This may sound a little dubious. Why would a writer need artificial intelligence? Isn’t the writer’s intelligence enough to get the content done? Well, yes, but what a writer can’t do automatically is improve the chances that the content they write gets read. That’s where AI can come in and be somewhat helpful.
Not always the case, the change in where content goes has really led to a need for a writer’s brain to work alongside a computer’s. After all, content spends more time online than in any other medium, and once it’s up, it could technically get searched, read and accessed forever.
Of course, AI is never perfect when it comes to stringing words together, so I’d always suggest using it sparingly with the understanding that a human eye is always necessary.
WHEN I MET AI IN THE WRITER'S ROOM
AI and I got a proper introduction through one of my writing clients. They very smartly realized that, in order to get their content to the top of search results, they needed some AI guidance in for keywords, headers and word count. With the right application, it can even make suggestions on the number of headers, paragraphs, and images you should have to optimize content.
Using all these guides, the writer is then asked to incorporate as many elements as possible to get a certain score on each piece of content. For me it was a 75, which wasn’t always easy to hit. You see, the AI program would tell me that certain phrases and keywords would improve my content rating, and I’d disagree.
WHY AI AND I FOUGHT
My biggest problem with what my AI program was telling me came down to grammatical correctness. The system would increase my score if I included a phrase like, “living in apartment,” but I’d need it to be grammatically correct. When I’d type, “living in an apartment,” the phrase wouldn’t count.
If there were enough of these improper phrases in my list, my content score would miss the mark.
My second problem was with keywords that didn’t make sense. Say I was writing a piece that talked about Dallas, Texas, but one of my keywords was San Francisco. It was a stretch to link the two together, and I often wouldn’t struggle to make it work. Too many out-of-place words would tip the reader off that I was “keyword stuffing.” This is a big no-no.
Keywords need to naturally flow into a piece, even at the risk of lowering your content score, but AI doesn’t understand that.
Sometimes, an intervention was necessary, manually removing words or phrases that wouldn't really work with the topic, and adjusting the content score. Other times, my editor would thankfully settle for a score a little below 75.
It was still frustrating for me to not meet the parameters of my assignment, but AI is always a work-in-progress, and I was lucky to have a team sympathetic to that.
WHERE TO CROSS AI
Having become more familiar with AI in this context, and taken on many assignments using programs that feed me keywords and phrases, writing in this way has gotten much easier. I don’t strive to be perfect, getting every word and phrase into my piece. Instead, I take the auto-generated content and put my own human spin on it, doing my best to make everything make sense.
One way I’ve gotten AI to work for me is by using the keywords to inform my content. I’ll even craft a section of a piece just to get more keywords into the content. Keywords are great for flushing out an outline, and you can even use a keyword as a section header.
On the flip side, I don’t let the AI run the show. If my research for a piece doesn’t align with a stack of keywords, I don't use them. I’m going to make sense, AI or not.
Working both sides of the line usually leaves me with a comprehensive piece that informs on the topic while also containing the right components to get it high up on a search results list.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE FLEXIBLE WHEN YOU'RE A CONTENT WRITER
Using AI is a perfect example of why it’s essential to be flexible when you create content. Fifteen years ago, Google didn’t have an algorithm everyone was working with to get higher search rankings. Fifteen years ago, people still read print the majority of the time. Fifteen years ago, I was still writing copy that went into printed catalogs and on printed flyers.
Writing then, and writing now, when you look at the tools you have, is totally different.
What’s not different is the need for content. That’s why it’s important to use what you’re given to the best of your ability and achieve the goal of each assignment. Sometimes it’s not just simply to inform, it's also about brand awareness and search ranking, and that’s totally and completely fine.
My love/hate relationship with AI is proof.