What does it take to write a work of genius?
Whatever it is, Harper Lee had it. She penned the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. But when she first sent the manuscript to her publisher, it was no masterpiece.
In fact, it wasn’t even called To Kill a Mockingbird. Her editor, Therese von Hohoff Torrey, said that although “[t]he spark of the true writer flashed in every line,” it was “more a series of anecdotes than a fully conceived novel.” 
Torrey steered, supported and debated with Lee, to fashion a work of genius.
Why should you care?
GET READY FOR THE AI CONTENT TORRENT
We’re about to face a flood of AI-generated content. Yet, already, most content goes unread. Most adverts slip, noiselessly, into obscurity.
Just as Harper Lee competed with thousands of writers for publication, you compete with millions of brands for headspace.
That’s old news.
What’s not so old is the competition: articles and adverts written using generative artificial intelligence (AI) like Chat GPT.
WHAT WILL BLEND IN? WHAT WILL STAND OUT?
Now let’s be clear: Chat GPT is very impressive. It’s generally coherent, although often loose with the facts. It’s even, sometimes, engaging.
But by its nature, it does what other people are doing. It scours internet blogs.
Aggregates billions of emails. Uses gazillions of ads.
In other words, generative AI mines content. Say 80% of that content is written by hobbyists – then only 20% is written by professional writers. Within that 20%, plenty still fails to capture the imagination. When a Chat GPT blog reads like a high-school essay, it’s not hard to see why.
Maybe that’ll change. AI improves every day. But crafting exceptional content is a moving feast too – yesterday’s ‘cut above’ is today’s copy-cat trash. And unless some fundamentals transform, you’ll need certain skills to stand out.
YOUR OPPORTUNITY: BE MORE HOHOFF
Writing with Chat GPT is very much like being Harper Lee’s editor, Therese von Hohoff Torrey.
You need to suggest, somewhere in the infinite directions you could take from a topic, a real, compelling story. To see the potential of a single sentence of not- there-yet output – and fashion it into something beautiful. Tweaking sentences, cadences or the whole structure.
Bottom line? The quality of your content depends on the deep thinking behind the inputs.
IT AIN’T EASY, AND THAT’S THE BEAUTY
Here’s the good bit: most people won’t invest the time and effort to use AI well.
Because most people will use it to cut costs and cut out skillsets. So, the deluge of AI content will be, on average, utterly forgettable.
And that’s where you can win. Because you can use AI differently. Developing ideas in off-the-wall ways, creating clichés then avoiding them, and nuancing your work.
That way, as the flood comes in, you’ll be turning out superb content, elegant concepts and cut-through comms. While others get drowned out by the noise.
LET’S PUSH HARDER THAN EVER
We can’t all be Harper Lee, or an editor like Hohoff. Talent like that doesn’t grow on trees (as a writer, I say that with the green eyes of envy).
What we can do is push harder than ever for quality – and at Agency Inc, we’ll be doing exactly that. Testing and experimenting with AI, but never relying on it. Challenging and enriching ideas, but never cutting corners.
Look out for the result of those experiments – and more practical ways to use and subvert Chat GPT – soon.
This intelligence was not artificial. We make the complicated simple.