ChatGPT came onto the scene with a bang. In just over a week it had garnered 100 million users worldwide, and more than one enterprising student has realised it can write their essays for them – potentially without their tutors ever knowing.
So, with this astounding development in technology, have copywriters been rendered obsolete? Couldn’t we just push out articles in seconds using AI instead of slaving away at writing them ourselves or paying an experienced copywriter to do the job? Let’s look into the role of a copywriter and whether AI can fill it satisfactorily.
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Why copy is necessary
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you’ll have heard of Bill Gates’ infamous quote, ‘Content is king’ (at least, you will if you work in marketing). It’s as true today as in the mid-90s and even before. Copy is an essential aspect of marketing and advertising. It is the art of crafting persuasive and compelling written messages that inspire people to take action, either by persuading audiences of the value of a product, or by eliciting an emotional reaction from the consumer. A copywriter is traditionally someone who writes these words. Somebody with a nuanced command of language and the ability to create desire via specifically targeted messaging. With AI tools like ChatGPT, however, are such people still necessary?
Why we still need copywriters
1. Emotion and empathy
Firstly, it’s important to understand that while ChatGPT is a powerful tool for generating written content, it is not a replacement for human creativity and empathy. Copywriting requires not only a deep understanding of the intended consumers, but also an ability to craft messages that resonate with them. ChatGPT may be able to generate written content, but it lacks the emotional intelligence and nuance that a human copywriter brings to the table.
A human copywriter can understand the intent and context of the message and tailor it accordingly. They can use storytelling, play-on-words (a favourite here at Minerva), rhetorical devices, and other literary techniques to create a more engaging and persuasive message.
2. Understanding human behaviour
Copywriting is not just about putting words down on a page. In fact, it’s a bugbear of many copywriters that pretty much everyone seems to think they can do it. But copy is a craft. It involves an understanding of human behaviour and how to influence it. A copywriter needs to be familiar with the decision-making process of consumers and the factors that influence their purchasing decisions. They must be able to identify the pain points and needs of the target audience and craft a message that addresses those needs. Sometimes a copywriter can solve a problem you never even knew you had until they presented it to you.
ChatGPT, on the other hand, is a language model and doesn’t have the ability to understand and analyse consumer behaviour. It couldn’t independently determine what to write for each stage of your customer’s buying cycle, or identify the particular problems that a group of individuals has and demonstrate how a newly developed product can solve them.
3. Editing and refinement
Even if you were to use a tool such as ChatGPT to write your website copy or your marketing content, you would need to understand its limitation. Any piece of AI should be used correctly in order to be effective, and any content produced would always need a human eye to look over it for editing and refinement. Only a person can determine whether copy is consistent with your brand, whether it reads exactly as it should, and whether it’s compelling enough to engage its target audience. Which leads us neatly to the next point…
AI may be able to create accurate and well-written text, but realistically it’s no substitute for a human voice. The copy may be factually correct, but if there’s no personality behind it, you’ll struggle to connect with your customers. Today’s brands are built on personality (just look at Red Bull, Jaguar and L’Oreal), and consider it an essential part of customer loyalty. It permeates everything they do, from product packaging to web copy to TV advertising.
Tone of voice guidelines typically set out the kind of language that can be used in order to stay in keeping with a company’s brand. While a copywriter can be expected to adhere to this detailed guidance, a tool may not be able to. It would struggle, for example, to include a well-placed pun in line with a particular brand’s playful nature, or to make cultural references that might resonate with the consumer.
So before you sack your entire in-house copywriting team in favour of getting a robot to write your content, bear in mind its limitations. As long as businesses continue to rely on written communication to reach their target audience, copywriters will continue to be in high demand.
If you happen to be looking for experienced copywriters for your team, get in touch with Minerva Creative today. As professional content creators and marketers, we offer everything that ChatGPT offers – and quite a lot of other things it doesn’t!