The lesson learned from an AI conversation

lessons learned from an AI conversation

I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter from my home builder and remodeling clients about AI. They are all curious about it and how it applies to what I do for them as an SEO copywriter and marketing strategist.

Often, this curiosity is piqued right after a conference or peer group meeting – where inevitably the topic of AI, mainly ChatGPT, comes up.

One of the biggest letdowns I experienced recently was when someone suggested that AI writes all the content for me.

What?!?

While I was taken aback, I can somewhat understand this assumption, as the news implies it. For anyone not in the writing profession, it must seem like all of us content creators are cruising down easy street.

But instead of getting defensive, I took this as an opportunity to educate this person on how I use AI tools, like Grammarly, Ahrefs and ChatGPT, to assist me.

Oh, you use Grammarly, too? Don’t you love it? Well, it’s an AI writing tool that has been around since 2009!

If I’m being honest, I probably could list a half-dozen (maybe a few more) AI tools that I tap into on a regular basis to do my job. But they are just that: tools. They certainly aren’t writing the articles for me.

A little over a year ago, there was a huge upswing of companies firing their marketing agencies and copywriters because ChatGPT was readily available. These companies decided that they could “save a boatload of money” by using AI to write their content.

And to be honest, I was a bit worried for my business and livelihood. There was a lot of chatter in my copywriting mastermind group about AI. Some copywriters lost many clients last spring and summer during the Great ChatGPT Retreat, as we called it. Fortunately, I did not.

But curiosity got to me, too, and I experimented with some of these AI-writing tools that claimed to write an article in 10 minutes or less. Some of the biggest names in content marketing (our version of all-stars) have put their personal brand behind these tools. So, of course, we (meaning my copywriting and marketing friends) had to try these tools during a 7- or 14-day low-cost or free trial that was being handed out like Halloween candy.

But it didn’t matter which tool I tried or how many times I tried them, I got junk Every. Single. Time! Sure, the AI-writing tool certainly covered the topic and spit out a fantastic SEO keyword score, but the content was flat, institutional and repetitive.

This made me so happy! I knew that my business was safe because there was no way AI could do all the things I knew how to do!

While I may tap into AI tools to help me develop an outline, conduct research or even create a concise bullet point, writing – at least the writing I do – still comes down to the human element. I’ve been writing this way for 17 years in business. Google concurs with me (thanks, Google!), and the March 2024 core update was “designed to improve the quality of Search by showing less content that feels like it was made to attract clicks, and more content that people find helpful.”

Part of my responsibility as a content writer is to not only write content that satisfies search (with SEO techniques) but also to personalize it so it resonates with your intended audience. It cannot be flat and sound mechanical. It needs to evoke an emotion, even if that emotion is, “Gee, I didn’t know that.”

Part of my job as an SEO copywriter is to know the purpose of a piece of content. Is it to build awareness? Is it a lead generator to get someone to sign up? Is the content meant to solve a problem? Help with making a decision or

position the company as a credible expert? Is it to educate the homeowner on the design-build process?

I also need to consider all the assets. Photos, other previously written articles, project stories, guides, checklists and CTAs can all be connected, and it is up to me to develop the content with this in mind and then to strategically weave in the best opportunities.

So, when someone implies that I use AI to do all the writing or the news touts that your outside marketing agency can be replaced by AI, it’s deflating.

So, what’s my lesson?

(Yes, I am that sunny side up person who always looks for a lesson, which is annoying, even to me).

Month after month, I develop email campaigns, project stories, SEO-rich articles (and so much more) to ensure that my clients’ target audiences understand who they are as a company and what they value.

I pay so much care and attention to everything I give my clients that I sometimes fail to remind people of my depth of knowledge and skillset and create my own meaningful messages.

And while this kick in the teeth came about over AI-writing tools, the fault lies with me.

My Lesson: I’m Being Too Quiet.

If someone assumes that AI is taking over the content marketing world and that my role is quickly becoming obsolete, that’s on me. That means I’m too quiet and making my own assumptions that people understand what an SEO copywriter and marketing strategist does.

📣 I need to advocate for my industry and educate others about all the capabilities we bring to the table. As I hope you understand from reading this, it’s so much more than writing blog content, even if that’s one of the deliverables we provide.

📣 Google continues to make some big changes in response to the flood of AI content. Have you noticed that Google looks different today than a month

ago? That’s because Google is now including AI in its search results (it’s at the top). I need to be more vocal and inform my audience of these changes – and how they affect organic search. 💡You should expect reduced traffic to your site (i.e., sessions) because of these changes.

📣 Businesses should understand what Google’s “E-E-A-T” and “helpful content” updates mean and why they are critical aspects of SEO. Creating content in 2024 is different than it was in 2021. Between AI changes (noted above) and continuous core updates, how I approach my “job” (and the time it takes to do it) has also changed. It’s similar to building code changes that affect your work and the cost to build (or improve) a home.

Additionally, this means that if your website is a few years old, it’s overdue for an SEO “tune-up.” By the way, similar to having your vehicle serviced, you should connect with your website professionals to have an SEO audit done annually! If you want to get on my waiting list to schedule your SEO audit, email me.

📣 I feel the calling to teach tactics to people that make their content more personal and memorable – so that it leaves an impression on their audience. This also reduces the chance that their content will be mistaken for AI. Let’s tell more anecdotes and stories!

📣 There is a lot of fearmongering about AI tools, and there doesn’t need to be. I want to help others understand how to use AI tools responsibly and without fear to enhance their writing and gain efficiency. I’m sure it was a similar fear when computer-aided design (CAD) software became available in the 1960s, but look how awesome that tool is today! There are some pretty amazing AI tools out there, and I intend to help people use them the right way.

What does this mean for Tess Wittler Marketing and our services? A lot, actually.

I’m working on some big changes in my business model. It’s too soon to share the details but expect to see more later this summer.

If you made it to the end of this extra-long email, thank you for reading!

🎬ACTION ITEM: If you have questions or concerns about AI, please share those with me. I’d welcome that conversation.

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