AI writing tools have come a long way since spellcheck.
Today, bloggers and marketers use AI writing tools to generate short and long-form copy and speed up content production.
But while AI writing software can assist in researching, outlining, and creating content, it's not foolproof enough to cut out human writers completely.
According to bloggers, AI writing can help supplement your writing process, but you still need to remain in the driver's seat.
Here's what five bloggers and entrepreneurs had to say about how to use AI writing effectively, including what these tools are best for and where they fall short.
1. Break through writer's block.
Most — if not all — writers have experienced writer's block at some point. Getting into a creative rut can be especially challenging for bloggers who need to keep up with a demanding content calendar.
Fortunately, AI writing tools can help you overcome this "blank page syndrome."
"Using AI writing tools helped us with eliminating writer's block," said Ruggero Loda, the owner of RunningShoesGuru.com, a blog that attracts more than 200,000 visitors each month.
"As a blog owner, creating blog posts is the utmost priority to me. But time and time again, [my] writers come across writer's block, where they are unable to produce any new content."
According to Loda, his team members often turn to AI tools to spark their creativity.
Loda told me, "AI writing tools have come to the rescue," he said. "Even though the tools won't write everything for you, they create content according to your instructions, and from there you can start getting new ideas."
Daniel Martin, digital marketer and co-founder of LinkDoctor LLC, shared a similar experience.
"As we are an organization dealing with SEO-based digital marketing, we work with a content team," said Martin. "Earlier, the team was struggling to keep pace with the blog writing. Once we made use of the AI tools, we were mind-blown, and the tools have helped the writers deal with writer's block."
While an AI tool can't typically produce an entire blog post for you, it can get the ball rolling on your draft. Instead of staring at a blank page, you'll have a sample to use as your starting point.
2. Whip up an outline fast.
AI writing tools can also help you write an outline quickly, which you can then use to produce a draft or outsource to another writer to finish the article.
"Leverage the outline feature of AI writing tools," suggested Loda. "An AI writing tool can certainly help you with generating an outline based upon its collective data. Most often these outlines are good enough to start producing content."
This outlining capability can be especially useful if you're having trouble organizing your thoughts. It can streamline the writing process and give you a clear roadmap of how to move forward.
According to entrepreneur, content writer, and founder of Rephrase Media Matthew Ramirez, AI writing tools are most useful during this outlining stage of the writing process.
"In my experience, [one of] the best places to use an AI writing tool is in the ideation phase," Ramirez said. "One of the most time-consuming parts of creating content is getting started, organizing outlines, and putting together a first draft. By using an AI tool that can help you elaborate your ideas and fill in details, you can greatly expedite your content writing."
In fact, Ramirez says that using AI writing tools to outline his blog posts and expand on his ideas has helped him cut down on 80% to 90% of content creation time.
3. Make your instructions crystal clear.
The quality of what an AI tool puts out will directly correlate with what you put in. That's why Loda encourages writers to be intentional with their instructions.
"Make your instructions very clear," he said. "No matter what type of content you're about to create, you can provide clarity to such tools by letting [the AI] know how your content should sound, what its tone should be, the agenda of your article, and much more."
According to Loda, AI writing tools today let you specify a great number of inputs before generating your content.
"I was amazed to see such a variety of options that I could give out as my content descriptions," he said. "Once I gave the best input, the tools provided me with the best output."
Using an AI writing tool is a two-way street. It might take some practice, but as you get better at providing clear instructions, the tool can get better at producing high-quality content.
4. Don't skip the research stage.
Along with generating full-form sentences and paragraphs, some AI writing tools can provide facts and figures they pull from the internet.
But Harriet Chan, co-founder and marketing director of CocoFinder —who has used AI writing tools to create blog posts and guest posts — cautions writers against relying too heavily on AI-gathered information.
"My advice for anyone looking to get the most out of their AI writing tool is not to skip the actual research part that goes into traditional writing," said Chan.
"An AI tool will aggregate a lot of information fast, but will easily lose out on the human touch that each piece of writing should have to make it tick."
