Can software replace copywriting?

Alarming development from the Silicon Valley.

A BrandDNA blog post has brought to my attention a software program in development that can write content:

A company called Persado has been developing (or should I say has developed) software that can write what co-founder Assaf Baciu refers to as cognitive content.

I honestly have no idea what cognitive content is by according to Baciu it's copywriting that is primed to get people engaged.

Based on my experience that's exactly what the job description of a copywriter says a copywriter does.


The Persado algorithm must have something going for it as no less than Goldman Sachs recently led a $30,000,000 round of investment in it.

I wouldn't be surprised to see more and more of this sort of thing in the future. However I doubt it's going to replace real copywriters.

It may take a lot of low end copywriting jobs.

But truly creative writers, those who know how to entice and engage by thinking differently will always have a role in the marketing mix. 

I have to wonder why there is so much investment and interest in finding an alternative to paying skilled writers to reach people on your behalf.

I can only deduce it is a money thing. It costs to hire someone who is skilled at something it takes a lot of practice to perform well. In the same way that for decades many many professions have been automated to save money; it isn’t personal it’s profit-driven.

A few years back one of my biggest clients asked me if I would consider lowering my prices to 'remain competitive'. Competing on price is against my policy but I did offer this particular client a discounted deal – as I do with all clients that I do a lot of regular work for because in my experience, this works for both of us. They save, are more likely to give me more work and the security is very important to a freelancer with a family and responsibilities. 

However, it turned out that the discount I offered wasn’t attractive enough and the client respectfully explained that they could outsource the copywriting for much lower a cost – way too low for me to consider worthy of my time and mental effort. I gulped at the loss of a sizeable portion of my income, wished them luck and told them I would be very happy to hear from them if anything changed.

A month later they put in an urgent request for me to edit and re-write what the new copywriting service had served up. I was immediately re-instated and still work for them to this day.

My point is not that I am irreplaceable. No one is. The point is there are some things that appeal to humans because not only are they from another person but because they are clearly conveyed as being derived of human experience, motivations and emotions. Or in other words, it is obvious that these words, this sentiment, this product comes from another person or people just like you who understand what it is that will make your life better or happier.

I mean, how great is it when you read something that you leaves you feeling like someone else gets it?
Gets you.

This is probably why free-style lettering, hand-made chocolates, shoes, cards and clothing are enjoying a resurgence in popularity right now. It is a strong, upright middle finger aimed at mass produced everything.

Humanity that is communicated well just makes you feel so much more … well … human.

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