The shockingly advanced language capabilities of OpenAI's ChatGPT have unleashed a wave of fear and excitement throughout marketing and public relations circles.
ChatGPT can compose well-structured, natural-sounding written output in a matter of seconds. Moreover, it's completely free to use—at least for now—which means time-crunched marketing organizations will be tempted to take shortcuts.
So, if your job involves writing short-form content that is routine and formulaic, you have every right to be worried about being replaced.
However, although ChatGPT may be able to produce content that reads like it was written by a human being, it lacks the ability to establish an original viewpoint and craft a truly compelling narrative, largely because its outputs are derived entirely from predictive models.
At the same time, ChatGPT's output also harbors no sense of creativity, depth, or perspective. So, if you write short-form blog posts, emails, sales copy, or social media posts for a living, it may be time to harness your emotional intelligence to ensure that you can continue to add value to your company.
Robots Can Write, But Only Humans Can Connect
Put simply, the best way to keep your marketing or PR job is by honing your capacity to build meaningful connections.
Marketing copywriting, for example, requires you to build connections between brands and specific audiences. In addition to tailoring your writing to your audience's personality and needs, you must make your writing align with each client's or your company's voice, principles, and overarching mission, all of which give the brand a unique identity.
Likewise, PR professionals must tailor their pitches to each recipient's individual interests or objectives to connect with journalists as human beings.
ChatGPT's writing, on the other hand, tends to be generic and void of nuance. It usually has one voice that doesn't change, regardless of the audience. In other words, ChatGPT is incapable of building meaningful connections.
By weaving uniquely human qualities throughout their work, marketing and PR professionals can distance themselves from the hollowness of ChatGPT and communicate a thorough understanding of the way other human beings think and feel.
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How Copywriters Can Be Less Robotic
The connections that determine a copywriter's success are born from empathy and authenticity. People won't believe your words if you don't appear to be a genuine conduit for your clients' brands and goals. For that reason, your work must sound as if it were written by someone with a meaningful connection to those brands, as opposed to a stranger who doesn't care about the subject matter—or a bot that is incapable of caring (e.g., ChatGPT).
Marketing copywriters can create authentic voices by injecting nuances into their work that reflect brand identities and audiences' personalities. A piece of content written by ChatGPT cannot convey the same sense of authenticity as copywriters who have a deep familiarity and relationship with their clients and audiences.
PR Skills That Cannot Be Performed by a Machine
Although cookie-cutter pitching might be relatively easy to do using AI, PR pros—just like copywriters—can inject empathy and authenticity into their pitches to exhibit their knowledge of both the brand they represent and the journalist on the receiving end of the pitch, particularly regarding journalists' beats and previous work.
Moreover, sending pitches is far from the only responsibility of PR pros. ChatGPT cannot replicate the aspects of PR that require serious strategizing, such as creating new storylines to differentiate your clients from their competitors, tying your clients into the latest industry developments, responding to internal crises in real time, and putting a positive spin on negative news to maintain your clients' reputation.
Only humans can piece together the strong and cohesive narratives required for forming meaning connections with audiences.
Another way for PR pros to reinforce their value is to take advantage of a major ChatGPT flaw: its inability to incorporate the latest stories and events.
ChatGPT, at least as it stands today, can absorb only information that has already existed on the Internet for some time. That means PR pros can gain an edge on AI by consistently pitching highly relevant stories based on new developments related to their clients' expertise.
Pinning your pitch to trending narratives will tell journalists that you've taken the time to do your research and that you are well aware of the importance of staying ahead of the game.
How to Use ChatGPT to Your Advantage
Copywriters and PR pros can view ChatGPT as a trusted assistant designed to make their lives significantly easier.
Even the most experienced writers can struggle with burnout and fatigue, which can make it difficult to put thoughts into words. In those situations, ChatGPT could get the ball rolling by composing an introductory paragraph to a blog post, giving writers the momentum to finish the post themselves.
Similarly, a PR pro could use ChatGPT to figure out a new way to structure a pitch or phrase an email subject line. The goal is to use AI to keep exhaustion from inhibiting the quality of your writing.
On that note, ChatGPT could theoretically create new jobs in editing, proofreading, fact-checking, or just increasing the value of an AI-generated piece. ChatGPT often falls short in regard to factual, up-to-date information, and it has no way of knowing whether its stories are true. In fact, when you ask ChatGPT to produce a piece with citations, the citations are sometimes made up—or flat-out incorrect.
That's where a human being comes in. The bulk of monotonous content can be produced by AI, and a human being can check the facts and citations to ensure that the content doesn't skirt the truth and is fully vetted for submission.
ChatGPT: Enemy or Ally?
If you genuinely understand the capabilities and liabilities of ChatGPT, the technology can serve as a helpful partner as well as a wake-up call for marketing copywriters and PR pros.
The use of AI in writing can trigger a massive improvement in the quality of writing for both professions. Now that writers are aware of the risk of doing the bare minimum, the content of the near future could be more authentic, empathetic, and insightful than ever.
As long as people continue to strengthen their skills and the relationships that power both PR and marketing, AI will remain at least one step behind, clearing the way for more human success.
More Resources on How to Use ChatGPT
Are You There, ChatGPT? It's Me, Marketing.
A B2B Marketing Deep Dive on AI Foundations, the Future, and More: Christopher Penn on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]
The Future Is Now: Five Forward-Thinking Marketing Content Growth Areas
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