Recently, we heard an interesting interview by NPR’s Steve Inskeep, who spoke with Ifeoma Ajunwa, author of The Quantified Worker. Ajunwa detailed how work lives are being quantified using AI for the benefit of employers– reducing employees to productivity numbers. It got us thinking about our own use of AI– specifically, how we’re incorporating ChatGPT into our processes, and how that’s affecting our staff, and ultimately our clients.
Now that the inherent ‘newness’ and news cycle surrounding ChatGPT has waned, we want to share how our agency is using the large language model to boost our deliverables to our clients. From gung-ho advocates to ardent skeptics, our agency has a full range of ChatGPT users and we have been slowly adopting it into our agency workflows where it makes sense, adds value, and expedites repetitive processes.
Clear Boundary Setting
We’ve defined relatively strict boundaries on how we use ChatGPT in our day-to-day processes, viewing it as a catalyst for improving efficiencies on repetitive tasks, sparking variants on creative ideas, and quickly constructing templates.
We never take exact output from ChatGPT or use it as official correspondence from our team, and we avoid inputting sensitive or embargoed information into the large language model. Instead, the outputs are used as starting points to be edited, refined, and polished.
Below are a few examples of how we utilize ChatGPT in an agency setting.
Short Form Content
Formulaic short-term content is where we see the immediate benefit of incorporating ChatGPT into our systems. While it still lacks nuance to capture a specific brand voice, it’s a great launching pad to get the ball rolling.
Quick Idea Generation for Organic Social Captions
ChatGPT content is only as good as the inputs or prompts it is given. Our team uses it to generate ideas for social media captions when they have writer’s block and need a spark of creativity. Here’s a recent example of a prompt our team used to spark inspiration:
“Write a long-form Instagram post about a whitewater rafting company seeking to hire a Kitchen Manager for their 2023 team. The position will be responsible for managing all aspects of their on-site kitchen. Compensation includes housing, a meal plan, and free participation in all company activities. ”
Once the outputs are populated, we determine which captions fuel the creative process. Any that pass the first test move into a round of editing to fully align with brand voice and authenticity.
Long Form Content
Long-form content produced by ChatGPT is littered with flowery adjectives and superlatives while overly formulaic in structure. Frankly, it’s obvious that it’s written by AI. However, when we have tight long-form content deadlines, ChatGPT helps map out a general template, reducing blank screen creative paralysis.
Press Release Templating
A blank screen is no friend of a press release writer. When feeling stuck with a tight turnaround time, we utilize ChatGPT to mock up a prompt that constructs a press release template in the author’s voice. We do this by referencing a wealth of previously authored examples and giving prompts with specific details that we need included such as product name and attributes and availability date.
“Write a press release in 350 words or less addressing the upcoming release of a new outdoor apparel item PRODUCT NAME from BRAND NAME. The new PRODUCT NAME anchors the brand’s fall release, offering premium performance to outdoor enthusiasts and trail adventurers. The PRODUCT NAME will debut at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, UT. Draft the release in the style of AUTHOR using the following press release examples:
- EXAMPLE 1: Pressreleaseexample1.com
- EXAMPLE 2: Pressreleaseexample2.com
- EXAMPLE 2: Pressreleaseexample3.com
Include a quote from a brand representative on who the PRODUCT NAME is designed for and why the brand is excited to bring it to market. Additionally, include a section on PRODUCT NAME’s innovative design and material use including:
- Design differentiator #1
- Design differentiator #2
- Materials differentiator #1
- Materials differentiator #2
This product will be launched on DATE and can be found at exampleurl.com/”
The output is a press release in the style and tone of the author that can be used as a starting point and then heavily edited. Once we complete initial editing, we add product details and relevant quotes, refining the overall narrative direction and ensuring the release conveys the proper information and brand voice.
We find ChatGPT most helpful in technical areas like simple contract drafting and spreadsheet formula creation–examples include– photo release forms, NDAs, and simple partnership contracts with content creators.
Simple Contract Creation
We often create succinct partnership contracts for our clients that can be reviewed by their internal legal teams. This process cuts down on the legal team’s workload and ensures both the brand and content creators have clear deliverables laid out at the onset of the relationship.
Recently, we hosted a media event that involved working with a fishing guide. We drafted a simple contract to be executed by both the brand and the guide service, ensuring clear expectations, safety guidelines, and contingency plans that were agreed upon before the event.
“You are legal counsel for a consumer brand, BRAND NAME, hosting a media event, fishing on Lake Blue. Write a contract between BRAND NAME and fishing guide, John Doe, where BRAND NAME is contracting John Doe for 5 boats and 5 boat captains for 8 hours on 1/1/2023.
BRAND NAME will pay John Doe a sum of $1000 for his services, with payment to be made in full upon completion of the trip. Add in a 30-day termination clause and a weather clause to be determined by 5 PM on 1/1/2023.”
This query enabled us to quickly and efficiently build out a contract that didn’t get stuck in legal for edits and approval.
Building formulas in Google Sheets or Excel can often be time-consuming but worth the challenge. ChatGPT can build formulas for spreadsheets using simple instructions to get from A to B without the trial and error of developing it ourselves.
Building formulas for efficient reporting in Google Sheets
We pride ourselves on our extensive quantitative and qualitative reporting that uses 15 data points for evaluating each piece of PR coverage. Because each report is unique to the brand, we write a lot of specific spreadsheet formulas to assist in internal agency-specific analysis.
Often, we can envision the result but struggle with where to start when building out complicated formulas– the whole “I’m not even sure what to search” scenario. In ChatGPT, we can start with a seed formula and then build from there as we dial in our approach.
Step 1: How do I use VLOOKUP to output a text list from a key
Step 2: How can I use this formula with a key that has two separate text inputs
Step 3: How can I add to this formula to take two line-break separate key inputs in the same cell “J2” and look up the corresponding values for each element in a reference array?
Step 4: How do I take the formula above and build in an extra line break between both outputs
The result is the formula below that we can then plug into Google Sheets to get the data we need to be transferred into a cell for our reporting.
ChatGPT has expedited many repetitive and time-consuming tasks and helps get individuals through that writer’s block hump. After a year of testing and refining our methods, we can state that ChatGPT certainly increases efficiency and allows us to spend more time on the relationship side of our job. Our strength as an agency has always been the time we invest in people and building relationships. No large language model will ever be able to replicate that…well, at least not yet. After all, ChatGPT can write regurgitated, impersonal content in seconds, but it can’t connect, empathize, and provide the nuance needed in the modern PR landscape.
PR and digital marketing take time. Whether it is doing research to find the right outets, building and nurturing relationships with media, developing social media content calendars with monthly engagement and growth strategies, or building email campaigns that encourage click-throughs and purchasing behaviors, brands often don’t have the time or staff to handle it all internally. That is where agencies like Darby Communications can step in to help! Our team handles marketing for many reputable brands in the outdoor, active lifestyle, fishing, and craft food and beverage industries. Learn more about our full range of services HERE.