We have self-service checkout lines; robots are making cars; hardware and software are replacing clerical positions. In fact, ten million jobs will be taken over by computers and robots in the next 20 years in the UK alone, according to recent employment forecasting. And it fares better than lots of other developed nations because it has comparatively less manufacturing. Even those who are currently employed in technology and robotics will see their jobs disappear if they do not continue to upgrade their skills. This is a scary notion until we realize that technology will also create new jobs, if we are able to trains and educate a populace quickly enough – and there lies the rub. For content creators, however, forecasters say, this risky transition will not be of impact. Why? Because as much as technology has altered how content is produced and distributed, the human element of creative brilliance cannot be replicated by a robot, even one with artificial intelligence.
Technology can produce a lot of content noise, but quality is often trumped by efficiency. And in the world of content, efficiency does not equal unique. Craftsmanship does.
Organizations that focus on the technology of promotion and distribution rather than the content itself will be launching duds into cyberspace. And when those duds get no results, the solution is often sought in more technology rather than in people. As the noise gets louder, it is only people who can craft the missile that will actually fly through all of the debris.
Automation vs. Craft
We have amazing content technology today. And both process and good technology can assist content writers to scale and to automate what they create. We have tools for physical help – Canva and other apps for design; phenomenal video creation through Animoto, Directr, and more; a vast number of sources for photography; writing tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway; and even apps like Read.able, so that we have the correct reading levels for our audiences.
These are all methods by which we gain eye candy and some shortcuts. They do not impact the quality or the uniqueness of the topic ideas behind the content. That comes from the human creator. And the human creator has 4 things a program or robot does not.
This may be the most replicable part of the content writer’s job. Good grammar, ability to produce good video from a technical standpoint, etc. But skills go beyond that.
- Finding other content that can be the take-off point for new ideas
- Finding content that can be inspirational to the writer
Top content creators do not just conduct research as the need arises for a new piece of writing. Technology and robots can do that. Content creators are consistently and constantly looking for whatever is out there that may relate now or in the future. They don’t stop reading and learning; they look for content that “speaks” to them. It’s hard to launch a missile that flies without inspiration that will inspire others as well. Technology and robots can’t get inspired – how, then, do they inspire others?
Excitement is contagious. It can be seen in the classroom, when a teacher is excited about the skills or content s/he will be introducing on a given day. Content writers can experience this same excitement. And that bubbles over into their writing. Ask any one of them. There is content that they produce because it is necessary, and there is content that is produced because it is both necessary and personally exciting.
Technology cannot get excited about something. And so, if organizations rely on technology, the content will be produced. But with the excitement and enthusiasm lacking, there will be no personal connection on the part of the reader.
Technology does not take risks or think outside the box. A content creator does.
Think of all of the boring products and services out there that still must be sold to consumers. Insurance is such a product. Technology is perfectly capable of creating content that speaks to the types of policies and plans a consumer may want to consider and of delivering that content to the consumer. It is objective, well-organized, and thorough. It is also completely dull and boring.
Enter the creatives. They decide to take risks with presentation of content – risks that will capture, amuse, and engage the viewers/readers. Thus, the Geico gecko and Flo from Progressive are born. And they don’t just appear on TV ads. Both of them have Facebook pages with thousands upon thousands of followers who love to read their stories and engage in conversations with them.
Almost 285,000 people follow the Gecko on Facebook. Content creators come up with each post (and it’s daily). These are missiles that fly and they can only come from humans.
We humans have a lot of common experiences in our memories and our stories. Part of compelling and engaging content comes from speaking to those common experiences and appealing to the emotions that come with them. Content writers can put the emotional “draws” into their content because they have actually experienced what the reader/viewer may be experiencing. Robots and technology have no such experiences to draw upon.
Headbands of Hope is a for-profit company, founded by Jessica Eckstrom while she was still in college, completing an internship with the “Make a Wish” Foundation. Her company was founded on the idea of selling headbands with the additional caveat that with a purchase, a headband would also be donated to a child with cancer and $1 would be donated to children’s cancer research. Jennifer creates much of her own content for her blog and her social media platforms? Why? Because her experience is personal and she can draw upon those experiences to engage others. It works. Were she to rely solely on technology and robotic content, all of the personal connections with and among her customers and recipients would be lost.
Many content writers rely on personal connections – check out Jack Daniels, ModCloth and Toms Shoes. Today’s consumers want to know who is behind the organization and they want to know them as human not as robots who spit out impersonal and objective information and data.
You Are Safe
So content creators, take heart. So long as you continue to use those creative juices, have enthusiasm for what you write, and make those connections to your organization’s target audience, you will always have work in this noisy Internet world.