Clients are Checking for AI-Generated Content and Accusing Freelance Writers

Picture this:

You finally landed a freelance writing client, and you’re ecstatic.

You go through the onboarding process with your new client, and they give you a content brief in the next few days.

Clients are Checking for AI-Generated Content and Accusing Freelance Writers

So you get to work. You write the content and source examples and use Grammarly to check for errors.

You go the extra mile and get your friend to proofread it over and finalize your article. You send your project to your client and wait for feedback.

They emailed you back and can’t wait to hear how they liked your article.

But wait.

The email says they ran your article through an AI detection tool, and it came out over 90% AI-generated.

Because of this, they no longer want to work with you.

In one of my posts about freelance writing and AI challenges, I did not foresee clients accusing writers of using AI writing tools.

This happened to one of my Writeto1k students, and I’ve heard similar stories all over Twitter.

I’m frustrated and concerned about clients not giving their writers the benefit of the doubt and relying on faulty AI detection tools to check our writing.

If a client accuses you of using AI to write your post (and you didn’t use AI for writing), I’ll share how to AI-proof your writing and what to do about those types of clients.

What Is AI-Generated Content?

OpenAI is the company that made ChatGPT and AI-generated text popular and changed the content landscape forever.

When a person or writer prompts an AI writing tool like Jasper AI or ChatGPT to create something, the pre-generated content is the output.

For example, here’s a prompt from Jasper AI on interview questions.

Example of pre-generated content

While a lot of pre-generated content can be highly valuable, as a freelance writer, you will probably see this type of content as:

  • Wordy
  • Passive
  • Creating misinformation
  • Possibly plagiarized
  • Lacking originality
  • Not in the first person
  • Unable to produce thought leadership content

But many freelancers use AI writing tools. I do!

AI’s advantages help us speed up productivity, avoid writer’s block, and give us new angles.

I’ve been using ChatGPT and Jasper for short-form content like a Tweet, a paragraph for a sub-topic, email subject lines, and for ideas.

How to Detect AI Generated Content (What Clients Are Doing With Your Article)

Since the explosion of ChatGPT, OpenAI has created an AI detection tool.

This tool will tell you if the content is likely AI or not.

Example of flagged content as AI produced

Other AI detection tools were born, like Originality AI, Content at Scale, Writer, and GPTZero.

Because Originality AI is a paid tool, businesses feel this would be the best AI generator content checker for them. But Originality is highly inaccurate.

I’ve plugged in Jasper AI content, and it said it was 100% human.

I’ve put in 100% human content (a blog post I wrote years ago), and it came out as overwhelmingly AI written.

But it’s not just Originality giving you false positives. All AI-detection tools are inaccurate.

OpenAI has a detection tool, and even they say it’s not reliable.

“In our evaluations on a “challenge set” of English texts, our classifier correctly identifies 26% of AI-written text (true positives) as “likely AI-written,” while incorrectly labeling human-written text as AI-written 9% of the time (false positives). “

This is NOT a perfect science, but clients are using these tools as the end all be all to their content plan and accusing writers.

This is wrong.

Poor writers and mediocre writers are everywhere and there’s a massive problem for clients to find good reliable writers. Because of this they want to ensure their content is up to their standards and for many of them, and that means relying on AI detection tools.

Six Ways to AI-Proof Your Writing

But this isn’t a problem of clients plugging in our post into an AI-detection tool.

It’s a writing problem, and as writers, we need to do MORE than just spit out a 1,000-word blog post.

Here are my recommendations for AI-proofing your writing while improving your writing at the same time.

1. Create a Fleshed Out Outline (And Have Your Client Approve It)

If your client provides content briefs, then you can give a fleshed-out outline for approval.

This goes for clients that give you the outline. GoDaddy provides the outline and I flesh it out.

Example of a content outline that’s fleshed out

I use Google Docs to create my outline, and send it to the editor.

They review my outline and add notes (you can see where they highlighted my topics).

To flesh out my outline, I provide subtopic examples by mentioning what I will be doing.

So, for the three-step approach to Instagram influencer marketing, I share that visuals are good for unboxing videos and say I can show screenshots on my iPhone using InShot.

