ChatGPT for Content Writing: The Detailed Process

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Powered by GPT-4, ChatGPT is an attractive tool for content writers.

It can produce engaging, consistent, and compelling texts in record time. It can even be tailored to the brand voice, industry knowledge, and SEO optimizations that marketers have in mind.

What’s not to like? 

But to leverage the full potential of ChatGPT, you need to know how to set up a well-integrated AI prompting process. 

From my own experience with the tool, let’s see how you can do it.

What are the writing skills of ChatGPT-4?

With GPT-4 powering ChatGPT, the chatbot has become an outstanding writing tool. Compared to other content creation tools, ChatGPT-4 demonstrates superior capabilities such as :     

Fact-finding and fact-summary

ChatGPT can produce very accurate summaries of all the knowledge on specific topics. While it can hallucinate ideas, this rarely happens in more documented fields.

Creativity and divergent thinking 

Creativity is not solely a human trait. If you ask it, ChatGPT is able to figure out a list of new original ideas or imagine previously unknown analogies. It can think of a poem or song that adheres to a strict set of rules or invent improbable stories. 

Consistent reasoning 

Past AI writing tools struggled to maintain a consistent message throughout 100-word paragraphs. ChatGPT however can write 10,000 words with the same point of view. It can reason in a very logical way and defend a claim with convincing arguments.

Engaging writing 

Whichever tone or writing style you have in mind, ChatGPT can deliver. With a high-quality prompt, It can write readable and compelling texts that keep readers hooked.

What are the existing limitations of GPT-4 for content writing?

However impressive ChatGPT capabilities are, they still are far from perfect. The chatbot still demonstrates significant limitations : 

Lack of up-to-date data 

ChatGPT’s data only goes up to April 2023. To make it worse, its knowledge is also limited to what is already written online. Say you want to write about specific topics not adequately covered by existing online sources, there’s a high chance that ChatGPT will hallucinate some part of the content. 

Absence of sourcing and references

ChatGPT does not yet credit its thoughts and ideas from its training data. And when you ask for references, it might still invent them on the spot. 

This is bad for information reliability and to get back to the original authors for extended research. However, it quotes its sources when using the web-browsing capabilities

Limited understanding of social context 

Don’t seem to know much about Jasper AI and what its persona are looking for

ChatGPT is not provided with an innate understanding of social expectations. It won’t understand the social specifics of your audience and what they most care about in their daily life. It won’t naturally understand which marketing goals you want to reach with your content, and why it’s important for the business of your company. 

You have to tell it exactly which role it has to play as content marketer for your company and provide extensive details about your audience. 

Time-consuming personalization 

By default, ChatGPT won’t take into account your business knowledge, industry experience, or brand tone to create your content. It is only made to give the most likely response, that is it produces very generic material. 

When you want to personalize its output to your brand specifics, you have to give it sophisticated prompts and tell it everything your company’s specialists take for granted.

Writing content with ChatGPT: the prompting process

The precedent limitations show the importance of figuring out the right prompting process. The right prompts given in the right order ensure the resulting text is consistent and close to your desired style and tone. It also enables you to add your human and first-hand knowledge. That’s what I call the “hybrid approach”.

Based on my extensive experience with this tool, here’s a step-by-step process that you can adapt for each kind of content writing job : 

1. Set the writing role and context  

This first prompt is about introducing ChatGPT to its writing job. You want to ask ChatGPT to play a specific role, by giving him all the details of what you expect from him. Informing about its writing function, primary mission, and the expectations of its audience. 

You also want to provide it with all your guidelines related to the brand tone and style. Here’s an example of a persona-defining prompt : 

You are an experienced content writer for intellectualead.com. You’re writing for an audience of content marketers who want to improve the quality of their AI content output. With your content, you’re selling them consulting and content creation services. You must write in an engaging, helpful voice, providing actionable and concrete insights, and avoiding buzzwords. You write concise, short and easy-to-understand sentences. In your writing, you put your readers’ goals and concerns first by addressing them directly with the pronoun “you”. Your goal is to create SEO-optimized content that ranks on Google on the specific query we are giving you. Reply “Ok” if that’s clear to you.

 2. Provide it with a well-chosen sample  

ChatGPT can’t usually figure out by itself what you want. You have to give it an example of text that best reflects your writing tone, style, and structure. You can use a prompt like this : 

Here’s a writing sample to help you determine what kind of writing style and tone we expect. Only reply “ok” if the extract is clear for you. Here’s the extract : 

“Generative AIs attract billions of users every month. ChatGPT alone currently represents 1.3 billion monthly users (according to September 2023 stats). 

There’s a good reason for that. Since Google Search, there have never been online tools providing so much value to users. 

You want to get advice about your student mortgage? You want to fix your kitchen sink? Or just want some recommendations for your business project? 

Chatbots like ChatGPT guide you through the specifics of your problem thanks to the universal human knowledge they collect online. They help you identify your needs and give you step-by-step recommendations. Just like a human coach or advisor do -but for free.

