This review will be constantly updated as changes in the GPT-3 AI writing app market make it necessary. This review is from April 2021.
I wasn't going to make this review… But I'm getting bombarded with questions and I'm seeing a ton of chat about various tools — and I consistently see people unaware of ShortlyAI. There have been a lot of announcements on in the GPT-3 AI writing space lately… some huge, and some newcomers. Headlime has been acquired, we've got new shiny colors, and stuff…
With this being the AI Content Dojo I have been asked if I still believe ShortlyAI is the best writing app on the market and if it is still a part of my workflow -- I'll just answer it in one word straightaway.
But before you go crazy on me because your favorite app isn't Shortly -- let me explain. Oh, and let me also add "best" isn't a word I love. I use it here because it's the question I'm answering — but best for one may be (and likely is) different for another.
That said, I aim to keep this fair and free of divisive opinion — I'm laying out why I personally still believe ShortlyAI is the hidden gem many should discover, because I think they'd fall in love with it — and the capabilities it brings to your content workflows.
Before we dive in, here's where you can find all my ShortlyAI content.
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What does the "best" AI writing app mean?
I think before I go into why ShortlyAI is still the best in my opinion, it's important to set the stage for what I'm looking for in an AI writing app. Here are the important things to me:
- The app should be minimal and out of my way
- The AI should give me what I ask for
- The AI should often surprise me with better than what I wanted, or even give me new ideas to write on my topic
- Interacting with the AI should be elegant - meaning smooth, natural, and efficient
- I shouldn't have to re-ask for content, but if I do that should be a quick and easy process
- I want the app to continuously and noticeably improve
- I should be able to use it on any device
- The app should fit seamlessly into my workflows
- The price should be just right - not too expensive, but also not too cheap
These are what I find the most important to me (and I imagine to you as well). As you can see it really boils down to efficiently getting the content I want in the smoothest way possible. If you agree with these points then perhaps Shortly will be your new favorite GPT-3 AI writing app.
Alright, with all that out of the way, let's look at why Shortly is still the best on the market — in this in-depth review.
Why is ShortlyAI the best still?
It is still the best on the market right now, as of April 2021, in my humble opinion, because it hits on almost every point I expect from my AI writing app. Let's just go through all the expectations one by one:
1. App should be minimal
ShortlyAI is the most minimal and out of the way app there is. Essentially being a blank document with a small sidebar with one text box. This means I get to write and ask for AI help without the UI getting in the way.
Sometimes I think this may be why some may not realize how powerful ShortlyAI is at first. It doesn't overwhelm you with 50 different templates to choose from. The AI lurks just under the surface, ready to give you a helping hand when you need it.
But if you skip over Shortly because you don't realize you can simply ask for what you want — you'll miss out big time.
2. The AI should give me what I ask for
This is another strength of ShortlyAI. Notice I used the words "ask for" rather than something like "request." That's because I am looking for my AI assistant to be easy to interact with — in essence, a co-worker I can ask for content when I need it.
I'll discuss this a little more in-depth in a later point — here I want to focus on the output. It should reliably create content that is usable (at least as a rough draft). It can't bring me content that is completely out of left field.
Honestly, just a couple of months ago Shortly suffered from the same issues the rest of the GPT-3 AI tools do — random AI antics. In other words, text that doesn't fit the request — sometimes wildly off.
Recently ShortlyAI has implemented something magical — while that is a closely guarded secret, whatever it is, Shortly now produces excellent content. Though, there is a bit of skill involved.
And actually, that's something I think is important to mention too. At first you'll get good content from Shortly — but over time as you learn the ropes you'll get absolutely fantastic content (sometimes as if Shortly read your mind). It's a skill you can grow and improve alongside Shortly.
3. The AI should often surprise me
This might seem like a strange thing to expect from the AI. And at first I didn't, but Shortly has made this almost a feature.
Sometimes when I ask for content from Shortly it will not only give me incredible content to use, but it will give me something unexpected — in the good way. Where the new content adds another dimension to discuss in my document.
"noun: serendipity; plural noun: serendipities
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way."
Shortly is fantastic at this.