I’m going the extra mile for this client and for my article and will gladly share that in my outline.

For my other subtopics, I write out the definitions of what I mean crystal clear messaging means and give specific examples I will reference in my post.

Adding these extra elements to my outline shows my client that these ideas are MINE and aren’t generated by an AI tool (although you can use it for ideation and getting a rough draft of your topics. I do this with an SEO tool).

2. Snazz Up Your Writing With SMEs and Examples

If you aren’t landing freelance writing jobs and not gaining some amazing testimonials for your writing, you might be creating mediocre content.

This is content that anyone can write. The topics are also, “meh,” and have been created thousands of times (think, “how to lose weight,” “easy meal planning tips”).

And you know what? This is the type of writing you get from AI writing tools.

For example, here is what ChatGPT gave me for an outline about losing weight in your 40’s.

Example of pre-generated content that’s highly generic

This is generic, and everyone knows these tips.

It’s mediocre writing.

There are no, “latest discoveries” about weight management and losing weight.

There is no subject matter expert (SME) quotes from doctors or dieticians about the fat epidemic in the US.

And no actionable ideas or examples to help a person in their 40s start a weight loss plan.

Having examples and SMEs peppered throughout your content makes it valuable, original, and AI-proof.

In my masterclass Writing a B2B $1000 Article, I share my proven tactics to gain a lot of money with my content, and part of those tactics is securing SMEs for my content.

This involves networking, social media, and tools like HARO or Qwoted to gain quotes.

Lately, I’ve been using Twitter to source original content.

I will poll my audience to share in articles.

Example of original content to AI-proof your writing

This gives me a snapshot of a topic I want to know about.

But, if I want to quote SMEs, I will ask a question and use the replies for quotes.

Example of how I source SME quotes

Using some of these replies instantly makes my content much more valuable than AI written content.

And one way to turn your mediocre writing into high-paying writing is to describe and talk about your quotes or examples.

I may screenshot a Tweet and, in my article, explain what it is and WHY it’s important for my article.

Those two things – SMEs and original content – make my content highly authentic and humanly written.

But what happens if the client comes back to you and STILL stays your content didn’t pass an AI-detection tool?

Well, tell them that you spent time crafting a pitch for HARO and hours going through the quotes and finding quotes on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Let them know you took that information and expertly weaved them into your content, and all of this should help your clients see that you are writing authentically.

And if you ARE using AI to help with your rough draft? What do you say?

Tell them you used AI and that you optimized it so that it reads like something you wrote.

3. Use Several AI-Detection Tools

Copy and paste your article into different AI detectors. Give your client all those scores when you submit your article.

Why? Because some AI-detectors will say that it’s mostly AI, others will say it’s primarily human-written, and others will say it’s 50-50.

Here’s the result of a final draft of a client piece in GPTZero.

GPTZero results

This tool says my content is entirely human-written. Now, let’s put that same piece into Originality AI.

Unfortunately, Originality AI can only do 1,000 words, while GPTZero took my entire post of 3,000 words.

Originality AI detection score

This tool says my content is 54% AI.

Now let’s look at Content At Scale’s tool.

Content at Scale’s tool

This tool says my content is 90% human written.

So, you see?

Different results mean AI-detectors aren’t reliable and even account for false positives.

4. Use Grammarly Last

Prior to all of this talk about AI writers, I would write the content, self-edit, and then use Grammarly.

But not anymore. I have to check my self-edited content first with AI-detectors.


Because Grammarly is an AI writer, the AI detectors will flag it if I run my 100% humanly-written content through Grammarly.

If you use any editing tool, your content will ALWAYS have some AI writing (because you agree with their suggestions).

Grammarly AI suggestions

Tell your clients that you use Grammarly or another editor, which will account for some AI in your post.

And make sure and also check a plagiarizing tool like Copyscape and then tell your client the results.

The next two points weren’t mentioned in my video.

5. Use the Google Doc History

Now – I’ll be the first to say that while my clients pay me over $1,000 to write for them, I wouldn’t want them to view my writing process.


Because it’s crazy and sloppy, I write and re-write, take days and erase and come back and change things ALL.THE.TIME.

