AI writing assistants have seen a huge surge in popularity recently. The costs of hiring in-house writers or outsourcing your content to professional copywriters are high, and it can be tempting to spend a fraction of the cost on a writing assistant that uses artificial intelligence.
But is using an AI writing assistant a good idea? What are the advantages and setbacks of AI-powered writing services? And what does Google think about AI content?
We've answered all these questions in this guide.
- Using a virtual writing assistant can help you save money and time. You can produce website content in a matter of minutes for a fraction of the cost of a professional copywriter.
- However, AI writing assistants will never replace real writers when it comes to content quality and the ability to appeal to human emotions.
- Plus, using an AI assistant for your writing process may result in your website being penalized by Google.
What is an AI writing assistant?
An AI writing assistant is a tool that automates the website content creation process. You could use an AI writer to produce a blog article or webpage for you, usually based on your own written brief.
The process of using an AI writer usually goes like this:
- You write a short brief that outlines what you want the article to be about. In the more intelligent AI tools, you can also give direction on tone of voice, article length, keyword use, and more.
- The AI tool will produce your content within the next few minutes.
A good AI tool should be capable of producing original content that reads well - like it has been written by a human.
Some of the most popular AI writing assistants are Jasper (formerly Jarvis) WordAI, Ryter, and Article Forge.
Another massively popular AI tool to have recently made the rounds is ChatGPT, a so-called revolutionary technology that offers a few benefits over most other writing assistants, namely that it can write articles instantly based on a single sentence request.
Pros and cons of using AI writing assistants
There are a handful of advantages - and just as many disadvantages - of augmenting your writing workflow with an AI tool.
The creators of these tools would want you to believe that they only offer benefits, but to get a proper understanding of what it would mean to use these tools yourself, you need to know their setbacks, too.
Let's start with the pros.
Beat writer's block
A good AI-powered writing tool can - to some extent - generate ideas for new article content. It can also fill out an article to hit any word count you want (within reason).
That means, if you're struggling with writer's block or you can't think what to write next, you can use an AI writer to fill in the gaps.
Avoid language issues & setbacks
If you're writing in a language that isn't your first, you can easily make grammar and spelling mistakes that you might not notice. Publishing articles laden with spelling and grammar issues looks unprofessional.
An AI writing tool can help you to reduce these issues by writing fluently in whatever language you request. The best tools let you choose between tens of different languages.
Produce content quickly
AI-powered writing tools don't mess about. You can produce a complete article in a matter of minutes, and all that's required from you is a short brief.
If your goal is to build out your blog as quickly as possible to start ranking on Google and earning money, an AI content creation tool can seem appealing.
AI writing assistants usually have a monthly subscription fee. Even if this fee is a couple of hundred dollars, it's still much cheaper than the cost of hiring a professional copywriter (which is usually in the thousands).
Many AI writing tools also let you use their product with a free trial while you decide whether or not it's right for you.
Moving on to the cons of AI writing assistants.
May be penalized on Google
The biggest potential setback of writing content with an AI tool is that it could get your website penalized by Google.
For that reason, we strongly recommend that you don't write all of your web content with AI.
What we know so far suggests that Google isn't against AI content, as long as (in line with the 2022 helpful content update) it provides value and a better user experience - which often means that it will need to be reviewed and edited by a human, to make it suitable for the human reader.
There have also been rumors that Google is developing a tool that can recognize AI content, and Google already has existing algorithms that detect content that has been altered with AI tools.
In short, it's risky. Imagine building out your entire blog with AI content, only for a new Google update to penalize your website, leaving you no choice but to rewrite all your content with a professional copywriter.
An AI writing tool does not guarantee good quality.
Many of these tools are smart, but they still don't have human brains. That means they may make punctuation and grammar mistakes or use clunky, wordy phrases that you'd never use yourself.
For that reason, you'll need to put on your spelling and grammar checking hat and go through your AI-written content to make sure the copy reads properly and has no mistakes.
The poorer AI writing tools simply take existing web content and rewrite it with synonyms, which leaves sentences looking and reading like a jumbled mess. This content is so poor that you'll probably end up rewriting it all yourself anyway.
Information May Be Incorrect
Another major setback of using an AI assistant instead of a professional SEO content writing service is that AI tools are known to make up information.
The creators of the popular tool Jasper even admit that Jasper writes "creatively, not factually", meaning that some of the information in your AI content may be incorrect. This is far from ideal since you don't want to deceive your reader, which could stain your reputation.
Plus, the majority of AI writing tools aren't updated with the most recent facts and information, which means that some of the info they base their content on may be outdated and no longer correct.
The only thing to do is to read through your AI copy and fact-check it all - which, if you're writing about an unfamiliar topic, could take almost as long as writing the article yourself.
The best AI tools should be able to avoid plagiarism. But there's no guarantee that the articles produced by an AI writer are entirely plagiarism-free in Google's eyes.
AI writing assistants pull information from other websites, and search engines may recognize this and flag content for being too similar to existing online copy.
Because AI tools aren't human, they struggle to write with a proper flow, which could result in their rewritten copy going against Google's "stitching and combining content" guidelines and being considered spam.
Lack of personalization & creativity
Finally, using an AI writing tool will produce content that lacks personality, creativity, or the "human touch" in real human writing that's so difficult to put into words.
An AI tool might be capable of producing great writing, but it can't write like a human. It lacks the creativity to make articles engaging because artificial intelligence doesn't have the emotional intelligence of human beings.
Producing web copy that appeals to your reader's emotions and feelings is often essential, and you will struggle to achieve this if you write your copy with AI.
Is an AI writing assistant right for you?
Ultimately, while AI writing assistants do serve a purpose, you shouldn't be relying on them to produce all your website copy.
It's easy to get sucked into the perks of AI content creation, especially as far as cost is concerned. It's much cheaper, faster, and easier to use an AI tool to write your content compared to hiring a professional copywriter.
But be sure to keep in mind that a real writer can never be replaced by any sort of AI-powered tool, no matter how intelligent.
An AI tool will never be able to master the art of real human storytelling, and the ability to appeal to human emotions - an incredibly important requirement for most website copy.
Plus, using AI might get your site penalized by Google, so it's a dangerous practice to take up, especially in these early days when we don't know Google's exact stance on AI-written content.
If you want to stay on the safe side, we recommend checking out ourcontent writing services. We'll pair you with a real human writer (and copywriting expert) who can produce original, Google-friendly content that speaks directly to your customers.