Here’s the most interesting part: they recommend users about products and services tailored to their needs. This makes Generative AIs great qualifiers of leads. 

As such, you can expect many marketing benefits from being visible in AI’s conversations : 

Generating free impressions for your brand and product: AIs cite many brands and product names throughout their responses. 

Attracting qualified leads to your website: AIs guide users through their buyer journey and recommend your brand when they are mature enough. 

Retaining and building the loyalty of existing customers: AIs are great at educating users on the products they use.”

3. Ask it to build an outline 

To maximize, AI engineers have found what they call the “chain of thoughts” prompting. It means helping ChatGPT resolve a problem by teaching it a step-by-step thinking approach. This technique can be used when creating content with ChatGPT by asking for a detailed outline beforehand. Besides, it will also help you add your input and insights, and review the ideas before generating the full piece of content.

Here’s how you can do it (using the web-browsing capabilities of ChatGPT to find relevant ideas online) : 

Strictly following our previous instructions, draft an outline for an article about creating content with ChatGPT by making research online to come up with relevant ideas 

Add then your own input with this prompt : 

Add the following ideas to the outline :

The more unique insights you feed ChatGPT, the more its output will feel compelling. So don’t hesitate to add as many first-hand and experience-backed ideas as possible. You can collect them by : 

  • Interviewing subject-matter experts and leaders of your company to record their knowledge of the topic.
  • Conducting a study or inferring interesting facts from existing data.
  • Looking for professional or academic resources to back your content.
  • Relying on your own experience on the subject if you have some.

4. Generate section by section

From its own confession, ChatGPT can’t generate more than 600-word text at once. It will tell you it just can’t do, or just keep delivering less than 600 words regardless of what you’re asking it to do. So you have to ask it to generate content section by section. The benefit is that it’s going to be easier to review and correct the text as it is generated.

You want to use the following prompt : 

While strictly following the style, tone, and writing guidelines I gave you, write section 1. in 300 words.

You can improve the output by giving it feedback like this : 

Rewrite section 8 in 280 words while addressing the readers directly with “you” and “your” and with a structure that doesn’t feel repetitive with the other sections

Also don’t forget to ask it to generate specific introduction and conclusion for this article : 

Write me the concise introduction for this article with a relevant hook to grab content manager’ attention and help them dive into the subject.

Write me the short conclusion for this article including a call-to-action to subscribe to my newsletters about a hybrid AI content process.

5. Proofread and Edit 

With the fresh output from ChatGPT, you want to check for any inconsistency and make the last edits. As I said above, ChatGPT tends to repeat the same writing structure for all the sections of your content. You want to add more variety to the writing style, for example by adding bullet points here and there, or changing the length of your paragraphs. You also want to check for any misunderstandings and inaccuracies provided by ChatGPT. You want to be sure ChatGPT’s output perfectly reflects the ideas that you have previously outlined. 

Then, that’s it, you got a high-quality piece of content in a record time with ChatGPT! 

What productivity gains from using ChatGPT-4 for content writing?

I’ve extensively tried out ChatGPT on my content operations. From this experience, I’ve found huge productivity gains you can expect from its usage. Let’s imagine you want to write a blog article of 2000 words.

That’s what the workflow will look like and the time you could save out of it : 

Research work: 2 hours reduced to 2 hours

ChatGPT can be used to get an initial overview of your subject, but it can’t replace proper research work. The tool can only provide you with superficial and generic knowledge. It will only enable you to write pieces of information that are already widely known. To find new insights, you have to rely on external resources such as subject-matter expert interviews, your company’s documentation, academic research, or your own research and experience. That’s why you’ll only save a limited time in your research phase by using ChatGPT.

Building the Outline: 1 hour reduced to 30 min

You can ask ChatGPT to outline your content. But I wouldn’t recommend it to generate the outline from scratch. It will feel too generic and not enough sensitive to the human subtleties of your subject. Instead, start by asking ChatGPT for a first outline, and then refine it based on the insights you collected in your research.  

Writing: 4 hours reduced to 30 min

That’s where ChatGPT makes all the difference. What takes hours for a human writer to produce, ChatGPT takes seconds. That’s the sheer scaling power of Generative AI. Since you have already outlined your ideas, you just have to ask it to turn these ideas into compelling paragraphs section per section. 

Proofreading and Editing: 1 hour reduced to 1 hour

ChatGPT produces paragraphs and formulations that might feel redundant and unnatural for a human reader. It will especially structure each of the paragraphs in more or less the same way. That means you have to edit the output to make it feel more genuine and less predictable. You can ask it to proofread your text but be prepared to make the last edits by yourself. 

In total, you can expect to generally reduce your writing process time from 8 hours to 4 hours, which means 50% of productivity gains. 


So what are you waiting for? Start generating content with ChatGPT now! 

Jean-marc is a confirmed AI content process expert. Through his methods, he has improved the quality of its clients' LLM content output.

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