15 Feb 2023

How to use ChatGPT without losing your audience (or soul)

Using the world’s most-hyped AI offers scalability and efficiency – in the right hands.

When hearing of the rise of ChatGPT, there appear to be two distinct ways to respond. A sickening dread as one glimpses the death of original, human communication, the fifth horseman signalling the beginning of the end.
Or, you see the potential for a new world of work.

If you haven’t heard – or have consciously avoided – the current furor, ChatGPT is a chatbot created by OpenAI, designed to answer questions in an informed, yet conversational way. Trained using inputs from billions of sources from the internet, the platform’s abilities are particularly impressive in two distinct areas. Firstly, that the chatbot can truly understand the meaning behind the questions asked of it and, secondly, that its answers closely replicate human communication.

For communications professionals (and educators, though I’ll leave teachers and lecturers to discuss that particular minefield), there is certainly a degree of fear. This is no doubt aided by ill-formed friends who, after a few drinks, ask ‘so, you’ll be out of a job soon, yeah?’.Of course, these same friends don’t really understand what communications is, let alone the delicious vagaries of the written word and how it must be deftly wielded to influence, inspire and persuade.

And that is the crux of it – the subtlety of language, its spark and vigour, eludes the many abilities of ChatGPT. Here is an example:
Our Associate Director, Katie, asked ChatGPT to write a story about her Christmas holiday with her partner and son. Here is an excerpt:
“The next day, they packed their bags and set off for Jervis Bay, where Katie’s mum was spending her Christmas sailing on the crystal-clear waters of the bay. They spent the next few days watching her sail, taking in the stunning scenery and enjoying the warm sunshine. They went swimming in the bay and had a picnic on the beach.”
It is the equivalent of painting by numbers; everything is in the right spot, but it doesn’t have much vibe.

Having said that, there is a place for Chat GPT for communicators, and those who don’t get on board may well get left behind… or, at least, miss out on some serious wins for efficiency.

ChatGPT is a tool, not a usurper
According to the McKinsey 2022 State of AI review, the average number of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that companies employ has doubled since 2018. If the amount of headline real estate that ChatGPT has gained over the last two months is anything to go by, this will continue to increase exponentially.
For those working in MarComms, this platform is an incredibly useful tool – when placed in the right hands. ChatGPT requires not only knowing which requests to give it, but the expertise to see the limitations of its output.

Here are three use cases – and do-not-use cases – for ChatGPT in communications:

Do: Use the platform for keyword research, creating good SEO titles and meta-tags, and even crafting blog outlines, allowing SEO specialists and digital marketers the chance to scale their offerings.
Don’t: Use verbatim text created by ChatGPT for blog articles or product listings. Not only will it downgrade your Google ranking (Google’s automated ranking systems prioritises ‘helpful, reliable, people-first content’ that demonstrates authorship), it will fall flat for the reader.
Do: Use the platform to give you background and context for new subject areas, rather than dedicating hours to endlessly googling.
Don’t: Rely on the platform for fresh, up-to-date news. ChatGPT draws on data from 2021 and earlier, so should not be used for current issues.
Ad copy
Do: Use to draft variations of advertising copy, particularly for A/B and multivariate testing on the Google and Meta ad platforms.
Don’t: Use for ‘original’ marketing copy. AI platforms will use previously written published information to create ‘new’ work that, while syntactically and grammatically correct, tends to lack flare and engagement.
It is essential, no matter the use case of AI, to keep a discerning eye on the outputs, particularly when it comes to long form copy. This is important not only to ensure the quality of the work itself, but due to potential copyright concerns.
In a discussion with our ECCO Switzerland colleague, Lara Hafner, lawyer Philipp Kämpfer notes that AI can unknowingly infringe copyright through the use, imitation and/or distribution of works through the internet. This is yet another reason for not taking chatGPT copy exactly as writ.
As people who pride themselves on creativity and originality, working with AI may feel like getting in bed with the enemy, but for those willing to look beyond the scaremongering, ChatGPT offers efficiencies.
If you’re looking for content that connects with your audience, don’t leave it to AI alone – get in touch at impact@impactagency.com.au

Access to the ECCO Global Communications Network is simple. Contact information for a specific geography is available on the agency overview pages accessed here or contact the ECCO Global Communications office in London at +44 7899941744 or via email