Are AI Copywriters Worth It?

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It’s no wonder many small business owners are asking themselves, “Are AI copywriters worth it?” Small business owners inevitably have to write well. Even if the only things you write are emails, how you express yourself has a significant impact on the impression you make and, therefore, the impression your business makes.

One of the most challenging parts of good copywriting is balance. You have to balance being clear and concise with being persuasive. Sometimes these styles conflict.

If you’re writing for the internet, you must balance getting your message across with being easy to find on Google. It can be challenging to sound polished and professional while ensuring the appropriate keywords pop up in the right places.

This week I’m continuing our series on copywriting tips for small business owners, starting with my thoughts on those AI copywriters we see advertised everywhere. Should you get one? My (slightly biased) perspective is … maybe. Here’s why.

READ THIS LATER: If you don’t have time to read this article right now, you can download the PDF version to your phone or computer and read it when you have time later.

Writing Needs to be Human

There are many automated and AI tools to help professionals write better. I like a lot of them; they’re straight-up time savers. AI typing assistant tools do a great job making our errors go away. If an AI writing tool is within your budget, I suggest this kind of typo-and-grammar sentinel, like Grammarly. (They don’t pay me to say this, by the way. I just really like Grammarly.)

Artificial intelligence tools like Copy.AI or Jasper claim they can save you hours and seamlessly take over your writing tasks. I agree with that first point but quibble over the second. 

I can’t help but feel a leeetle bit threatened by these AI copywriters that generate original content, but when I signed up for a free trial to find out how threatened I should feel, I realized these tools are not robowriters. You may find them time savers, but know you will still have work to do. 

AI copywriting software is excellent for tasks like product descriptions. If you run Sally’s Stickers and your website needs to describe each kind of sticker you sell, an AI copywriter could save you a lot of time. 

The problem with AI arises when your writing needs to persuade the reader. Whether you’re trying to persuade your landlord not to raise your rent or trying to persuade your customers to spring for that deluxe sticker subscription, no automated tool can replace the emotion, authenticity, and the genuine excitement most owners feel about their business.

Related: Why Hire an Experienced Copywriter

Concise but Complete

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to use as few words as possible to get your point across. We humans have ever-decreasing attention spans. As I’ve written about before, some rather shocking research shows we have typically already made up our minds unconsciously by the time we are consciously considering whether to move forward with a purchase. Speedy communication is of the essence.

However, editing every sentence to keep your word count low can also contribute to boring copy that is not persuasive. Especially if you are selling a high-value offer, you will need to be more descriptive and persuasive to make the sale. My business coach, a marketing genius, suggests you need 1000 words of sales copy for every $1000 you want your client to spend.

You can disregard this figure if you sell houses or Lamborghinis. However, if you provide a service, it’s a pretty good benchmark for how much talking or writing you will have to do to make the sale.

Now, wait a sec… didn’t I just say that your buyer’s brain has made up its mind before you get to the research stage of your purchase? 

I did say that, but that’s only half the study. 

Writing Sways Customer Decisions

One part of our brain does indeed unconsciously make almost instant decisions that are influenced by big headlines, bright colours, sudden movements and attractive people. 

Our limbic system, part of what I like to call the “cave dweller brain,” makes these snap decisions influenced by our most base instinct, our drive to survive. Survival once depended on decision-making speed, back when we were being chased down by sabre-toothed tigers and whatnot. 

Over the subsequent millennia, humans developed this big, wrinkly outer layer of our brains called the cerebral cortex. 

The front part is called the prefrontal cortex, or PFC for short. This is the “make wise choices” part of the brain, so I call it “the parent brain.” It takes a much more evolved approach to decision-making.

Appeal to the “Parent Brain”

The parent brain’s job is to look after us by making mature decisions after careful consideration, just like mums and dads and other caregivers are supposed to. 

Sometimes this part of the brain is more effective than others, just like mums, dads, and other caregivers. It doesn’t do as good of a job if it’s suffered trauma or lacking sleep. I think it’s an apt metaphor whether you have kids, fur kids, plant kids or no kids.

Back to the decision-making study, it goes on to note that for significant decisions, like big life choices or high dollar value purchases, the parent brain can and will overrule the cave dweller brain. To do this, your audience will look for one or more trusted sources of information. You, fellow business owner, want to be that trusted source of information. 

How well you can explain what you offer is directly connected to whether you can persuade the parent brain. 

picture of author bridget brown