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AI Writing: Humans Needed!

October 27, 2023

Growing up in a home of writers, I learned early about the importance of meticulous research, strong outlines, and accuracy. But the most important lesson I learned came from Clay Felker, my brilliant mentor and the founder of New York magazine. Consistently articulate a strong voice and point of view. He was talking about old-fashioned “new journalism” and print magazines, but the advice is more relevant than ever. (Enjoy our post, The Voice of Your Brand).

Last week, I attended a webinar about integrating AI into writing and content marketing. I learned that AI can now take on the initial building blocks of good stories that my parents taught me. So, I signed up for a trial of the new AI tool Writer and asked it to write this blog post, but as I read what it produced, I heard Clay’s voice…”What’s the point of view?!!” So, I re-wrote what you just read.

Here’s what Writer wrote:

Combining AI with human writers can be so powerful – when done correctly, this combination has the potential to create truly remarkable content that stands out from the competition.

Meh. Yet still, a 2023 State of Marketing Report from the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute revealed that content marketing is leading the pack as the top area where AI is considered significant. Eighty-three percent of content marketers say AI is “very important” or “critically important” to their marketing success, mainly to save time.

Saving time does not equal high-quality writing.

We’re all in the experimental stage of figuring out how to integrate AI into the writing, editing and content marketing process. While it can save time for research and outlines, I don’t think I’ve read one piece of content produced by AI that doesn’t need a human touch. For example, I did find it helpful to upload the transcript from the AI webinar to Writer’s Recap tool to get a summary of the key highlights. Here they are, though I re-wrote them.

  • Your voice and experience matter more than ever.
  • A strong point of view will make your brand story stand out.
  • Human insights will always rise to the top of the search funnel.
  • Expand beyond the boundaries of the page with video and interactive experiences.
  • Humans still win for accuracy, editing, and voice.

After the summary, I worked with Writer on an outline, which helped lay out some ideas and save more time, though I restructured it. I then asked Writer to produce a draft. It offered a well-structured article that hit the key points, but, again, the writing needed a stronger voice and point of view.

Here’s my rewrite, based on the structure suggested by Writer.

  • Work with AI to get over the anxiety of the blank page. No human writer on the planet doesn’t experience this anxiety. AI is a good creative partner to help fill in the page with ideas for research and outlines. More often than not, you’ll find yourself erasing AI’s words and re-writing.
  • Work with AI to streamline your workflow. AI takes on some of the heavy lift of reading through transcripts, the initial wide net of research, and copy editing. These tasks can free you up for more creative writing and high-level curation of the research. Yet AI doesn’t pull out your best quotes from a transcript and its research findings are too often wrong.
  • Work with AI to brainstorm headlines, keywords, social posts, and hashtags. Once you’ve established your voice and point of view of an article or script, AI can help you brainstorm headlines and keywords and boil down your story into shorter social media posts and hashtags.

Rachel Lehmann-Haupt is the Founding Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director of StoryMade, a boutique storytelling studio. This article originally appeared on the StoryMade website.



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