Since the public release of ChatGPT on November 30, 2022, online forums frequented by content writers have been flooded with discussions revolving around the impact of artificial intelligence on their industry. I’m always curious about what my fellow writers think, so the Reddit app on my phone has been open more often than usual during the last few months.
After reading hundreds of opinions, I’m still surprised whenever I stumble upon writers that DON’T see AI as a threat. Here are some examples of how such writers typically justify their stance:
- “AI is only replacing the lowest-tier content and isn’t even doing a good job at that.”
- “AI might be able to produce generic content, but it’s often incorrect and can’t match the unique voice and style of individual writers.”
- “I’ve made mock articles with AI, and they were boring, had terrible SEO, and read as ‘non-human’ by default.”
- “Canva has been here for some time now. Are designers going anywhere?”
The writers making these and other similar arguments are not wrong, but I believe they might be in denial, trying to lull themselves into a false sense of security by focusing too much on details that don’t change the big picture.
In reality, the job prospects of ALL content writers—regardless of whether they charge $0.01, $0.1, or $1 per word—will be negatively affected by AI.
Let me explain why.
$0.01 Content Writers Will Lose Their Jobs
Content writers who are currently scraping the bottom of the barrel by working for just $0.01 per word are already being replaced by AI.
That’s because the same people who are not willing to pay more than $0.01 per word have different priorities than content quality, and AI-generated content can meet them just as well or better than human-generated content.
At least one content mill is now re-adjusting its rates for content created by prompt writers, catering to customers who are interested in AI-generated content but don’t want to generate it themselves.
But regardless of whether they become directly replaced by AI or turned into AI operators, virtually all $0.01 content writers can expect to lose their current jobs in the near future.
$0.1 Content Writers Will Be Expected to Offer More Value
Content writing jobs in the $0.1 to $0.5 range are not going anywhere, but the mid-tier content writers who compete for them will be expected to offer more value to justify their rates.
In the age of generative AI, anyone from a small business owner to a marketing director to an SEO specialist can turn an idea or keyword into a full-fledged blog post with a single ChatGPT prompt, so copy itself is less valuable than it used to be.
What’s still valuable—perhaps more than ever—is all the stuff that separates mediocre content (such as articles generated with a single ChatGPT prompt) from content that gets clicked on and read from top to bottom, including:
- Well-researched and accurate information that provides value to the reader.
- Engaging style of writing that keeps readers interested and invested in the content.
- Personal expertise and experience that adds unique insights and perspectives (the concept of E-E-A-T).
- Search engine optimization (SEO) that helps content climb to the top of SERPs.
- Formatting that makes the content easy to read and digest (think WordPress).
Mid-range content writers who currently don’t offer additional value beyond basic writing skills will find it increasingly difficult to secure work in the $0.1—$0.5 price range unless they start upskilling right now.
$1 Content Writers Will Have More Competition
Surely, top-tier content writers who charge $1 or more per word must be safe from AI, right? Wrong! Even though the members of wordsmithing loyalty aren’t threatened by AI directly (and probably won’t be anytime soon), they still face the legitimate threat of increased competition.
According to McKinsey & Company, automation will displace between 400 and 800 million jobs by 2030, requiring as many as 375 million people to switch job categories entirely.
It’s not difficult to imagine that someone with a wealth of experience in the tech, media, legal, or marketing industry might decide to pursue their dream of writing after being displayed by AI. With enough talent and dedication, these victims of the AI revolution are guaranteed to become formidable competitors to today’s top-tier content writers.
It’s Time to Adapt or Perish
The unpleasant bottom line some content writers still don’t see or don’t want to see is that the demand for human writing has reached its peak—and the same can be said about many other professions.
Going forward, content writing jobs will be harder to find, harder to get, and harder to keep. Sounds bleak? Don’t worry! You can always ask ChatGPT for advice:
To adapt and thrive in this changing landscape, content writers must be willing to learn new skills, embrace new technologies, and think creatively about how they can add value in a world where AI-generated content is becoming increasingly common. This might mean specializing in a particular niche, developing a unique voice and style that sets them apart from the competition, or investing in training and education to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and tools.