Why ChatGPT should not be your copywriter


Why ChatGPT should not be your copywriter


Jun 5, 2024

As a copywriter working in a design agency, I’ve heard it all before: “We’ll just have someone on our team write the copy–it can’t be that hard.” “We’ll have to send you the content because there’s no way you’ll be able to properly describe what we do.” And most recently: “We’re just going to have ChatGPT write the copy” (Copywriters faint dramatically on chaise longues around the world).

If you’re not too familiar with copywriting as a practice and a profession, it makes sense that you would think or say any of the above. After all, it’s only natural to believe that someone who works on your team day-in, day-out would be the best candidate to describe to customers what you have to offer. And it’s true! So think of a copywriter as your translator: Someone who speaks your language and works closely with you to make sure the way you communicate with your users is understandable, accessible, and makes their experience as seamless as possible.

Today I’m here to tell you a few reasons why it’s important to have your translator—that is, copywriter—by your side when you create copy for a new website or digital product.

Content is design, design is storytelling

At Indicius, as in many web design agencies, we use a content-first approach. This means that before the design team gets their hands on a webpage or platform, the first version of all the text that will go on the page is already laid out. It also means that it’s the copywriter’s job to decide exactly what type of journey we will take users on as they scroll: The content they’ll read, the sections they’ll explore, and the actions they’ll be able to take. As a copywriter, I’m the first person making the important decisions about the layout of a site, often collaborating with designers to ensure alignment.

This may seem simple, but it comes with a hundred tiny decisions that will affect user experience on each page. For example, how much text should be in the hero? What’s the main CTA? How many sections should there be? In what format should information be shown? How long should we make each block of text? Each and every one of these decisions depends on an intimate knowledge of best practices in web and UX copy, deep understanding of the target audience, competitor benchmarking, and SEO, among other pieces of pre-work. So how do we even start?

When laying out a page of copy, the first thing I consider is: What is the story I want to tell users with this page? Most often, I choose the Brand Story route–working with the information that we learned in our Brand Narrative Workshop, which is a pre-requisite for all of our copy services. In this workshop, we lay out the journey a user takes as if they were an epic hero, with you, our client, as the expert guide who will lead them to success. No matter the brand’s voice or personality, this framework both captures customers’ attention and ensures that they feel empowered when they land on your website, enticed to continue the journey. It also ensures a cohesive and intuitive experience on each page.

In sum: Content is a first, and essential step in the web design process. Copywriters have the knowledge and storytelling skills necessary to ensure that this content is laid out in a way that’s both intuitive and empowering for the customer. Doesn’t seem so separate from design now, does it?

We join forces with you to leverage your expertise

As a person with first person experience in the industry, it’s understandable that it would be difficult to release control over to an external copywriter to write your content. After all, how can we possibly describe what you do better than you, the expert?

Here’s where our collaboration skills come in as an agency. We know we can’t do this without you–you’re the number one expert on your company and industry. But as copywriters, we’re the experts in storytelling. And remember how I just said that storytelling is essential to keep users interested? We use a combination of our research and your knowledge to translate what you do into a story that keeps readers turning the pages.

So how do we do this? The first step is extracting knowledge from you, through our collaborative workshops. By asking the right questions, I get what I need as a copywriter to write your company’s story. Alongside this, I research what customers are saying about you through online review mining and one-on-one user interviews (Voice of Customer Research), so I can get a sense of how real users perceive your brand. This way, we can speak to their real needs and perceptions without guesswork. And finally, I take a look at your competitors to see what strategies they’re using in terms of messaging to see what’s resonating with their audience and what we can do to stand out.

With a deep understanding of your business, industry, competitors, and users, we can help write the story that your brand wants to tell.

Brand voice is everything

The work of a UX copywriter doesn’t stop at laying out a webpage–another essential part of a copywriter’s job is helping a company define its brand voice.

Brand voice refers to how a company’s personality is expressed through words. Think of it this way: If your brand was a person, how would they talk, text, or write? Would they be friendly and approachable, or formal and professional? Would they speak with colloquial language, or would they stick to more technical, industry-specific jargon? Would they stick to conventions, or step outside the box?

For example, imagine the language used on an app like Duolingo (friendly, personable, informal) versus your banking app (professional, formal, straightforward). You wouldn’t expect–or want–a message from your banking app to say “Aw man! You got an overdraft fee. That’s a bummer,” just as you wouldn’t be very motivated by a cold, impersonal message from the Duolingo owl. Both companies have taken very deliberate care to define their brand voice based on what they know their audience is looking for.

A huge reason we begin our design and copy processes with workshops and user interviews is to get a sense of your brand voice, based on industry, target audience, how people talk about the brand and how you want it to be perceived. Once we define your brand’s personality, we can decide how it will talk, which will be reflected in all written content, as well as providing a basis for designers to align the visual identity with the written one.

And how can you keep a consistent brand voice, might you ask? We offer a Brand Strategy Guide that lays out your brand’s voice, tone, personality, values, and everything you need to get your team aligned and always writing in a consistent voice. The idea behind this guide is that anyone–whether it’s me or another copywriter or content creator–can read it and understand how to write on-brand copy. Before designing a new website or product, it’s great to have this as a jumping-off point. A consistent, cohesive brand voice helps users understand your company, building trust and recognition.


So, that was a lot. Let me give you a little TL;DR to sum it up:

  • Copywriters are often the first people to decide how your website or product will be laid out, which requires UX knowledge and experience

  • Copywriters are professional storytellers, helping you transmit your message in a way that resonates with customers

  • Copywriters back up their decisions with industry, competitor, and user research to ensure alignment with user expectations and industry norms

  • Copywriters help you define and standardize your brand voice to generate trust and recognition in customers

As a copywriter who wants to continue writing copy for years to come, without being replaced by ChatGPT, you may think I’m a little biased. But what it’s missing is the living, breathing heart required to truly know clients and users, and translate their story exactly the way it needs to be told.

If you’re looking for copy services for your website or product, reach out to us at contact@indicius.com.