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July 27, 2023
Whether you’re creating content and collateral using ChatGPT, or any of the other myriad generative AI large language model (AI/LLM) based writing tools, there is no denying that it makes the task of creating content easier. But just as you wouldn’t ask your intern to craft your corporate sales presentation, you shouldn’t rely entirely on ChatGPT and the rest to create your brand stories or build thought leadership either.
Remember: Do not lose your brand voice by passing off your story leadership to a bot.
You’re likely already familiar with ChatGPT and currently using in in one form or another. Unlike blockchain, NFTs or cryptocurrency (remember them?), generative AI/LLM technologies are very easy to use and now baked into many common marketing tools. Let’s focus on how you can leverage generative AI without losing your brand voice, point of view (POV), perspective and passion.
First, in an earlier article, I detailed why it’s important to develop and share your own brand story – not your former employer’s or vendor’s story, but your own rich and vibrant point of view. This is how you differentiate your brand. Among the steps I outlined was the idea of creating a narrative that brings your brand to life and demonstrates to your target audiences (e.g., employees, partners and customers) what you and your company value and the experience and perspective that you bring.
Second, in another article, I offered some iconic examples of brand voices with strong, recognizable personalities, including individuals like Steve Jobs and companies like Harley-Davidson. One point that I made is that company About Us statements are often so similar or bland that you could replace one business name with a business name from another industry and the copy could still read the same.
Many people are currently feeding ChatGPT with links and examples of their prior writing, pointing it toward a topic and setting it loose to generate content. I’m not a fan of this method. It’s not authentic and, to be honest, the content it creates isn’t always correct.
You can improve the prompts that you provide – the instructions that you give the tool before it begins generating copy – and a cottage industry of so called “Prompt Engineers” has cropped up to provide tips and techniques for creating better, more readable copy.
However, this still doesn’t solve the initial problem that ChatGPT – no matter how much information you give it – still is not you. It lacks your experience and relationships with your customers and their technology, it doesn’t have your ability to make decisions based on a myriad of factors that you gained through hard-earned technology certifications and hands-on work experience. And it lacks your passion and drive.
Which is exactly the problem with over relying on generative AI/LLM tools to write your copy? You can easily fall into the trap of producing copy that sounds fair, but doesn’t at all represent your strong, independent experience and expertise.
But if you’re willing to do a little work, you can learn to love the bot — in three easy steps. Here is how you can leverage ChatGPT to create your unique thought leadership content while building and maintaining a story style that is …
… all your own.
Use it to conduct brainstorming sessions. Ask ChatGPT to develop a list of blog articles or sub-topics under a category of expertise that you can discuss. I use a tool called Copy.AI and share who my audience is (e.g., independent managed service providers, solutions architects, clean energy firms) and the topic of my expertise (e.g., brand storytelling and building thought leadership). I ask the tool to develop a series of 10 topic ideas formatted as potential headlines. This provides me with a rich set of ideas that I can accept, modify or completely dismiss – without upsetting the other brainstorming participant. Unlike most brainstorming sessions, there is no group of voices competing with others in the room for my attention and I don’t have to buy more than one bagel for the meeting.
Train the tool in your brand voice. If your company has developed a brand storybook, you may have some guidance about the tone of voice, language style and specific point of view that you want to use in your copy and collateral. If not, you can use existing blog articles, white papers and other copy to train the tool in how you express yourself. Some tools allow you to save examples to a brand voice library. You can train and evaluate your tool to improve its ability to develop content prepared in your brand’s voice. The point of this exercise is to ensure that any copy you generate sounds like your voice and not random, vanilla copy.
Use it as a writing buddy or coach. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of the set it and forget it copy generation model. Instead, I take the lead, craft copy and use a tool to draft outlines and review my copy. It can quickly find incorrect grammar, word usage or some item that I might have otherwise overlooked. I can ask it to review a long paragraph and develop a summary to include as a pull-quote or an executive summary at the top. And I can ask it to provide endless variations without complaint. If you use it in this way, you will maintain your own brand voice while building additional content to share with your audiences.
Finally, remember that ChatGPT and similar tools aren’t entirely “intelligent” or creative. They lack drive and passion to create anything. Your 3D printer may be capable of creating all the pieces you need to develop your next costume for Comic-Con — but it won’t do anything unless you program it to produce what you want. ChatGPT is a lot like that — full of capability and ready to please, but unable to begin down any path without your guidance.
In closing, I asked Copy.AI this question: “How would Earnest Hemmingway describe ChatGPT and generative AI LLMs?” It responded with a short essay. I liked this description best:
Generosity by design, the ChatGPT wove its labyrinth of reflections, mimicking the human conversation. It ebbed and flowed with every input, dancing around words and phrases, emulating the multiplicitous nature of man’s pursuit of connection.
Go pursue your own connections — but do it in your own brand voice.
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Read more about:VARs/SIs
Arthur Germain is the principal and chief brandteller at Brandtelling. He has recently authored a book called "The Art of Brandtelling: Brand Storytelling for Business Success," available in paperback, Kindle and e-book formats. Visit TheArtofBrandtelling.com for information.
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