If you’ve ever been tasked, against your will or otherwise, with producing a piece of writing on a topic you don’t feel confident about, or a topic you’re juggling alongside a number of other topics, you know how difficult it can be to create something you are truly happy with.
It’s a problem Paul Thompson, the CEO and founder of HelloScribe, can identify with all too well, and it’s why, in 2021, he launched his artificial-intelligence-powered software, designed to help professionals write copy and generate ideas more efficiently.
Paul has been a writer his entire life. He pursued a degree in English at the University of the West Indies, but, rather than venturing down the traditional career path of teacher or lawyer, Paul embarked on a career in advertising in his home country of Jamaica.
In 2018, he migrated to the United States, where he started his own agency, but soon came face to face with the harsh reality of running your own business in the industry.
“What nobody tells you is that when you’re starting your own agency, there are so many moving parts you take for granted when you’re working in a formal setting. So I had to be the head cook and bottle washer, the finance director and the salesperson.”
And while he was able to secure good clients over the years, he found himself challenged with finding a more efficient way to produce the work he was engaged to do, at the standard he was accustomed to doing it, especially for those clients whose products and industries were not familiar to him.
The impetus to innovate came, as many things have, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, Paul pivoted to programming and set about building an AI-driven software that would use AI Language Models to develop relevant, usable creative and professional copy for a wide range of uses.
Paul said: “What we wanted to create was essentially software that packed all the experience I had over these 15 years, programme it into an artificial intelligence software and then present it to professionals like myself who were facing some of the challenges that I would have faced. What we have done is created an all-in-one tool for marketers, PR people and content writers, and just about anyone who needs to come up with an idea or write content in a business context - emails, TV ads, press releases, blogs.”
You may be thinking that you’ve heard of these kinds of tools before. But Paul believes his platform has one distinct advantage over its competitors - he credits his background in copywriting, advertising and marketing, as the exact thing that differentiates his company from the competition.
“They are technology people trying to build writing software. We are writers building technology for writers. Some of the nuances, some of the tools that we build, how we think about the problem itself is very different from what our competitors in the market do.”
And this writer can confirm, HelloScribe is, indeed, very different from similar tools on the market.
The first distinction is the vast range of types of copy you can generate on the platform. The options range from Headlines, Copywriting, Articles, Brainstorm, and Media Pitches, among many more.
The platform is surprisingly easy to use. You simply input prompts, keywords, or more detailed instructions, eg, “Write an introduction to an article about a tech startup that uses AI to improve marketing and advertising copy.”
The software then returns a number of options to choose from - like this one:
“For many businesses, the task of crafting content for social media, online advertising, and other content writing is a time-consuming, arduous process. But for startup HelloScribe, this challenge is something that can be overcome with the help of A.I”
The next major difference is the volume of responses returned, and then the remarkable nuance and context each piece of copy manages to capture.
It is uncanny, the accuracy of the results and usability of the copy right out of the box.
Asked to explain how HelloScribe gets it so right, Paul said:
“The beauty of programming generative artificial intelligence (AI) models is that there is both an art and a science to it. We have many years of experience writing marketing, advertising, public relations, and creative literature; so this gives us the advantage in how our language models perform in any context. And it's our technical secret sauce combined with our knowledge of the "tools of the trade" used by these professionals which make it possible to develop and train AI models for this purpose. We also get constant feedback from our users, and this has a huge impact on how we train our models and the kinds of tools we develop as a result.”
HelloScribe’s user base includes authors, journalists, communications and public relations professionals, and even event architects. Interestingly though, Paul has observed, that there is one group that has been more challenging to convert than the rest.
“To my surprise, some of the hardest people to convince were my own people: copywriters. They were some of the hardest to convince because, for them, they're saying there's no possible way that a machine can do what I do.”
It’s an interesting challenge for sure - how do you convince a group of industry professionals to use a tool that, from some angles, can look like their replacement?
Paul has a thoughtful way of addressing those concerns.
According to Paul’s theory - writing is a three-part process. The first part is intuition, what is the idea or feeling that prompts the act of writing? The second is the mechanical component of writing. This is where Paul sees HelloScribe as most instrumental. The actual compiling of words, the research, the putting of words to paper (or in this case, screen). And lastly, judgement - which is what the editing process involves. This is where, Paul says, the craft of writing comes in - “How do I express this better? What words do I use?”
Components one and three are vital to the creative process, and so, HelloScribe cannot replace writing professionals, only support them in their practice.
Paul is optimistic about the future of his company. He doesn’t believe AI-driven copywriting is going away. In fact, based on his research, the volume of copy on the internet that is produced by AI is expected to increase from 1% to 50% in the next ten years. Much like the invention of the printing press, and the introduction of the computer, writers have long had to adapt to evolving technologies impacting their industry. HelloScribe presents an opportunity to stay one step ahead, and build these efficiencies into the writing process early.
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by Ceola Belix