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7 Quick AI Tips for Seasoned Writers

7 Quick AI Tips for Seasoned Writers

An image of a human eye represents how AI can help writers.

That got concerning for a bit there, didn’t it? When ChatGPT burst onto the scene in early 2023, it felt like it was trying to take us down as writers. Suddenly, anyone could create generally presentable marketing content – instantly. Fortunately, it looks like generative artificial intelligence (AI) will be a tool for us versus an opponent.

AI won’t take your job, as long as you learn how to work with it. Don’t hide from it or, worse, argue against it. By using AI with thought and skill, you can offload much of the heavy lifting that comes with drafting long-form content. That will allow you to focus more of your energy on editing and refining content. You’ll also be able to impart your creativity and marketing strategy. Here’s how to dance with AI to draft content efficiently, without sacrificing quality.

1. Train your AI upfront

Treat AI as an eager writing apprentice that needs proper guidance to excel. After all, you want it to assist you – not replace you. Start by providing clear writing guidelines, such as:

  • Brand voice
  • Industry terms
  • Product names
  • Grammatical preferences
  • Anything else that will comprise a helpful crash course on your brand

Next, quiz it. Ask it whether your brand uses the serial comma. Give it a sentence that breaks a guideline and have it find the error. The more familiar your AI becomes with your brand guidelines, the more accurate its output will be. As a result, you’ll have a better experience using it.

2. Provide an outline

With AI, you get what you give. If you give generic prompts, you get generic content. After you’ve trained your AI and are ready to begin writing a specific deliverable, the next step is to create an outline. Spend 20 to 30 minutes on it. Make it reasonably detailed. By doing so, you’ll get AI-generated but human-guided content.

If you ask ChatGPT to “write a blog about manufacturing cars,” you’ll probably have a lot of editing to do. Even worse, the content you receive could be completely useless. Furthermore, you’ll hate AI because it can’t write like you. But, if you ask it to “write a blog about manufacturing cars, following the sections and bullet points below and the writing guidelines provided,” you may get a very workable draft.

3. Work in sections

Do you prefer to retain more control of the initial content creation than a one-and-done exchange? If so, you can gain an extra, all-knowing brain. Simply collaborate with AI by working one section at a time. As you edit each section, paste the latest working draft into the chat. Then, instruct the AI to review the latest draft and await your next prompt for the next section.

Deciding whether to drop in a full outline or edit by section is a matter of preference. Try both and see what works best for you. Either way, you’ll usually benefit from creating an outline.

4. Learn the art of prompting

One of the earliest insights that marketers quickly realized when ChatGPT went mainstream was the importance of prompting. Once again, you get what you give. However, it’s possible to give too much and outsmart yourself and the machine.

Yes, you want your prompts to be detailed. But they also need to be concise, clear and situational. For example, AI struggles to understand universal formats for deliverables. If you give it a video script format and instruct it to follow that exact format for all video scripts going forward, it can sometimes jumble prompts for new scripts with the original example script content. Communication will inevitably get tangled as you push the limits of AI’s capabilities. When that happens, walk away, then return and reset the dialogue. Don’t fight with something that can’t and won’t fight back. You want to save time; not waste it.

5. Remove redundancy

AI has some signature writing flaws. It loves – LOVES – certain words. These include discover, uncover and unlock. It will use them for everything if you let it. AI also tends to repeat itself in terms of sentence structure and main points. This article from CNN does a great job of dissecting AI-generated content. Seasoned writers may already have experienced AI’s shortcomings. An outline can help reduce redundancy by giving the bot more to work with, but expect to have to sniff and edit out fluff, regardless. Consider yourself the last hope in ensuring we don’t live in a world where every article, social post and email blast looks and reads the same.

6. Always verify

Besides redundancy, the other significant AI flaw that CNN points out is the alarming frequency of factually inaccurate information. There are also reports that ChatGPT may be getting less accurate and capable with time. With that in mind, it’s never acceptable for a writer to submit AI-generated content before checking it thoroughly for accuracy. You’re responsible for the final product.

7. Embrace a new way of writing

When you compare the strangeness and surrealness of writing with AI to the soul and skill of writing from scratch, writing with AI can be less fulfilling. You’re essentially now going to work to chat with a bot. But when you stop and realize that you’re among the first to learn and implement groundbreaking technology in your writing process, it’s fascinating, empowering and exciting.

This changes everything – except for the fact that there will always be a place for a writer in marketing. Turns out, the best person to use an advanced writing tool is a writer.