Content Therapy is Managing Editor’s monthly advice column, where Paul Chaney responds to your questions about the messy dilemmas content marketers face in their work. We are (obviously) not licensed therapists.

Is AI Going to Eliminate My Job?!

Dear Content Therapist: I’ve been a content marketing writer for the past decade, and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the field’s evolution. From user-friendly content creation platforms to scheduling programs, I’ve accepted these new tools and the value they’ve added to my team. However, the AI writing tools have me spooked about my future. I’ve heard of these tools and seen the success they’ve had, but if they can do my job, what does that mean for my job security and potential future opportunities? Should I be worried about implementing this new tool, or is this an opportunity I’m not seeing now? — THE HUMAN CONTENT WRITER

Paul Chaney:  I know exactly how you feel. I’ve wondered the same thing about AI in content marketing. But my concern turned to curiosity, and I started using the tool (ChatGPT, right?) to see what it could do. I entered a few queries — nothing too complicated at first — and then got more specific, even to the point of instructing it to write a 300-word blog post about a rather technical topic. I must admit to being pleasantly surprised by the results.

Could tools like ChatGPT and others (there’s a growing list) replace human writers? In some cases, yes. Content mills, for example, ought to be shaking in their boots. That’s not to say some companies won’t defer to their use, but it’s a race to the middle.

Nothing ChatGPT or similar technologies can produce measures up to the creativity, skill and expertise of a well-qualified human writer. They are devoid of a unique voice. That can still be your superpower. They can only spit out — quickly and efficiently — the content their handlers have trained them to use. That’s their superpower.

Content writers have been relying on AI-enabled tools like Grammarly for years and haven’t been put off by their ability to improve their writing. (I’m using Grammarly to craft this response.) We shouldn’t let these newfangled platforms be any different.

Take advantage of what each AI tool offers, but don’t cede control. The final article, blog post, webpage, etc., must pass your muster, not that of a machine. Use ChatGPT and similar tools for the same reason you go to Google: to conduct research and find helpful resources. Let these tools support your writing process, perfect their use, and learn to appreciate their insights and suggestions.

Maybe a day will come when AI rules the world, but for now, that’s the stuff of dystopian novels. Put your mind at ease. Use the tools for what they offer, combine those with your skill set, and be confident in your ability to produce an excellent product.

Missing: My Personal Brand!

Dear Content Therapist: I am on the hunt for a new position. I’ve been a content marketer for my current employer for the last two years, and I’m ready for a new challenge. I want to explore other industries to apply what I’ve learned from my current role. However, I’m still unsure what my personal brand is in the two years I’ve been working. I’m still relatively new to the content marketing field. But with many people making their way into content marketing and new AI writing tools hitting the scene, how can I set myself apart from the noise? How can I establish a personal brand that helps me stand out? — A MARKETER WITHOUT A BRAND

Paul Chaney:  The reason you’re unsure about your personal brand is that you have spent the past two years building your employer’s brand, not your own. That’s as it should be. Speaking from experience, it’s not wise to build a brand that puts you in contention with your employer. However, now that you’re hunting for a new position, I see no reason not to start.

Ask yourself three questions, each of which bears on the topic:

  • What do you want for yourself?
  • How do you feel about what you want?
  • What are you doing to get what you want?

The first question relates to cognition, the second to emotion, and the third to volition. (i.e., thoughts, feelings and actions). It’s vital that you cover all three bases in your responses.

Ask yourself those questions three times in sequence and provide a different answer each time. “I don’t know” is not an answer.

The point of this activity is to help you dig deeper into your goals and plans for your career. (That’s why you can’t repeat the same answer.) By the time you finish, you should have a much clearer picture of where you want to take your career. That’s important because the brand you build must align with it.

Once you decide on your direction, learn everything you can about the field you want to enter. Start a blog and begin writing about the area and related topics. Someone once told me that if you write about anything for six months, you’ll become an expert. I’m not sure that applies to rocket science or brain surgery, but it’s a good start for many topics.  

Share your writings on social media, and interact with people in those fields via groups, comments, likes and shares. In your writing and social media posts, mention and cite the work of experts. Some will reciprocate. Develop relationships with those that do.  

To summarize, building a personal brand comes down to the following:

  • Get clear about your direction.
  • Gain as much knowledge about your field of endeavor as possible.
  • Share that knowledge with others.
  • Network and build relationships with relevant subject matter experts and industry influencers.

In time, you’ll find that you have established a personal brand that can give you the needed leverage to step into a new role. And who knows? By then, you may decide to turn your brand into a career. You wouldn’t be the first.

Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for advice from a licensed mental health provider, health care provider or legal professional.