4. Interacting with the AI should be elegant
I started discussing this in point #2. This is where Shortly really shines. The clean minimal interface is out of the way and the AI is there when you need it — just a couple of keystrokes (or click) away.
The big "write for me" button is used when you want the AI to finish your sentence or paragraph. GPT-3 is great at predicting the next words you might have typed.
But the real power is when you understand that you simply ask for what you want and then highlight the text and hit CMD+ENTER on your keyboard. And even better, all the tools are tied to keyboard shortcuts. Master those and you're immediately more productive.
Combine it with dictation and you're off to the races -- cruising through your writing tasks with ease.
For instance… "give me some headline ideas for the keto diet" will give you 4-5 really nice headline ideas for the keto diet. Or "write an answer about how long does it take to lose weight on the keto diet?" if you want an answer to how long it takes to lose weight on the keto diet. "Give me an outline for the keto diet for beginners" or "describe what's involved with the ketogenic diet" — and so on.
It's natural, it flows, and Shortly smartly knows what you're asking for and gives you excellent results without you having to fill out forms or provide a ton of content to get what you want.
In this regard Shortly is in a class by itself. While other tools offer a long-form "canvas" to write, they don't come close to how smoothly you can get the content you desire the way ShortlyAI does.
5. Re-asking for content from the AI should be quick and easy
This might sound strange at first. Why would re-asking for content in a quick and easy manner be important? In short, it's about productivity.
At this point in time, AI does a darn good job of creating the content it thinks you want -- assuming you're asking in the right way. But there are times when it does not. This is when you'd like a do-over.
How easy that do-over is to use is the key thing. Because when you're in the flow, working fast and the AI throws you a curveball -- slowing you down with some less-than-stellar output -- you have to stop and recreate it.
In Shortly it makes sense. Simply hit the redo button and the AI goes back to the drawing board for you. Pro tip though, if the AI is consistently unable to create what you want -- perhaps you need to lead it better.
Or maybe you need to provide more context for it to work with.
6. I want the app to continuously and noticeably improve
Now this is something Shortly has done surprisingly well. While there are other tools launching, or coming out with new forms for you to fill out -- Shortly is innovating.
They're now giving you control over context, slash commands, granular keyword control, keyboard shortcuts to everything, and some sort of mystical voodoo AI steroids in the background -- giving it the ability to more reliably produce excellent quality content.
There's no telling what's next either, but if the last couple of months is any indicator, there's certainly more on the horizon.
7. I should be able to use it on any device
Shortly has got some work to do here too, but at least everything works. Other apps (not all) have issues with various things when on a mobile device. Small things like UI buttons not working, or the forms/layout not fitting well -- having scrollbars and weird zoom issues.
Shortly is usable enough on a tiny screen and I'm often writing quite a lot from my iPad Pro in landscape orientation. There's some room to grow here though.
8. The app should fit seamlessly into my workflows
When I say seamlessly into my workflows I mean the app should be there when I need it (load fast), let me quickly get to the point where I can begin creating content, have some nice shortcuts for me to use, have useful integrations/synergies with other tools.
Here Shortly takes a couple of hits -- an area they could improve upon. But to be fair, all the current tools have a ton of room to improve here. Most don't integrate with anything yet.
But in terms of loading fast and being ready to work when I need it, Shortly is top notch. Load the page, click new document, begin writing. It's smooth, fast, and very convenient.
Another thing Shortly could do better is to have some way to jumpstart content creation process -- for those times when you know you're about to create a long-form blog post and you have a structure you always use. Maybe a little something to give you a head start would be nice.
Here's another thing I hadn't thought about until recently too. Grammarly works quite well with Shortly. I mean, it does with many tools, but Shortly has an interesting bond with Grammarly.
There is a tool out there called WordTune. Pretty cool Chrome extension to give you some AI writing power mostly around "tuning" sentences. While Grammarly has some great clarity and concision tools, it doesn't really have shorten, rewrite, or lengthen tools like WordTune does.
But Shortly does! So if you use Grammarly with Shortly, you get the power of editing from Grammarly (and plagiarism checker), but also the inline content tools from Shortly -- no need to get WordTune (if it was on your list).
