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4 ways PR content writers should be using ChatGPT and other AI tools today

by | Feb 27, 2023 | Public Relations

Why marketing pros should lean into human/AI collaboration before they get left in the dust.

I’d like to start this article with a promise to readers: Neither ChatGPT nor a similar AI-driven language model had any part in the creation of this content. Every word of this piece was thought of, written down, and edited by an organic human being with an imperfect human mind.

But here’s the thing—articles like these may not last much longer

ChatGPT and AI tools like it are seeping into every corner of the internet, and that includes content producers using the tools to assist or outright take over their own writing.

As a content marketer, I’ve watched ChatGPT essentially blow up the internet in less than three months. Everything we used to do as content creators in the digital space is now in question. Google is reportedly in ‘code red’ over the idea that another algorithm or language model could now be in charge of organizing the world’s information. It’s also no shock that PR and marketing agencies have begun to lean on the technology for support, given that many are strapped for time and money resources amid a volatile job market and mass layoffs across the tech sector and other industries.

One constant in this amorphous picture is that the internet is not new to robots or artificial forms of intelligence. In fact, last year bots and fake accounts accounted for between 42 percent to 64 percent of the internet’s total traffic according to estimates. While many professional writers (author included) are uncertain of the impact the technology will have on their jobs both immediately and years down the road, it is obviously a jump to assume that ChatGPT will move us towards the dystopian, authoritarian future where AI-powered organisms take control of our world as illustrated in movies like Ex Machina, The Matrix, and I, Robot.

Still, the fact remains that there are real uses for AI tools to help content marketers deliver quality content for human readers today, faster than ever before. Practitioners like PR Futurist Stuart Bruce have codified queries marketing pros can feed into ChatGPT to produce content and insights instantaneously, that would take a human multiple hours.

As content writers continue to explore new uses for ChatGPT and similar tools, here are my thoughts on four ways PR and marketing writers should be using AI to assist in content development right now:

1.) Research and statistics

One of the best ways AI can assist writers in content development is finding statistics and relevant research from across the internet to support rhetorical claims. Instead of spending hours combing through industry news publications, blogs and other existing content, utilizing ChatGPT to aggregate relevant research for your thought leadership content can bring the research to you quickly and in an organized manner.

However, ChatGPT has limitations that it clearly outlines on its website and in responses. One of those limitations is that the tool is sensitive to input phrasing, meaning that a slight revision of an input question can be the difference between an accurate and inaccurate response. With this in mind, it’s important to try a number of inputs when querying ChatGPT to ensure that the research and statistics it produces are both relevant and supportive to the larger claims being made.

Humans must also evaluate the statistics that ChatGPT produces to ensure factual accuracy, as the tools’ outputs are produced as a response to language inputs, and the language model may not be fully aware of the context for which the statistics will be used. For any use of ChatGPT to augment content production today, humans must thoroughly evaluate the outputs before placing them in content.

2.) General definition and reference checking

Remember sitting next to the smart kid in study hall? Or remember using Wikipedia to look up a quick bio for a historical figure, place, or concept in college? Using AI language tools in this way can be an effective method for understanding difficult concepts at a high level.

Content marketers are perpetually challenged to translate dense technical materials to broader audiences. Often the fodder materials given to writers for an assignment are littered with so much industry jargon, acronyms, and other language used exclusively by people in a specific vertical that the material is too murky to understand on its own. For these instances, try inputting a query such as: “can you explain in 4-5 sentences why enterprises have evolved to a zero-trust cybersecurity model?”

Outlining the desired length of a response (4-5 sentences) within the query ensures that the outputs will be concise enough to understand at a basic level, which can in turn help writers dive deeper. Particularly for technical subject matter, having an AI tool briefly explain a concept can improve understanding for the writer and ultimately help guide the piece towards better readability.

3.) Copy editing and optimization

For small content teams, getting detailed internal feedback on a draft can cause delays in production and delivery. This is part of why analyzing your content’s language and flow with an AI model is a no brainer. Spelling and grammar check tools in Word or Google Docs are largely driven by grammar analysis of the written syntax alone.

Alternatively, ChatGPT is an AI-driven language model, meaning that its analysis of language also takes into consideration how language is used based on the inputs it receives from other humans. The access to data inputs from humans helps the AI language model evolve over time, and that ultimately nets in different suggestions to make the language it produces sound more authentically human by optimizing the language for grammar, phonetics, and sentiment.

4.) First drafts of tactical materials (like releases, press kits, and backgrounders)

The most obvious advantage of leveraging AI to assist with content is speed. AI writing tools can produce a press release on behalf of a given company in less than a minute given the right query. As a jumping off point, these tools can be great for developing the bones of more tactical PR materials like press kits, backgrounders, press releases and more.

However, as anyone who has played around with the tool will tell you, the factual accuracy of the content it produces is less than perfect. This is why it’s critical that any draft produced with an AI language model is heavily read, edited and scrubbed by a human being who has contextual knowledge for the strategy of that tactic and the messaging the company aims to get out.

This is precisely the dynamic that will be required when using AI tools to draft content – human/AI collaboration. Humans who lean entirely on AI language tools for content development will suffer from content that is factually inaccurate and uninformed by marketing strategy, while humans who refuse to use AI writing tools will be left in the dust by their competitors who will increase efficiency and quality through its assistance.

To use, or not to use?

In the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum famously said, “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Now that the proverbial ‘cat is out of the bag’ with ChatGPT, the question of whether we should or shouldn’t use AI tools for content marketing is, frankly, a question of the past.

The tool has been collaboratively developed and made available to the digital world whether we want it or not. ChatGPT and AI tools like it are here to stay, and will be used to speed the production of content in marketing, and many other sectors. As AI tools grow more sophisticated and further disrupt the ecosystem content writers occupy, it behooves writers to learn about it, use it, and grow with it as opposed to categorically reject it.

Dave Dykes
Dave Dykes is Senior Content Manager at Crackle PR.

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