Does AI Copywriting Work? We Tested 6 of The Best AI Writing Softwares So You Don't Have To

Published 
August 18, 2021
S

o you’ve heard that AI writing software can write your marketing content for you?

Apparently it can write anything from ads and social media posts to long-form articles. The subscription options are very affordably priced, putting it in reach of any business.

As a content writer, I am a bit skeptical.

I’m open to the idea that AI writing software could adequately produce short-form content. I also know from first-hand experience that writing and SEO software is invaluable for polishing final drafts. It tidies up grammar, or technically improves your content for search results. Grammarly is a well-known provider in this space and also uses AI, but to help improve what you've already written.

My intuition says that AI writing software couldn’t produce original or creative content at the equivalent level of an experienced human writer. Not for anything more complex than simple adverts, non-creative product descriptions or a basic blog article.

However, I know there are many entrepreneurs and small business owners who don’t have the budget to regularly hire writers. Or perhaps you’re in a pressurized marketing team that could really use help getting drafts started and completed more quickly with less brain power. After all, not every writing requirement is complex.

There are a number of well-known businesses already using it. Alibaba uses it for product descriptions, and Associated Press for simple articles like announcing game scores. That’s not exactly the same scenario as handing over all of your brand’s marketing content creation to an AI writer though.

I’ve shortlisted six of the best AI writing software programs to try out for myself. All of the platforms I’m using let you sign up for a free trial.

Below, you’ll get to see exactly how the results pan out!

There are some things I think AI writing software might actually do quite well, like pull together concise research notes by scanning the internet quickly. I also suspect there will be several shortcomings requiring human intervention.

My primary focus in this exercise is the comparative quality of content generated rather than testing out multiple features for every content format.

To keep it fair, I’ll be giving each software the same two tasks; a B2B blog article, and an eCommerce product description.

For B2B brands, the most the time-consuming content production centers around blog articles where subject matter is factual and perhaps more complex. For eCommerce the content marketing foundation can rest more heavily on product descriptions, which need to be more inspirational and potentially also educational.

I’m basing the examples below on these two pieces of existing content, for reference:

These two examples should be enough for either a B2B or eCommerce brand to get a comparative insight into the AI writing software capabilities.

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Content Writing Challenges

Here are some of the typical challenges I contend with when producing any long-form content especially, or a product description:

  • Understand the goal - I have to create or read briefs, consider the overall goal of the piece and the audience’s needs. There can be room for interpretation, I’ll have to fill in gaps based on my own discernment, or I might need to ask questions for more clarity.
  • Understand the topic - There can be lots of information about a topic that I need to research and understand before I can write coherent and informed content within the requested word count. If the word count is quite limited, I’ll need to be selective about what contextual information to include or omit.
  • Message clarity - This relates to understanding the aim and the topic and then being clear about what I’m saying. Good writing makes logical sense, is easy to follow, and doesn't have conflicting messages. I have to use a structure so that information flows with human logic and helps the reader easily follow the thread of thought or develop their understanding.
  • Adapt the tone of voice - The tone of voice across businesses will vary depending on the brand identity and guidelines, target audience, subject matter, publishing platform and the goal of the piece. This is really important for connecting with the reader based on why (and where) they are likely to be reading the content.
  • ‍Incorporate brand messaging, USPs and calls to action - This needs to be done naturally. It’s an important part of developing unique and on-brand content that stands out against competitors. I may need to mention specific products, link to more company content, and build up to relevant calls to action.
  • ‍Use narrative, opinion-based slants or original ideas - I can be asked to produce an article that takes a selective view and opinion-based stance, or follows a particular narrative. The same goes for finding unique ideas or conclusions. I need to consider different perspectives and how information could be interpreted differently. And when it comes to writing original copy, it takes creativity.
  • Relate products or services to needs and benefits - I may have to tie customer challenges or desires to the particular product or solution on offer, demonstrating an understanding of the typical customer’s needs and drivers. This requires creativity when it’s subjective subject matter, such as associations for the scent of a perfume and feelings it might evoke.
  • Incorporate SEO elements - After writing, I review where I can fit in more keywords, add relevant internal or external links, more content suggestions, or make my writing more reader-friendly. Writing needs to score well for uniqueness to rank well, and ideally won't compete too highly with other content on your site. Content is ultimately for humans and not search engine bots, so it needs to read naturally after incorporating these elements.
  • Use general discernment - Content representing your brand needs to be carefully considered for alignment. I have to use discernment regarding the information or wording I include, considering how it fits with the brand to influence reader perception.

