Motown, AI, and the Soul of a Copywriter

Copywriters bring Motown Sound to your business. Generative AI is the Motown performer's backup dancer. It mesmerizes with quick steps and lots of fantastic footwork. What's the difference between a copywriter and generative AI? It's the difference between understanding how to create a rhythm, choreograph a dance, and belt out the song instead of just showing off the dance steps.

The fact that many people think that AI can replace copywriters tells me they don't understand the WHY of copywriting.

HINT: We bring a whole lot of soul to the work.

Copywriters can write mostly any form of communication, but their specialty isn't just writing articles and blog posts. Content writers do that. And the two are not always interchangeable. Here's why.

Ok, What Do Copywriters Really Do?

Copywriters craft a piece of communication designed to inspire action, using psychological triggers at the right time and place. We research the audience and identify their desires and pain points. We present a product as a solution to the desires and pain points we've researched. We make it brief, to the point, engaging, and with absolute clarity.

The goal is to engage the right audience and then inspire or persuade them as concisely as possible.

Just Use Great Prompt Engineering!

I have never been able to simply plug in a really well-crafted prompt, no matter how detailed or how many variables I use. I've never gotten a copy job done with just AI. Content work? Meh, maybe. But I can't say that I've been happy with the results. The words flow very nicely, but the way they're strung together always leaves me feeling like it's lacking something. It's got no heartbeat, rhythm or soul. At least none that I can feel.

So Should Copywriters Use AI?

Well, generative AI is great for all types of ideation, that's for sure. Or for rephrasing a sentence, paragraph, or even an entire email. And it's a lifesaver for creating drafts of conversational emails, articles, or blog posts.

But each copywriting job usually comes with some sort of request or even a detailed creative brief. The brief outlines the dance floor and introduces the dance. Briefs contain the nuts and bolts of what the client wants to accomplish with a few examples of what they'd like to get in return.

Tell generative AI that it's an "award-winning copywriter" all you want, and it still won't know the psychological triggers, brand standards, preferred phrasing, or preferences of the requestor, those they report to, and/or the legal department.

Copywriters Create Hit Records.

There are a lot of AI solutions out there that will take your input and formatting 'rules' and use them to create fancy steps that produce a nice sound and seem like the whole show. AI knows how to include all of the common triggers and "magic phrases". It's so fast that I'm always amazed to watch the output screen scroll by. And it will even mimic your writing style if you feed it examples. All helpful, but stick to using it for drafts and ideation or even a few rephrasings. Because though your audience will appreciate the show, without the heartbeat and the rhythm, they aren't as likely to keep coming back for more.

Generative AI Has No Motown, No "Soul".

The "soul" that people refer to when they say AI copy is lacking is in the heartbeat. It bounds human connection. Copywriters turn on the magic by creating the music and choreographing the dance. They create a hit record with all of the elements to make you want to sing and move. Copywriters don't just create the music label; they perform and sell the record.

A copywriter will understand how to use a specific beat in a specific time signature. Generative AI can only ever hear one note at a time or make the next step in the performance one step at a time. It can't know the next song in the lineup. Sometimes the show satisfies the audience, but probably not for long.

All is Not Lost When AI Enters the Chat

In the end, generative AI is an instrument, and copywriters should use it as one. It's kind of a magic instrument in that it can play absolutely anything. The best use of AI for Copywriters is to leverage AI to automate tasks and free up time for the really fun stuff—creative work, connection, and getting into the groove so you can lead your audience into that first dance.