The short version
Traditional editorial’s loss will be the copywriting industry’s gain. AI will evolve the quality of output… but not without ushering in some problems. The demand for experts will increase as entry-level copywriting evaporates. Ultimately, the quality of work has the potential to skyrocket.
The longer version
2023 is going to see big changes in the copywriting industry that will shape it for the foreseeable future. It will be mostly positive, but it will also include challenges that practitioners and brands must navigate carefully.
Here are three predictions for where we see the industry heading in 2023.
1. More journalists will enter the copywriting field
Traditional editorial teams and newsrooms continued to shrink in 2022. The last decade has seen many job losses across the print industry as magazines and newspapers restructured or pulled down the shutters entirely. 2022 saw the Washington Post, Future and Ziff Davis continue the trend, and there are many more examples across the world.
We’ve seen a decline in editorial opportunities with our own eyes. It’s one of the main reasons why IrvineMedia was created. As a result, we’re seeing more connections leave journalism entirely and switch to copywriting. This is a good thing for brands.
Having someone on board that has been on the receiving end of press releases, media alerts and anything else that’s delivered to pique the media’s attention knows what works and what doesn’t. They can bring fresh ideas to old formulas or create a tone of voice that resonates with your customers or partners.
2. AI-generated copy will become more commonplace
Companies have already started to use AI such as Jasper and ChatGPT to write content for them. The technology is very impressive. We’ve played around with a few of these and they’re solid. They’re a budget-friendly way to create copy for brands, but they’re not foolproof – more on this below. Simply put, AI is great for about 200-300 words. Ideal for short blogs, social media posts and newsletter blasts.
However, they go beyond this and struggle to tie the whole thing together. Where a human writer can take cues on inserting additional information seamlessly, AI – from what we’ve tested – cannot.
It’s also not very accurate in its research. This is a snippet from ChatGPT when I asked it about Manchester United in 1999 – the club’s most successful season when they won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.
In the 1998-1999 season, Manchester United finished as runners-up in the Premier League, behind Arsenal, who completed a historic league and FA Cup double. Manchester United also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, where they were eliminated by Juventus.
Machine-learning software means it will become more sophisticated in the future, but on the flip side, this means it’s “learning” from other people’s work. Heck, it could even churn out the same chunk of identical text for more than one client. Ethically and legally, this is a minefield. Who will take the blame if the copy is found to have been plagiarised – the software creator or the brand that used it? Still, AI will become more common in copywriting, which will lead to…
3. Entry-level copywriting roles will be reduced
Think of it this way: if AI can do the basic legwork of creating copy, and a seasoned copywriter/editor can smash it into shape, why would a company need a junior writer? They wouldn’t. This isn’t something we’re advocating for but on a cost sheet, the price of a software package is far more appealing than that of a writer.
AI never needs a day off either. It doesn’t need a salary increase. And won’t be late for work. Well, unless the server is down. The demand for experienced copywriters who deliver high-quality copy from the off will increase. If AI is already being used at a company to produce content, then these roles will become a hybrid of a writer/sub-editor. Those looking to break into the industry will find it even tougher “thanks” to the use of AI.