November 7, 2023

Copytunity knocks: Why ChatGPT is not the death of copywriting

What kind of risk does ChatGPT pose for copywriters? We explore the impact of AI systems on professional writing in this exclusive Nott Copy blog.

Artificial intelligence is here, and the implications for copywriters are starker than a stark naked David Starkey.

Just when wordsmiths thought they were more Invincible than Michael Jackson’s tenth studio album, along comes a monster called ChatGPT to well and truly rock one’s world. As we all know, this AI language model (and its naughty siblings like Google Bard) can respond to carefully worded prompts by producing reams of human-like text. For jobbing copywriters from Clacton to Clapton, this could be existential.

While the original BBC Robot Wars ended in 2004, it now seems we’re in the midst of exactly that. Why hire human fingertips to type your copy when an algorithmic overlord could do it for you?

But fortunately, reports of the copywriter’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Unlike the small-eared shrew, copywriters aren’t about to go on the endangered species list.

Good riddance to bad copy

It’s true that large language models are busily devouring many types of ‘grunt work’, from listicles and job ads to SEO meta descriptions. But unless you’ve got a passion for writing cereal box ingredients, is anyone really crying into their corn flakes?

Indeed, this ‘changing of the Bard’ could be considered a Good Thing. The internet is already polluted with clickbait clutter, and if the robots have relieved us of our duty to write ‘10 things I hate about goo’, they will have done us (and the world) a favour.

In fact, the robots could even be credited with unleashing a geyser of creativity. Take writer’s block. If you’re tasked with writing a 20-page website on groan-to-value mortgages, who better to ask for inspiration than an AI system that’s scraped all the most boring details? By popping the question with a well-worded prompt, copywriters can generate a ‘mood board’ of ideas, then indulge their imagination and scribe in their journal with a finely feathered quill.

Artisan copy: the new artisan coffee 

So, the demise of landfill copy is to be welcomed. And one upshot is that premium copy is the new sheriff in town.

Like a slow drip coffee, quality content takes time to percolate. A lousy shot from a machine is never going to taste the same as a freshly brewed latte with a love heart on the foam. That’s why any copywriter with their weight in Gold Blend should get to know what makes their client Tick before they Tok.

Let’s face it – ChatGPT isn’t going to meet a client for three hours to discuss bylines and buttons. And no, Microsoft Bing won’t hold open the door, buy you a mocha or laugh politely at your jokes – controversial or otherwise. Really, the words are the cherry on the cake, so a good copywriter will spend as much time listening as writing.

Writing is rewriting

“The only kind of writing is rewriting”, said Ernest Hemingway. Indeed, while ChatGPT may produce a serviceable ‘vomit draft’ of your 500-word article on long-haired cats, true storytelling requires a professional to make it purr.

Copywriters since Attila the Pun have long understood that ‘generating words’ is a mere 1% of the game. Just like the punchline of a perfectly executed joke, writing is about judiciously choosing the order in which words appear. At the time of typing, no AI system has come up with an awesome editor who can reassemble a dodgy draft into a perfectly formed jigsaw.

Increasingly, a good writer is also a ‘restyler’ – not to be confused with Freestyler by Bomfunk MCs – who can turn murky water into sparkling wine. It turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks, and the modern copywriter is less a rockstar and more a record producer, remixing that scratchy demo tape into the feel good hit of the summer.

Bot’s love got to do with it?

So for all the talk of robots on the rampage, the common copywriter is alive and kicking. ChatGPT won’t tuck you into bed at night (neither will we, in fairness), but for best-in-class professional writing, choose a team of writers who can put the ‘human’ into ‘overqualified humanities graduates’.

Looking for a real live human to write your content for you? We’re good to go. Get in touch with our team for more info.