But Google Docs, has a history tab. Go to File> Version history.

Google Doc history

And, because of this, I use different docs for each phase of my writing.

  • One doc for a dump file (add all my links and examples)
  • One doc for my outline
  • One doc for a rough draft
  • One doc for continuing the rough draft
  • One doc for editing
  • One doc for proofreading
  • One doc for Grammarly
  • One NEW doc for the client with completed and edited post

So, you see, a client would get no history from me because I did all the work on a different document.

But not anymore, I’m afraid.

I don’t like, as you can see, how long it takes me to write my content; sometimes, I do not touch it for days!

Oh well, if that is what clients want to view to ensure it was humanly written then so be it.

Someone who hires writers

6. Don’t Write Like a Robot!

The last suggestion is a hard one for me.

I’ve been writing online since 2014, and I know for a fact I write like a robot.

And since we are using OUR writing to train the robots, it’s no wonder OUR writing reads somewhat robotically.

But it’s not 100% of my writing.

As you saw my scores for my client piece, the most it was deemed AI was 54%.

But, if you’re getting results like 97% AI for many tools, you could be writing like a robot.

Robots like to be wordy and passive, so you’ll improve your scores if you can work on those two things alone.

Let’s look at my finished draft for GoDaddy.

This is what I wrote:

The highlighted sentence is a mouthful, and I didn’t realize it when I submitted my post.

But the GoDaddy editor did and magically changed it.

The editor removed “advancement and achievements” to “leaps” and added emphasis to “is.”

Using this format shortened my piece to make it more clear.

Another thing AI writing does is write in the third person. AI content has no personalization.

For example, Jasper or ChatGPT might say,

“Businesses know that email goes hand in hand with their marketing efforts for more leads.”

If you’re writing a blog post and the audience is businesses, then you can write in the second person.

“You know that email goes hand in hand with your marketing efforts, but it can also help with brand messaging.”

The second example, is personal, as if I’m talking to my audience.

One last thing to improve your writing is to be clear in every sentence you write.

Use as few words as possible to make your point and break up your writing as I do for my blog post.

Your goal is to get your reader to read past the headline, the first sentence, the second sentence, and so on.

What Does Google Say About AI-Generated Content?

One reason why clients are using AI-detection tools is that they think Google won’t rank their content.

And in the past, Google has said AI generated content is against guidelines.

But, for today, this isn’t true.

Liaison to Google, Danny Sullivan, has said that AI content isn’t bad.


And Google mentioned this in their guidelines.

Google guidelines on AI generated content

And I know many niche website owners exclusively use AI content to rank in Google.

Educate your clients on this!

What To Do If You Are Accused?

I wouldn’t work for that client anymore. I would say that I have many happy clients that pay for my content, and if they feel that way, we should part ways.

Be civil and move on. Why would you want a client who checks your content with an unreliable tool?

And, even if you do all six of these things and your client STILL doesn’t believe you, then move on…you don’t need that headache and worry second guessing your writing.

I’ve worked with many clients, and I have dumped many clients too.

This is YOUR business, and you do what YOU want!

Let me know in the comments if you had a client say you used AI to write your post when you never did!