Loda seconds these words of caution, saying that AI tools can produce inaccurate copy.
"AI writing tools can provide false data," he said. "No matter how good of an AI tool you're using, it is not human. With AI writing tools I have noticed that they collect data from old sources on the internet and without fact-checking that data they write content around it. Hence as a user, you should keep an eye on each sentence."
That said, Alina Clark, co-founder of software development business CocoDoc — who has been using AI writing tools to supplement her business blog writing for two years — said that AI research capabilities have been a huge timesaver.
"I've used AI writing tools as fishing hooks to find out content on the internet," said Clark. "AI writing tools have an advantage in the sense that they can read through a lot of content on the internet within a short time. Using an AI writing tool for content research shortens the research time, which means that I can create quality content faster."
While AI can accelerate the research phase of the writing process, don't neglect doing your own research, too. Make sure to supplement the tool's findings with your own work to ensure everything is accurate and up-to-date.
5. Edit and proofread everything.
Not only can AI writing tools present outdated information, but they might also produce writing that doesn't make sense or fit your brand voice. Because of this, it's crucial to edit and proofread everything before you hit publish.
"One mistake to avoid with such tools is to assume that the output does not need to be reviewed before publication," said Ramirez. "Doing so is very risky, since there might be something inappropriate or irrelevant in what the tool outputs."
Chan agrees that while AI writing can be a useful supplement, you can't rely on it for your complete writing process from start to finish.
"At all times, avoid relying entirely on the AI tool to do the whole writing bit for you," she said. "Your brand will only stand out if the unique touch that attracted people to it in the first place remains all through it. An AI tool may show stark differences when it comes to making this possible."
6. Remember your readers.
Finally, it's crucial to remember your readers anytime you publish a piece of content on your blog, social media, or another channel. You can ensure that your content meets your readers' needs far better than an AI tool can.
"One of the most important and common mistakes that can be avoided is having the whole content copy-pasted from the AI tool without thinking about the reader's perspective," said Martin. "Have practical experience, and write for the readers."
Not only will this reader-first approach improve the quality of your blog posts, but it will also prevent Google from penalizing your blog for using machine writing.
"Most of the AI tools use GPT-3 [a language prediction model]," said Martin. "There is a chance the article will get penalized as Google aims to provide usefulness to the readers."
AI Writing Tools Worth Checking Out
There are a variety of AI writing tools available today. Here are a few worth checking out:
- Jarvis: This AI-powered software uses machine learning and natural language processing to generate blog posts, landing pages, social media copy, and other types of content. Not only does it create original content, according to the company, but it also supports over 25 languages. That said, this writing assistant can sometimes repeat phrases or produce irrelevant content that needs human editing. Jarvis offers a 10,000-word free trial, as well as a starter plan that starts at $29/month and a Boss Mode plan (for long-form content) that starts at $59/month.
- Articoolo: This AI text generator offers a plugin to help you write blog posts directly in Wordpress. It can help you speed up article writing and summarization, but it might not be the best pick for non-Wordpress users. Articoolo offers both fixed and monthly plans, including a fixed plan of 10 articles for $19 and a monthly plan that includes 30 articles for $29.
- AI Writer: This tool claims it can speed up content creation by 50% with its automatic content writing and article rewording features. While this tool can help augment your writing process, you'll still need to edit any content it produces. AI Writer's basic plan starts at $29/month and its standard plan starts at $59/month.
- Grammarly: Grammarly uses advanced AI to check your writing for spelling and grammar mistakes. It's more advanced than basic spellcheck apps, as it can point out issues like passive voice or a lack of variety in sentence structure. Its premium plan can also check documents for plagiarism. You can use Grammarly's proofreading tool for free or upgrade to one of its premium plans starting at $12/month.
Although AI tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, they can't replace human writers entirely. Not only is this surely a relief for bloggers and journalists, but it also means that an AI writing tool will only be as effective as the person using it.
As long as you continue to follow best practices for writing blog posts and other copy — and edit any AI-generated content before you publish it — you can enjoy the benefits of AI writing tools while avoiding the common pitfalls that come with them.