TLDR: Everyone is abuzz about ChatGPT, and with good reason. As amazing as it is, our take is that it won’t put marketers into early retirement. In fact, when used as a research assistant, the tool can make your marketing work ten times better. Here’s how.
So What? By developing the skill of prompt engineering, or writing really good input for AI tools like ChatGPT, these tools can deliver even better output that humans can then punch up with their own creativity. Here are specific prompts that marketers can use to 10x their results.
As Ezra Klein said in a recent New York Times column, “This changes everything.”
He was talking about the rapid rise of artificial intelligence, specifically tools like ChatGPT, which can write full-length blog posts, essays, ad copy, and pretty much anything else, instantly, and for free.
As with any technology innovation, AI content generators like ChatGPT are disrupting industries. For marketers, it’s a massive threat, but we believe it’s also an incredible opportunity.
Our view is there’s no point in pretending this isn’t happening. AI is here to stay, and it’s getting better all the time.
That reality means marketers must evolve and embrace AI as an incredibly powerful tool. Rather than taking the stance that AI tools should be forbidden, as many of our competitors have done, we think writers and content creators should learn how to use AI to enhance their own skills.
That will involve learning new approaches to content creation. The good news is marketers are already uniquely qualified to make the most of AI content tools, especially if they know how to write.
Prompt Engineering: The Marketer’s Superpower
The text that gets typed into AI chatbots like ChatGPT is called the prompt.
Marketers, especially those who are good writers, have a superpower in writing prompts. This is because good prompts return good results. Remember the acronym GIGO (good input = good output).
Prompt writing is a new kind of skill, kind of a mashup between writing and programming. The best prompt writers combine good writing with computer engineering. Some claim “prompt engineers,” as this new skill is called, can earn over $300,000 a year.
The good news is there are easy ways to improve your prompt-writing skills by going through the free course at learnprompting.org.
Learning to write good prompts is a critical skill for staying relevant in the age of AI. More importantly, it can greatly increase your marketability … and your salary.
Guiding Principles for AI Tools
Like all new technologies, to really understand it, you’ve got to use it. Start incorporating ChatGPT into your regular marketing work in two ways: as a powerful research assistant and as a powerful writing coach.
Perhaps the most important rule is always rewrite ChatGPT responses in your own words.
Principle 1: ChatGPT is a Powerful Research Assistant
As an example, we were writing a financial column on the chart above, which we knew was important but didn’t really understand. Watch our conversation with ChatGPT here:
Note how we were able to continually refine its answer using conversational English until we got the answers we wanted.
For marketers covering complex subjects, this is like a superpower. Here are a few specific ways you can use it for research:
ELI5 explanations: If you work for technically demanding companies in B2B industries, ChatGPT is incredibly helpful for explaining jargon or concepts you don’t understand. You can use prompts like:
- Explain [concept] at a fifth-grade level (you can also say, “Explain like I’m five” or just, “ELI5”).
- If someone in the [industry] industry said, “[insert quote]”, please put that into layman’s terms.
- Help me understand this sentence in the context of a [industry] business: [insert sentence].
You can further refine your results by asking it:
- Make it simpler.
- Give me an analogy.
- Let’s think through this step by step. (Helpful for getting a detailed breakdown of the concept.)
Real-life examples: A powerful way to strengthen your work is to bring in real-life examples or use cases:
- Given the topic of [topic], please give me some real-life (or hypothetical) use cases.
- Here is a blog post on [topic]. What are some examples that would bring it to life? [paste text]
- How would real people actually use [topic or technology]? Please give me 3-5 specific examples.
Generating FAQs: Get the frequently asked questions on a topic using prompts like:
- Create a list of [ten] frequently asked questions about [topic].
- Write a list of questions people are asking about [topic or product].
- Imagine you’re an [industry] expert researching [product, service, or topic]. What questions would you have?
“Let’s think about this.” A powerful brainstorming technique is to have ChatGPT help you reason on the topic you’re writing about:
- Let’s think about this using examples.
- Let’s think about this using analogies.
- Let’s think about this from a reverse perspective.
- Let’s think about this from multiple angles.
- Let’s think about this from a [broader/historical/economic] perspective.
Here’s a great source for more on this prompt:
YouTube summaries: Rather than sit through two-hour YouTube explainers on a topic, you can have ChatGPT summarize it all. From the YouTube video, click the three-dot menu, then “Show transcript.” Copy and paste the entire transcript from YouTube into ChatGPT, then use this prompt:
- Summarize this video transcript using bullet points.
Peer-reviewed studies: Research studies add greatly to the quality and trustworthiness of your content. ChatGPT can help:
- Find five quality research studies on the effectiveness of [insert topic] and summarize them.
Principle #2: ChatGPT is a Powerful Content Coach
Just as ChatGPT helps you with research before you write, it can also help you strengthen the work after you write. Here are some helpful prompts:
- Please critique the following: [paste in text]
- Please eliminate wordiness in the following: [paste in text]
- Please give me 3-5 specific tips for improving structure and flow: [paste in text]
- Imagine you are a [topic] expert. Please rate this article on a scale of 1-5: [paste in text]
- Please proofread the following: [paste in text]
Principle #3: Always Rewrite ChatGPT in Your Own Words
The simple rule of thumb: treat it like a research source.
Any research source must always be rewritten in your own words unless you’re quoting it directly (with attribution).
There are many reasons not to copy and paste directly from ChatGPT:
- It trains on the entire internet, so you’re always just going to get the “average” of the internet.
- It often makes mistakes, so you must fact-check everything.
- It’s lazy and dishonest.
Use it for research, use it as a content coach, and otherwise rewrite everything yourself. Simple and ethical.
Make Your Work Ten Times Better
AI is evolving quickly, so all this may change. In the meantime, we hope this gives you some good guidelines to make your work ten times better.
There have been studies in which researchers have two groups of people complete complex projects like grant writing, copywriting, or blog writing. Those using AI tools typically completed their work faster than those without, but more importantly, independent judges say their work was better.
Making your work ten times better is not just having ChatGPT do the work for you. It’s about combining the strengths of AI with your human skills and creativity.
That’s important, so we’ll say it again: It’s about combining the strengths of AI with your human skills and creativity.
This is the solution to the great anxiety of our time: “Will AI take over our jobs and the world?”
The answer is that it’s not AI or humans; it’s AI and humans. It’s not “either/or,” it’s “both.” These are powerful new tools we must learn to use well, not blindly copying and pasting, but combining them with our skills and judgment, both as marketers and as human beings.
To make our human work ten times better: that is the true promise of AI.
As content creation evolves with the use of AI, we’ll be sharing what we’re learning about how to use these powerful tools in the coming weeks and months. Subscribe to our Media Shower newsletter so you never miss an update. (And if you found it useful, please pass it along.)