ChatGPT for subject matter experts – What it does (and what it doesn’t)
Unless you have your head firmly ensconced in a sand dune, over the past few months you have been hearing a lot about ChatGPT, the open artificial intelligence tool that can create all varieties of content. As a web strategy professional, I have read and researched a lot. Opinions from people I trust in the industry seem to vary from “this is a fad that can be ignored because it will never write as well as a human” to “this is going to put us all out of business.” As is typical of me, my feelings are somewhere in the middle.
So, let’s start at the start, how might a professional services organization use ChatGPT or other AI text generators? These tools create content. In my tests of the ChatGPT, I was surprised to realize that it not only could intelligently derive content on a variety of topics, but it could also do so in the form I requested. So, for example, I tested out phrases such as “write a blog about accessibility for government contractors”, “create landing page text to promote tax services for a CPA”, and “write an Instagram Post for a resume coach”. In each case, it was able to provide an informative reply that nicely fit the length and desired structure of the request.
What ChatGPT did well
Creating an initial draft – There isn’t much in content writing that is more painful than a blinking cursor on a blank page. ChatGPT helps you avoid that. With a directed query you have a first draft done and dusted within seconds of putting in a request.
Ideation – Perhaps what impressed me most about the ChatGPT tool was just how far it got in creating not just the text but the actual concepts underlying the message. When I asked it to write a blog about “best practices for creating a color palette”, it provided a list that detailed the basic concepts of color theory. The breakdown of information and layout was spot on.
What ChatGPT did poorly
Write a compelling copy – The only way to describe the writing style of ChatGPT is that it sounds precisely how you think a computer would write. It is overdone and not enjoyable to read. It might get the information across, but it doesn’t do so in a way that is compelling.
Capture voice – An important aspect of marketing writing is “voice”. Every client with whom we work has a distinctive voice that we write into the content. For instance, in the case of the writing we do for our own brand, Spring Insight, it has a tendency to be sharp witted and a bit snarky. For one of our CPA clients, it is informative and just a little bit fun. For our general contractor client, it is buttoned up, but still approachable. We put a lot of work into getting that voice written into the content. Simply put, content from our clients should sound like our clients. My efforts to get ChatGPT to write a voice into the text were wholly unsuccessful. The types of changes required to get those changes in are simply too nuanced to be done by a non human.
Write sharp text – Related to the points above but just a bit different is the fact that the text is anything but sharp. When I describe the text produced by ChatGPT, the word I keep coming back to is “bloviated”. Everything reads a bit like it was written by 10th grader that was told they had a set word count they needed to hit and didn’t have the content to hit that number.
Reflect your specialized knowledge – The beauty of an AI text generator is that it is drawing against a pool of general knowledge to create content. Want to create a “best practices” blog? ChatGPT is your gal. But, if your goal is to promote your approach, your 11 secret herbs and spices, ChatGPT is not going to do that. (Nor, I add, will it likely give you a blog with a KFC chicken reference).
How I see this fitting into a small businesses marketing toolbox
So, having played with AI text generators for a bit now, I am ready to give you my verdict on the utility of it for subject matter experts. Personally, I would be lying to you if I said I wouldn’t use it in the future. It is a great tool for getting a piece of content started. Going from nothing to a full page of text is frankly, not only exhilarating, but a huge time saver.
That said, you will NEVER see a piece of unedited content written for this website, or any other website we manage, that was written by ChatGPT.
If you have the time, patience, and capability to heavily edit content to whip it into what you want, ChatGPT really is an amazing tool to jumpstart the process of writing a longer form piece of content.
Ready to have content that doesn’t read like it was written by a computer? At Spring Insight, we create compelling content for subject matter experts that is part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategies (particularly professional service providers). We custom create marketing plans that meet the needs of our clients and help them better reach their potential clients. Let’s set up a time to discuss your marketing needs.