I write with AI, you write with AI, we all write with AI.
Well, calling it writing might be a stretch but you get the point.
The question is, can you edit what an AI churns out?
Like most fellow freelance writers, the first time I watched the little cursor on the screen fill a whole page in mere seconds, I felt a mix of awe and terror.
Since then, I have made friends with AI writing assistants, both from a research standpoint and a necessity. Some clients will often provide AI-generated files for rewriting, while others, embracing the shift in the industry, have encouraged a co-existence of sorts between myself and their preferred AI pal, to speed up processes as needed.
This leads us to the question, “Is editing AI-Generated content, a new skill that all writers should develop?”
Introduction: The Rise of AI-Generated Content
In the words of Roland Orzabal, “I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad” but this “Mad World” is here to stay. So are Chat GPT, Bart, Bing Chat, and their capabilities to create text out of thin air just with a few simple prompts.
By all accounts, AI has a long way to go but let’s consider how far it has come.
From helping a man diagnose his dog and saving its life to accusing a professor of sexual harassment and being sued for defamation by a mayor in Australia, AI can become your best friend or worse enemy.
It has also become quite adept at generating convincing lies and misinformation, whether it is for propaganda or laughs and giggles.
Is AI-generated content considered spam?
The answer to this question has changed over the last year, and it is likely to change again. For most people, spam is unsolicited communication. For content writers, SEO strategists, and marketing people, it is what Google says. Last year, AI content was spam according to Google. This year, they have reversed their stance. For now, Google has no issue with AI tools, and it will still rank content written by AI writing tools, as long as you pay attention to a few key details.
Does Google penalize AI-generated content?
Yes and no.
According to the most recent Google Update on AI-generated content, the focus will remain on “the quality of content, rather than how content is produced.” Google has also stated that they believe “in the power of AI to transform the ability to deliver helpful information.”
For content writers, website owners, and everyone else in between, the emphasis is now more than ever on content that demonstrates E-E-A-T (expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness).
Of course, that all goes out the window if the content is seen as spammy and violates other Google policies. Specifically, keyword stuffing, link spam, hidden texts and links, and more.
That means copying and pasting unedited AI-generated content onto a WordPress page and hitting publish will most definitely impact your ratings negatively.
But using the general direction of an AI to rework and create an original piece, focusing on adding value to the reader? That will work!
How to edit AI-generated content – Step-by-Step Process
This will help with evaluating whether what is there is workable or if it needs a total rewrite.
Review for factual accuracy
AI is getting more advanced by the minute, but they are not always right. Mark any dates, names, specific locations, or events that you cannot verify automatically in your head and check each one before proceeding.
Whether you used the AI yourself, or you were provided with an AI-generated text from a client to rewrite, assume most of the text will have to be adapted significantly.
There is no point in risking a duplicate content violation or AI generator penalty. And there is equally no point in forcing readers to read dull, robotic text. Now that you have a good idea of the overall flow of the piece, start at the top and rewrite each paragraph as needed.
That can mean different things according to the material but most all rewrites will require:
- humanizing the language
- adding emotion and/or personal experience
- emphasizing the credibility of the author
- adapting tone and style to brand voice
- and removing fluff.
Proofread and publish
Lastly, it is time to review just like you would for any non-AI-generated piece of text. Check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and confusing sentence structures. Double-check that all formatting and brand guidelines, including regional language preferences, are adhered to.
Things I don’t recommend doing when editing AI-generated content
Employing another AI to edit the previous AI
With the exception of proofreading AI writing tools, Grammarly being one of the most popular ones, there is no reason to turn to another AI.
In my experience testing various tools like ChatGPT, Writer.com, Jasper.ai, and Copy.AI, the rewriting tools are some of the least useful ones available. And while they can spell better than some writers, they are also far more boring.
Not to mention, AI is only as good as the prompts and directions it has been given originally.
The editing process is your chance to infuse personality and establish authority. This is the time to do supplementary research and upgrade the piece of writing, from something anybody could write, to something only you could write.
