18 January 2024
If you have used Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI), you have probably noticed that it is quick to point out that it is only a computer programme, devoid of feelings. It is like Gen AI is saying, “Hey, I may be smart, but I don’t feel things like you do.”
But how does this automaton attitude, devoid of human emotions, work in B2B content creation? The fast adoption of Gen AI indicates that it may be working for some.
Last year, Forrester predicted that Gen AI tools would be used by 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies for content generation. These companies will integrate text, image, audio and video creation models seamlessly into daily workflows across established and new tools and applications. Probably the biggest benefit of Gen AI is the speed at which it functions. As economist Paul Krugman said in a New York Times op-ed, Gen AI may be able to do tasks like reporting and writing “more efficiently than humans.” But is that a compelling enough reason for Gen AI to take over B2B content writing? We do not think so. Here we predict why Gen AI will not replace content writers.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Writing without the human touch is bland and unappealing. Empathetic communication that understands the pulse of the reader or the buyer adds an edge to B2B content writing.
Here is an example of how a content writer’s EQ shines through.
AI-generated version: “Our latest product offers cutting-edge features, enhancing efficiency and productivity for your business. Its advanced algorithms ensure optimal performance and seamless integration with a company’s existing systems.”
Human-written version: “Let your team effortlessly manage tasks with our new product that offers advanced algorithms and seamless integration with existing systems. Boosting productivity, fostering collaboration and making work a breeze–that’s at the heart of what we bring to your business.”
In the human-written version, there is an emotional appeal and a focus on the positive impact of the product on the user experience. This emotional resonance is a strength of human communication that AI will find challenging to replicate.
Creativity: Creativity in B2B content writing unlocks engaging narratives, fostering connections and setting brands apart in a crowded landscape. When crafting a product launch blog post, a B2B content writer well-versed in the industry not only introduces the new product but also weaves a narrative that highlights its real-world applications and touches upon potential concerns or questions in a buyer’s mind. The writer might use analogies and metaphors creatively to make the content relatable.
On the other hand, Gen AI can produce a coherent blog post about the product launch by relying on Large Language Models (LLMs) for its knowledge of the product category and industry. It may win on technicality, but not creativity. The creative spark can only come from a unique source—often the result of the writer’s knowledge combined with curiosity, analytical thinking and collaboration with others in the team.
Contextual Understanding: A B2B content writer, drawing on personal experiences and judgment, not only delves into the facts presented before her but also shares her own thoughts and insights to set the context. Here is an example illustrating how a content writer brings a deeper contextual understanding to a piece.
AI-generated version: “Wishing our incredible team a New Year filled with continued growth, shared successes and a collective commitment to excellence. Your dedication fuels our journey, and together, we’ll achieve new heights in the year ahead. Cheers to a prosperous 2024!”
Human-written version with contextual understanding: “As we step into the New Year, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for your unwavering dedication and hard work. With your support, we crossed two big milestones—US$ 500 million in market cap and a new product that makes us an end-to-end player in the procurement industry. May 2024 bring personal and professional fulfillment, and even greater achievements. Cheers to a year of shared successes!”
The second version demonstrates a deeper understanding of emotions and personal connection and a nuanced and contextually rich message that resonates on a more personal level, conveying genuineness and warmth.
Cultural Sensitivity: Imagine a marketing campaign targeting a diverse audience. A content writer is expected to weave in cultural nuances and tailor the messaging to address the sensitivities of different communities and regions.
On the other hand, Gen AI, lacking a deep understanding of diverse cultural contexts, may generate content that not only creates a disconnect with the various audience segments but also leads to misinterpretations. Here is a hypothetical example:
AI-generated content: “Our new product is so versatile, it’s like bringing a barbecue grill to a vegan potluck!”
In this fictional example, the AI tool makes light of a dietary choice (veganism), without considering the potential sensitivity around dietary preferences today. Misinterpretation can occur when such cultural nuances are not handled with awareness and respect.
Personal Voice: In an article on travel, a content writer may interweave his own adventures besides details that are already available on numerous sites, adding a layer of authenticity and relatability. This personal touch not only establishes a connection with the audience but also showcases the writer’s individual style.
Copy created through Gen AI, on the other hand, lacks a distinctive voice and style. There is no scope for including personal anecdotes and reflections that bring travel pieces alive.
An Evolving Process: The completion of a writing project is a dynamic process. The initial brief is often incomplete, with neither the content writer nor the client who has commissioned the work entirely sure of what the article or white paper must cover. Skilled writers take the client brief as the vision to work towards and contribute by making suggestions and enhancing the storyline along the way. From the receipt of the brief to the submission of the final piece, the writing journey unfolds like a continuous discovery process.
While Gen AI can assist in refining and expanding briefs to some extent, there are limitations. These tools lack the intuition, creativity and real-world understanding that content writers bring to the table.
There is no denying that Gen AI offers several benefits and is revolutionising the way content is being created.
Speed of execution: Gen AI can produce an entire article in a matter of seconds. The quick generation of human-like text across an unimaginable variety of topics makes it an invaluable tool for meeting tight deadlines and scaling content production.
Beating writer’s block: Intoday’s world, where written communication is becoming more important, professionals often struggle to articulate their thoughts into words. Not everyone has a flair for writing or the time to devote to writing. In such situations, Gen AI is a great tool to create a first draft.
Repurposing content: Repurposing content is another big advantage. Gen AI can repurpose content by generating variations of existing text, adapting it to different tones, styles or lengths. Whether transforming a blog post into a concise summary, rephrasing content for social media posts or generating new angles for articles, Gen AI offers versatility.
Consistency and standardisation: Another advantage is its ability to create coherent and standardised text. It can maintain a consistent tone, style and theme throughout a piece of content, making it useful for tasks where uniformity is critical. This consistency stems from the model’s ability to understand the context that is fed to it. It can be particularly beneficial for generating large volumes of content requiring a high level of standardisation, such as in documentation, reports or other informational materials.
Gen AI has its place in a content writer’s world. It can be a useful tool to help trigger new thoughts and ideas. For example, email writers spend a lot of time thinking of creative email subject lines. Gen AI can provide subject line ideas in seconds, which the writer can then tweak if needed.
Writers can also use Gen AI to create concise executive summaries for reports and white papers, as it skillfully captures all key highlights with clarity and coherence. Its ability to distill complex information ensures a comprehensive overview for effective communication.
However, it seems to me that Gen AI can only be a collaborative tool that will complement writers but not replace them. Only humans can write the way they do, Gen AI can only copy that. We humans use an intricate blend of knowledge, intrigue, resistance, inspiration, illumination, urgency, bias, fear, empathy, desire and fulfillment. Humans alone can skillfully mold the messaging to guarantee an interpretation that aligns precisely with the intended destination. Only humans grasp the subtleties of language as it resonates within the mind and heart. We alone exhibit true adaptability to the nuanced shifts, detours and delights in our shared human experience.
While AI bots assist content writers, the art of connecting with individuals—to navigate the journey from their current mindset to the desired thoughts, emotions and actions—is a task best left to content writers.
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