It's hard to go anywhere these days without hearing about AI tools like ChatGPT.
To be honest, I had been hiding my head in the sand, and was extremely reluctant to take a peek at any AI tools. After all, I am a content writer, and I didn't want a robot replacing me.
But, I also knew I couldn’t avoid this topic forever, and if I wanted to keep up with the cool kids, I needed to figure this out.
So, I turned to some trusted marketing friends where I learned that they were already using a few AI tools, including ChatGPT—and to their advantage.
We had a long conversation where I was reassured that AI could be very helpful for creating content. These tools can save time and money, help me create more content, and help me create better content with less effort.
So I decided to try ChatGPT.
Here is what I learned, and how I think it could apply to all communicators and content writers.
And no, I did not write this article using any AI tool:)
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a chatbot launched by OpenAI in November 2022. It is built on top of OpenAI's GPT-3 family of large language models and has a remarkable ability to interact in conversational dialogue. ChatGPT can carry out natural language generation (NLG) tasks with human-like accuracy.
The underlying technology relies on a massive amount of text data from the Internet to decode the complex patterns and intricacies in human language.
Although still in its infancy, the technology has shown promise in writing code and complex essays (don’t tell your kids), and reportedly even passed a Wharton business school exam.
My experience with ChatGPT
My initial experience with the tool was extremely exciting. I spent hours asking random questions, testing its capabilities, and learning the boundaries of content creation.
I hadn’t had that much fun since discovering Ask Jeeves in the late 90’s!
As you will discover, ChatGPT can provide some very human answers to any question. (Although when I asked how to deliver an apology for something I wasn’t sorry for, it didn’t hesitate to patronize me on why I should be honest with my feelings).
When it came to asking true content writing questions, I couldn’t help but to be amazed. I watched entire essays and articles written in seconds.
So will I continue using it? Yes, and no.
Limitations of ChatGPT
Sure, I had a lot of fun testing out ChatGPT, but just because it’s a robot, doesn’t mean it is perfect. Nor does it replace the need for (some) human intervention. Here are some of the downsides to AI tools like ChatGPT:
Quality and/or accuracy isn’t guaranteed
AI tools aren’t always correct. In fact, the results produced may be entirely wrong. And if you are in charge of content, this should matter to you. A lot.
It won’t generate true original ideas
ChatGPT is only as good as the data it relies on. So if you’re aiming to write original content that’s never been published before, ChatGPT probably isn’t your best option.
It lacks context
AI doesn’t have the same communication objectives as you do, and therefore it often struggles to understand context, and how a topic fits into the bigger picture.
It takes away from the joy of writing
Ok yes, I admitted to having a lot of fun playing around with ChatGPT, but as a content creator my passion is writing. True writers write not just because it’s their job, but because there is a desire and need to eloquently articulate their thoughts.
It lacks a human touch
As mentioned above, this article is not written with any help from ChatGPT. Sure, there was a slight temptation and curiosity, but, knowing our brand’s tone and voice it was more important for me that all our content stays authentic and human as possible. The example below works, but it definitely needs some TLC.
Good content isn’t just words
Engaging and inspiring content is more than just a bunch of paragraphs; especially when creating marketing or intranet content. To attract your audience, content should include videos, photos, surveys and polls, and rich images—Although, image generating AI tools like DALL-E 2 are quickly infiltrating the design space.
When ChatGPT might be useful
Just because a solution like ChatGPT has limitations doesn’t mean you can’t still reap the enormous benefits it can deliver. Here’s when ChatGPT might be a great idea:
When you don’t know where to start
The start of any writing process can be frustrating, and if intros aren’t your thing, then ChatGPT can be a life saver.
When you are short on time
It’s easy to see why ChatGPT attracts students. Who wants to spend hours agonizing over a 5,000 word essay when AI can help you speed up that process?
When you can’t think of a good headline
Writing titles and headlines can be challenging. It's the first impression for your readers and has the most impact on things like open rates. ChatGPT might not offer the best headline, but it’s sure to produce a list that will get your creativity flowing.
When you aren’t feeling creative
Allowing AI into a corner of your writing process can unlock incredible results, and can help with idea generation and brainstorming titles and angles.
When your writing is overly complex
I have always been a fan of clear and concise language, and will often turn to readability checkers to ensure my writing is at a readable level. ChatGPT takes this one step further by rewriting text at my command into more readable text. For example, after asking it to write a paragraph, I can follow up and request that the language is simplified.
When you are stuck on research
ChatGPT is a fabulous tool for research. It can help with outlines, abstracts, and summarizing large chunks of text. It’s a great first step in research.
How to get the most out of AI tools
Most of my learnings about ChatGPT were as a result of trial and error, but there are a few tips worth noting that will help you get the most out of it:
Be clear in what you are seeking
To get the most out of AI tools, it’s important to provide clear and specific prompts when asking a question or making a request. The more context and information you can provide, the better the AI tool will understand and respond to your request.
Be selective on when you use it
Once you understand the pros and cons of AI tools, you can determine when it is appropriate and beneficial to use. Relying on it blindly for an anti-racist policy might not be the best use case, but if you are struggling with the wording of a new employee announcement, it can help.
Don’t blindly trust it
You can’t assume if and when AI is telling the truth. There is no fact checking and it likely isn’t using your brand’s tone. And as a few users have pointed out, it even has a racial bias. For this reason it is important to review everything.
This also reinforces that a human must be in the loop, to analyze the validity of the output, to identify crucial ideas absent, and to stand behind the published information.
Insert some originality
As mentioned, AI tools are relying on existing content so they cannot produce original ideas. If you are relying on AI, I recommend inserting some original content, context, or even a personal opinion.
Even if AI content tools scare you, it’s important to keep in mind that you still maintain full control of the actual writing and words-on-the-page. AI is simply there to help you overcome constraints of creativity, like mental fatigue, idea bias, and writer's block.
After all, good writing is never the first draft. It’s what you do with the additional drafts based on feedback. Think of AI doing the heavy lifting so you can concentrate on the other elements of content.
There is no doubt that generative AI is a game changer. It’s now up to you on whether to embrace it, or hide from it.
Have questions? Get in touch! We're always happy to hear from you.