Paul Roetzer is our guest on the 335th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Paul is the host of The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Show and Founder & CEO of the Marketing AI Institute. He shares how AI can be used as a tool to increase efficiency and help grow your business.
Here’s what you’ll find out:
- The impact AI is having on children and future generations.
- Is AI stealing imagination?
- The 3 questions you need to ask yourself as a creative using AI.
- Can we avoid using AI?
- The effects of AI-generated content and the natural human need.
- Low-cost and free access tools to start experimenting with AI.
- The areas copywriters should focus on and how they can leverage them.
- Should you shift your title?
- How to become a more efficient writer.
- Finding trusted voices to learn from to become more confident in AI.
- What AI cannot take away from copywriters.
- How to rid yourself of the fear that come with the never-ending updates, changes, and shifts in copywriting.
- Why you need to be willing to put out imperfect work.
- What can be streamlined with your team using AI?
- How does ChatGPT really work?
- How Paul uses AI in his business to maximize productivity without extra work.
- AI and fears – what does it mean for the future?
- Responsible principles and ethics while using AI for business and marketing.
Tune into the episode by hitting play or reading the transcript below.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:The Copywriter Think Tank
AI Writer’s Summit
Connect with Paul on LinkedIn
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Free month of Brain.FM
Kira Hug: When it comes to AI, it’s hard not to wonder, as a creative person, if we’re losing something or if we’re unlocking a whole new level of creativity. In today’s podcast episode, we cover the three questions we need to ask ourselves as creatives, and we dive deep into the world of AI and its applications in the business world. Our guest, Paul Roetzer, host of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Show and founder and CEO of the Marketing AI Institute, shares his insights on how AI can be used as a tool to increase efficiency and solve business problems. Paul shares how his business uses AI for podcast transcription, summaries, blog post creation, and social media content. And naturally, it’s impossible not to talk about the importance of responsible AI and how it affects our future and society. We also dive into how we can get excited about AI as creatives and accept it as part of our businesses and our lives. And yes, that intro was written in collaboration with ChatGPT because we’ve got to walk our talk and start experimenting with these tools. Now, let’s get started.
Rob Marsh: Okay, so this part of the podcast is not written by ChatGPT. It’s just me talking about the Copywriter Think Tank, that’s our mastermind for copywriters and other marketers who want to do more in their business. You’ve heard us talk about this before. If you’ve been thinking about joining a mastermind and in particular, the Think Tank, now is the best time to do it because we have a retreat coming up in the first part of June. We also are planning a retreat overseas in London coming in September. Members have free access to both of those, plus a whole slew of other things that we do, including one-on-one coaching from Kira and myself on how to accomplish bigger things in your business, whether that’s stepping out on stage, creating a new product, building a podcast or video channel, or maybe you’re building an agency, a product company, even if you just want to become the best-known copywriter in your niche. Those are the kinds of things that we do in the Copywriter Think Tank. To find out more, visit copywriterthinktank.com, watch the short video, and then fill out the application so we can just chat and find out if the Think Tank is right for you. Okay, let’s kick off our interview with Paul.
Kira Hug: All right, so Paul, I think this is a great place to start, just individual conversations the two of us have had with our kids. My son, he just turned eight. When I mentioned to him that a lot of copywriters I know are concerned about chatbots taking over their jobs and that’s why I wanted to start this podcast, he immediately got teary-eyed and said, “What’s going to happen if they don’t have a purpose?” and followed immediately by, “Does this mean I can’t be a writer?” which was really moving because I didn’t even know he wanted to be a writer, so I was like, “That’s a win.” I mean, there was a tear, so I was like, “I was not prepared for this. I don’t really know how to talk about this with him.” I heard you had a similar story with your nine-year-old or a child of a similar age.
Paul Roetzer: Yeah, my daughter was ten at the time. I actually have a nine-year-old son, he wants to be a video game developer, which is a whole nother story about AI, but my daughter wants to be an artist like her mom because my wife was a painting major and she’s an artist now. And so, in the summer of 2022 when I got access to DALL-E, the image generation tool, I actually debated whether or not to show it to her because I anticipated her reaction to be like the reaction your son had. And so, I decided I was going to show it to her and explain it.
She knows AI. She understands how it works probably better than most business executives. I sat her down and said, “I want to show you this new AI for artists.” She just gave me that eye roll like, “I don’t really want to see this.” I said, “I think it’s really important that you understand what it’s capable of, and so I just want to show you one time.” She said, “Fine.” I said, “Just give me something you would want to create,” and she said, “A fat fluffy unicorn dancing on rainbows.” And DALL-E in eight seconds, generated six illustrations of unicorns on rainbows. She looked at me and walked out of the room and didn’t want to talk about it.
And so for a month or so, we did not talk about it. And then, I was building the presentation for my Marketing AI Conference keynote that was going to be in August of last year, and she came out and sat on the back patio with me. I said, “Can we talk about what you felt when I showed you that? I’d like to talk about AI and creativity in my keynote.” She said, “That’s fine.” And I said, “Okay, well, what did you feel?” She said, “I don’t like AI like you do.” I said, “I don’t like that it can do art like you and mommy. I don’t like that it can write like me. I’m just trying to figure it out so I can help other people in their careers understand what it means and figure out what to do.” She said, “Okay.”
So then that night we’re laying in bed and she said, “You know what I don’t like about that AI thing is that it’s stealing people’s imaginations. It’s going online and it’s learning from people’s photos and drawings and paintings, and it’s stealing their imagination. I don’t ever want my artwork online because my imagination is what makes me me, and I don’t want it taken from me.” So yeah, that was my tears in the eye moment. You’re like, “My goodness, that is a profound thing to think about.” I think it’s important as we go into this conversation for people to realize I am not an AI researcher, traditionally from a technology standpoint. I’m not a machine learning engineer. I’m a storyteller by trade. I came out of journalism school, and my family is full of artists and want-to-be developers, and so it’s a real impact on my future and my family’s future, and I’m trying to just figure it out and help other people figure it out.
Kira Hug: What would you say to her or someone like her who feels a similar way in regards to our imagination and how we can still have this imagination and how we can think about it in a new way?
Paul Roetzer: Where I landed was a couple of things. I wrote a post not too long after that, or right before that I guess, that said, “There’s three main questions we have to answer in our careers, and creatives in particular: what will be lost? What will be gained? And when? So if I’m an artist or if I’m a writer, I’m going to lose something. The AI is going to do parts of what I did before. But I may unlock whole new realms of creativity, whole new realms of the ability to produce things maybe I couldn’t even do before. When is it going to happen is the real key.” I basically accepted that AI was coming for every knowledge and creative worker. All we had to do now was accept this and figure out what it meant and what could become possible with it.
And so that led to us basically saying, “AI isn’t going to replace us as writers, but writers who adopt AI will replace writers who don’t.” And so I think it’s just our guidance and where I’ve landed overall is pretending like this technology isn’t here and isn’t affecting us is not the right path. I understand why there’s fear, and I understand why in some cases there’s anger and denial. I have friends that are like this, I get it, but it’s not going to do you any good. What we’re seeing today is the very, very early versions of what this is going to be capable of doing, and so it’s really important that people just embrace the fact that this is where we are and it’s where we’re going to be going, and we need to figure out ways to enhance what we’re capable of doing as creative professionals with it rather than trying to resist it, it’s not going to work.
Kira Hug: What did your acceptance process look like? Did you just get it quickly and shift, or was it a gradual process for you over time?
Paul Roetzer: I mean, I’ve been studying AI for 12 years, so I would say it’s probably been gradual for me, and I would also say it’s probably ongoing. There are some days when I don’t like it. I will say, and I’m sure we’ll get into some of this stuff about how I use it and things, but I don’t actually use AI very much in my writing process. Only time I ever really use these tools, and I have access to six of them, is for ideation and experimentation. When I write stuff on LinkedIn, if I write blog posts or if I write scripts for my presentations, I don’t use AI for any of that. So as a creator, it hasn’t actually changed me that much, and so it doesn’t bother me.
Now, as someone who runs a company with a content team, it has transformed how we create content. We infuse AI into transcriptions, summarization of transcriptions, summarization of posts. It’s everywhere within our content process. But I would say from a writing standpoint, I have very much accepted and it hasn’t been hard. I haven’t figured out the artist’s side of it honestly yet. I don’t know the impact it’ll truly have on people like my wife who don’t really care to use AI. She’s a pure artist, and I don’t know that she’s ever going to want to evolve. I think that’s good. My daughter is absolutely on that path. She has no interest in using these AI tools.
Kira Hug: She hasn’t come around over time?
Paul Roetzer: No, and I don’t know that she will. I think that’s okay because I also think that there’s going to be a paradigm shift where we’re going to have so much AI-generated content that people are going to crave… I actually wrote about this on LinkedIn, that I think people are going to crave authentic human content even more, and they’re going to want to know that something truly came from humans and that it was unscripted and it was uniquely human in terms of their emotions and experience that went into it, their points of view. So I think that there’s going to be a place for that, but I think if you’re looking at it from a business perspective and how do we compete, that’s where you’re not going to have a choice. But if you’re looking at it as, “I’m an artist and I’m just going to make my paintings because that’s what I do and that’s what I love, and people will buy them or they won’t,” then you might not need to choose to use AI.
So I think that’s where I’ve landed, as it’s going to be different for different people, but I’m still trying to understand the overall impact it’s going to have.
Kira Hug: Yeah. Could we talk more about the pace and the speed involved because I feel like that’s something where… I don’t consider myself an early adopter, but especially listening to your podcast and just with ChatGPT recently, I was like, “Okay, get on board. Go full force.” But everyone hits it at a different time. Can you speak to us as service providers and creatives where this is our job, how soon do we need to get on board? Because it feels like we don’t have as much time to just sit here and think about whether or not it’s a good idea. It feels like we just need to jump in, otherwise, I don’t even know what’s going to happen at that point.
Paul Roetzer: If you get paid to create content, you have a very short window to get on board, I would say. The reason I say that is because before ChatGPT, so November 30th of 2022 when ChatGPT came out, the people that were paying you to create content probably didn’t know what AI was. And so there may have been copywriters who early in 2022 were using Jasper and Grammarly and Writer and all these other tools, and they were being more efficient with what they were doing, and they were still creating great outputs and people were paying them for it. But those people probably didn’t know that you were able to do your job more efficiently. There’s no hiding that now. So if you’re a copywriter and you’re charging, say, by the hour or by the word, I, as the person who might hire you as a VP of marketing, a CMO, a C-whatever, I know for a fact that that content can now be created instantly, versions of it, maybe not as good as what you or I feel we could create.
What I say is it democratized access to the power of words is what happened with ChatGPT. And everyone is aware of that. So everyone now knows that AI has the ability to create at minimum drafts, at best full articles that need light editing. And so if you’re a copywriter being paid to do this, the people paying you are aware that the cost to create that content has plummeted. That’s a challenging model.
For people who don’t know my background, I owned a content agency for 16 years. So not only am I a writer by trade, I owned an agency. I sold it in 2021, but we created content to grow people’s audiences and leads. I look at it now and say, “My gosh, if I still ran a content agency, what would we be doing right now? How would we pivot?” I think if you’re a copywriter as a profession, you have to get in and start playing with these tools yourself right now if you haven’t already. They’re affordable, in some cases they’re free. You got to go experience it. Listening to me talk or you talk isn’t going to do this for anyone. You got to just get in and do it for yourself and then figure out the impact it’s going to have on your career.
Kira Hug: But what are some things we can do because it sounds like we need to rethink the pricing model and how we’re positioning the pricing? So maybe it’s more about the value we’re providing rather than tracking hourly and even presenting an hourly rate. Is it more about thinking about how we’re positioning ourselves and even calling ourselves AI marketing experts and just owning that title and coming in? What needs to change so that we can stay relevant and attract those clients who do get it and understand the space?
Paul Roetzer: It could be a mix of all of those things. I would say these are raw thoughts because, again, I don’t sit around analyzing this as a business model all day long like in my previous life. But what I would say is there’s a couple of thoughts here. One is I think proactively addressing the fact that you can now produce more content for the same budget is a starting point. So to just have a conversation with your clients and say, “Listen, these new AI technologies are giving me the capability to do so much more in the same or similar budgets. We’ve had this wishlist of things you’ve wanted to create or things I’ve thought that would be great for us to write for you for months or years, we can do it now. You don’t have to change your budget, we can actually produce more value for you in the same budget.” So almost just proactively address the fact that it costs less to create it, but don’t cut your budget, go do the wishlist of things that have been sitting around there. So that’s one thought.
The other is going back to this idea of more human content. I think brands and marketers, publishers are going to come around very quickly to the fact that everyone can create content with AI. And at the same time, it’s still going to be very hard to create human-driven content, meaning interviews, true points of view, podcasts, live events, newsletters with strong editorials. People are going to want to hear from the people behind the brands more, and so that stuff AI isn’t good at. I would focus on the elements of copywriting and storytelling that the AI cannot do, like go figure out, “Who do I need to interview for this story? We’re writing this article, who are the experts on this topic?” and go out and interview those people and then tell the story with quotes from them. AI’s not doing that.
Again, you have to dive into yourself and see where the limitations of the AI tools are to start realizing like, “Oh, okay, so it still can’t do this part of what I do. How do I accentuate that? How do I create a greater perceived value for that capability with my clients or the company I’m at, or whatever it may be.” Again, just thinking out loud, I guess, in a couple of ways I would approach it if I was doing copywriting for a living.
Kira Hug: And maybe shifting from, “I’m your content writer” to “I’m more of a content strategist.” Even just changing your title and showing up differently where it’s like, “Let’s talk about the big ideas, and then I have these tools that can actually execute way more than we need.” But I wonder if titles need to change. I think it was on your podcast where you said you wouldn’t even hire someone if they said they weren’t testing tools, if you had an interview with them. You wouldn’t hire a writer if they said, “I haven’t actually tested ChatGPT yet.” So I’m wondering, should I actually just own it and say, “I’m an expert at this,” because no one has gone to school for this, so maybe I can claim it, we can all claim it? I know that also triggers the syndrome for a lot of writers and creatives who are like, “I don’t want to own that,” but it feels like we have to own that and lean into it.
Paul Roetzer: The way I look at not just copywriting, but advertising, social media, email, whatever the domain is within marketing’s umbrella or communications umbrella, my feeling is the people who are the practitioners are the best people to be testing and learning the technologies, because you know what your process looks like today, what goes into doing that activity, you can test the tools and say, “Okay, wow, once I have this, I can cut out these three steps or these three pieces, become more efficient.” And so I think that writers are the best people to be figuring out what is the impact of these tools. But you have to do it through trial and error yourself and constant experimentation, because as you said, the tools keep getting better and they’re going to get better at a rapid pace, so you have to just stay on the forefront of it.
The brands, the marketers, they’re not going to be able to keep up with every specific aspect of AI’s capabilities. And so if you own, “I’m going to stay close to language models and where these writing tools are at in their capabilities, and I’m going to bring that expertise either through services, through education, through social media shares like on LinkedIn,” just own it. Again, you don’t have to even pretend to be an expert. I’m not an expert on AI. I don’t view myself as an expert in AI. I view myself as someone who is immersed in it and is trying to figure the story out every day, and I’m sharing as I’m going. I think that, again, going back to the more human, this infallible part is “I don’t know exactly where this is going, but here’s what we’re doing to figure it out,” and a lot of people gravitate to that like, “We have no clue. We’ll just listen to what you’re saying.”
I think you can do the same thing in writing. It’s like, “Hey, I haven’t figured this out exactly, but I tried these three tools and here’s what I thought,” or “I did this use case, and here’s how… ” That demonstrates comprehension and confidence over expertise, I would say, and I think that’s what we want to be able to do.
Kira Hug: You said it’s maybe a short period of time before… I don’t know your exact words, but there’s not a lot of time to make this shift for writers. And so what are some other things they could do other than experiment, get in there, figure these things out, immerse yourself, but if I’m like, “I’m listening, I get that the game has shifted for me,” what else in my business could I do to not survive, because that sounds dramatic, but just to make this shift?
Paul Roetzer: You got to find the trusted voices to listen to. Even for me, I’m trying to stay at the front edge of where this all goes. In my past 11 years, 12 years of studying this, you had time. You’d read a book, you’d read a paper and be like, “Okay, so in two years maybe we’ll be here.” Now I’ll read something on a Tuesday and be like, “Oh my gosh, this may be out in two months.” And so, there’s this rapid learning, understanding of the application, and then trying to gauge when is this actually going to happen?
I just recently wrote this thing called World of Bits, and it was like I connected some dots and realized what was happening next on a flight to San Francisco. It all came together in my mind. And rather than sitting on it for months and really thinking about it, I just sat down on a Saturday and I was like, “I have to figure this out,” and I just forced myself to write. Zero AI in the process because to me the writing was the critical thinking that required me to figure out where it was going. And so I have to go through that process as a writer. That’s how I figure things out, is I write them. And so I can’t go to the AI and be like, “What’s going to happen with World of Bits and marketing and business?” ChatGPT would maybe give me something, but I wouldn’t have connected the dots myself and seen where it all went. So I think that part of writing is still so critical. But my point is you need to find the people who are the ones out doing this work in copywriting.
They’re the ones that are reading the papers and following the influencers and trying to connect the dots. You need to either be that person yourself or you need to identify who those people are and stay very close to what they’re sharing publicly through Twitter, through LinkedIn, through or wherever they publish their thinking. That’s how I do it now. I mean, it’s just a collection of research papers and influencers and people on Twitter who once you know what they’re doing, you can follow them, and connect dots, but it’s the only way to do it, just continuous learning, I guess.
Kira Hug: Your podcast is a great resource for that, so you are that for me.
Paul Roetzer: Thank you.
Kira Hug: Are there any other resources that are top of mind that you would recommend for copywriters, content writers? I mean, they could just listen to your podcast-
Paul Roetzer: Yeah, I mean the podcast-
Kira Hug: … that would be a great place.
Paul Roetzer: And the Writers Summit, which I know you’re familiar with. But we have a Writers Summit coming up, a virtual one and that actually is the exact reason I created it. December of last year I was thinking about all these questions and I’m having these conversations. I came out of journalism school, so I was having conversations with the journalism school and the heads of communications. I was getting inquiries from friends who are writers and past clients and things. And so I’m thinking, “Wow, I have no idea how to answer this for people. I don’t know what it’s going to do for careers. I don’t know what it’s going to do for editors. I don’t know what the new career paths and titles are going to be.” But no one was asking these questions publicly, and I was like, “We need a format fast to do this. We can’t do an in-person event in nine months and slow play this, we got to go now.”
And so we said, “Let’s just launch a virtual event. We’ll take a risk financially like maybe nobody cares, but maybe it’s going to take off.” I mean, we thought we’d get 500 to 1,000 people. We were at 1,400 already, and there’s still quite a bit of time at the recording of this podcast before the event actually occurs. So I think there are a lot of people with the same questions, and I’m hoping that that will create not only, “Here’s where we’re at,” but my hope is that we’ll get enough people there that can engage and connect with each other and maybe the people to follow will actually emerge out of that community in a way.
Kira Hug: Yeah, definitely, and I plan on being there. How can we deal with the noise? I’m just thinking about what you said about the pace is so quick now that your podcast comes out once a week and it’s like I almost want more of it because so much is happening in between. I think it feels really easy for me to get lost in the story about searching and falling in love, and all the fun stories that are so fun to talk about with friends, but I feel like it’s really easy to get lost from the big picture and what actually matters and what doesn’t matter. So do you have any advice as far as how we can understand the big picture and not get distracted by all the tools that come and go and all the stories that emerge from those?
Paul Roetzer: I mean, the only thing I can think of is once you have your small group of people you’re going to listen to and follow, and maybe you got a couple of newsletters and a couple of podcasts and then a Twitter feed or something, there’s just, “Okay, here’s how I’m going to stay in the loop,” to me, the ongoing experimentation is the answer. You’ll figure it out for yourself the more you’re in these tools. Let’s say you follow OpenAI and Cohere and Anthropic, and I know there’s a couple of other major players in the language model space that are building the models that are powering all these AI writing tools, you can go to Jasper and Writer; follow those companies and you’re going to hear the updates they’re making, “Oh, we introduced this capability and this capability.” But you are going to actually be able to jump in and test those things and say, “Okay, how’s this make it different?”
To me, that’s going to be the way to stay at the forefront of this, is to continuously test the technology yourself and become comfortable trusting your ability to assess that, I guess. So yeah, I would keep the voices limited. It’s like what I do, everything to me is how well you curate your sources. So Twitter is invaluable to me because it’s where I get 95% of my information-
Kira Hug: Really? Okay.
Paul Roetzer: … through curated lists. So I have my news list, my AI list, my sports list, my science list, whatever. I have a politics one that I try and avoid because it just drives me mad. But when I want to understand a topic deeply, I go, “Fine,” and say, “okay, who are the sources I trust?” And then I put them into a private list usually, and then that is it. That is, if something happens in AI and I look and think, “Wow, that’s a big deal,” I’ll go to my AI feed and say, “Do they think it’s a big deal? What are they saying about it?” And then I’ll scan that and be like, “Okay, cool, this validates what I was thinking” or “Wow, I hadn’t thought about that perspective. It actually changes how I’m thinking about it.” That to me is the way to do it, if you find the few sources you trust, curate them however you do it, whether it’s through a collection of emails, newsletters or Twitter, whatever, and then just stick to that.
And then it expands as the people that they talk about expand. So if you find that, let’s say, you follow me and I’m sharing something someone else is saying about copywriting and AI, boom, “Okay, cool, that person influences Paul, I’m going to add that person to my list.” That’s how I do all of my ongoing research and planning.
Kira Hug: All right, Rob, well, you were not in this interview with me, so why don’t you kick this off. I’m curious to hear what stood out to you.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, a couple of things actually stood out to me. Well, you actually asked a question, you’re like, “Hey, it’s not really kicking out the kind of content that we need to be worried about,” and immediately Paul’s like, “Actually, it is. It is capable of doing emotional content. We can’t assume that ChatGPT in particular, but other AI tools as well, can’t already do it and certainly in the next iteration or two that AIs won’t be able to replicate most of what copywriters are doing.”
We’re seeing a lot of people in our inboxes on the internet talking about things like, “Okay, it is a tool, but it’s not going to replace writers.” Writers using it may replace writers who are not using it. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. But it just hammered home how important it is for us to get to know these tools, what they’re capable of, and how to use them because they are really powerful. Just what we’re seeing over the last few weeks, what Sam talked about in the… Sam Woods did a training for us in the underground, and what he talked about and showed us how to do has really shifted my perspective on the capability of these tools, how important it’s for us to get to know them, to use them, and not necessarily to fear them, but be really aware that if we don’t take them seriously they do have a really good chance of impacting the work that we do, the jobs that we are able to take on.
Kira Hug: Paul stressed the importance of this change happening. There’s only a short window to get on board, and so I think that we stress that in the conversation. This isn’t something that you could just sit on for a while. If this is a part of your business model and this is how you get paid, you need to really dive in and figure these things out sooner rather than later. But yeah, I was also, I guess, a little surprised because in other conversations, it sounded like the tools weren’t quite ready to tackle persuasion. And even after using the tools more, I’m surprised at how it pulls in pop culture. I was like, “Well, at least we still own pop culture. There’s no way to pull in all these references and make these funny aside comments about movies,” but then recently it’s like the pop culture references are showing up when I use ChatGPT. So definitely more advanced than I think we realize until you start using it regularly.
Rob Marsh: The conversation that we also had or that you had around art with his daughter using the tool or not using the tool and this fear of art. I’m seeing a difference between what AI does visually, so with things like DALL-E and some of the art generative tools and what it does with words. I think the biggest difference is maybe the story that’s involved. As I was thinking about, “Okay, if I’m going to buy a piece of art, there is art that I’ll buy just because I like it. There’s not necessarily anything super valuable about it.” But then there is a level beyond that where it’s like, “Hey, I really like this particular watercolor because it was painted by an artist who is well known here locally or has done something similar somewhere else.” There’s a story that starts to develop around it.
And then when you think about famous art that collectors are paying millions of dollars for, it’s not because the art is necessarily amazingly beautiful or the best art around, but it’s because it’s got this great story. It’s this piece that could be hanging in the Louvre or it was painted by Van Gogh or somebody else. It’s the story that we start to pay for, and AI art doesn’t seem to have a story to me. Now, that could change, and maybe there are people who value AI art. But it got me thinking, a long time ago, there was art that was painted by gorillas. It sold it. I think you can probably buy it for 20, $30,000 for these paintings. It’s not amazing art, it’s just color smeared on canvas, but there’s this story that it was painted by a gorilla, right? You’re paying for the gorilla story, not the amazing art.
I wonder how that’s going to impact art created by AI. Whereas, words don’t always have the same story. Anne-Laure mentions this when we interviewed her a few weeks ago, about how are humans going to be able to differentiate human-made, handcrafted copy as opposed to AI copy? There’s probably a story to be worked out there that will work for some people, but it’s harder to tell the difference the story that a copywriter wrote it or that an AI wrote it. If the purpose is fulfilled by the copy that’s written, that story’s a little harder to talk about. So anyway, it’s something interesting to think about as I was listening to you guys talk about art, words, all the impacts that it could have in on our business.
Kira Hug: I think that goes to what Paul is saying about thinking that people are going to crave more authentic human content in art like you said. But even just the written word, will that matter to people just to know that this was not created or this email was not written by ChatGPT, it was written by a human. I was thinking about just The Whale, and I wrote in a recent email how that’s such a moving movie. Would I feel differently if I knew that it was written by AI and ChatGPT? Or compared to knowing that Samuel D. Hunter, this writer, wrote it, would I feel differently about it? I feel like I would, but it’ll be interesting to see how it shows up in the art space. Definitely, in business, I think there is space to show off authentic human content as well, but it is a little bit fuzzier than with fine art.
Rob Marsh: For sure. I mean, clearly, at least right now, there are things that AI can’t do. It cannot create an actual true personal experience. So if you are showing up as you’re selling something and you’re using your personal stories, you can ask ChatGPT to generate a personal story with all the emotional content, but it’s not necessarily true. You’re basically just telling it to write something, and it might have the truthiness about it, but it’s not an actual true story, so those kinds of things may be different. But it’s doing a really good job mimicking voice, showing up with different emotive words so it can connect in ways that I think a lot of people who are not really using it right or using it as well still haven’t found that yet. And so they’re saying, “Oh, it’s not a threat,” but it is. I think it is something we definitely need to figure out.
Kira Hug: I love that we kicked off the beginning of the conversation talking about our kids, and I just want to hug Paul’s daughter just hearing her concerns about AI stealing people’s imaginations. I just understand that on a deep level. And so I’ve been thinking a lot about that since the conversation and just thinking with my kids about how I can maybe help them tap into their imagination through using these tools. And so, one way… we’re playing with this, it’s still early, but I found this really cool AI tool for creating fashion design. It’s CA-LA, CALA. And really, you have to bring your imagination to the tool. It’s really clear when you’re designing clothes that you can’t just sit there, it’s not going to come up with the idea for you, but it can create anything for you. And so it’s been really fun to inspire my daughter and son to come up with designs and bring something to the table, and then we can use these tools to actually put it into action and create something from nothing. And so I’m just trying to flip it around, especially with kids, to think of the positive sides of using these tools because there are definitely concerns that kids have.
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I don’t have little kids who are concerned about it. My kids in high school and college are starting to play around with the tools and chatting back and forth, and they’re finding it fun in ways. We’ll see how they end up using it in their lives and careers. So far, I don’t have any writers that are living with me, but maybe someday one of them will change their minds, so we’ll see.
Kira Hug: Well, they can use it for their essays and homework submissions-
Rob Marsh: Yeah, we’ll see.
Kira Hug: … if they wanted to.
Rob Marsh: Yeah. So one other thing that… Well, a couple of things, but one thing that Paul said that I really didn’t like, and I want to mention this, but Paul mentioned that one of the ways to sell our expertise with ChatGPT or AI tools is that we can do more with the same budget. While that may be true, we may be able to produce more volume, more content, more blog posts, whatever, as I think about it, to me that seems like a really bad way to sell our expertise with AI. Of course, there are going to be clients out there looking for volume, but to me, the real power in this is how it’s going to help us do other things in our jobs better. We’ve talked with other people about how it can improve creativity because you can go through a larger number of ideas, you can test different things like that. To me, the way to sell using AI as writers is, again, less about, “Oh, I can do more for you for the same price,” and more about, “I can do better for you for the same price.”
Kira Hug: Yeah, I mean, I think his point is a good point because this is the way business owners are going to be thinking. He is someone who hires or could hire a copywriter to help support his business, and this is how he’s thinking. You bring up a good point too, like better not more. I think it could be some combination of the two. But if there’s one takeaway of just this is how business owners who are aware of these tools will think, so you will need to be able to address that because they will want more. So how will you position it so it could be better and not necessarily more if you don’t want to deliver more?
Rob Marsh: Yeah, I agree with that 100%, they are going to be asking for more. In some uses it can help us produce more, but we’ve got to be able to tell that story in a way that we’re not just turning ourselves into content farms and we’re producing all of this generated content that’s not better than what’s already being produced out there. I mean, today, copywriters complain about content farms. There are writers out there that are not AI that are able to generate blog posts for pennies for the word or $25, $10 whatever for a post. Obviously, ChatGPT and other AI tools take that to an extreme. The problem is still there. It needs to be better and not just more.
Kira Hug: If you can add more time because you’re able to use these tools and do a little bit more or get the content that you promised completed, you can focus more on thinking strategically for your clients and coming up with ideas for them and serving them in a deeper way, which will make you valuable.
Rob Marsh: Let’s go back to our interview with Paul and listen to what he has to share about the importance of being a great persuasive writer.
Kira Hug: We haven’t really touched on persuasion with content, but a lot of listeners write persuasive copy, sales copy. Tools aren’t quite at that level yet, right, where they can understand-
Paul Roetzer: No.
Kira Hug: … how to… We’re going to get there, but at this point it feels like some copywriters could say, “Well, I’m safe because I write sales copy.”
Paul Roetzer: I wouldn’t assume that. The tech now is getting pretty good at it. If you went into ChatGPT and said, “Write me a persuasive email based on this topic,” and you gave it an example of what that looks like, it’s going to be able to reproduce a persuasive email. There’s this concept called theory of mind, the AI’s ability to understand and influence human emotions and behaviors and things. The general belief is that it’s not there, that it doesn’t have this ability, but it sure simulates that ability very convincingly in some cases. I believe that the next version of GPT-3/GPT-4 and other things that are going to come are going to take a leap forward in that ability.
So I would say there’s going to be very few things that writers do that the AI won’t be able to reasonably simulate. I don’t say this to worry people and be like, “Oh, so my persuasive writing isn’t going to matter?” It will because you understand what great persuasive writing looks like. So even if you’re prompting the AI to draft it and you’re fine-tuning and you’re assessing the output, I still believe you have to be a great persuasive writer to understand how to work with the machine and develop persuasive writing. If I don’t spend my career doing that and then I ask it to write a persuasive email, I’m not going to know if I achieved it or not. I’ve seen some things, and I will say there are going to be very few limitations on what the AI is going to be capable of doing from a copywriter perspective.
Kira Hug: It seems like the job opportunities could be more coaching and chiefing and reviewing clients’ copy after they run it through the tool and being able to look at and say, “Well, this doesn’t quite work as a hook” or “This doesn’t quite work as a bullet here and a benefit” and more reviewing rather than generating it.
Paul Roetzer: I do think there’s going to be different variations of editing, and editing will take on much greater impact and meaning. And prompting is going to be a key part of it too, being able to tell the machine what you want.
Kira Hug: On more of a personal level, how do you take care of yourself? This, to me, again, can feel like it’s overwhelming because now I know I’m into it, I’m paying attention, but it also already feels exhausting where it’s like the updates are never going to end, I just have to stay on it and be so aware. I guess, do you have any advice, because you’ve been paying attention to it for a long time now, 12 years now? How do you stay excited by it and not maybe fear take over, especially for people who are more fear prone?
Paul Roetzer: Yeah. I have to take action. The only way I can feel as though I’m doing something is by taking action on it. It’s actually coming out in our content. So our podcast, which you referenced, used to be me finding experts to interview and interviewing them. Well, that took a lot of time, and honestly, it just didn’t happen because I’m like, “I don’t have time to go find these people and do it.” I said in November, I was like, “Let’s switch it up. We’re just going to pick three topics every week. Mike, you’re going to join me, you’re going to become the co-host, and we’re just going to curate the three topics and go.” It forced us to think about and talk about three key things every week.
Then I started publishing once or twice a day on LinkedIn to just get thoughts out of my head. A lot of times it’s like, “This is a half-baked thing, but here’s what I think is going on.” And I’ll just put that stuff out there because then I feel like I’m pushing the dialogue into the world, allowing other people to build on the ideas and comment and critique it, even in cases. But at least it’s not just piling up in my head, which is what it used to be. I used to just all these thoughts, all these things, I got to write about this, I got to write about that. I got to find time to make a video about this. It’s like I’m not doing it, so let’s just find a vehicle that enables me to get this stuff out daily or weekly, and then it won’t build up in my head and I won’t feel overwhelmed by it.
Kira Hug: Okay, so take action. Get it out.
Paul Roetzer: Yeah, just got to go.
Kira Hug: Okay.
Paul Roetzer: Doesn’t have to be perfect. I mean, as writers, we write to perfection. That’s what I’ve always known, is you don’t want to make mistakes; you don’t want the thought to be half complete. I think that getting out of that comfort zone and being willing to put things out when they’re not perfect is a change.
Kira Hug: I know part of your audience is business leaders, and that’s part of your focus too, supporting leaders, and so what does that conversation look like even with your own team when you’re like, “This is how we’re going to use AI tools moving forward. Let’s think about it in a new way.”? What can we think about as we’re trying to lead our own businesses, whether it’s with one other person, maybe just a virtual assistant, or maybe it’s a team of junior copywriters and a project manager and a couple of other team members, how can we really step in and be a good leader with this change?
Paul Roetzer: We focus on outcomes more than anything. If I was talking to a CEO for example, or I was thinking about my own business, I’d be like, “Okay, where are we spending all of our time and resources right now, where are the most time and resources going? Can we do any of that more efficiently with these tools? AI is just a tool, it’s just a smarter technology, so is there anything we’re currently doing we can be more efficient or better at faster, smarter, better at?” Then I look at the bigger business and say, “What are the major things we’re trying to solve for? We’re trying to grow our audience. We’re trying to reduce churn. We’re trying to generate more leads. We’re trying to attract more people to our company from a talent perspective.” I look at those and say, “Can AI help there in new ways?” And so those are the two main ways. I don’t get too caught up in trying to convince people they need AI technology or anything like that. I just focus on what are the metrics or performance indicators that this person cares about, and how can I use smarter technology to help them get there?
Kira Hug: Okay. All right. A question that keeps popping up for me when I’m thinking about where the tools are pulling all the data from, it feels like it’s just everything that was ever existed on the internet is pulled in. But it seems like it turns into negative content that’s pulled in, and that’s why there’s some fear around that too. But, I guess, what is being pulled into these tools? Not how does that work, but is it just everything that was ever created on the internet is now part of it? How does that piece of it work?
Paul Roetzer: Generally, yeah, if you’re using ChatGPT, because that’s the one most people will have experienced, it’s basically trained on the internet. It goes and learns from a corpus of knowledge, and then it’s fine-tuned by humans. So they’ll go in and they’ll review the outputs that the machine creates and they’ll adjust it and tune it to be more creative or whatever. Because basically, all it’s doing is predicting words in a sequence. And it does that by going out and consuming a bunch of content and learning the likelihood of a word to appear in a sentence. So as it starts writing a sentence, it’s just predicting the next word, it doesn’t actually know anything.
What’s happening, though, is you’re able to actually fine-tune these on your own content. For Writer, which is one of our partners, so writer.com, you can train it on your style guidelines, your tone, your style, your voice, all those things for your brand. You can train it on a specific corpus of knowledge. The general language models, which is the underlying architecture that powers these things, they’re just trained on whatever the massive training set was needed to create it by the companies that built them, like OpenAI.
What we’ll see moving forward is more personalized versions of these that are trained on your specific writing, for example, “Hey, here’s 100 articles I’ve written. Learn my style. Now write an article in my style.” That’s where it’s going, and OpenAI said as much last week that they’re envisioning personalized versions of ChatGPT for everyone.
Kira Hug: Okay. And how are you using these tools in your business today?
Paul Roetzer: We use them for… I mean, I’ll just use a podcast as an example I mentioned earlier. So we’ll create the podcast brief, human-written, then we record it, then we use AI to transcribe it. Then we’ll take the transcription and we’ll put it into AI and ask it to summarize the transcription, which will give us bullet points of that. Then a human or chief content officer will go through and actually write a post that infuses the summarization plus context of the conversation. Then we’ll use AI to create the images for the blog post. We’ll turn it into three to four blog posts each episode. And then we’ll use AI, I think in some cases, to write the social shares that go with the blog post. So we’re building it into different pieces of it.
Me, personally, like I said, I use it for ideation and experimentation. The team uses it for some very specific components related to the creation of certain blog posts and content. We do the same with webinars. We’ll transcribe webinars and turn them into blog posts. Our big focus is we don’t create anything for pure SEO value. We’re not using AI to just mass produce content in the hopes it’ll rank organically. It’s all about enriching human-focused content, I would say.
Kira Hug: What are you already experimenting with or kind of tinkering with as the next use of AI in your business?
Paul Roetzer: I would say I’m looking out ahead a little bit at what I think is going to come next. So we’ll continue to infuse it into anywhere creativity happens. Video is a big one. Probably this year we’ll be looking at ways to infuse into video production because we don’t do a lot of video, but AI is making video more accessible to non-video production people. Images, anywhere where we create images, oftentimes we’re using AI to do that. Audio is another area where AI’s playing a major role, be able to create music on the fly with AI, so we’re going to probably play around with that stuff.
And then beyond that, it starts getting into AI as a strategy tool and a decision-making tool. So we’ll be looking at ways to infuse that into the business, into our marketing, and then just intelligent automation of different tasks across the company. If you’re a business of one, if you’re a freelancer or independent contractor, there’s going to be lots of ways to drive efficiency in the running of your company that maybe you just previously didn’t know. And that’s marketing, sales, service, operations, finance, HR. It’s going to be infused into all aspects. So we’re trying to build a smarter version of our company, I would say.
Kira Hug: What is the piece about better decision-making, strategy, thinking big picture, how could that work? How could we use these tools to help us think more strategically?
Paul Roetzer: At its core, AI is making predictions based on data. Even copywriting, that’s what it’s doing. It takes data in words, and it predicts the next word in a sequence. The core of artificial intelligence is making predictions about outputs and outcomes. And so when you play that out into what ad should we run, what blog posts should we publish, when should we publish it, which emails should send to which segment, there’s all these little micro predictions we make all day long. And so we’re looking everywhere where predictions are being made where we’re trying to make strategic decisions about the business and saying, “Okay, are there any tools that exist that could help us do this better, smarter?”
I mean, one way is analytics. I find having to analyze performance data very arduous. It takes forever to look at charts and graphs and run pivot tables and all this stuff, and I don’t like it. If an AI can do that for me and tell me what’s happening and recommend things to do and find insights in the data and I don’t have to do that, I would be very happy. I would not feel it took anything from me as a human if I don’t ever have to analyze a spreadsheet again. So that’s one area. It’s like anywhere where spreadsheets exist, where charts and graphs exist. If I can get AI to help me figure out what they are saying and what should we do about it, that would be a big win for me.
Kira Hug: Do you use any tools personally outside of the business where you’re like, “This has made my life so much better?”
Paul Roetzer: Well, that’s a great question. I mean, so many of the technology applications we use on our phones wouldn’t exist without AI. I’m trying to think if there’s any I’ve personally sought out though that aren’t just baked in. I would say it’s a forgotten one, but just voice-to-text. My iPhone and I don’t know if it’s actually Apple or Google, it’s probably Apple, it’s gotten really good in the last few months. And so a lot of my ideas as a business person, as a marketer, I’ll be driving and used to say it, and then you get to a stoplight, look at it, like, “Oh my gosh, it’s all jumbled. It would’ve been faster for me to just type it.” And all of a sudden it’s really good. So I dictate emails, I dictate notes, I’ll dictate ideas for articles. So voice-to-text has been a huge one for me, and it feels like it’s gotten significantly better in recent months.
Kira Hug: As you start to wrap up, I have to ask about the fear side. I feel like we’ve been pretty positive with what we’ve shared, but what keeps you up at night at this point?
Paul Roetzer: I would say the reason I’m doing what I’m doing, first, it started as a curiosity back in 2011. And then at some point in the mid-teens, 2015/16, I became pretty convinced this could go horribly wrong for business, for humanity, for society, that the AI was going to be way more powerful than people realized and that we needed to do everything we could to understand that and try and help build it responsibly. And so, I have, since that time, been very focused on what does the future look like for my children. Again, they’re 11 and nine. What is the world like? What career paths will exist? What will higher education look like? I don’t lose sleep over it, I would say. But when asked about it, I can talk endlessly about what I think is going to happen in politics, in warfare, in education, society.
There’s a lot of really important things that need to be discussed. And my focus right now to help with that and why I don’t lose sleep yet is, if we can get enough people in marketing and business to pay attention and understand what AI is, smart people immediately start thinking about the implications of this in other parts of their life. And so, if we can use our platform to make people aware and educate them about AI in this general foundational sense, then I feel like there’s going to be way more people thinking about the bigger implications of it on society and humanity, and that to me is maybe the most important thing we’re doing her. Marketing, it’s a door to open to help people care and will help build some businesses and hopefully people figure out career paths along the way. But in the end, I hope it’s something much more than that.
Kira Hug: Do you mind sharing what happened in 2015? What was that moment where you’re like, “Oh my goodness.”?
Paul Roetzer: It’s probably when I read Pentagon’s Brain? I read a few books in the process of trying to figure all this out that just very much changed me and how I think about things. It made it obvious that AI was being worked on at very high levels and there was lots of money being spent on building this stuff. That’s when you just started realizing, “Wow, this is way bigger than how do I send emails and write landing page copy?” And so, I really started absorbing everything I could about really the next frontier and where AI was going, following a lot of the research papers and the influencers in that space and connecting dots. And so I would say my greater interest in AI has nothing to do with marketing. There are much bigger things going on.
Kira Hug: I mean, it’s a little bit more important. Are any of those books worth sharing at this point? Are they still worth reading?
Paul Roetzer: I mean, I can give you a list, I wouldn’t start there. If you’re new to all of this, you should be thinking about the ethics of AI, the ethical use of it. You should be thinking about responsible AI principles within your organization or your own career. You should be asking questions about where the data comes from and the privacy of consumers and things like that. Those matter, and from the beginning, you should think about that. If you want to start getting into what foreign governments are investing in and how is the next age of warfare and-
Kira Hug: I want to get into that. Yeah, that’s what I want.
Paul Roetzer: Okay. Then, yes, AI Superpowers would be a really good book by Kai-Fu Lee. That’s a good one. Pentagon’s Brain is a very eye-opening book about the US government’s efforts in AI for the last decades, going back to the 1950s. And that’s the thing, AI’s been around since the ’50s, so a lot has been done in AI that people had no idea what was going on for a very long time. I would start there. And then there’s some other really good ones. Prediction Machines is great. It talks more about the big-picture economy. The Algorithmic Leader is fantastic from a business leader’s perspective. I can send you some others, those are some good ones.
Kira Hug: Just some light reading for my evening-
Paul Roetzer: Yeah. Yeah.
Kira Hug: … lying down. I mean, I feel a similar way. It’s easy to talk about all this through marketing, and that’s my background. It’s like I care about it for much larger reasons. So for someone else who’s listening is like, “I want to be part of this bigger conversation because this affects our future, my children,” what is the best way to do that? Is it just to become a really savvy marketer and understand it so that you can have a larger voice, maybe have a podcast like yours or write a book? What’s the way to play an influential role outside of marketing too?
Paul Roetzer: A potential tangible first step is we published Responsible AI Manifesto for Business and Marketing about, I don’t know, sometime in early February or late January. I just identified 12 principles that I thought our institute should care about, but that should serve as more of a baseline for other organizations as well, to take it and build upon however they want. We just open-sourced it, like Creative Commons, take it, do whatever you want with it.
I believe that every organization needs to have responsible AI principles. And so, if you’re the first person in your company that’s caring about this, I would make a project by the middle of this year, end of this year, “I want to get a set of responsible AI principles for my organization.” That’s a starting point that’s very tangible, but it also is very important because it codifies how you’re going to think about and use AI, which raises the awareness level that there are downsides to it, and not just at a marketing level, but at a business level, which immediately raises your awareness at a societal level. So while it may seem like a small thing to have marketing principles around AI, it actually forces people to think about AI at a broader perspective and how it could be misused. And that might be the most immediate thing any of us could do.
Kira Hug: Yeah, that’s a great idea. To flip to the positive side, if you’re talking to someone, maybe it’s your daughter or a friend who feels a similar way and they are down about it, what do you say to excite them, because it’s a part of it that you’re excited about?
Paul Roetzer: I try to focus on what will be gained as part of the equation. I always think about user stories, like what is your life like today? How could it be better in the future? And so I’ll try and center that on things that matter to them. Again, writing is a good one. I’ve had some friends who really don’t want to accept that AI can write things. And so, I’ll try and share inspirational articles or ideas I have about ways to enrich what they’re doing. I think you have to just accept that people are going to accept or not AI on their own timelines. We have to steer into that.
It’s a challenging thing to have what you do as a profession or what fulfills you as a human change. We’re not really prepared as humans to deal with that. I just think that we have to be empathetic to that and we have to find ways to help people deal with it. It’s not a little thing. It may sound silly, but I mean, if you go and tell somebody, “Hey, the thing you do for a living and AI can now do,” and you’re like, “What are you talking about, I’ve spent my entire life doing this? It can’t do what I do.” But I think we have to individually be empathetic to people at an individual level that understands how they’re currently dealing with this and what they’re going through.
Kira Hug: Or it just feels like, “Oh my gosh, this is another thing? I don’t have enough to deal with everything else life is throwing at us?”
Paul Roetzer: For sure.
Kira Hug: Okay, I would love to hear more about the summit. You mentioned the summit already, it’s happening in March. Can you share just a couple more details about why we should be a part of it, what’s happening at the summit, why we can’t miss it?
