Have you ever dreamed of having an assistant who lessens your workload? And does it for free? Dreams do come true, but this one comes on a wave of hype. Yes, I’m talking about ChatGPT.
Artificial intelligence (AI) tools have been around for a while, but nothing has captured attention like ChatGPT. Some people are way too in love with it, while others are way too worried. The reasonable response is somewhere in between.
Used wisely, ChatGPT lessens your workload, allowing you to spend more time on what’s most important. Here’s my first take on how ChatGPT can help associations manage and market professional development programs.
What is ChatGPT and how does it work?
ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot. The “GPT” stands for “generative pretrained transformer,” which is a language processing model that’s been trained on a ginormous amount of data so it can generate human-like text.
To play around with it yourself, create a free account with OpenAI. A paid version, ChatGPT Plus, is in pilot mode for $20/month.
ChatGPT is not the only AI option. Microsoft’s search engine Bing is using a more advanced version of ChatGPT. Many other AI tools for marketers and writers are based on ChatGPT or its underlying technology. Last week, OpenAI announced they’ll soon let developers build ChatGPT into their apps, so we can expect even more options.
Limitations of ChatGPT
We’re a long way off from AI tools having a human-enough brain to replace us. But associations are already using these tools, such as predictive marketing automation and AI-curated newsletters, to save hours of time a week.
Think of ChatGPT as an inexperienced virtual assistant who writes like a high school student and comes up with interesting ideas but is a bit of a BS artist. You can’t completely trust their work.
The content provided by ChatGPT should only serve as a jumping-off place. You need to fact-check it and bring it up to your standards. Since online data is full of biases, its responses might be too.
ChatGPT was trained on data sets found online before 2022, so it can’t provide any information after that. Sometimes, it provides incorrect information. ChatGPT was trained for the plausible next thing to say, not necessarily the correct thing. It makes logical deductions which aren’t always true.
Humans are far superior to ChatGPT. A machine learning scholar said generative AI models, like ChatGPT, are “not trained to produce content aligned with goals such as truth, insight, reliability and originality. They also lack common sense and a fundamental understanding of the world, which means they can generate flawed (and even nonsensical) content.”
ChatGPT’s responses are only as good as the prompts you give it. The best prompting advice I read was: “You’re programming the machine to perform a writing task for you.”
For best results, give ChatGPT a content brief. “Provide as much context as possible and use specific and detailed language.” Specify the content’s purpose, audience, style, format, and word count. Ask it to write in a specific style or take on a specific role.
Outline the main points you want to make. Make no assumptions about its knowledge. Refine your prompt until you get what you want.
Never use ChatGPT content without reworking it. Unless you excel at prompt-writing, ChatGPT serves up generic, ho-hum content with no personality and a matter-of-fact voice.
How ChatGPT can help you manage and market professional development programs
The higher education community is having fascinating discussions about the use of ChatGPT by teachers and students. Instead of seeing it as a threat, many teachers plan to incorporate ChatGPT into their lesson plans.
In this post, we’re staying on tactical ground. I sought ChatGPT use cases that would help association professionals who plan, deliver, and market professional development programs.
Ideation and planning
What many people love best about ChatGPT is not having to face a blank page alone. It’s easier to rework what it gives you than start from scratch—a big time saver.
ChatGPT can be your new brainstorming buddy. Suggest a topic, problem, or opportunity and ask for ideas. Instruct it to riff off your idea, suggest different angles, or go in new directions
Teachers are using ChatGPT to draw up initial drafts for lesson plans and find supplementary resources. A teacher in the UK said, “Your lesson plans are your recipe—you still need a chef. You still need a teacher to make that recipe come alive.”
ChatGPT writes a video script in seconds. A video producer used a single prompt to ask for a script for an instructional video on how to make an apple pie. Get baseline copy from ChatGPT and modify it from there.
Quizzes and practice tests
Copy module or webinar content into ChatGPT and ask it to generate short-answer or multiple-choice questions. Teachers also ask for sample responses and sample feedback on those responses.
Ask ChatGPT to generate questions for online community, class, or staff discussions.
Program descriptions, web page copy, and other content
ChatGPT can help you craft program or session descriptions, email copy, landing or registration page copy, and press releases. You’ll get better results by providing a content brief as described above. For example, specify the target audience, program features and benefits, and differentiation factors.
Use ChatGPT to summarize a long description, such as a speaker bio, or to simplify a complex explanation.
Email and other marketing content
For any content, but particularly marketing copy like emails or advertisements, give ChatGPT as much information as you can. In your prompt, include content type, word count, target audience, talking points, and call to action. Expect to refine the results, but at least you’re not starting from scratch.
Ask ChatGPT to come up with ideas on a topic, create an outline, fill in the outline, and review your draft for readability.
Just remember, ChatGPT doesn’t understand your marketing strategy and isn’t aware of the context, intent, or relevance of your content to your audience. Every piece of ChatGPT content needs the eyes of a human.
Titles, subject lines, and headlines
Copy and paste content into ChatGPT and ask it for ten title suggestions. Specify any keywords you want to include. If you want it to follow a headline formula or style, add that to your prompt.
Copy a blog post or event description into ChatGPT and ask for several examples of copy you can use for Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms.
Ask for a list of keywords around a specific topic. Copy your content into ChatGPT and ask it for a meta description for SEO.
Copy your draft into ChatGPT and ask it to improve what you’ve written. Be specific. For example, ask it to make the content more clear or concise, or to remove the passive voice.
Lately, at the bottom of some articles about ChatGPT, the writer says, “Isn’t ChatGPT terrific! It wrote most of this article for me!”
Not this writer.
Dear reader, you deserve better than a generic ChatGPT-produced article, although it may have come up with more ideas than I did, but, like I said, this is Take One. Until the robots drag me away, you’ll read the thoughts and words of a human here. I like researching, thinking, and writing, and I suspect many of you do too. If time is an issue, take advantage of ChatGPT where it makes sense but add your own finishing touch and have the final word.