Ever wonder if AI is going to take over the creative side of your business?

Let's dive into this juicy topic with Copywriter Sarah Jane Burt as we chat about the balance between using AI like ChatGPT for content creation and keeping our human touch alive and well in our copywriting.

We'll share stories, struggles, and successes in integrating AI tools without losing that personal, heartfelt connection in our messages.

Whether you're a solo entrepreneur, a small business owner, or just plain curious about how AI and human creativity can coexist in the content world, this episode is packed with insights, laughter, and a few ah-ha moments about navigating the AI landscape.

Come join us for a conversation that's all about finding harmony between the efficiency of technology and the warmth of human connection.

In this episode of the podcast, we talk about:

  • The shift from classic copywriting to AI tools
  • ChatGPT's game-changing role in content creation
  • Making AI content feel more “you” and less robotic
  • The unbeatable edge of the human touch in writing
  • Balancing AI tech with genuine human connection
  • AI for inspiration and leaving thought leadership to humans

This Episode Was Made Possible By:

Riverside All-in-One Podcast & Video Platform
Visit Riverside and use the code DREA to get 15% off any Riverside individual plan. We use it to record all our podcast interviews!

Raise Your Rates 2.0
If you're struggling to have time to keep up with all the updates that happen in marketing or you're ready to hire and you just can't find the space and time to actually hire someone much less train them, that's a sign you may need to raise your rates.

Raise Your Rates 2.0 is a free audio training where you'll hear my process from start to finish, how I raise my rates without being rude and maintaining my current clients while gaining an incredible amount of clarity on how to price myself for new clients coming in.

About the Guest:

Sarah Jane Burt is the Bad Boy of Copywriting. (It’s true. She bought the domain.) She’s spent the past 12 years leading content teams, creating strategies, and writing copy for brands big and small—from multi-billion-dollar tech giants like IBM and Intuit to executive leadership coaches and even an international churro franchise. Today, she focuses on using ethical marketing and copywriting strategies to help creative entrepreneurs and small businesses build fan clubs and fuel empires.


Resources Mentioned:

Grab Sarah's FREE Monthly Content Planner

Watch the Episode Below:


Andréa Jones (00:00):
In the world of AI, it can be very challenging as a solo entrepreneur and small business owner to navigate and combat the robots. So today I have the amazing Sarah Jane Burt on the show to talk about her experience as a copywriter, what she's seeing in this space, so that we can figure out how do we navigate the robot world. Let's get into it.

Before we get into it, this episode is sponsored by Riverside, which is the all-in-one podcasting tool we now use for our show. And y'all, they feel super luxurious. Riverside is the All-in-one podcasting and video platform that gives you studio quality recordings right inside your browser. And y'all super intuitive and easy to use. Once your recording is done, you'll be able to automatically download separate audio and video tracks and edit it all within a few clicks. It's really very easy. So head over to Riverside and you'll get 15% off. That's one 5% off using my code Drea, DREA at checkout. But y'all, it's free to get started. So click the link in the show notes and get started today.

Sarah, welcome to the show. I'm so excited to chat with you today.

Sarah Burt (01:08):
I'm so excited to be here

Andréa Jones (01:10):
And just like this episode is very me, totally being curious and nosy, so y'all just get to hear me ask all the questions I want answers to. But I want to frame this conversation a little bit because you're an OG in the online freelancing space. You started your business 10 years ago as a freelance writer. Talk to us about what the beginning looked like for you.

Sarah Burt (01:33):
Yeah, so when I first got started, marketing was not, I went to school for English, so marketing was not on my radar, and I started freelancing in grad school to make some extra money. I was good at writing, so I thought, okay, I'll try copywriting. And back then there was not all of this free material to learn this stuff or even paid material. A lot of people would go and get a traditional marketing degree. There wasn't all of this ability to learn how to do it yourself. I mean, I taught myself, but I had to piece it together from YouTube videos and learning. A lot of it was learning from other people just in jobs. But yeah, I mean today there's so much more access to that kind of stuff for free and foreign investment. So back then I had to teach myself and it was a little bit harder, but I did get to learn directly from people, which I think is really awesome. I worked for a marketing agency out of grad school and then I worked for a few different marketing agencies. I worked in house for a few brands and every job was an opportunity to learn more stuff beyond just the copywriting piece.

Andréa Jones (02:54):
Same, I have a degree in English literature as well, and I started almost 10 years ago, actually it'll be 10 years ago when this episode comes out. And it's just so wild how quickly things have changed online because 10 years ago we were, I don't know about you, but I was trying to convince my clients to meet me on Skype versus calling me. That was my challenge back then, and they were just like, this is weird, can I have your phone number? So it was like that was our world, whereas now the technology has advanced so much that sending someone a Zoom link is very commonplace. So things have changed a lot in the past 10 years. It's wild. So in this copywriting space right now we're dealing with ai, artificial intelligence, and I was just researching before this episode when ChatGPT hit the market November, 2020. So it's been just over a year. So much has changed even in this past year. What's going through your mind when ChatGPT, this generative AI tool hits the market November, 2020? Paint the picture for us.

Sarah Burt (04:10):
So I think a lot of people think that AI is brand new. I just heard about it in 2023, but it's been around so many tools use ai, it's not just for writing. So it's something that I have been aware of, especially working in the tech space. A lot of my corporate jobs we're in the tech space, so I was never really worried about it taking over my job or anything. But also the tools prior to this year have not been great. So ChatGPT is kind of the first one where you're like, okay, wow, this can do some really cool stuff. I feel like prior to that I used to write blog posts for an AI writing company. They didn't use their AI to write their own blog posts, and there's a reason for that that

Andréa Jones (05:05):
Tickles me so much.

Sarah Burt (05:06):
So I was never really worried about it and none of my former clients have specifically said, we're going to try ai, but a lot of them have had budget issues this year, and I'm guessing that some of them are using AI and my whole thing is they're not going to know for six months that it can't replace a human copywriter or strategist. So that's fine. They'll figure it out and maybe some of them will come back to me. But yeah, when it came out I was not really worried about it because it's not great as is. You have to do a lot of work with what it gives you, which is fine for me, for my own processes. I would love if it made my job easier, I would would use it. I know how to write good AI prompts. I actually have a side gig where I'm training AI tools or AI algorithms by prompting them and then kind of judging what the response is. So I know how to write a good prompt. It just really does not save me time as a copywriter, I think because my clients come to me for something more than just words. You know what I mean? They come to me for a very strategic copy. So yeah, I don't think it will replace me ever. I think there's a lot, and I'm sure we'll get into this, there's a lot of stuff that it will never be able to do. That's

Stuff that humans do. But at first I was like, no, this isn't going to impact me. And then it started to impact me and I'm like, okay, I'm trying to get on board. I'm trying to use it, but so far it has not. It's great for ideation, but it has not actually helped my writing process. It would take me longer to edit and fact check a blog post from AI than it would for me to just write it myself knowing that it's accurate because I did the research.

Andréa Jones (07:27):
Yes, I have so many follow-up questions to this, but you're so right in that the allure of AI is that, oh, it can write a blog post. And so there is this period of time that we're all going through as marketers, especially strategic marketers, where our clients think they can get AI to write social posts, write blog posts, blog post, and ultimately it can the ability, it'll give you something that looks like a blog post, but then you start reading it and you're like, okay, this doesn't make sense, or this sounds so fantastically made up, or it's like a bunch of buzzwords. It's like words out. It doesn't actually make sense. It kind of reminds me of those TikTok videos of people who pretend, excuse me, of people who pretend to be in corporate calls where they just talk through a bunch of buzzwords. That's exactly the experience I get when I'm just like, write me a block about social media marketing in 2024, and it's like spits out this randomness.

But I am curious about the prompts. So one of the questions that we bump up against is basically teaching AI how to give us information. When you start diving into the world of prompts, to me it's like you start pulling the thread and you realize you spend so much more time teaching AI how to speak back to you that you could have just written the thing in the first place and it still can be helpful. So you said, you mentioned you're putting together some prompts. What are some of the ways that we can start talking to AI tools like ChatGPT, so that it does feed us back what we need or something useful at the very least?

Sarah Burt (09:20):
Yeah, so I think a lot of people use it. They would Google, so they'll put in, write me a blog post about this, but they're not taking into consideration all of the capabilities of ai. So one of the prompt exercises I was doing with this company that I trained the AI for was trying to get it to write, assume a certain personality and write in that language. So I did some fun things with it, and I think people don't realize that it can do that. So you can say, imagine that you are, well, you don't even have to say, imagine you are like this person. This is your background. What advice would you give me? Instead of just saying, what is some business advice for me? You can give it a lot more detail. It has a lot more capabilities than say Google, where you wouldn't necessarily type in, you are this person, what advice would you give me?

You wouldn't be able to find it. So I think just realizing that you can prompt it to be whatever you want it to be, and also you do have to teach it. So the first response might not be what you wanted or might not be great, so you can continue to prompt it until it gets something closer to what you want. I think a lot of people that want to use AI to replace humans, there are plenty of people, even writers that use ai, not to replace humans, but to help with the process, but people that want to use it to replace humans wanting use it like Google, I just type this in or a marketplace blog about whatever, but it does take some work and it does take some training. You do have to train the AI around what you want. So it's not really like this instant fix. If you were to do that, what you're going to get's not going to be great, and it's going to take you a lot of time to revise it and get it where you want it to be.

Andréa Jones (11:32):
Yeah, so much editing is needed when you're working with these tools anyway. One of my favorite ways to use AI specifically ChatGPT is with tone. So I'll give it little prompts that help it understand my tone. So I used to say things like use humor and use puns, and that's broad that whatever it spit back to me and be like, this is not my humor. These puns are so cheesy and I'm cheesy, but not this kind of cheesy, right? And so I started to learn to give it those personality markers you're talking about. So things for me, it's like I want really, the pun that I'm looking for is I want self-aware humor. I want references to Schitt's Creek or RuPaul's Drag Race, or these are my personality markers that I just infuse into my writing. It still never gets it right by the way.

I always, always have to fix it, but it gives me a little spark of something where I go, oh yeah, this is kind of the direction that I want it to go. And so that's very helpful, especially for me with naming things. I am terrible at naming things, and so I will just talk to ChatGPT when I need to name something and it can help give me some ideas and I can take one idea and take that idea and then run with it in my own way. But it is helpful to give it that personality direction so that you're not just saying make it funny and then chat. He's like trying to give you funny and it's not funny. All it's not funny.

Okay, we're going to take a quick break and when we come back I want to talk more about the strategic copywriting lens and how that's different today when we get back.

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And we're back. So you mentioned earlier about this idea of strategy in combination with copywriting, and to me this is the biggest missing piece in AI because it goes beyond write 600 word blog post about technology advances in 2024. It goes beyond that strategic piece, but I think business owners sometimes we don't understand what are the steps before we even get to write a blog about this topic. So talk to me a little bit about strategic framing when it comes to copywriter. What are the questions we should ask ourselves before we even get to writing the thing?

Sarah Burt (14:49):
Yeah, someone said this to me and I always think about it when I think about ai. They said, you can ask ChatGPT, write a social media post in the voice of Oprah, but you can't ask ChatGPT successfully write a social media post that Oprah's audience will love. So it can adopt voices, sure, but it's not thinking strategically, but this is the topic we should talk about. We, even the strategic word choice, you would still have to still tweak it. So I mean questions you should ask yourself. I think you should always be thinking about your audience, and people always roll their eyes when they're like, oh, client avatars or whatever, but it's also work that people don't do. So they're like, oh yeah, I got that, but they don't have it anywhere and they haven't actually done the research. I think that that's so important because a lot of the times your assumptions about your audience don't align with the reality.

So actually having conversations with your best customers, having conversations with people who you'd love to work with, that's going to give you a wealth of information, way more information than you're going to get from market research. So saying someone is between the ages of 20 and 35 and they shop at Target doesn't really give you anything. Everyone shops at Target, you know what I mean? So I think having that laid out, doing that research, yes, it is work, but it's going to make your life so much easier later on. And I have a lot of clients who come to me that someone else has done that work for them and they give it to me so I have access to it, but it just sat in a Google drive somewhere, so they weren't actually using it. So I think knowing your audience, kind of getting into their heads, knowing the language that they use, so you're only going to get that from talking to people.

They might phrase something so differently than you would, you can kind of mine through your testimonials and reviews to get that language. Talking to people again helps. So I think that's the most important part is knowing your audience because you can give ChatGPT a summary of your audience, but are they going to be able to feel the empathy that you feel for the things that your people are going through? No, and that is so much that is so powerful, and that is part of what's the difference between content that yeah, that sounds fine, and wow, this touched me, this turned on a light somewhere and now I'm in this different place. I see this from a new perspective. You're not going to get that just straight off the bat from ChatGPT because it's not human, it doesn't have human emotions, so it doesn't understand how those emotions can impact your decisions or how you talk about something.

So I think that's the most important place to start. And then just thinking about what problem are you solving? What challenge are you solving? I think a lot of people will get too caught up into the benefits of what this thing can do for you when you're writing sales content that people are inherently selfish. I would say they care about what it's going to do for them. So phrasing it in a way that makes sense for them. I've always hated that saying, give them what they want or what they want, but give them what they need. It's always seemed kind of manipulative to me. To me it's more a sense of find a way to explain how what they need is what they need. Make the connection, make it clear. Don't just sell them. Let me sell you this thing that you don't need. You think you need a course or something and then give them something different.

To me that seems manipulative. I understand the thinking behind it, but I think there's a better way to just work a little harder to make the connection between what they need and why they need it. I think people are pretty smart, so I think they'll get it. But yeah, I think those are the most important things, just knowing your audience and really understanding the problem or the challenge that you solve and the transformation that you provide. So a lot of people will dig really in a lot of copywriting, just canon, which was written by old rich, white guys 30 years ago says, push into those pain points. That's how you get the emotion. But I disagree with that. I don't do that at all on principle, and my clients do just fine. I do just fine. But I think it's more about making them excited to buy the thing than making them feel so bad that they feel like they have to buy this thing or they'll never feel good again.

So when you have a deep understanding of the problem, how it presents itself, how it impacts them beyond just the obvious, I think it's easier to write in a way that not only evokes emotion, but evokes positive emotion and not necessarily just making them feel so bad that they feel like they have to buy the sink. Because anyone who comes to you in that situation is not going to be in the right place to have that transformation anyways. So I think to me, those are the big things that you need to think about to be able to write good copy. And those are things that AI will not understand. You can feed it certain information to help it understand things, but ultimately it's a human rating it. So you're going to have to tweak it. You're going to have to fix it, make it your own, make it sound human because a lot of the times it sounds fine.

A lot of AI stuff sounds fine, some of it makes no sense. Sometimes it hallucinates and makes up things, but a lot of it sounds fine. But then when you read it again, you're like, it doesn't actually mean anything. The words sound fine, but what the hell are they talking about? And I think that is the sort of human piece is someone might read it and say, okay, that sounds fine, but what are you actually selling? What are you talking about? So having that kind of human lens over whatever you're taking from ChatGPT, or even if you're writing from scratch yourself, just understanding the human behind who the content is for, I think is the most important piece.

Andréa Jones (22:03):
Yeah, it's the humanity behind it. All right. And I like what you mentioned about pain points too. I actually heard someone recently talk about this with influencer culture and how a lot of influencers, the goal is to make you feel so bad about yourself that you then go by whatever it is they're telling you to buy and you hope to feel better. Go buy this cookware set and you'll feel just as rich as I do. And so recognizing that too, as a business owner, it can be very illuminating because sometimes we do it in our marketing where unintentionally or intentionally, we make people feel so bad about their current scenario situation that it is manipulative to then sell them your offer as the solution. And I think this is where people feel a disconnect in the online space specifically, which is where you and I work a lot, is they buy something.

It's like they sign up for this software, they join this course or this program, and it's like the software is painted as the one solution. The course is painted as the only thing you need for X, Y, Z. And then we go through it and we're like, there's so many missing pieces here. And so I definitely see a shift in marketing, and to me, this is all just being a human right. It's like, okay, we're humans. We have very specific needs. It's so nuanced. Almost nothing is the one solution. Almost nothing is going to be the end all be all. And so I think that's a very powerful to consider as we're going into the future of ai, which is all about, to me, humanity, it's about being a human. It's about showing up. Yes, there's a lot of tools that can help speed up some of our processes and systematize things. It is not all there yet. It still takes a lot of work. Marketers like us are still spending time. So way too much time trying to figure this out too. But the humanity behind it all is going to be the future, I think. Do you agree or what do you think is the future of AI?

Sarah Burt (24:15):
Yeah, so I was just thinking there's someone on LinkedIn, shout out to Tina Locke. I follow her on LinkedIn and she writes a lot about Gen Z trends. So I'm learning all these things about Gen Z, and a lot of it is a move towards micro influencers. So not people who have huge crazy brand deals, but people who are actually showing you their life in all of its ugliness and joy. And they're much more interested in experiences and things like that. They are drawn towards community over just, they will buy a product if there's a community behind it. And so to me, that's just a move towards something more human and less, not the celebrities aren't human, but you know what I mean. Less of the celebrity culture and more just normal people doing normal things who also happen to have great ideas about makeup or whatever.

So thinking about that, I think that definitely that's where things are going more. Even just looking at the Google algorithm changes, it's always moving towards how do we provide a better product for search engine users. So every update they make is about making it easier for humans to use it. So a lot of people are using AI as a way to create a lot of content because we say quality over quantity, but it's both. In today's world, it's both. So people are using AI to just churn out all of this content thinking, I'm going to make all this SEO content, I'm going to bring all these people to my website. When the reality is Google is the people searching for things are humans. They're going to say things in a way that might not make sense. If you've ever typed out a Google search and forgot a word and just put it at the end, then you know what I'm talking about.

So even the tech stuff, even Google, if you're creating content, even if you're just creating content to get found on Google, it has to be human content. You know what I mean? Because Google is very sophisticated. It's always changing its algorithm to make it better. It wants to keep people on Google. So there is no cheating the system with ai, yes, it can help you produce more content. For me, it disrupts my process. It doesn't really help it except for ideation. I will say I love using it to get ideas, naming things I'm not particularly great at. And not that I have ever found a name from ChatGPT that I'm like, that's it, but it inspires something and we get there. So I love using it for ideation, but I don't think it will ever replace a human just because it can't come up with new ideas.

That's the nature of how it works. It uses language patterns that already exist to kind of decide what word goes next. It's never going to write thought leadership. That's what people like. They don't want to read the same 10 tips they've read from every other person. They want to hear new ideas, new perspectives, and that's something ChatGPT can't do. It can't give you a new perspective. It has to already exist for it to be able to access it. So yes, use it if it helps you, but recognize that the content that matters and the content that I think in 2024 and beyond is going to be the most popular content is that thought leadership stuff. And you might get some ideas from ChatGPT, but it's never going to write new things. It's never going to come up with a new perspective. So it's still human at its core, even if you're using AI to help you along the way. The idea is the strategy has to come from a human brain,

Andréa Jones (28:25):
110%. So for those of you listening, one of the reasons I asked Sarah on the show is because I follow her on Facebook, I see her own thought leadership posts and I go, oh, this is an interesting conversation that ChatGPT cannot have because it does not have this information yet. And maybe it will like scraping all of our information from the internet and someone else will say it somewhere else, fine, whatever. But as humans, we do crave new ideas. We crave stories that are emotionally driven. We crave hearing experiences from other people that are similar, that are different, that are interesting. And as magical as tools like ChatGPT are, they cannot do that. They are only reflecting back what they know it knows, and it's like scraping it from the internet, which so it existed somewhere else before. So this is the key here. It's like the future of artificial intelligence, the world that we live in is all about the human side of things, which I love. I love, I am curious too, because I follow you on social media. Social media, what's your approach to social media? How do you manage your time there? How frequently do you post? This is just me being nosy.

