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Beyond the Buzz: A Practical Guide to ChatGPT for Marketing and PR

Lance Concannon

Jun 7, 2023

We’ve all heard the hype around ChatGPT, it’s been impossible to avoid over recent months, but is that all it really is, just hype? Definitely not. 

ChatGPT, along with similar generative AI tools, appears to be that most rare of creatures, a much talked about new technology that is genuinely transformative, with an immediate and significant impact on a wide range of industries. 

In this blog, we’ll explore how ChatGPT can be used in the PR and marketing communications world, with practical examples that you can start using today to work smarter and faster. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on using ChatGPT, and we recommend you subscribe to ChatGPT+ to gain access to some of the more advanced features, although it’s not essential and the free version will work too.

Keep reading to discover some powerful ChatGPT marketing tips. 

Table of Contents

What exactly is ChatGPT?

In short, ChatGPT is an AI that can understand questions written in natural language, and provide detailed answers also in natural language.

Developed by the US artificial intelligence company, OpenAI, ChatGPT is a chatbot based on the company’s GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) Large Language Model (LLM). There’s a lot of deeply technical background to this which doesn’t need to be covered in this article, but the Chat-GPT Wikipedia page has plenty of detail if you really want to know.

In broad, simple terms, ChatGPT is a kind of AI known as a neural network that is inspired by the way the neurons and synapses in our brains work. Like our brains, neural networks are capable of learning to perform tasks through being trained by example, as opposed to the conventional way of building an application by painstakingly coding it to carry out each step of a task in excruciatingly fine detail.

This means they can do highly complex things that would be practically impossible to achieve through conventional software development methods.

In the case of ChatGPT, the AI was trained on a huge volume of human-created information from the internet, including Wikipedia and other websites, books, discussion forms, and more. It’s important to note that the model didn’t build an understanding of the world based on that data, rather it got uncannily good at putting together sequences of words which make sense to the reader.

Think of it as a much more sophisticated and powerful version of your phone’s autocomplete feature. It predicts the correct order of words based on statistical probability, and it does that incredibly well, but it doesn’t really understand the concepts it's talking about. So it can make factual mistakes, but its mistakes often seem highly plausible at first glance, because that’s what it’s learned how to do.

With that caveat out of the way, anybody who spends time playing around with ChatGPT cannot fail to be impressed by its apparent intelligence. Even when you know how the trick is done, it still seems much smarter than it should be. It’s shown the ability to explain and deconstruct abstract jokes about niche topics, and some researchers have claimed that it displays some traits of Artificial General Intelligence - an AI that’s capable of understanding things and solving problems.

ChatGPT also understands most programming languages, and you can ask it to create code for you simply by explaining what you want the code to do. More recently the platform introduced “plugins” which adapt it to be able to perform specific tasks by connecting it to third-party apps, and giving it access to data it doesn’t already have. For example, the Expedia plugin allows you to plan and book a trip using natural language queries.

The Potential of ChatGPT for Marketing and PR

As you can see, ChatGPT is a powerful tool, so long as you understand its capabilities and limitations. There’s been a lot of talk about AI replacing human workers, leading to job-losses, but that’s the wrong way to look at this technology. It’s not like you could fire your marketing team and expect ChatGPT to replace them.

This is a tool which can help PR and marketing professionals work faster and more effectively, but it’s nowhere close to replacing them. Whether you work in-house or agency side, at any level, you can use ChatGPT to make your life easier.

Chat GPT for Marketing Copywriting

The simplest ChatGPT marketing use case is using it for copywriting. Whether you’re trying to create social media posts, email marketing campaigns, blogs, or even entire eBooks, this tool can really help you to speed up that process. 

Let’s be clear though, ChatGPT is no replacement for a professional copywriter. Its output is often dry and formulaic, it can contain factual inaccuracies, so we wouldn’t advise using it to produce your marketing copy without significant human oversight. More importantly, an AI doesn’t have all of the insight into your company, products, and tone of voice that is needed to do a good job.

You still need a talented writer to write engaging, action-provoking copy that achieves your objectives. So where does ChatGPT come in?

Using ChatGPT for Short Form Copy

For short-form copy like social media posts and email subject lines, the tool is great for providing a lot of alternative options.

Let’s say you’ve written a tweet to encourage people to visit a new product page on your website, and you want to keep pushing it for a month or so but without sounding repetitive. You can simply prompt ChatGPT to write 10 alternative versions of the tweet, and while they may still need a little rewriting to make them sparkle, this will still be a lot faster than writing them all from scratch. 

In fact, Meltwater recently integrated ChatGPT into our Engage social media management platform, providing exactly this functionality, making it easier for social media managers to produce the content they need to fuel their channels. We have also launched Meltwater's AI-Powered PR Assistant.

A screenshot of Meltwater's AI Writing Assistant, powered by ChatGPT

Using ChatGPT for Long Form Copy

For longer items of copy, which could include anything from emails and blog posts all the way up to weighty eBooks, ChatGPT can help you to overcome what writers call The Tyranny of the Blank Page. For many writers, even with a good, detailed brief, getting started is the hardest part.

So if you find yourself staring at a blank page for way too long, waiting for the right words to come, simply explain the brief to ChatGPT and it will give you some copy to get started with. More often than not you will probably find that the whole thing needs to be completely rewritten and the end result will bear little resemblance to the AI’s output, but it can at least get you started more quickly. 

Getting ChatGPT to write a very long piece of copy like an eBook takes just a little more work than writing a single prompt, because even if you tell it to write 5,000 words, it will still only produce a kind of condensed draft of less than 1,000 words as its first response.