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

Leave a Reply


I especially liked point #2. It not only helped me understand how to make my writing stand out from AI writing, but it also helped me see ways to make better content in general! I’ll be sure to check through your blog for other articles on improving the quality of my writing.Reply to Jessica
Hi Jessica, That’s great to hear! Yes, AI writing tools are here to stay but things are still very volatile with AI. Nothing is set so for now we, as online writers, have to be diligent in learning how to use and leverage these AI tools! Glad this post helped you!Reply to Elna
Awesome content. Thank you! I wish I had thought of these back in the first quarter of the year. All the points you made are very helpful.Reply to Janis
Great info to prepare for AI testing. I hadn’t even thought of that…I’m only dipping my toes into AI right now.Reply to JuJu
Hey JuJu, You’re welcome! I really wanted to share what is happening right now and glad you’re learning about AI!Reply to Elna
My story is pretty sucky as well and one of the reasons I’m starting a freelance career. A year and a half ago I quit teaching at a toxic workplace and decided to move on. After months of applications I was hired as a writer at a small company that I leave out of this comment. Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I’m working with SMEs to create content, scripts, questions, activities, curriculum, etc, like I have been for a good while at this point and find out that they want me to start using AI to generate scripts so it’ll be faster. Then I take a sick day and they write a few scripts with AI without me. Then they start giving the new scripts directly to the SME and start leaving me out of meetings. I was assured my job was safe but last Thursday I hop on a teams meeting and get blindsided. They let me go. In their words I’m very good at what I do but they want to use solely the SME for scriptwriting from now on. AI was really bad for me. I I’m sitting on a month to find a new gig or building a profitable freelance career to replace a 60k a year job. It’s a been a pretty terrible experience. On a positive note, Elna, your blog has been very helpful and I even signed up for an introductory course. Just wish I would’ve started sooner.Reply to Jonathon
Hi Jonathon, I’m so sorry to hear this! It’s terrible what many of these businesses are doing to writers. I feel at this point, AI is still new and shiny and everyone wants to try it. Once the dust settles, businesses will learn that AI content may not convert as well and people really don’t like reading AI content. Businesses will need to still hire writers and copywriters to make up for the lack of sales and conversions. For now, you may want to consider adding AI services to your businesses so that you can focus more on editing and optimizing the AI content. I know it feels like “giving in” but you can probably find jobs faster this way!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, thanks for the post. Even though I have not come across such a client, the information contained in the post will be of tremendous help to me in the near future. Thanks a lot.Reply to Oula
Hi, You’re welcome! Glad I shed some light on this growing problem in our industry!Reply to Elna
I went through this recently with a writing job. I wrote the pieces myself and didn’t use AI at all. They used the originality a.i detection tool. That tool showed that I used some AI. I had to rewrite those parts in order for it to pass tool. This is going to help me a lot for future writing clients.Reply to Pat
Hi Pat, I’m sorry to hear that! You shouldn’t have to rewrite it and they should have trusted you. Glad you found some extra things to ensure your clients no longer doubt you!Reply to Elna
Thank you so much for covering this important topic, Elna! I have been stressing out over this so much lately (I am also a freelance writer). It’s such a hit to the ego when the AI checkers say that the piece I spent hours working on is “absolutely” something the AI overlords created in 10 seconds. It’s also got me very worried financially, because I don’t want to lose clients (i.e., money) because the faulty AI checkers are wrongly accusing me of using AI. In truth, I haven’t even used the new Bing, let alone something that ChatGPT, to see what it’s all about. Anyways, THANK YOU for writing on this topic! Reading this first thing when I log into work in the morning was exactly what I needed.Reply to Rachael
Hi Rachael, I know what you mean! I hate having to use several AI detectors to check my writing and then spending time to rewrite it. I try not to stress about it too much and remind clients that once it’s through Grammarly it will come out as AI no matter if I 100% wrote it. I hope this helps!Reply to Elna
There are ways of getting around all of that and it is to include in your freelance writing contract that, “(Client is aware that, according to (give one or more names and use their quote), all AI-checkers give false readings concerning the originality of written content and thus, should never be relied upon. And, (client) understands that, (you) create only original content and may use tools such as (X, X, and X) to deliver the best product possible.” If they do not want to agree with that, then let them go.Reply to Kim
Thank you! This is a very helpful idea, and I’ll keep it in mind!Reply to Jessica
Hi Kim, Great suggestion regrading your contract. I personally use a service agreement and will consider adding this for future clients.Reply to Elna
As a freelance writer, this is a scary reality. What clients don’t understand is that, even when do use AI, we are doing so much more than copying and pasting. I would say that if a client presents you with this “proof” that your content is AI generated, provide them with evidence that these AI checkers are garbage (give them the benefit of the doubt and educate them). If they’re still dorks about it, move on. They can have fun posting subpar content on their own. I mean, there’s a reason they hired you in the first place, right?Reply to Chelsy
Hi Chelsy, It is scary eh? Thanks for your suggestion. I haven’t had to defend my writing but if I have to I will give them all the scores from different tools and mention they aren’t reliable!Reply to Elna