Building your content career in the age of AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the elephant in the room in any discussion about content creation currently. To put it in context, ChatGPT is the fastest growing consumer app in history. According to Harvard Business Review, it has grown faster than Instagram and TikTok, and raised questions about Google’s ability to compete.

The Mandarin reports that Google Workspace is introducing new AI-powered features, and Microsoft is embedding ChatGPT-style technology into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

As much as content producers might want to ignore AI, its use will only continue to grow. So what do communicators do about the risk to our livelihoods? If AI can produce content quickly, where does that leave us? How do we build our content careers in the age of AI?

Currently, AI can’t create content with the depth, accuracy, and nuance that human-generated content has. A major feature of AI is also a limitation. AI works on patterns and prediction. Craig Thomler in The Mandarin explains that in its simplest form, “AI is the product of taking a computer algorithm and training it on millions of documents”. AI predicts the next word (or set of characters) based on prompts provided by people.

The Harvard Business Review advises us that because AI is predictable, one way to help future-proof your expertise is to lean into your own creativity and avoid predictability. AI is a prediction machine that simply guesses the next more likely word. AI is basic. It’s macaroni and (AI would say ‘cheese’) giving us communicators the opportunity to come up with something else.

If we just use and present AI-generated content without edits, its algorithms make us all sound the same. Leaning into our unique selling point, our personality and all the unpredictability of humanness, will give us an edge and put us ahead of the game.

Human-led content is original; It’s the gourmet dinner to AI’s fast food meal deal of amalgamation and algorithm. Be the lovingly prepared gourmet dinner. Use AI for your own means – use it to do your dirty work then add your unique human touch and perpetuate your relevance.

Honing your soft skills is another way to build your content capability. GPT-4 has been trained to convey the illusion of soft skills like respect and politeness, empathy, and self-awareness. But these responses are based on text prediction – AI can’t experience the human version of these soft skills. But humans can create content infused with genuine soft skills – these are essential to maintaining the edge on AI. Hone these soft skills by regularly unplugging from the digital world and spending time in real life. Talk to people, and gather qualitative data on empirical experiences to help you gain insights that AI lacks. This will help you be more strategic when developing content.

Building your expertise in strategy then becomes part of your personal brand. AI doesn’t have a personal brand because it’s an amalgamation of everything it is fed. Humans will always be able to choose their field of expertise and capitalise on their unique perspective to build a brand and expertise that consumers and clients will pay for.

There will always be ways to identify and provide unique value, even as technology advances. Become an expert and thought leader. AI’s modus operandi is to produce lots of facts, but it doesn’t always deliver accurate results. By actively seeking to become an expert in your field, you’ll be called upon to check facts.

Ed Gandia, a business-building coach and strategist for business writers told The Content Byte podcast recently,

“You’re not going to survive if you stay on the content mill rung of the ladder. If you offer advisory services, it’s much harder for AI to replicate that skillset. AI is not a thought partner. AI is a tool.”

Gandia advises communicators to learn how to leverage AI as a tool. The communicators who will thrive are the ones who use these tools to improve productivity, ideation, and brainstorming. And to write faster and more clearly.

OK, but what would AI do if in our human shoes?

It would be remiss not to ask AI what we can do to mitigate the risk of our own redundancy as communicators. ChatGPT is in basic agreement with this blog post and listed four points:

  1. Learn AI skills
  2. Focus on creativity
  3. Build a niche
  4. Collaborate with AI

While we don’t know what the AI landscape will look like in five years’ time, we know we need to keep learning. And there will be many new jobs that we can’t conceive of yet. Stay one step ahead. Educate yourself. Read, listen to podcasts, attend conferences and webinars. Be the change in a changing world.

For more information on future-proofing your content career, refer to our previous blog post exploring the reasons why the human element of communications will always remain relevant and important: How Government Communicators Could Leverage AI in Crisis Communication

If you are looking for more content for government communicators, you can listen to the GovComms Podcast where we interview experts and leaders about the future of government.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *