‘Put that thing awaaaaay,’ I wailed. 

‘Just try it,’ said my boyfriend. ‘What do you want it to write?’

I crossed my arms, sulking like a child. I didn’t want to try it. But a part of me knew it was inevitable part of the future of writing and marketing, so I might as well see what I was up against. ‘Fine. Tell it to write a ghost story.’

That thing I didn’t want to try was an AI writing app.

What if it was better than me?

What if it was crap and a waste of time?

Reader, it was neither of those things. 

We tried a few iterations. It came up with some good phrases, but that was it. 

The plot was lacking, the characters had no depth, and there was no emotion. It read more like a how-to guide. If you’d like to read what it came up with and more on my analysis as an author, stay tuned for my upcoming blog post (out later this week on my author blog), can AI write a ghost story?

Perhaps AI is better suited to nonfiction. I’ve seen people use it help with HTML and ad copy. 

But actually, to write engaging, memorable, persuasive nonfiction of any kind, you still need to embody the basic principles of creative writing. And that’s what it lacks. 

One of my old uni lecturers, Simon Heywood, summed it up perfectly:

To my eye, the AI writes – kind-of-exactly – like an aspiring human writer writes, when:
(a) they haven’t got anything of substance to say and are writing purely with dreams of commercial success or other external validation for its own sake
(b) they haven’t put enough work into developing their technique.
And that’s it. The AI mimics creative writing well enough … but *only* bad, cynical, underformed creative writing.

Simon Heywood, storyteller and Creative Writing lecturer at the University of Derby

AI will never be able to recreate your purpose, passion, or voice. It’s always going to be more like a general consensus of what performs well.

But as you’ve probably noticed, we can never guarantee what will resonate with people and go viral.

So what other elements does your writing need to stand out against AI?


I’m starting with this point because I mentioned it above and it’s often missing in blog posts.

Great writing makes your audience feel. This comes from using emotive words. The AI tried to do that a few times, with gems like this:

As the group of friends entered the abandoned house, they were immediately enveloped in a thick, musty air that seemed to cling to their skin. The floorboards creaked beneath their feet, and the sound echoed eerily throughout the empty rooms.

I like the visuals. It’s quite atmospheric.

But it just isn’t quite there. It’s still kind of clunky. It feels like it’s trying too hard by shoehorning in everything it possibly can to create that spooky atmosphere.

To trigger emotions in your audience, you need vivid language.

But you also don’t want to force it.

That’s the issue the above example has. Yes, it’s vivid. But it’s also a lot of description crammed into a short space and, while we can picture it, we still don’t know what’s going on in the characters’ heads.

Another missed opportunity:

Despite the eerie atmosphere, the friends were determined to investigate the rumored hauntings. 

We never learn their motivations, any history of the house, anything that makes it feel particularly human. And that’s why it’s just not scary.

AI can’t add all these elements itself. You have to come up with them in the brief. And if you’re going to go to that effort to come up with it all, why not just write it yourself?

Story structure

AI can understand a basic story structure. It may hit the beats it thinks it’s supposed to hit.

But it’s not going to notice when things just don’t work.

It’s not going to be able to analyse it and find ways to push things a little more, or notice when it’s time to reign things in.

You can use story structure in your marketing, tying it in with your audience and the journey you want them to go on. (Just remember not to use The Hero’s Journey in your marketing.)


Yes, I know AI can write a poem. It can’t write poetry. 

As I’ve said before, poetry is everywhere. It’s about how you look at the world. 

Technology can be poetry, beautiful or ugly. 

The environment can be poetry, beautiful or ugly.

I had a friend once who wrote a poem about a rubbish bin. On the spot. It was actually pretty good.

Poetry triggers emotions and reactions and images and wants and needs and thoughts and desires and hopes and epiphanies in the reader. Sometimes in the poet, too.

There are times when I’ve read a poem and gone, ‘Holy shit. That IS me. I wish I’d written that.’ Those are the great poems.

AI will never be able to write something with that level of emotional resonance because it hasn’t lived through anything and it doesn’t have empathy.

You don’t always need to feel represented in a poem to feel moved, of course. 

Search for my Tongue, by Sujata Bhatt, isn’t a poem I can relate to, but I appreciate its beauty and I feel the narrator’s struggles. It’s so powerful the imagery from it has stuck with me for 20 years. 

(Side note: I met Sujata when I was doing my Creative Writing masters degree and not only is she very talented but she’s very lovely too. And obviously her poems are great.)

If you’re looking to add more imagery and visuals to your writing, studying poetry is the best and fastest way to learn how to do that. Because that’s what it’s all about.

Fact checking

AI can’t fact check.

ChatGPT even has a disclaimer that it can’t guarantee stats are accurate.

And since there’s a lot of false information and stats out there, fact checking your sources – and citing the original research, not another blog that shared it – will give you and your brand more authority and credibility.


Your personality is what makes you, you. Your brand has one too: it’s how you stand out from competitors.

Your brand personality may be the same as yours, or they may share elements. Chances are, it has something in common with you. It’s a lot easier to channel a brand’s personality if it aligns with yours.

When you channel this into your content through jokes, stories, gifs, images, and other means, you – and your brand – become more memorable. 

My personality is all over this site: it’s in the ghost stories referenced above, the dog breeds in my package names, and the bold colours of the design.

I don’t need to describe myself to you because you can tell I love spooky stories, dogs, and obnoxiously bright colours. Which suggests I can be bold and opinionated, but I’m also a softie at heart.

You’ll have something too. It’s all about how you express it. 


Some people can be afraid of sharing their opinions in content, or even online. But if you’re not doing that, what prevents someone else from writing the same thing?

Even if a post is ghostwritten, your personality can still be injected through how the language is used. Through the experiences and opinions that are unique to you.

Any good ghost writer will be able to mimic your style and make it sound like you wrote it. 

You may have brand opinions, like how certain situations should be handled.

AI may be able to form an opinion around the general consensus, but it’s never going to have an opinion based on its experience. Because any opinion it could form based on experience is still going to be related to the general consensus.


I’m sure you’ve heard loads of stuff about how having a purpose in life is important: it helps you live longer, it motivates you when you’re lacking direction, etc.

Brands need a purpose too. Something specific that you, your employees, and your customers can get behind.

It may change over time, but it’s always going to tie into you and the world you want to live in.

Since AI isn’t sentient, it’s never going to have a purpose beyond what it’s being told to do.

It will never be driven by a need to make the world a better place. But its users have the choice over whether to use it for good or evil.


AI is inescapable in almost every realm of our lives. It can be destructive, and it may change some jobs, but it can also help a lot of people. And we’re going to be in stronger positions, regardless of our roles, if we learn how to embrace its strengths alongside our own. 

Content marketing is going to need to work harder in 2023, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

Outsourcing your content marketing to someone who gets you, your business, and your goals, means you get to convey all of the above while you can focus on delivering a better customer experience, supporting your employees, and generating more revenue.

Want to find out more about how we can worn together? Find out more about my content marketing services