ChatGPT: Tips on how to write effective prompts

ChatGPT: Tips on how to write effective prompts

Posted: Tue 1st Aug 2023

As a small business, creating content is likely to play a key role in building your brand and reputation.

But creating compelling, consistent content isn’t always easy. Enter ChatGPT, your new writing sidekick.

What is ChatGPT and how can it help me?

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) tool created by the American company OpenAI. It has a number of clever capabilities that can take the headache out of creating content

As a tool, it’s great at generating a first draft for any written content you're doing, whether its blogs, social media posts, reports or emails. But there’s so much more it can do.

  • A research tool to help you discover different viewpoints?

  • A banisher of blank-page syndrome?

  • A writing coach?

The list goes on. There’s no denying ChatGPT is an impressive tool, but to harness its full potential, you'll need to master your prompt writing skills.

Watch this webinar to get a more engaging output from ChatGPT with these easy prompt-writing tips:


Put rubbish in, get rubbish out

Yes, ChatGPT will deliver an output with a simple, generalised prompt. But getting something more nuanced and effective relies on asking the right questions. If you put vague in, you’ll get vague out. Simple. The key is to be specific. 

Narrow it down... and narrow it down again

Regardless of what you’re asking for, this is my number-one piece of advice: narrow down your request. The more specific you can be, the better your results.

It might help to think of ChatGPT as an intern. You wouldn’t expect an intern to write a blog without any kind of guidance. You'd probably give them some idea of your topic, audience and tone.

That’s the same with ChatGPT. When you ask for an outline of a blog or a social media post, give it as much information as you can. Explain the job, who it’s for, your brand tone of voice and some key bullet points (or a past piece of writing) as a guide.

What you get back will be much closer to what you’re looking for. In fact, a detailed prompt should create a good starting point or first draft.

Three handy prompts for other content-creating tasks

Now you’ve nailed the number-one rule, let’s look at some other prompts that can support you with creating content.

1. Using ChatGPT for research

ChatGPT is great for research. You can use it to summarise ideas, discover different viewpoints, ask for frameworks, define terms – and lots more. As ever, the key is to be specific about your topic and the type of information you need.

For example: “I’m writing a blog on mental health strategies for small business owners. Could you list all of the possible viewpoints on this topic? Please reply in bullet points.”

This will give you some interesting angles, and maybe viewpoints that you’d not considered before.

2. Summarising information

In my view, this is one of ChatGPT's strong points. If you need to summarise a report for your team or create a social post to promote your blog, ChatGPT is your new best friend.

In this case, provide your source material and specify what you’d like to see. For example: “Please summarise my latest report into five key bullet points. The tone should be conversational and friendly [copy and paste your report].”

You can do the same by providing your latest blog and asking it to write a short summary for a LinkedIn post.

3. Improving your writing

When you’ve written your content, ChatGPT turns into a handy writing coach. You can ask it to rephrase sentences, improve clarity, or make your writing more engaging. 

I like asking for suggestions. For example: I've written this article, please can you give me five ways to improve it [insert article]. Thanks.” Clever, right?

A few considerations

Now, just before you whizz off and start fine-tuning your prompts, there are a few things to bear in mind when using ChatGPT. 

Be careful what information you put into the model. It’s wise to avoid adding anything proprietary, personal or confidential. Remember, Italy banned ChatGPT completely due to data privacy concerns.

Fact-check everything. AI has a habit of hallucinating (making things up). And these hallucinations are pretty well written. So, check your output. It’ll save any embarrassment or reputational damage.

I’d also suggest being transparent when you’re using AI, especially if you’re a freelance writer. Speak to your clients about the tools you’re using and the value you’re adding. As AI detection tools become more commonplace, you don’t want to get caught or break the trust of your clients. 

Don’t outsource “you”

Just one final word. ChatGPT is a powerful sidekick when it comes to creating content, but your human contribution still matters. A lot.

Your creativity, understanding of your audience and unique voice are what make your content stand out. It’s the reason people choose you over everyone else.

So, start crafting your prompts, explore, play and experiment. But remember not to outsource "you". 

ChatGPT is a tool. Its output is a starting point, not the end result. The most important part is what you bring to the table afterwards.

Relevant resources

Hi, I'm Kerry. I'm an AI consultant, copywriter and copywriting trainer with a passion for fusing human creativity with emerging tech. In 2018, after 18 years as an advertising creative, I co-founded the award-winning agency Tiny Giant and moved into exploring the creative opportunities of artificial intelligence. During the last five years, I've co-created the world’s first AI gin, crafted an AI Queen’s speech for Wired Magazine, brought the award-winning Cheltenham Science Festival AI curator to life, served up AI cocktails across the globe – and have spoken about AI at events both nationally and internationally. Today, I'm the founder of Unclouded, a content creation and training organisation. I'm on a mission to help forward-thinking individuals and businesses to create clear and compelling content – with (and without) AI technologies. I believe that generative AI tools shouldn't only be benefitting big corporates with gigantic budgets. Small businesses should be benefitting from the power of AI too. With generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Bard, Jasper, Midjourney, Dalle2 and RunwayML, it's possible for small businesses to improve productivity, save time and augment their own brilliant human creativity. For me, AI isn't going to replace content creators and creatives, it will be tool to support us. AI tools can already help to us research, plan, write first drafts, structure blogs, craft headlines, create bespoke images and more. Plus, we can now edit videos quickly, without skills in complex editing software. My workshops and training are all about showing you how to do this – without the AI hype and BS. I'll tell it like it is (maybe it's my Northern roots) and I'll share both the potential and problems of AI, so you can make a call on what feels right for you. As practitioner and trainer, I'll always bring you first-hand experience. This includes the exciting new ways you can use AI tools – plus any challenges I discover along the way. Successes and failures are part of the journey. And we're all learning together, right?

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