Someone suggested I should go beyond helping people be better writers at work to teach them how to use ChatGPT.

But I don’t want to talk about ChatGPT let alone teach how to use it. Why?

In large part, because this is so reminiscent of the early days of content marketing and the effect that had on writing. Quality plummeted in many cases, as did pay. What clients wanted and what they were willing to pay for it both took nose dives. Suddenly quality didn’t matter, only quantity.

Me when someone says I should teach ChatGPT skills, via GIPHY

And quality has stayed low and we’re all now too dumbed down to know the difference between well done and poorly done content. We see words on a page and we don’t even realize the writing is crappy.

Three examples of commonplace crappy writing

For proof of this decline in quality, I give you three examples: a page from a catalog, a food package carton, and a snippet from a web page. If you can’t see why these are so bad, see here and here.

ChatGPT may have given this ad different issues, but that doesn't mean they'd be better ones

Will ChatGPT dumb down writing even more?

My point is, since content marketing as a “thing” brought about an increase in quantity and a decrease in quality, and most people didn’t recognize that it happened, what will ChatGPT do?

If people are going to use ChatGPT to churn out low-quality content without even realizing that’s what they’re doing, then I still believe my job is helping people to be better writers (and editors) so they can objectively review what ChatGPT gives them and improve it before putting it out into the world. (And to teach them to be objective consumers of content too!)

There will always be people who only care about content for content’s sake—and shame on Google and social media for bringing that about.

On the other hand, there will always be people who prefer to generate less content that has a high value.

ChatGPT has its place

Am I saying don’t use ChatGPT? No, not at all. It has its place as author Shep Hyken makes clear in his article Ten Ways For Writers To Use ChatGPT.

What I am saying is, we’ve seen a decline in writing skills and we are also less able to read with a critical eye. (Just look at how easily people are swayed by political propaganda on social media for proof.)

So I don’t want to talk about ChatGPT because I don’t believe the answer is for me to join all the other people who are already teaching ChatGPT skills.

I believe my role is teaching people to be better writers and editors so they can put ChatGPT to better use. (And, again, to be objective consumers of content.)

Focus on quality, authenticity and value, please!

If you can use ChatGPT to produce quality authentic content that has value for your audience, fabulous!

But let’s try to focus on the words quality and authentic and value here, whether or not we’re using ChatGPT.

self editing class

ChatGPT photo by Matheus Bertelli: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-man-is-typing-on-a-laptop-computer-16094041/

Sharon Ernst is a retired freelance copywriter now on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes.