Why ChatGPT means original thought leadership is more important than ever

Two people told me about ChatGPT in  48 hours. The first was my husband who was excited to tell me about this new AI tool that he had asked to write a new Star Trek story for him. The other was a business buddy who had used it to write some content, which he described as ‘flawless’.

Action figures of Kirk and Spock
Can AI write new stories about characters we love? Photo: Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

I’ve looked at AI writing tools before and didn’t think they were up to much. But the screenshots of content from this one had me intrigued. I made an account and started playing.

I was impressed. It has a really nice conversational tone so it can write articles that sound much more human than the other AI generated copy I have seen. In this article I’m going to share why a) AI isn’t going to mean you don’t have to write any more, and b) why it means original thought leadership is more important than ever.

Ways I currently use AI

I already use AI for work. I’m sure you do too. Here are the 4 key ways I use it. A couple of these I didn’t even think about as AI until I started writing this article.

  1. Search engines – if I have a question, I’m far more likely to ask the computer to find me the answer than I am to head to the library.
  2. Background remover – I use this to create the image on my blog post headers. I was never very good at cutting out images. The result never looked neat and it would take me hours. Now I press a button and poof! It’s done!
  3. Keyword research – this makes coming up with keywords to write content around speedy. I can see search volumes at the click of a button, and get suggestions for related keywords I could use. Again, hours of my time saved.
  4. Dictation – when I have something in my head and I want to get it on the page quickly, I use the voice typing tool. I got 1400 words on my thoughts about ChatGPT down when I was planning out this article. You can watch my video about using voice typing here.

What does ChatGPT mean for your content?

Parts of it just got a whole lot easier. I asked it to write an article 10 times and each one was different. I also asked it to write me 10 headlines, and then I gave it each one and asked it to write an article to match. I’ve seen people use it to write meta descriptions, which is what shows up when your article or web page shows up on a search engine. I’ll be honest, I don’t get great joy from writing meta descriptions.

It’s going to be easier to write. The dull bits just got a whole lot faster to produce.


Those 10 different articles I asked it to write on the same topic were superficial. They didn’t go into any depth. I kept hoping it would throw something new in. It didn’t.

They also followed a formulaic writing style. At the moment what it produces is conversational but beige.

The human brain isn’t interested in beige. It’s dull. Yes, it will give you the basics, but there’s nothing new or remarkable to keep your attention.

This will do the grunt work. But if you want to stand out, you’re going to need to do the real work.

That means being willing to be unapologetically yourself and sharing your views and expertise.

Rachel Extance typing on a laptop

If you're going to stand out, you need to step up

There’s about to be a wave of perfectly ok mediocre content written by AI. There already is some, but now there’s going to be a lot. How do you stand out when anyone can write an article about leadership, change, or self-development by giving a computer program a prompt and letting it get on with it?

The people who will rise to the top in this new content marketing era will be the ones who take the time to create in-depth, high quality content. They will be unique voices. They will be showing who they are and what they do.

You need to show you’re the real deal, not taking words spun out by a computer and hoping no-one will notice.

As well as the potential to save time, the other attraction of AI is being able to game search engine results. I’ve already told you I use AI to do keyword research. The next logical step for people wanting to rank on page 1 is to get the AI to write articles that tick all the boxes. That means Google, and others, will develop algorithms which spot AI generated content.

In August 2022, Google released its Helpful Content Update which “aims to better reward content where visitors feel they’ve had a satisfying experience” (What creators should know about Google’s August 2022 helpful content update, Google Search Central, 2022)

Google's offices in Dublin

Among the questions it asks you to support its ‘people first’ approach is, “Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?”

That requires time and thought. It means understanding what your clients are looking for and writing content they will find relevant and engaging.

You are still going to have to write, and your writing is going to have to be high quality.

Original thought leadership is vital to your personal brand

ChatGPT can sound conversational. But it isn’t human. Humans innovate. They are able to look up at the stars and tell stories about them, use them to navigate, realise there are worlds beyond our world, and discover how to explore the galaxy.

Humans are empathetic. They’re able to see alternative perspectives, and understand how others feel and what the impact of others’ actions will be.

Humans are also curious. They wonder. They ask why. Search engines are not curious. No computer program is. It only knows what it has been programmed to do. While this one can hold a conversation, it can’t think. It doesn’t wonder why you are asking it to write something. Nor does it question whether what it is serving you meets your needs, or if you know the right question to ask to get it to provide you with a good answer. 

A colourful night sky taken from the water's edge, with buildings on the horizon, and a shooting star in the sky.

It is said that there are only seven types of stories in the world, yet humans have come up with billions of different tales, and we keep on creating new ones.

This ability to link ideas and sources, to see situations in new ways, and help others to achieve their goals through innovation and creativity is what sets you apart from the computer program.

You need to be producing original thought leadership which shows your experience, expertise and personality. You need to stand in your power and show up as the expert that you are, and enable people to get to know you with references and ways of talking about your specialism which are uniquely yours.

Building a personal brand is about creating a business which can’t be copied or computer-generated. It’s about focusing on what makes you, you, and going all in on it. Creating original thought leadership is part of that.

If you want help to write original content for your business that stands out in a sea of computer-generated material, then come and have a chat with me.

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Rachel Extance

Award-winning journalist and blogger. I help service-based business owners communicate who they are, what they do, and why. If you struggle to talk about yourself on your website or your content marketing, get in touch with me.

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2 Responses

  1. When I heard that there was a new AI tool that could write pretty well, my thought was that it’ll be the next generation of the article spinning software of about 10 years ago. Then, Google immediately worked on spotting spun content and to stay one step ahead I’m sure it’ll do the same again. I think the only answer is to just keep getting better at writing – more useful, more relevant, even more targeted to what your audience wants and needs.

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