Five Ways to Use ChatGPT for Marketing Without Sacrificing Human Touch
As a Marketing and Integrated Strategic Communication student, most of my experience revolves around social media and copywriting. When ChatGPT started making headlines, I almost swore to never use it because students were writing entire papers and assignments with it.. However, when one of my managers used it for the first time to quickly write an Instagram caption and then encouraged me to use it, I looked into it more. Countless captions, content ideas, and copy rewrites later… I use ChatGPT almost daily.
I still don’t use it to do all my work for me (and I never will), but it cuts my work time in half and saves me so many headaches. Read on for 5 of the most common ways I use ChatGPT while preserving the human touch it often lacks.
There are two significant ways you can rewrite content with ChatGPT. The first one is to put your company’s voice and tone on display. Find some prime examples of how you need your company to sound, whether it be past content or someone else’s content that you want to mimic the style of. The more examples of this you can find, the better. Copy and paste them into ChatGPT and ask it to analyze the tone and voice and sum it up in one sentence. Use that one sentence as a prompt when creating more content. Write a draft of what you need to say, then plug it into ChatGPT and use the prompt you just made to have ChatGPT rewrite it. Store this prompt somewhere safe (I recommend AI Prompt Genius), and run anything you need to through it. A consistent brand voice made easy.
The second way to rewrite is the best way to overcome a mind block. It’s frustrating as a copywriter when you have a word written down but don’t like how it sounds and can’t come up with anything different. Ask ChatGPT! Tell it the word you’re using and what it needs to convey and tell it to generate a list of alternate words. Some will be entirely wrong for what you need, but you can always find a great alternative by sifting through the list. And again, you can always ask it to regenerate responses and even give more information on what you need.
One of the most frustrating things about social media management is the different platform parameters. Instagram uses square pictures, and LinkedIn uses landscape. TikTok requires portrait orientation, and YouTube needs horizontal. Facebook allows up to 63,206 characters in a caption, and Twitter caps you off at 280. That last one poses a particular challenge for copywriters.
One of the most common ways I’ve been using ChatGPT lately is to reduce my caption copy for Twitter. I plug in the original copy that’s more than 280 characters and tell it to reduce it to no more than 280 characters. Most of the time, I have to be clear and ask it to convey the same meaning and only remove unnecessary information. And sometimes, it doesn’t do it quite right or misunderstands the character limit. In any case, there’s always a little more editing to do to make it just right.
Not only can it make the Twitter character limit a little less annoying, but it can also ensure that you’re correctly appealing to your different audiences. My main job is at the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. We have many audiences: current students, prospective students, parents, alums, donors, faculty, staff, community members, etc. Not all platforms, therefore, are made equal. For example, faculty and Ph.D. students are interested when a faculty member gets published in a research journal, but most undergrads couldn’t care less. In a case like this, we will typically push that out on LinkedIn as its own post and use formal language, but maybe we’ll only put it on an Instagram story. The copy has to change, so I’ll plug it into ChatGPT and ask it to rewrite it to appeal to a younger college student audience. We push certain events heavily on Instagram for students, encouraging them to attend. Our LinkedIn audience isn’t necessarily the audience that will attend those events, so the language is different. Instead of “register now” or “save the date,” we might say, “Here’s what’s happening at Gatton” or “Check out what our students are up to!” Using ChatGPT to rework and reformat that language has been a game changer.
Have you noticed a new little icon in the top right corner of YouTube videos? Even YouTube is catching on to this use of ChatGPT. Clicking on that icon will prompt ChatGPT to open, pasting the transcript of the video and asking it to summarize the content. You can still do this even if the icon doesn’t pop up. ChatGPT can’t watch the video for you, but it can summarize other written content (or the transcript of the video if you can find it).
What’s this great for? Moving long-form content, whether video or long article, to quick social media content! This makes promoting a new blog post or a new article a breeze. Ask ChatGPT to summarize the content in a way that would make your audience want to check out the full version. Ask it to pick out the most intriguing part and use that in your copy. This is especially helpful if the content needs to be shorter for you to read quickly or if it’s about a topic you’re not entirely familiar with.
Either way, work smarter, not harder. Make ChatGPT do the dirty work of sifting through lots of information and turning it into something intriguing.
I’m still figuring this out, but prompting is essential to using ChatGPT. Without a good prompt, your results will be practically unusable and seldom match your brand voice. A poor prompt yields results that sound more like a robot than anything. The good news is there are so many ways to prompt that you can make anything work for your needs. I’ll give you two ways that I have utilized prompting.