Forgetting about SEO
Even if you use an AI that is geared towards producing SEO-optimized content, it is best not to overly rely on its capabilities to write it. Where AI shines, is in spotting areas of improvement and identifying missed opportunities within your text.
The final say on keyword placement and word choice should be with you, to ensure everything flows naturally.
Keeping the fluff
It can be tempting to keep some or most of the fluff that an AI generates and just “add” or “change” a few things to make it flow. Don’t be tempted! This will most definitely not pass AI content generation checkers.
Should I hire an AI content editor?
There are a couple of generally accepted rules that writers follow.
Don’t edit as you write.
Editing your own writing takes some serious skill (and can still be a pain)
A fresh pair of eyes can do wonders if you are feeling stuck.
The problem with editing AI-generated content, especially for people with no background in editing, is not so much the editing… but the rewriting!
Just like writing and editing are two completely different skills, rewriting is a completely different game. Add to that the fact that AI-generated content, appears so well written on the surface, and it can be hard to know what to change and how much of it to change.
What makes a good AI content editor?
The title might be new, as is the service, but there is a way to check how someone matches the job requirements.
Writing and editing background: a professional editor or writer is a good starting point for the role. The person tasked with the job should be proficient in writing content similar to the content you are editing and be able to demonstrate their skills with past projects in their portfolio.
Rewriting experience: writing and rewriting are two different things. It takes a special type of skill, to take something that is written well, and then turn it into a different piece altogether.
AI experience: robots and humans don’t use the same type of language. The latter is essential when it comes to content ranking. Writers that have embraced the AI trend and have tested various AI tools for strengths and limitations will know what to look out for.
Continuous learner: what works today won’t work next month. Google has drastically changed its stand on AI-generated content within one year! If your editor is stuck on the “this is how things used to be done” mentality, then they are not the person for the job. When writing for the web, what reads good, doesn’t always rank and vice versa. Find an AI editor that embraces change and is committed to learning.
Where to find an AI content editor?
It goes without saying, that a web search will prove more useful than an ad or traditional advertising route for this role. AI content editors and writers are used to interacting with clients remotely and from all over the world, so they usually have a solid online presence, or at the very least, a LinkedIn account.
How do I find AI content editors?
Linkedin: simply search for “AI content editor” or “AI writing editor”. If that fails search for “content editor” and reach out to a few that seem to fit your needs.
Fiverr: the freelancing platform was one of the first to embrace the shift to AI back in February 2023. After noting a 1400% increase in AI-related services within six months, it opened 10 services related to AI, including AI editing, AI fact-checking as well as AI photo creation. There are currently over 1500+ sellers offering AI copy editing services on the platform, with the number expected to grow. You can filter by reviews, seller rank, and budget to filter down. (can you spot me as well?)
Other Freelance Platforms: Similar to Fiverr, there are amazing freelance writers and editors to be found on Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, and more. While there are pros and cons to freelancing platforms, and everyone has an opinion on what they prefer, clients and freelancers value platforms for their ability to streamline the process and make the process faster and more efficient for both parties. Clients can browse profiles, review portfolios, request a quote, and get to work all with just a few simple clicks.
Content and Marketing Agencies: If you are already using a digital marketing agency, then why not inquire about services regarding ai generated content? Most agencies work with a team of dedicated editors that will be glad to assist with polishing your content.
Why Is it Important to Humanize AI-Generated Content?
Why would someone read what you wrote, if they could simply go to Chat GPT input a similar prompt, and read the answer there?
Similarly, why do we sit through a 2-hour documentary on WWII history, rather than ask Chat GPT to list some key dates?
Because of storytelling!
Of course, storytelling has a time and place, and sometimes you really do just need a list of key dates. But when it comes to writing, empathy, human emotion, connection, and storytelling, make a difference.
What website can humanize AI generated content?
Some things are best left to the humans. And humanizing is one of them. I would not recommend any specific AI tools or automated processes to humanize AI generated content. The AI has done its best, now it’s our turn!
Do you have any other questions about editing AI generated text?
Looking for someone to provide that human touch with your writing process, blogging, and SEO research? Let’s connect! Alternatively, you can request a quote or place an order directly on Fiverr here.