Paul Roetzer: So it’s March 30th from 12:00 to 16:00 Eastern time. Like I said, there’s a free option, you can get the free pass. I’m going to do a state of AI and write a keynote, so sort of where we are and where I think we’re going. Our chief content officer, Mike Kaput, who’s our main content creator at the institute, is going to do a 20-plus tools overview to really give you a sense of the different technologies that are out there and how they work. We’re going to have a presentation from May Habib, the CEO of Writer, who’s going to talk about AI for content and teams. There’s going to be a future of AI and a writing panel with some technologists and AI researchers. And then Ann Handley, the author of Everybody Writes and The Amazing Newsletter that she sends every Sunday, she and I are going to do a fireside chat about, I would say, her evolution as a copywriter and different levels of emotions she’s gone through to understand and in ways embrace AI.
I think it is going to be a very good conversation for people who feel like they don’t really want AI to be able to do this. I would say that’s been Ann’s story, is she has embraced it, but she’s very true to herself and her writing style. I think it’ll be a really good conversation for people. And then we’re going to have an open Q&A with some of the speakers in the community. I really hope it’ll be a jumping-off point for much greater dialogue around the impact of this technology on writers and editors and content teams.
Kira Hug: Where should we go to sign up?
Paul Roetzer: Aiwriterssummit.com, you can go right to there. You can find it on the Marketing Institute site as well, just under Events. But just search for aiwriterssummit.com and that’ll take you there. And like I said, there’s a paid option if you want to upgrade to a private registration and not share your information or get on-demand, but overall it’s free. And I would say 97% of people have registered have chosen the free option, so it’s generally a free event.
Kira Hug: I chose free, but I will pay if you want me to.
Paul Roetzer: No, it’s cool.
Kira Hug: Because I would pay anything to be there.
Paul Roetzer: Appreciate that.
Kira Hug: If someone wants to just connect with you, Twitter’s the best place, or where should they go just to connect with you?
Paul Roetzer: I’m pretty active on Twitter, but LinkedIn is the home base for me.
Kira Hug: That’s right.
Paul Roetzer: I’d say you heard this podcast. I always love to see where people are coming from, but I’m pretty good about not only connecting there, especially if someone tells me why they’re connecting and then messaging on there. It’s less full than my inbox for now.
Kira Hug: For now. Thank you. I really appreciate your time-
Paul Roetzer: Thank you.
Kira Hug: … Paul. This is really helpful, so thank you. That is the end of our conversation with Paul. Before we close out the interview, let’s just hit on a couple ideas here. Rob, so why don’t you kick it off?
Rob Marsh: Well, I mean, I could go on and on about the fears of-
Kira Hug: I think we could just leave that alone, I think it was well said, but yes, yes.
Rob Marsh: At some point, I think you and I maybe should have a whole episode about this. I’ve shared a couple of articles with you, somebody that I have read, Erik Hoel, who is very fatalistic about where we’re going with AI. And so maybe we can save that conversation for another time. But it’s something that we need to be thinking about too. We need to be thinking about AI and its impact on society beyond the impact on copywriting or marketing or our jobs because there are some really big risks out there, and it’s not just about eliminating work. And so anyway, we can get to that, but I’d encourage anybody who’s listening to start thinking about that. The books that he recommended are probably worth checking out. I actually downloaded one immediately after hearing it.
Kira Hug: Which one did you get?
Rob Marsh: So well, I downloaded it, it was the first one that he recommended, which I think was AI Superpowers. Unfortunately, the copy that my library has is in German, which makes no sense to me at all. So maybe the AI doesn’t want me to actually listen to that book or read that book.
Kira Hug: You’re learning Italian. You can’t also learn German at the same time. Sorry.
Rob Marsh: Exactly. But I do think there’s a lot that we need to be thinking about, and the more we can learn, as he said, finding experts that we can trust, we can listen to, we can learn from. He gave a couple of really good examples. Obviously, this podcast is trying to help with that learning curve for us, and I just think more of us need to keep our eyes on what’s going on with the industry.
Kira Hug: Yeah, I did order AI Superpowers after chatting with Paul. That was the only one I ordered. I’m taking it one by one. I was expecting it to be really dense and hard to read. It’s actually been a really fun, interesting read. I’m about a third of the way through, so highly recommend you start with that book. Not the German copy, unless you speak German. But that’s a good one to start with.
I mean, I think what he said is that we can start these conversations around marketing because in many ways this is very exciting for business owners, for marketers. It’s scary too, but this is… Can I say fun? There’s an upside, but that’s a great way to pull people into the conversation and talk to people and learn. As business owners, we need to learn it anyway. And then let’s also think about the broader implications because if we’re not thinking about it, who else is going to think about it? Because right now there are no guardrails on this, it’s just taking off and you wonder who is in charge and paying attention to what is going to happen with it. This is a great entry point, how to use this in our businesses, to stay in business, to grow our businesses, and then go deeper when you’re ready.
Rob Marsh: And while we’re talking about how to use it in our businesses, that was part of the conversation that stood out to me as well, is that those of us that have processes, those of us who are already doing businesses as copywriters, content writers, strategists, because we have that stuff in place, we’re actually perfectly positioned to try out these tools and figure out, “Okay, where does it make me more efficient?” Not just with output, but again, with processes, with research, with summarization. Paul mentioned a bunch of different ways that he and his team are using AI. Because we know the process, we know how to go from blank slate to finished sales page, email, whatever, being able to use those processes, put them into AI, it makes us the perfect people to be using these tools.
Kira Hug: Yeah, exactly. All right, so I think I would just end on, if you’re feeling anxious about it, do what Paul recommends, which is take action, right? It’s just really easy to sit with all this and feel anxious, I’ve done that many times, but if you can write about it, it’s okay to write and post even if you don’t have all the answers. You don’t have to show up as an expert. Even Paul doesn’t call himself an expert, even though I’m like, “You’re an expert,” but we all can just share before you’re ready so we can all learn together.
Rob Marsh: We want to thank Paul for joining us on the podcast to talk about AI and how it’s changing the scope of not just our industry, copywriting, but the creative industry as a whole. Paul, as we mentioned in our discussion with him, he’s hosting a summit on March 30th with a focus on AI, how to leverage it for your business. If you want to join the summit, there’s a free option. You can go to aiwritersummit.com, and we’ll also link to that in the show notes. If you want to keep up with Paul, listen to what he has to share about AI. He mentioned that he’s on LinkedIn and also on Twitter, @PaulRoetzer, and his last name is R-O-E-T-Z-E-R.
Kira Hug: And that’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter Addison Rice. The outro is composed by copywriter and songwriter David Mutner. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please visit Apple Podcast, take a couple of minutes, and leave your review of the show, we really appreciate it. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.