To make it write a more in-depth copy, use the following method:

  • First prompt it to provide an outline. For example, you could enter something like: “Write the 8 most important points that people should consider when booking a wedding venue. The style should be fun and informal. Include some interesting facts about weddings.”
  • Once it’s produced a response, you can then ask it to expand on each point, giving it a little guidance to cover the most relevant areas: “Provide more detail for point 1, and specifically focus on X. Also explain an alternative option for somebody on a lower budget.”
  • Repeat this for each section, and don’t be afraid to ask it to rewrite or give it more direction as required.
  • Then you can ask it to write an intro: “Write a 300 word introduction that briefly explains why it’s so important to book the right wedding venue.”
  • Finally, do the same with a conclusion: “Write a 300 word conclusion that summarizes everything covered in these 8 sections.”

This works because in each discussion thread you use with ChatGPT it retains memory of everything that’s already been talked about earlier in the thread, so it understands the context of what you’re asking for. It also saves your separate discussion threads, so you can go back to them at a later time and continue working on the same project. 

ChatGPT for PR Brainstorming

When you think about the potential uses of ChatGPT for marketing and PR, it’s easy to focus only on content generation, but the tool can be used for a lot more. For example, let’s imagine you’re doing Public Relations for a new app which protects user’s data privacy on the internet, an important issue but not terribly exciting. How could you come up with some angles that would convince a national newspaper to write about the app?

Simply frame the question to ChatGPT and it will provide you with a list of ideas:

Using ChatGPT for a PR Brainstorm

Again, the output from ChatGPT might not give you exactly what you need, but just like a real brainstorming session, the first round of ideas can provide a helpful springboard into something better. If you’re struggling to get started, it’s a great way to get the ball rolling.

Everybody who works in a PR or marketing agency knows the pain of throwing your heart and soul into a new business pitch, only to lose out to a competitor. But if you don’t win that client, there’s no reason all your hard work should be wasted, with a little tweaking those same ideas could be repurposed for other, similar businesses. 

In this example of a ChatGPT marketing prompt, we asked it to give us some ideas for alternative types of business we could take our ideas to:

ChatGPT providing a list of ideas for a marketing agency pitch

The sky really is the limit when using ChatGPT for marketing brainstorms, as it can help with almost any creative challenge you face. This is particularly useful if you work with a small team or have limited time, and just need to get some ideas flowing as quickly as possible.

Using ChatGPT for PR and Marketing Campaign Planning

If you’re a marketing professional you probably already know how to build a marketing campaign plan, but in a world where we all need to be multitaskers, taking on tasks that lie outside of our areas of expertise, it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra help. 

And even if you are completely comfortable with planning a broad, multichannel marketing and PR campaign, why do everything from scratch when ChatGPT can at least give you a framework to build upon?

Again, all you need to do is write a clear prompt explaining the background (i.e. what exactly the campaign is for), and any additional detail that is important, then ChatGPT will build the outline of a marketing plan tailored to your specific needs. You can then flesh it out with your own ideas, or even ask it to expand upon any particular sections that you need help with. 

In this example, we’ve asked ChatGPT to create a marketing plan for a new kind of inflatable kayak: 

ChatGPT Marketing Plan 1
ChatGPT Marketing Plan 2

Next, we asked it to provide more detail for the PR component of this plan:

A ChatGPT generated PR Plan

General Tips on ChatGPT for Marketing

The possibilities for how you can use ChatGPT for marketing and PR are endless, but to use a well-worn technology maxim: garbage in, garbage out. The tool’s usefulness is closely related to the quality of the prompts you write for it. 

Since ChatGPT launched we’ve seen a boom in “prompt engineers” who claim to offer specialist skills in getting the AI to provide the best quality output. But the truth is that ChatGPT was always intended to respond to natural language requests, not to be some complex tool that requires special know-how, so the real trick is just to understand that you need to give it clear, well thought out instructions. You don’t need to be an engineer! 

Here are our tips for writing ChatGPT prompts that get great results: 

  • Be Specific: The more precise and specific your prompt, the more accurate the response you'll receive. If your question is too broad, you may not receive the information you're looking for. For example, instead of asking "Can you tell me about digital marketing?" you could ask "What are the key differences between SEO and SEM in digital marketing?"
  • Specify the Format: If you're looking for a response in a particular format, include this in your prompt. If you want a step-by-step guide, ask for it. If you want a case study, request a case study. For example, "Can you provide a case study of a successful social media marketing campaign?" will produce a very different result than "Tell me about social media marketing."
  • Watch Your Tone: Whether you're looking for a serious business-oriented answer or a more creative, brainstorming-style response, make sure to ask for that. For example "Provide a formal analysis of the importance of influencer marketing in today's business landscape" versus "Can you give me a creative brainstorm on influencer marketing strategies for a startup fashion brand?"
  • Manage the Length: If you need a concise answer for a presentation, mention that in your prompt. For longer, more detailed strategies or analyses, make sure you say so. For example, you might say "Give me a brief summary of the benefits of PR in crisis management" for a shorter response or "Could you provide a detailed strategy for PR during a brand crisis?" for a longer one. You can always ask it to expand upon any point in an earlier response. 
  • Use Open-ended Questions: To encourage more comprehensive and insightful answers, formulate open-ended questions rather than yes/no queries. Instead of "Does social media marketing boost brand visibility?" you could ask "How does social media marketing enhance brand visibility?"

Think of ChatGPT as a helpful coworker. If you give it clear instructions with as much detail as possible, it will be able to help you far more effectively than if you write vague prompts.

Tip: Learn how to use ChatGPT for social media marketing.