Ep. 01: Generative AI and the Freelance Writing Industry

The Freelance Writing Podcast Hosted by Melanie Green

In this episode of The Freelance Writing Podcast, host Melanie Green delves into the evolving landscape of freelance writing in the era of generative AI. She shares her insights into the impact of AI on the industry, recounting her own experiences with clients turning to AI-generated content and the subsequent resurgence of demand for human writers. Melanie candidly discusses the challenges faced by freelance writers and clients alike, navigating the blurred lines between AI-generated and human-written content. Join us as we explore the complex relationship between AI and freelance writing and consider the implications for the future of the industry.


Melanie Green [00:00:01]:
Hello. My name is Melanie Green, and I am the host of the Freelance Writing podcast. I had this idea in April 2020 that I really wanted to create a space to discuss freelance writing, not how to get Started in freelance writing, but really the nitty gritty when it comes to how to be a freelancer. I got busy, and I wasn’t able to start the podcast like I was hoping to in 2020. And then 2023, everything changed. Freelance writing is continuing to change at an unprecedented rate, and I really wanted to have a place to discuss that and to discuss the best practices with freelance writing. And you’ll notice that’s what we have here. In this episode, we’re gonna discuss some of the more recent impacts generative AI has had on the freelance writing industry and discuss some of the concerns that I have going forward for what this means for freelance writers.

Melanie Green [00:00:55]:
In 2019, one of my clients initially started using AI and replaced writers. And it was the 1st time that I really became scared that there was a possibility that robots would really take over our job. In 2023, much like other freelance writers, I was really impacted by clients deciding to try to use ChatGPT instead of working with me. I will tell you that it was a rough few months of trying to reacclimate and really finding clients that valued writers, that were human and creative. Over time, something strange happened. Clients started coming back. New clients would come, and they would really kind of lied to me, if you will. They’d say, oh, I had some junior writers write this, and so can you edit it? We’ll pay you a reduced fee.

Melanie Green [00:01:41]:
What they didn’t realize was that enough clients were doing this, that the content was very, very, very similar. It was very obvious that they were all using chat GPT, and I really just wanted a human touch afterwards. I would say about 2 months ago in October of 2023, I really started to notice that there was more of a switch to bringing back writers. So they were clients that had started to work with AI that wanted to come back to using full time writers, and clients that just wanted to start with writers from the beginning. Part of the issue that I’ve had as a freelance writer with AI is sometimes things are coming up as AI generated when they’re not. And so We’ve actually done some testing on that at some of the companies that I work with, and we have found that AI detectors, particularly originality dot ai, isn’t really clear on what is AI generated and what is human written. So we have tried to do numerous tests where we have written human text, and we have inserted it into one of these AI generators, and they claim that it’s AI written even though we just wrote it right there. It also will pick up AI, where parts of things are written with an AI, but it picks up the part that wasn’t written by AI.

Melanie Green [00:03:01]:
Sometimes AI passes as human. So they’re really not reliable. As a freelance writer, we’ve had some of the problems related to trying to make sure that things do pass even though there aren’t clear guidelines on what causes something to be flagged as AI. Another thing that happened was I think that clients had this misconception. And they would put in a title and then out comes this wonderful article that’s been SEO optimized, that’s fully edited, that’s ready to publish on their website. The truth is is that that really hasn’t been the case. Overall, a lot of the content requires a lot of fact checking, a lot of plagiarism checking, in this case, Rewriting, so it doesn’t flag AI detectors. And so it ended up being a lot of work.

Melanie Green [00:03:47]:
And I think that’s a big thing of what happened. Then the clients that hire freelance writers don’t really have the time to write the content themselves. So when they’re handing off to me, they can just say, oh, You know, here’s this topic that I want you to write about, a 1000 words, let’s just say. And so it’s very easy for them. They just get a finished piece back that they publish, and that’s sort of it. With these generative AI tools, which really aren’t artificial intelligence, but that’s another podcast. But these tools are not creating worthy content in the end. And so they’re spending a tremendous amount of time editing that content to make sure that it’s ready to go.

Melanie Green [00:04:27]:
And I think that for the clients that hire freelance writers, in the end, it really doesn’t matter If it is AI generated or not, they just need a finished piece, and so they don’t have the time to mess with that themselves. And so even if they would do AI, They aren’t necessarily able to do the finishing touches for AI because it’s not ready, and it doesn’t save that much time when you calculate all of the different steps that are involved in making it Publishworthy. So overall, do I think that AI can completely replace writers? Probably not at this time. And I kind of have some concerns long term about What’s gonna happen when Google and other search engines are just overwhelmed with AI generated content, a lot of which may not even be true or valuable, they’re gonna start punishing those websites that have a huge amount of AI content on them. And so I’m a little bit hesitant to say that it’s a smart investment now to use AI anyway because it is a little bit concerning what that content is gonna do in the long term. Thanks for spending some time with me discussing freelance writing. If you’d like to connect with me further, please feel free to reach me at my website at www.melaniegreen.info.