We’ve looked at the impact AI content could have on the freelance writing industry, ethical AI issues you need to be aware of, and specific AI writing tools you can try. Now it’s time to move on to the fun stuff. What better place to start than the absolute best way to use AI to make money as a freelance writer?
If you search blogs or YouTube for ideas on how to use AI to make money, chances are good you’ll be bombarded with advice on “autoblogging” or using AI-generated content to push affiliate products.
You’ve seen the clickbait.
“Publish 1000 articles in 6 minutes and become an affiliate marketing millionaire!”
Hopefully you also know it’s bullshit.
If the people pushing this nonsense really earned what they claim you will, they’d quietly do more of that rather than gaming the attention-bait algorithms for ad revenue on their respective platforms. Or pushing e-books, courses, and coaching services on newbs who don’t know any better.
People like this don’t invite more competition if the tactics they push are making them loads of money.
Make Money with AI Content the Right Way (& Preserve Your Reputation)
Don’t get me wrong.
AI tools can generate massive amounts of content in minutes. Some can even pass plagiarism checkers (not that they actually detect most forms of plagiarism).
But what these people don’t tell you is this:
There’s a big difference between slapping AI content online and maybe even ranking for a few low or no-traffic keyword phrases so you can post a few screenshots... and surviving search algorithm updates over time and actually earning significant and sustainable income.
Worse, these “get rich with AI” folks don’t teach you about the kinds of messes you’ll have to clean up later (both technical and reputational) when you get slapped with penalties for flooding the web with regurgitated garbage.
And there’s a good chance that will happen. It’s happened to far bigger players than you or me.
As someone whose background in both online publishing and PR means being called in as a “fixer” for these kinds of messes online publishers and SEO firms get themselves and their clients into, trust me when I say most freelance writers are not equipped to survive that fall-out.
And that’s assuming you don’t face even bigger consequences if you publish AI-generated copyright-infringing content and get caught.
Quick tip: If you go the route of publishing AI content when you can’t know the sourcing, don’t assume you’re safe because most people won’t file a lawsuit. I’ve spent years having content thieves’ entire hosting accounts shut down, advertising network memberships cancelled, and private advertisers’ relationships ended. It's not just easy. It can be downright sport.
So, if autoblogging and publishing massive amounts of AI-generated content isn’t the answer, what is the best way to use AI to make money as a freelance writer?
I’m sure it will shock no one here, but the answer is simple…
Get paid to write about AI.
Become a subject matter expert, or at least a specialist.
Narrow it down to an even more specific niche tied to other industry experience you have (or expertise with a particular project type).
Learn everything you can about AI as it relates to your existing or planned specialty.
Then get in early with a relatively fresh market.
Create Your Own Specialized AI Freelance Writing Market
I’ve long encouraged new writers in particular to create their own demand rather than jumping into saturated markets.
Freelance technology and technical writers have had several great opportunities for this in recent years. If you missed out on being an early blockchain / crypto writer for example, AI presents another huge opportunity.
This doesn’t mean the answer is to brand yourself a semi-generic “freelance AI writer.” And this isn’t limited to technical writers.
Instead, look for specialties most freelancers aren’t focusing on yet. Think about how AI fits into your existing work and client base. For example, you might specialize as:
- An AI writer focused on more niche tools than the popular generative art and AI writing options
- An AI writer who works specifically with an industry (such as AI technologies in medical research)
- A freelance AI writer who specializes in the use of AI by educators or educational institutions (industries with a lot of current fear around AI are good options because that fear means there are opportunities for learning and growth)
How Not to Specialize as an AI-Focused Writer
These are not the way to go if you care about preserving your reputation and building a sustainable business.
That’s because all AI-generated content carries a significant risk of plagiarism or copyright infringement, and no amount of re-wording plagiarism makes it not plagiarism.
And rewording someone else’s copyright-protected content (a derivative work) without their consent is still infringement.
I’ve said those things numerous times. And you will hear (or see?) me say them again I’m sure.
AI tools aren’t in a position to give you permission to re-word their output if they can’t cite the sources they used. Sometimes they “generate” others’ content word-for-word, but it doesn’t have to be that blatant to be plagiarism or copyright infringement.
Don’t fall into this trap.
If you get into this game, and it turns out you gave infringing work to a client and they later get sued for publishing it, it’s going to come back and bite you on the ass. Rightly so.
If your clients give you plagiarized content they got from an AI writing tool, and they ask you to reword it so it passes plagiarism checkers (which means nothing), again, it could come back to you if you worked on the end piece.
It’s not worth risking your career or your reputation. And it’s not where the real, long-term money is.
If you want to maximize how much money you can make with AI, work hard now to learn everything you can.
Target a specific industry, type of AI, or something that isn’t starting to saturate yet.
Then produce the best human-written content you possibly can.
And charge accordingly.
Don’t worry though if writing about AI for freelance clients isn’t your thing.
There are still plenty of ways you can use AI tools to write more, work less (if you want to), market your freelance writing services more effectively, and earn more money. Taking on freelance writing gigs about AI is not your only option to earn more using AI tools.
In the next post in this series, we’ll look at eighty—yes, eighty—different AI use cases specific to freelance writers. You’re bound to find at least a few that are a good fit.
Read the Full Series on AI for Freelance Writers
- AI Content and the Future of Freelance Writing
- Ethical AI: Legal & Ethical Considerations for Writers & Editors
- 4 AI Writing Tools for Freelance Writers
- THIS POST: The Best Way to Make Money with AI as a Freelance Writer
- 80 AI Use Cases for Freelance Writers