9. The price should be just right
This might be an area where I get a little flack. I rather like the Shortly pricing.
ShortlyAI is not $1,000/mo. Could you get a $1,000/mo value out of it? Yep.
Shortly isn't even $500/mo. Not $250, not $100, not even $50!
A nice 3-day trial you can test with -- and then a standard monthly fee of $39. But if you really enjoy the tool, grab the annual plan for 40% off, bringing it down to just $24.99/mo ($299 annually).
That's an incredible value -- worth every penny -- for what you're getting in return.
On one hand, of course, I'd love the most incredible deal possible. But on the other I enjoy supporting the team behind a product I find myself using all the time. I want them to succeed so I can succeed too; so that they can continue adding amazing new features.
And that's the nature of pricing isn't it? For one it's too much, for another it's an incredible bargain. For others it's not necessarily about the money but the vote of confidence in the product/service.
Which apps are currently the strongest competitors to ShortlyAI?
#2 Conversion AI
(notice I start with #2 here… that's because Shortly is #1)
Prior to March 30th Conversion AI wasn't really on the list -- I mean, it was, but way down low because while it looks like, the output was so-so and the credit system too costly. But on March 30th they released an update to bring a long-form content tool into the mix -- oh, and they acquired Headlime (so clearly Conversion AI has some money).
Obviously this is a shot across the bow of ShortlyAI. But that's really all it is -- a signal flare that there is a battle about to ensue.
The smartest thing Conversion AI did was introduce a "Pro" plan with unlimited credits. If they hadn't done that and instead using the long-form tool burned through credits, it would have been dead on arrival.
Instead, they chose to use marketing prowess to make one believe their new product was the best thing ever and worthy of a $99/mo price tag. And you know what, in some ways, it is. Because if you can get what you need from it and in turn see a great ROI -- then it's win-win.
And then in many ways it comes down to preference. The UI and ability to get from start to finish using AI is "clunkier" than Shortly. There's an awkward "edit first before you can use the AI" thing in the way (though power mode in some ways mitigates that).
All-in-all though, it's a strong product. If you do choose to use it, you'll do great too.
#3 Copy.ai & Nichesss
Notice Copy.ai and Nichesss are both #3. That's because at this time, there's not a huge amount of difference between them in terms of capability.
Both are forms you fill out based on the type of content you want. Both are not great for creating long-form content (yet, I imagine there are plans in the making). I mean, you can -- it just takes a bit longer.
Copy AI has an edge over Nichesss with a better, smoother UI/UX. And if I had to be truly honest -- under a microscope the output if probably a tiny bit better.
But Copy AI costs more. In fact, if you can get Nichesss with the AppSumo LTD, it's a steal. You'll get a great tool (that synergies quite well with Shortly btw) and a fantastic price -- I think it's like $59 for unlimited use of the AI -- insane.
Both tools have amazing people behind them. Nichesss has that scrappy underdog appeal. Copy AI is venture backed. A bit of a David vs Goliath scenario happening in this bracket.
I really hate to say it this way -- "the rest." But what I mean is these are other tools that are great in their own right. They'd work well if you used them, but they just don't quite compete as well as the previous options.
This includes tools like: CopySmith, Content Villain, Writesonic, etc… if there was one of these to look at it would be Content Villain because it was an AppSumo deal much like Nichesss -- and apparently webhook capability.
Headlime no more
While technically Headlime still exists, I can't in good faith recommend it after it was acquired by Conversion AI. Just use Conversion AI instead if you're thinking about using Headlime.
Alright, enough competition talk. I was thinking about doing a new demo here, but instead -- let me show you the one from a couple of days ago.
Here I show off dictation and how smooth it is to get what you want from Shortly -- and how productive you can be. I don't create a full article -- but enough for you to understand how powerful it is. I'll update this review with more demos as I create them.
And that's a wrap. I hope I've given you the information you need to make an educated decision about the AI writing app you want to add to your content workflows. This hidden gem is amazing -- it almost feels like some sort of best kept secret.
If you use this and your competitors don't -- you'll have an edge. And wouldn't it be great to take advantage of anything we can to get more done, faster than our competitors?