AI is trending right now, and for good reason! It has the ability to save a lot of business owners time when it comes to their writing. Does this mean that freelance writers should worry about their job stability? Nope. Let me explain…
The rise of generative AI tools is impacting almost every industry right now.
What exactly is generative AI? In simple terms, generative AI creates new things, rather than just recognizing or classifying existing things.
This means that AI can create written content, but not necessarily better quality than a good freelance writer (especially a copywriter!).
AI is NOT likely to replace all freelance writers. Writing requires creativity, flexibility, and sometimes also human interaction for example through an interview. These tasks will still need to be performed by a human writer.
Think of it as using Grammarly. This is also an AI tool, and it hasn’t replaced editors and proofreaders. The freelance writing industry isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s still growing! As of February 2023, 82% of freelancers in the United States are freelance writers. There is still demand for high-quality content which at this point, comes from humans.
How AI is Used in Freelance Writing
Content creation is the main use of AI in writing. This includes social media posts, product descriptions, and other marketing content. A few popular tools & platforms include Jasper, ChatGPT, Writesonic, Copysmith, Rytr, and AI Writer.
In general, AI systems work by taking large amounts of data, analyzing the data for patterns, and using these patterns to make predictions. For example, an AI writing tool has read large parts of all the content on the internet up to a certain date, and has therefore picked up on patterns when it comes to online content. It can then use this knowledge to help suggest content for a landing page, social media copy or ad copy for example, based on what it has learned so far and based on the information you feed into the tool.
One of the best reasons for using an AI writing tool is to fight off writer’s block. As freelance writers, it’s our job to NOT get writer’s block but it can still happen. Here are a few ways to use an AI writing tool:
Write blog outlines
Write meta descriptions
Write social posts (content, not copywriting posts)
Write Interview questions for a feature article
Write killer headlines
Keyword suggestions for topics
Listing key points on a subject
Listicle ideas for your articles
Create a YouTube video script
And so much more!
Check out this article by Elna Cain, “My Favorite Ways to Use an AI Writing Tool as a Freelance Writer” - it’s an in-depth first hand look at how to uplevel your skills and work alongside AI!
In the hands of a skilled writer, AI can successfully increase volume and improve quality. A few other benefits include increased efficiency, accuracy, decision-making, and innovation.
On the other hand in the hands of someone without writing skills, the misuse of AI will increase the demand for quality freelance writers. Creativity can also take a hit if people rely too heavily on AI writing.
The Potential Impact of AI on Freelance Writing
Jennifer Goforth Gregory is a freelance content writer within B2B tech. She also manages the popular Freelance Content Marketing Writer Facebook group, with over 8,000 freelance writers - so needless to say, she has some great insight on this topic.
How do you think the emergence of AI tools such as ChatGPT and Jasper will impact the freelance writing profession in the next few years?
“I think that AI writing tools are a very positive thing for skilled freelance writers in the long term. I think that in the short term, some clients will attempt to replace writers with AI. I expect that clients will then value skilled writers even more because they will fully realize the talent and expertise required for an excellent piece of content in a way not previously possible.”
Do you think there is a chance that AI writing tools will replace freelance writers to some degree?
“Yes. I think that AI writing tools will take over some basic and SEO-style content, which is currently written by low-paid writers or content mills. Writers who focus on these types of writing should quickly revamp their services and businesses. However, I think certain types of writing will always need human touch and creativity. Writers who evolve their services, learn how to use the tools, and stay up to date on AI tools should find themselves even more successful.”
AI cannot replace all aspects of freelance writing. Thought leadership involves creating unique ideas, storytelling, and creative writing - which AI can’t do. AI writing tools use content already on topic, they can’t innovate new ideas. Copywriting (writing that influences people and uses a lot of human psychology) will also always need human writers.
How Writers Can Adapt to the Rise of AI in Freelance Writing
Some freelance writers might wonder why they should bother looking into AI as business owners.
Well, with the impact of AI, you might not be able to do business as usual for the next 5 years. Instead, you should learn about AI and ask yourself 2 things in the meantime:
1. What can I do that the AI can’t do? 2. What can I now do better, with the AI on my side?
AI can unlock your creativity and make you more efficient with your time, allowing you to scale your work.
If you’re looking to adapt to the changing landscape of the freelance writing industry, I recommend looking into AI, how it works, and where you can fill in the gaps for your clients.
If you mainly focus on content writing, perhaps delve into copywriting.
Be willing to invest in learning new skills, such as data analysis and search engine optimization.
It’s vital to develop a unique voice and style to stand out in a competitive market.
Jennifer has some great advice here as well:
“My biggest piece of advice is to log in and start experimenting. Ask the tool to create a headline for a story you are working on and give you some ideas for a pitch. However, you can dramatically improve your results by using a technique called prompt engineering, which means being very specific with your request including audience, tone and purpose.”
Jennifer also offers a course on AI writing tools, specifically for freelance writers.
“I kept hearing writers share that they were afraid of losing their clients. I feel strongly that the writers that are most successful in the long term are those that embrace AI writing and use the tools for non-writing tasks. I decided to create a course using my 10 years of writing about AI and my 15 years of freelancing to teach freelancers how they can use the tools to save time and improve the quality of their work.
The bottom line
AI isn’t going anywhere, so it’s best that you get ahead of it by being well-educated, being willing to invest in your skillset, and strengthening your unique voice and storytelling type of writing.
Embrace change and leverage AI tools to improve your writing skills. Not only will your future self thank you, but your clients will as well.