Hero or villain – the role of AI in B2B copywriting – Hector Taylor, Guest Post

Man in Superman outfit as cartoon characterAI has hit copywriting like kryptonite. For in-house marketers it’s like Clark Kent, enabling them to create far more content than ever before. According to Gartner, 63% of marketers are pioneering AI to eliminate internal and external roles. Consequently for lots of freelancers it’s more like Lex Luther, hoovering up work, leaving them feeling the pain of the new world order.
One thing is certain, AI is not going to go away, so everyone involved in copywriting, whether they like it or not, has got to get with the programme. We have to harness its heroic qualities and vanquish its villainous tendencies to create work quicker and better than previously possible.
One way to outdo AI is to do your own primary research. So I canvased opinion on LinkedIn to see if people idolised or demonised AI in these two key aspects:
1. Creativity
2. Accuracy & trustworthiness
The reality is never as comic-book clear as Batman and the Riddler, or Catwoman and Poison Ivy. So I’ve included tips from experts, and everyone who commented on LinkedIn, on how to navigate these tricky issues.
As Gartner said, “creators who embrace the capabilities of AI will have lots of opportunity in the future”.
Hopefully this article will help you make the most of the new AI reality.

1. Is AI a hero or villain for creativity


There are many reasons why AI is more Penelope Pitstop than Dick Dastardly when it comes to creativity. For a start copywriters no longer have to start with the dreaded blank page; whatever the subject, task or format asked for, AI will come up with some examples to get you started. For instance if a client asks you to write a manifesto for 5G, you no longer have to spend hours working out how a manifesto is structured and what tone of voice to use. AI will give you the gist in minutes.
Or if you need five potential titles for a blog it will create them instantly. You can even ask it for analogies and metaphors on a topic and it will come up with some valid suggestions. AI definitely speeds up the process of developing synopses and treatments.
Also some copy doesn’t need to be creative. Some copy just needs to get the information across in the most straightforward way. Often when you write for an international audience you have to forgo humour and linguistic idiosyncrasies as they simply don’t translate.


Many, however, view the creativity of AI with a Muttley-like snigger. After all, AI is programmed to predict what the most likely next word is, and is therefore inherently unoriginal. Also most fresh angles emerge when you have some time to research and gestate. When AI does all the research for you and comes up with a solid, but predictable approach, it is  often a challenge to pull back from what it suggests, and find that fresh idea that grabs the reader's attention and triggers them to think.


A screenshot of a computer Description automatically generated

You guys felt it was 50-50 and Richard Gauder artfully captured most people’s opinion:

“I'd prefer the writer to be the hero (As AI requires wisdom, context and leadership), using AI as a powerful extension in the super hero's tool belt. Artists break rules. AI follows them.”


When you see graphics generated by AI they are often superficially “clever”, but lack depth. This “meh” quality takes longer to notice in copy but is just as prevalent. For copywriters to win the Wacky AI Race, we’ve got to get good at using AI as part of our tool belt, as Richard said, but make sure we instil our writing with our own human spark and intent. We’ve got to use AI to write stuff AI couldn’t produce by itself.

2. Is AI a hero or villain for factual accuracy


To some AI is like Wile E Coyote, careering off the cliff of credibility. But to others AI is Roadrunner, cunningly getting to the factual destination with as little drama as possible. There are lots of apocryphal tales of AI making up facts, and then making up ghost links to validate those facts. But there were similar complaints about the veracity of Wikipedia, but it’s matured over the years and we all tend to use it as a first point of reference.

AI has the ability to compile and contextualise information at lightning speed, and this definitely shortens the time needed to get deep sector expertise.


ON the other hand AI could be an accelerator into the age of dis-information and plagiarise its inaccuracies so often they become untraceable truths. There is also the problem that ChatGPT’s facts only go up to 2021, but no doubt it will be updated soon, and in the meantime you can use Google's Bard and Bing’s Chat for up-to-date information.