The first way is to train ChatGPT on the brand voice of Gatton College. I saw a tip on social media somewhere on how to do this. The exact prompt I gave ChatGPT for this was: “I am going to use this thread from now on to write copy for the Gatton College of Business and Economics for the University of Kentucky. The copy must be consistent across all channels and match our brand guidelines. Ask me however many questions about Gatton as you need to in order to be able to act as a master marketer and copywriter for our brand.”
ChatGPT’s response was:
- ”What is the mission and vision of Gatton College?
- What are the core values that the college emphasizes?
- Who is the target audience for the copy? (e.g., prospective students, current students, alumni, businesses, etc.)
- What are the key academic programs and degrees offered by Gatton College?
- Are there any unique features or strengths that set Gatton apart from other business and economics colleges?
- Can you provide any specific statistics or achievements that highlight the college’s success or impact?
- What is the tone or voice you would like to convey in the copy? (e.g., professional, approachable, innovative, etc.)
- Are there any specific keywords or phrases that you’d like to be incorporated into the copy to reinforce the brand’s messaging?
- Are there any specific calls to action or goals for the copy (e.g., encouraging applications, promoting events, fostering alum engagement, etc.)?
- Which channels will the copy be used in? (e.g., website, social media, brochures, email campaigns, etc.)
- Is there any existing copy or materials that have been successful for the college in the past that we should use as a reference or starting point?”
I copied and pasted info from our website, our brand guidelines, and past copy to answer all those questions. Now, that thread in ChatGPT can always be used as a starting point for anything I need to do for Gatton. I can ask it to write specific copy, give me an outline for a story that would highlight our mission, or come up with some phrases that I can use for different things. I can even ask it to ask me more questions to perfect its tone and voice further.
The second way I’ve prompted is to give ChatGPT a template. When producing multiple versions of a similar type of copy, I can give it a boilerplate to use on each piece of copy, certain hashtags to put at the end, a specific way of starting it, a particular way to structure it, etc. One of my projects at Gatton highlighted our advising department as students returned to campus. We wanted to do a profile on each of them, publish as a spotlight on our website and then share on social media platforms where we have a large student following (Instagram). I sent all 19 advisors the same three questions and began to gather their responses. I then prompted ChatGPT to take their answers to the three questions and create a compelling bio for students. I could then type the advisors’ names, paste in their responses, and then let ChatGPT do its magic. The bios were consistent in structure, used similar language, and did a great job at taking their answers and creating a story. Not to mention making the month-long project much less of a workload for me.
So again, prompts are essential- the results are only as good as the prompt. Create a good prompt, reuse it over and over, and maintain incredible consistency. Don’t use a prompt, and you’ll sound too much like a robot and, more than likely, just like every other marketer out there who doesn’t use a personalized and specific prompt.
Most people are likely under the impression that ChatGPT is only for writing. That isn’t the case, though; some other ways to use it are helpful in marketing and can even benefit your personal life. Running out of content ideas for your social media page? Ask ChatGPT. Just wrote a very long story and didn’t have anyone to proof it? Ask ChatGPT. Need to develop a quick script or script idea for a video? Ask ChatGPT. Want to come up with a week’s worth of meals and a corresponding grocery list? Ask ChatGPT (yes, I have done that before)!
Now back to that first one- generating content ideas. You can’t rely on ChatGPT to know the latest trends and best practices because its data only goes up to September 2021 (ChatGPT is still living in the COVID age). But you can still ask it for ideas. For Gatton, I might say, “Come up with a list of content ideas that highlight student accomplishments.” ChatGPT will then give me a long list of random content ideas. They won’t all be great, and I might only like 2-3 of them, but that’s 2-3 more ideas than I had before consulting ChatGPT. You can do this for so many different things; once, I asked it to generate a list of national holidays relevant to college students or higher ed. It gave me a huge list, but in that list were things like National Internship Day, National Philanthropy Day, and Student Appreciation Day- all days that we now have content ideas for and will be posting about this year.
These methods are meant to preserve human touch as much as possible, but AI still slips in some words or phrases that sometimes make it obvious that a robot wrote it. I rarely keep 100% of what ChatGPT writes for me. Most of the time, I have to go back and add keywords it left out, correct any information it may have distorted, or delete some wordy phrases. As I mentioned earlier, ChatGPT’s database only goes up to September 2021, so it cannot be relied upon to supply accurate, current information when asked, so you have to be incredibly specific with your prompting. Don’t be afraid to tell ChatGPT to try again and give it more parameters; it won’t be offended.
Sometimes there’s some back and forth to get exactly what you want. But always remember to tell it thank you because the robots will remember who was nice to them…