the needs of your clients or their audiences.
Inaccurate and confusing information
Content generated by ChatBPT may be inaccurate, confusing, or incoherent. AI uses the most popular information about the topic, which may or may not be from reliable sources or accurate. It often provides different answers to the same question. AI can’t put information in a logical order and often produces repetitive content and content that just doesn’t make sense.
Bias and possible racism
AI writing tools are biased because the information it uses is biased. It could also be racist.
What to Say About AI-Assisted Writing in Your Marketing
Many clients are interested in AI as a way to produce content efficiently and save money. But they don’t fully understand AI.
Here’s why this is important. As freelancers, we have a great opportunity to educate our clients about what AI can and can’t do. By doing this, we make ourselves more valuable to them. And we demonstrate our expertise in using AI in writing.
That’s why your LinkedIn profile and website must clearly explain your understanding of AI in writing and how you use it. Being open and honest with clients about your use of AI builds trust.
Emphasize how AI-assisted writing will help you be more efficient, which adds value for your clients.
Emphasize ethical and responsible use of AI
Let clients know that you will use AI ethically and responsibly.
Educate clients about AI
Use the term “AI-assisted writing” to show clients that you’re using AI as a tool, not to do the writing for you. Mention the benefits and limitations of AI-assisted writing.
Highlight your experience and expertise
Tell clients how you’ll combine AI and your experience and expertise to deliver content that’s relevant, accurate, engaging, and targeted to the needs of the client and their audiences.
For example, my LinkedIn profile and my website both have the brief statement:
“I use AI-assisted medical writing ethically and responsibly to work more efficiently and provide my clients with more value.”
Then I include more details about:
- How I use AI-assisted writing
- How I combine AI with my experience as a writer and my knowledge of health and medicine
- What AI can’t do.
See my LinkedIn profile and website
Learn More About AI in Writing
Content from The Mighty Marketer
Example of Lori’s marketing about AI in writing:
Julia McCoy. AI & GPT-3 in Content Creation: How Will This Affect Your Job as a Writer? Entrepreneur. June 2021.
Mike Kaput. The Impact of AI on Writing Careers. Marketing AI Institute. February 2023.
#325: Rob Marsh on Leveraging AI to Grow Your Freelance Business, High-Income Business Writing
Health Writer Hub, Introduction to Medical Writing and Artificial Intelligence