Mastering the Art of AI Prompting for Content Creation
By Sara Meier
July 25, 2023
There’s no question about it—2023 is the year of generative AI. Though it might not be a new technology, the release of ChatGPT 3 in late 2022 has turned generative AI into a compelling tool for content creation in digital marketing. The internet is brimming with countless examples of robust, high-quality content produced using just a few word prompts from users, and marketers of every stripe are eager to leverage these revolutionary AI capabilities. Who wouldn’t be tempted by the prospect of such enormous efficiency gains?
Generative AI undoubtedly has a vital role to play in the future of digital content creation. However, as with all new tools, it’s essential that we approach AI with a critical eye, seeking to truly understand its capabilities and limitations. Producing top-tier content that drives leads and engagement is not a simple, hands-off process. In fact, effectively using generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, has become an art and science in itself, requiring a blend of strategic vision, meticulous planning, and a comprehensive understanding of how these tools work.
At the heart of using generative AI effectively is creating thoughtful prompts—a skill that has the power to transform AI from a simple and often frustrating tool into a powerful and dynamic content creation partner.
What Exactly is a Prompt?
Before we dive into the nuances of producing high-quality AI content, let’s talk about the fundamental building block of this process: the prompt. In its simplest form, a prompt can be defined as an instruction or direction given to an AI tool. It’s akin to a brief you might give to a human writer, describing the task at hand and specifying the desired output.
However, a prompt isn’t just about providing a task; it’s a tool to communicate the context, the goal, and the subtleties of what you want the AI tool to generate. And, just as the quality of a brief can influence a human writer’s output, the quality of your prompt plays a significant role in the content produced by AI.
The art of creating an effective prompt lies in balancing precision and creativity, which can be a challenging feat. It requires you to be clear and concise, yet imaginative and insightful. By crafting thoughtful, well-structured prompts, you provide a roadmap for the AI, guiding it to produce the specific content you desire.
Building a Framework for AI Prompting
Prompting an AI isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Digital marketing is a diverse field, requiring different content types, structures, tones, and styles, all customized to various clients’ unique needs. It necessitates a flexible prompting framework that can be adapted to these various requirements while maintaining content quality on par with that of seasoned writers.
At EverCommerce, we’re committed to not just achieving this quality but doing so more efficiently. We believe that creating an adaptable, yet systematic, AI prompting approach is the answer.
A Flexible Approach to AI Prompting
Our team at EverCommerce has honed an AI prompting technique that balances effectiveness, efficiency, and adaptability. It’s not merely a cookie-cutter solution, but a structure to guide us in creating content we’re proud to present.
Our approach to AI prompting revolves around three primary pillars:
The first pillar, context, sets the stage. It allows us to explain our intentions, offering the AI system perspective on what we’d like to achieve. This can include simple statements about the kind of content we want to produce. For example, are we creating an engaging blog post or a catchy SEO-optimized product description? However, it is also important to provide some context about how this piece of content will fit into a broader marketing strategy, as this step will allow the AI tool to better align its output with our objectives.
As an example, let’s say that we want to create a blog post about training for a marathon. Before asking a generative AI tool to write this blog, it will be useful to put it into a broader context. For example, we might begin our prompt with:
“I run a fitness blog designed to provide athletes with guidance on how to overcome physical and mental barriers that prevent them from growing and moving into the next stage of their training. Heading into the spring and summer months, I want to create more blog content about competitive running.”
Providing context in the first part of your prompt allows the AI tool to put the task into perspective and generate content that fits seamlessly into your broader mission.
Next, we have the command. This is where we direct the AI system to execute a specific task. The command should be simple, action-oriented, and avoid complicated sentence structures that could confuse the system. A clear, concise command ensures the AI’s output stays on track, closely adhering to our intended goal.
Returning to our marathon blog example, we can simply state what we want the AI tool to produce:
“Write a blog post about how runners who have never taken part in a marathon should mentally and physically prepare for competing in their first marathon.”
Note that this command starts with a verb and has a simple, imperative sentence structure, leaving no ambiguity about the desired outcome.
The final pillar, modifiers, provides supplementary details to further shape the content that an AI tool generates. It answers questions such as how long should the content be? How many sections should be included? Are there any specific points that must be touched on? What tone should the content employ and whose perspective should it be written from? Are there specific words or phrases that should be included for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
There are an endless number of modifiers that can be used to fine-tune AI output, ensuring the content meets your exact requirements.
Think about how this might work in the context of the marathon blog example. If we were to ask an AI tool to write this blog from the perspective of a champion marathon runner and life coach, we would expect very different results than if we asked it to be written from the perspective of an orthopedist. The former would likely focus on ways to increase stamina, stay motivated, and other strategies to help in training for your first marathon. The latter might include some similar guidance, but it would likely put more emphasis on how to protect bone and joint health during the training process.
This three-part framework, when applied effectively, allows writers and marketers to take full advantage of AI’s potential and efficiently craft content that aligns with their objectives and resonates with their audiences.
The Indispensable Human Touch
While AI offers efficiency and consistency, the value of human expertise remains critical in the AI content creation process. From creating effective prompts to validating AI’s output, human involvement is irreplaceable.
AI, for all its capabilities, can have limitations. It may inadvertently produce content that is biased, inaccurate, outdated, or incomplete. Therefore, comprehensive review and validation by qualified experts is crucial. This is especially true for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) content, which deals with sensitive topics like finance, health, or safety.
Refinement of AI-generated content often involves human intervention, not just to ensure its accuracy and alignment with your requirements, but also to further enhance its quality and effectiveness. The human-AI collaboration is not about replacing or fully automating the content production process; it’s about giving qualified professionals powerful tools that enhance their creativity and productivity.
Making the Leap to AI-Driven Content Creation
Generative AI holds enormous potential for content creation. However, to truly tap into its power requires professional guidance. If you’re ready to incorporate AI-generated content into your digital marketing strategy, reach out to EverCommerce. Our team of professionals is eager to harness AI’s power to elevate your marketing campaign to the next level.