And of course, this doesn’t include the strategic aspects of deciding what content to write and where to publish it. That’s another specialism on its own. However, martech is still fundamental in that sphere by providing data such as engagement statistics, keyword volume research or trending topics.

Before we proceed, a quick note about language and translations. Having worked in organizations that translate English copy for international target audiences, I know that AI-generated translations rarely deliver adequate copy. English doesn’t translate literally into other languages without the human ability to interpret and rephrase or paraphrase correctly for the specific language. It would be a time-saver rather than replace the need for a translator. Combining that with my distinct lack of foreign language fluency, I’m focusing on English content requirements only.

Now, let’s get into it and see how AI writing software measures up against these content writing challenges!

Writesonic

Writesconic offers a whole range of content options for specific channels right down to the platforms. From digital ad copy and social media copy to e-commerce and article copy. 

There are 7 main content categories to choose from. It’s then narrowed down into specific platforms or content types, like Facebook Ads, Product Descriptions, Landing Pages or the AI Article Writer.

Sign up for a free trial with no credit card details required.

Writesonic Article Test

To write an article: Writesonic will help you choose a title, you’ll need to put in a short introduction, choose an outline of suggested H2 headings, then you’ll be able to generate an article draft. 

(H2 means a second-level heading. They sit under H1, which is the article title. They form the high-level structure of any article, with H3+ headings sitting under them.)

My input was “Discover the different advertising formats and channels available. This article will give you an overview of the types of online advertising you can choose from. You’ll learn what advertising goals each channel and pricing models serve best.” 

Here’s a snapshot of what I got:

Writesonic blog article AI writing example

Writesonic Product Description Test

You’ll need to input a product name, product characteristics as a simple list, choose a tone of voice, and off you go.

My characteristic inputs were “One click open, 32oz large, fast flow, hard wearing, BPA Free Tritan Co-Polyester, premium craftsmanship, leak-proof lid, shatter resistant durability, spill proof lid, reusable, eco-friendly”

Here’s the first result:

Writesonic product description AI writing example

Thoughts on Writesonic

Article - The short blog article generated was rather basic, but of course this is a more complex B2B topic. The suggested outlines weren’t particularly strong. However, the copy does read well and there are points I could pull from an article research perspective. There are other blog writing tools you can work with, including an outline generator and a paragraph writer. I found the paragraph generator helpful, as per screenshot example below.

Product description - I’m happy with this. It covers all the points in a natural flowing syntax, also offering length variations. I could copy one of these right onto an eCommerce site.

Copy.ai

Copy.ai has 11 main categories of content type to choose from with a whole bunch of content-specific sub-options. From social, ads and blog tools to emails and event copy, every content marketing need is covered. You can create social posts for specific platforms, or it will even ‘Freestyle’ to write anything you need.

 Sign up for a free trial with no credit card details required.

Copy.ai Article Test

Copy.ai doesn’t write full blog articles but will help you generate all components, from ideas and outlines to titles and sections. 

My input for this ‘section’ was ‘How search engine advertising works’, which is an H2 subheading level for my article.

Copy.ai article AI writing example

Copy.ai Product Description Test

Enter your product title, description and choose the tone of voice to get 4 drafts of varying length, which you can then select from to ask for more examples of.

Copy.ai product description AI writing example

Thoughts on Copy.ai

Article - I do think that not generating full articles is a sensible and helpful approach. Pushing the user to generate article content by better defined sections will help get a better end result. It gave me 4 section options of varying length and for each you can request more similar versions. The results here are good quality and I would definitely find the sections useful to help me put together an article with less effort. This tool is essentially completing the research and writing for you.

Product description - Only the longest version of the 4 initial options included all my product features. The intro for that one isn’t right, but I can easily generate more versions and generally this reads very well. It’s a great time-saving starting point.

Jasper

Jasper is another multi-purpose AI writer for marketing content. The Template center supports content writing the full range of marketing channels, right down to specific platforms.

You can sign up for a free trial by providing credit card details, however you won’t be charged if you cancel before the subscription ends.

Jasper lets you enter your own freestyle tone of voice description, which I love. There’s also a Jasper 101 learning center to help you “build a solid foundation and understanding of how Jasper works so you can start using Jasper in the best way possible for your writing needs”.

Jasper Article Test

There are options for how to generate an article, including a full blog created for you. It seems to be missing a title generator currently. But there are plenty of other blog tools in here for you, like a paragraph generator, content improver and SEO tool.

I’m going to take the lazy route and use the “One-shot blog post” with just the following inputs: Types Of Online Advertising To Fuel Your Revenue Growth. Search engine advertising, Display advertising, Social media advertising, In-app advertising, Native advertising, Video advertising.

Jasper article AI writing example

Jasper Product Description Test

You can choose the Amazon Product Description template in either paragraph or bullet format, or there’s also a general Product Description generator. I used the general one with my usual inputs and “excited” tone of voice.

Jasper product description AI writing example

Thoughts on Jasper

Article - I think this One-shot blog post tool could either give you a helpful starting point, or serve simple topic needs. To compare it to Copy.ai’s section generator, I also tried the paragraph generator with the input “How search advertising works”. The output quality was about the same as Copy.ai, but a little shorter and not split up into paragraphs for you. Or if you go into the doc focus mode, you can work through the article in an editor, generating paragraphs as you go based on your descriptive inputs. The screengrab below shows what I got from inputting “search advertising goals”. It’s not entirely what I’d want to say, but still helpful.

Jasper AI writing example

Product description - The descriptions were fine, although not always including all the features. They were somewhat repetitive using clichéd phrases like ‘look no further’ - a personal peeve of mine. For reference, neither the paragraph or the bullet version of the Amazon Product Description template gave me all of the product information I entered. I would find that irritating if I wanted all features included in each draft. The general product description tool, as shown above, performed better.

Ink

Ink is  an AI writer with SEO Optimizer and Content Planner options. Get started on the free version with no credit card details required.

First go into the Hey Ink tool, then hit the button for “More AI Tools’. You’ll get 9 main categories of content formats to choose from covering the spectrum of marketing writing requirements. There’s a whole host of cool tools in here, from value propositions and an FAQs generator to AI images and a hashtag generator.

Ink Article Test

Go to the Long Form Writing tool. This looks like a Google Doc, and you’ll need to start the piece off yourself with a title and at least a few sentences, before hitting the “Ai Write” button. This tool is one to work through the article with you directing it rather than generating a whole article for you.

In the screenshot below, the highlighted text is what it generated for me from the text I had input above it. Additionally,  in the left viewing pane, you’ll see some introduction text it generated for me. 

Ink article AI writing example

Ink Product Description Test

I used my usual inputs for the water bottle product description.

Ink product description AI writing example

Thoughts on Ink

Article - Unlike the other tools so far, I can’t see a “tone of voice” input field in the main Long Form Writing tool, although it’s probably taking its cue from my initial inputs. However, a tone of voice field is available within some other Ink tools. The sentence it generated for me isn’t particularly helpful and wouldn’t assist me much with my writing flow. But I think the introduction paragraphs are fine and could help get an article started.

Product description - The descriptions generated were ok and would also be a helpful starting point to work from. However, they do seem to use some creative license with product features that may not be true. You’d need to have someone spend time reviewing these to make sure accuracy is maintained. For example, “best smelling cap”?? Lol.

Anyword

Anyword is just like the other AI writers in that there are multiple template categories you can choose from to create content suited for the specific marketing channel or platform.

Start your free trial with no credit card details.

Anyword Article Test

To use the Blog Wizard tool, you’ll need to enter a description for the article you want, enter a topic or industry, and any keywords you want to use for SEO. You’ll then get suggested titles, outlines and intros. With these selected, you can generate your article, which will be your H2s and blank text boxes under them to start filling in. 

You can create each paragraph with AI by describing what you want to cover and how long you want the paragraph to be. Keep adding paragraphs one by one, with as many as you want under each H2.

Anyword article AI writing example

Anyword Product Description Test

Go to the “Data-Driven Editor”, then click on “See all use cases”. Here you’ll find all the templates for varying content formats and platforms. There are 10 categories to choose from, and I’m using the General Product Listing template.

You can input the title, description, select a target audience, tone of voice, list or paragraph format and talking points (optional).

Anyword product description AI writing example

Thoughts on Anyword

Article - I like this interface. Again, blog writing requires a collaborative approach with the writer in order to get high quality results, so this is great. The generated text reads well. However, I did have some issues getting it to write about exactly what I intended. You can see from the screenshot that the second paragraph of text doesn’t talk about advertising campaign goals, as per my description in the input box on the right. Instead, the generated paragraph is about using an agency, which is unrelated. So I gather this wouldn’t always be helpful for inputting only relevant information automatically.

Product description - The list generator comes up with decent enough descriptions in terms of natural syntax. However they could benefit from longer introductions, especially if you want to work in keywords for SEO. And the paragraph generator only gives single sentences of the features - exactly as I entered them in the description input field - so wasn’t useful.

