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The art of prompting is the key to unleashing AI's potential

If there's no way around it, then lean into it. ChatGPT is a valuable resource for many. So many articles are already out there telling you how writing is such a human skill and how people fear this skill will be lost due to the rise of AI. This is not not true. However, let's not get too dramatic. Even I get the easiness that AI provides. From what people have told me, many companies that don't have a copywriter in-house (or a coworker with writing skills) use ChatGPT for their LinkedIn posts, vacancy descriptions, short translations and more. All these people I've spoken to are satisfied with how efficient, easy and practical it is to get what they need from AI. The AI-powered assistant helps them save time, reduce costs, and improve existing copy. There are also limitations of AI-powered writing: situations where AI may not be the best option or in terms of creativity or nuance. This is the sweet spot for copywriters and translators like myself.

Prompting be like...

However, even though the disadvantages of the AI assistant for us copywriters are quite clear, why not join in on the AI fun and stand out by becoming skilled in prompting? Why not become better than non-writers? In short, how about learning to be better at prompting? With my writing skill, I know what the copy should read like, what engagement it should evoke and what action it should promote. So, let's embark on this collaboration journey, where human creativity and AI innovation harmonize, shaping the future of content creation by sharing some tips.

When it comes to prompting, it's all about being as specific as possible and not holding back on putting in what you want to get out of it. This means that you might feel that you're being too specific, extra, or picky – don't worry, no one will get offended; you're still talking to a robot that feeds off all the info you can provide. So go ahead, read my tips and see how it'll change the output you'll get.

Tip 1: Describe and then describe some more

Be generous with your words and describe very specifically what you need. When over-describing you'll get the best output, it also helps you in nailing down what you need from the copy the AI will provide. Use adjectives and really explain what you want.

For example, you're looking for copy to congratulate someone on a promotion. When I used the prompt: "How to say congratulations on a promotion", I got these examples: 1. "Congratulations on your well-deserved promotion!"

2. "I'm so happy for you on your promotion! Congratulations!"

3. "Congratulations on climbing the ladder of success! Well done!"

These are all perfectly fine but very generic. Like a Hallmark Card and they lack personality.

So try to over-describe what you want. My follow-up prompt was: "a lovely yet professional way in the style of Oprah Winfrey to congratulate a coworker of five years with a promotion, use no more than five lines". Here I used more adjectives, gave an example of a person with a distinctive writing style and gave the length of the message. This is what I got back:

"Congratulations on your well-deserved promotion! Your hard work and dedication over the past five years have paid off, and I couldn't be happier for you. Your new role is a testament to your exceptional talents and the positive impact you've made. Wishing you all the best as you embark on this exciting chapter of your career. You deserve every bit of this achievement and more!"

The latter example feels personal and genuine and conveys much more than the first three. Serving my point to over-explain and describe what you want and need ChatGPT to deliver. You can also try this with a simple recipe. When asking for a recipe for apple pie, add your preferred ingredients or the type of cuisine you like. Just like you would when briefing a copywriter.

Tip 2: Get personal

Are you active on Twitter, already have blogs published or any other online publications that are a reflection of you? Use it and get personal with AI. Just add that to your prompt. Let me give you an example. I asked ChatGPT to write the same message and mentioned that it had to be in the style of one of my blog posts which I added to my prompt. However, I wasn't that happy and asked for more humour.

The end result is a message that sounds a lot like me and I'd be happy to send it to someone with my name on it.

Tip 3: Give ChatGPT feedback on its output

Again, this also goes when working with a copywriter, give feedback. Let the AI know how it's performing so it can learn. When going back to the example in Tip 1, when I asked to write a congratulatory message in the style of Oprah, the text was way too long. So I added the 'in no more than 5 lines'. But also, sometimes when I ask ChatGPT to write me an outline, it's too American in style for my taste. So I inform ChatGPT to be less informal, briefer, or British in language and tone of voice. All these extra prompts help AI to get better and help you to get what you're looking for that fits your company's tone of voice and messaging.

When requesting recommendations for a trip, restaurant or movie, ask ChatGPT to also provide a list of pros and cons. This will help you be even more informed.

Let's embark on this journey of collaboration

In the ever-evolving landscape of content creation, ChatGPT emerges as a powerful ally for copywriters and translators. While smaller ongoing tasks may see a decline, the art of prompting becomes the key to unleashing AI's potential. By being specific, getting personal, and providing feedback, you can harness the full capabilities of ChatGPT to deliver a tailored and engaging copy. So, let's embark on this journey of collaboration, where human creativity and AI innovation harmonize, shaping the future of content creation. Together, we can navigate all the possibilities and ensure that our messages resonate and inspire.

Side note: I practice what I preach and this article is written with the smart support of ChatGPT and Grammarly.

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