Jacob Streiter is a VP at the Rosen Group.
It’s the question on every PR professional’s mind: How do you make the most of ChatGPT?
Well, here’s a good start: Get comfortable without needing to use it at all. Like, really comfortable.
Whenever a new technology or innovation emerges and carries with it such great excitement and possibility, here is, thanks to human nature, what inevitably happens:
- Many people, especially those younger and more technologically inclined, overuse and misuse it.
- Others, often those who are more senior, put off using it and thereby miss out on its benefits.
- Bold claims are made about its expected long-term impact, both utopian and dystopian.
From my standpoint, I see numerous reasons to be excited about ChatGPT, while I also see valid concerns — including those about its overuse.
The risks of overuse
Here is what happens if you lean too heavily on ChatGPT, especially if you’re a PR beginner:
- Your writing will lack nuance, style, personality and an overall “human touch” — ingredients which are invaluable in grabbing the attention of media. The result: Your pitches will fall flat!
- Priority messaging points provided by your client will, one way or another, end up getting fumbled.
- Completed assignments — filled with ideas, information and language generated by ChatGPT — might seem OK at a glance but, upon a closer review by your managers, will miss the mark.
- Ultimately, your writing, editing, ideating and broader skill set will become stunted and remain underdeveloped.
So, how does a PR professional maximize ChatGPT’s benefits while minimizing its risks? The short answer: By using it as a tool that complements — rather than replaces — your skills and knowledge.
ChatGPT gets the ball rolling. But is it even the right kind of ball?
In my experience to date, I have found that ChatGPT is best used as a tool for initial idea generation (e.g. Give me blog post ideas covering Millennials and personal finance); quick research (e.g. Give me the top 10 personal finance media outlets); and synthesis of relevant-but-complex topics (e.g. Simply and concisely, how does the stock market work?).
In each case, ChatGPT helps get the ball rolling — but it’s ultimately your responsibility to bring it to the right destination. It’s also up to you to decide if it’s even the right type of ball you need in the first place.
The better you are without ChatGPT, the better you’ll be with it
The stronger your PR skill set and knowledge base, the better positioned you’ll be to get the most out of ChatGPT. Here’s why:
- A more seasoned eye to nuance allows you to more effectively vet, fine-tune and customize.
- You can delegate your brain power to ChatGPT in order to quickly retrieve information that you already know but don’t want to spend your scarce mental bandwidth on (e.g. a list of media outlets). And your knowledge base equips you to use that retrieved information most wisely.
- Knowing what you specifically need, along with what a high-quality end product looks like, empowers you to use ChatGPT with higher levels of precision, discretion and effectiveness.
- You are better able to identify if, in a given task, ChatGPT’s suggestions aren’t a fit for your needs. And since you have your broader skill set and knowledge base to fall back on, you don’t feel pressured to keep using it in those times when it’s turning out to be not up to the task. In other words: you can set high standards for ChatGPT because you have walk-away value!
Now, a scenario: Let’s say you fall into the “more experienced but less technologically inclined” category. And while you haven’t yet tried ChatGPT, you’ve decided it’s finally that time. How should you go about it?
Here’s one approach: Try asking a junior colleague for help. Maybe they can share with you their technical know-how and tips, while you impart some of your knowledge and wisdom.
After all, we all get better by learning from each other, right?