Copysmith

Copysmith is another broad AI writing tool that can cater to both eCommerce and B2B writing needs. There are 7 main template categories to choose from covering the usual content spectrum, from ads to blogs, websites and social media.

Start a free trial with no credit card details required.

Copysmith Article Test

As with the other AI writers, there are a number of blog tools, from topic ideas to intros or a rewriter. I’m using the “Long form content creator”. Start off with your title and some text, which could be generated from the other tools such as Blog Kickstarter. Highlight some text then hit the generate button to add more. You can see below that there is a pane to the right where multiple suggestions are displayed, and you can hit the copy button to insert one into your main editor doc.

Copysmith article AI writing example

Copysmith Product Description Test

Start by entering the company or brand name, brand keywords, look up some SEO optimized keywords, enter the product characteristics, select your tone, and also give any keywords you want to avoid. (Note that you can’t exceed 80 characters for product characteristics)

Copysmith product description AI writing example

Thoughts on Copysmith

Article - As always, the quality and specificity of what you put in depends on what you get back. I’ve no complaints with what I got here in comparison with other tools. It’s good quality content that’s on topic and would help me fill out sections quickly - assuming an article outline and talking points are already in place. Again, I really like this interface and find it very easy to use.

Product description - I appreciated the keyword tools within the generator which is time saving. However not being able to enter more than 80 characters for product characteristics was a surprising limitation! There isn’t an option to leave out the company/brand name, impacting how the title was formatted, but you could edit titles yourself later. The tool gave me 14 variations to review, all of good quality and perfectable usable.

More AI Writers

If you’d like to explore more of the options out there, here’s a shortlist:

  • AI Writer generates short articles showing the source URLs used, reword copy and supports SEO editing.
  • Scalenut is an all-rounder AI copywriting tool for content creators and marketers, including SEO tools.
  • WordAI creates rewrites rather than generating new content to optimize text for uniqueness and readability. 
  • Article Forge is for generating articles. It integrates with Wordpress sites and can schedule publishing for you. There’s also an API integrator for other CMS platforms.
  • WordAi is not a content generator per se, but a basic interface that ‘spins’ existing content into more unique versions.
  • AdZis gives you unique eCommerce product descriptions and original blogs and articles for Shopify.
  • Articoolo is an article generator that can also spin old content for an SEO boost.
  • Kafkai creates unique articles for SEO and affiliate marketing.
  • Zyro is a website builder that can auto-generate website copy.

My Overall Impressions

Overall, the quality of content generated was high. The tools were all user friendly. Every piece of content was super quick to produce - with my inputs already prepared of course. There weren’t any glaringly bad ones in the bunch.

I really like that they all provide so many content format options, right down to the social or eCommerce platforms. This is what I would expect to see from AI writing tools that can support production of a full spectrum of marketing content, tailored for specific channels. The ideation and SEO tools are also great inclusions, where applicable.

Depending on your brand's particular needs, clearly not all AI writers are equal. Some gave better product descriptions and others were stronger for articles. Ultimately, you will still need capable people behind the wheel. AI writing software is a content writing time-saver - not a magic silver bullet!

For eCommerce businesses that generate large volumes of repetitive product descriptions that need to be unique for SEO, I’d definitely get myself a subscription. Perhaps Writesonic from my experience here.

For businesses looking to create more blog content, I would also consider an AI writing tool too. Not to replace content writing and editing as a human skillset but to help reduce the burden of research, drafting and reviewing for SEO. I think Copy.ai, Jasper or Copysmith are the ones I’d try out further.

Would I personally use one? 

I’m mostly a B2B blog writer, and honestly, I’m not sure I’d find any of the tools as helpful as my own research and outlines. But I work with more complex subject matter. Our brand looks to provide valuable and detailed guides, incorporating our own agency experience and knowledge. However, I could see myself using one to save time filling out paragraphs.

I do think there would be a danger if you relied on an AI writer instead of conducting proper research, resulting in weaker or less valuable information as a result. Unless you’re just rewriting other brands' content where they have clearly put in the research or knowledge. Whether there are SEO repercussions for less unique articles in terms of the content (not wording), I can’t say with certainty.

However, I do recommend shortlisting a few AI writers for your brand’s most important or voluminous content formats and trying them out for yourself. It’s so quick and easy. And if you do go down the AI writing route, perhaps start with a monthly subscription rather than an annual subscription. Just in case it doesn’t satisfy your team’s needs in practice as initially expected.

Half Past Nine is a white-glove growth agency helping ambitious brands scale quickly through paid media, marketing intelligence and holistic strategy. Please feel free to check out more of our marketing research and insights before you go!

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