Sarah Burt (29:51):
Yeah, so I've actually been spending a lot more time on LinkedIn because I love that. I think it's one of the only platforms, maybe Twitter, but I can't get into Twitter X or whatever. Too overwhelming for me. But I think it's there too. The thought leadership piece is celebrated, whereas I feel like sometimes on Instagram or on Facebook, different types of content work there. So more emotionally driven content, more story-driven content, and that works on LinkedIn. But LinkedIn is more about those big ideas, those interesting ideas, those examples that you can give to illustrate an idea. So I've been spending a lot of time there, and so my sort of approach to that has just been to find a realistic cadence that I can keep up with. Usually that's like three or four posts a week. I spend more time engaging than I do writing.

I think that's another thing that can be challenging is there are just some, I think Facebook is good for this, but there are just some platforms where the conversation is not, it's hard to have a conversation and the conversation is not like, to me, that's how I feel about Twitter. You're not having a conversation, you're tweeting at someone. They might tweet back, but really that's it. Whereas LinkedIn, you can have a full, people can disagree with you and you can find out why and get new perspectives. I think Facebook's good for that as well. So yeah, I'm focusing more on engaging than writing though. I think that quantity is just as important as quality now because it's so loud and there's so many different things vying for our attention. But yeah, I mean really I think what's great about LinkedIn too is that a lot of people don't act like humans on there. They're spitting out just tips or whatever. So it's really easy to stand out there with stories and just being real. A lot of people are also not real. They're very concerned about how they will look. It's a very corporate thing, but more and more on LinkedIn, people are just being being vulnerable about their experiences. So that's where I've been spending a lot of time and yeah.

Andréa Jones (32:18):
Yes, I love it. And I love LinkedIn too. It's definitely more professionally minded and you can be that breath of fresh air when you come in with stories and you're not this glossy image of professionalism. I dunno. I love that. Thank you for sharing that. So for those people who are listening and they're like, okay, I need more from Sarah. I know you have a monthly content planner, that's free, by the way, tell us about it.

Sarah Burt (32:48):
Yeah, I'm really surprised with how much people love this thing because it's something I created to help myself. I had not found a planner out there that worked for my clients, had everything I needed. And I'm also a spreadsheet queen. So yeah, go to ClickUp, go Airtable. But I like a nice spreadsheet, so it's got all the bells and whistles in terms of tricking it out to do cool things. But it's a simple content planner, so you're not getting stuck. Sometimes people like to do all the planning so they don't have to do the writing, but this is a very simple thing, easy to use. It has been, it was like my first video on YouTube was just me going through this content planner and it's brought me one to two people every day sign up for this thing on YouTube. So somebody likes it, somebody finds it useful. I have a next level version that I use for myself. But I mean, what I like about it is there is no distractions. It's just for planning and writing the content and keeping it all organized across different channels. So yeah, if you're someone who gets caught up in the planning to put off the writing, this is a good planner to use.

Andréa Jones (34:09):
Yay. Awesome. I'm going to put that in the show notes. I'll go grab it. That sounds like a super valuable tool. All of the links to connect with Sarah, the planner, will be in the show notes onlinedrea.com/ 2 9 6. This episode 2 9 6. You can find all the links there. Sarah, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Sarah Burt (34:27):
Yeah, thanks for having me.

Andréa Jones (34:29):
And thank you, dear listener for tuning into another episode of The Savvy Social Podcast. Continue leaving five star reviews on Apple Podcast. Spotify helps keep us in the top 100 marketing podcasts, and that's all because of you. I'll be back at you soon with a new episode. But that's all for today. Bye for now.