Content Therapy is Managing Editor’s twice-monthly advice column, where Paul Chaney responds to your questions about the messy dilemmas content marketers face in their work. We are (obviously) not licensed therapists. Send us your questions!

ChatGPT and Me Are Lost in Translation

Dear Content Therapist: I’ve been playing with ChatGPT at work and the new AI features within the software we use. Most of the time it’s fun, but sometimes I wonder if I’m using the AI correctly. I often don’t get the results I want, and follow-up questions don’t always make the AI give me better responses. I’m sure some of the answers are factually incorrect, too. With AI advancing so quickly, I know I need to improve my prompts, but I’m unsure where to start (or who to ask). How can I ask better prompts from AI tools to make my content marketing job easier? — STRUGGLING TO CLICK WITH AI

Paul Chaney: Thank you for your question. Let’s start with your last concern first — incorrect responses. As a rule of thumb, always fact-check answers that contain statistical data or citations, as they could be incorrect or just plain made up! I’ve had that occur numerous times, and there are plenty of news sources attesting to AI “hallucinations.” 

In my experience, ChatGPT is the chief culprit, but that could be due to its popularity. 

As to how to get better responses, take the following steps: 

Enroll in an AI training Course

Many exist, but some are more reputable than others. Udemy offers several good online courses at an affordable price, including one on AI writing and a comprehensive look at prompt engineering. The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute also has several resources worth checking out.

Search for and Try Out Prompts

Digital analyst Brian Solis just published an infographic on prompt engineering that’s based on OpenAI’s recently released guide. Also, SEO expert Neil Patel has a list of prompts designed for marketers that you can use with just about any AI tool. 

Additionally, ask your colleagues and network what they recommend. Find some ideas you like, try them out, and see if they work for you. 

Try Discover GPTs

ChatGPT offers a new feature, Discover GPTs, that lets you discover and create custom prompts based on categories like writing, productivity, image creation and more. You’re likely to find several worthwhile prompts as the library grows. 

Perpetually Practice Prompting

Another way to improve your prompting skills is the same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. However, responses are only as good as the prompts you use, so follow my first two pieces of advice first. 

There will come a day when AI platforms become so intuitive that you won’t need specific prompt formulas. You can just have a conversation. One thing is certain: The better you are at using AI tools, the more value you add to your job and organization. 

How Do I Make Podcasting Pay? 

Dear Content Therapist: I am a content marketing manager who’s a big fan of podcasts, and I think our brand could benefit from one. We have incredible thought leaders in-house who could use this platform to spread our message and build relationships with important customers and prospects who also are good speakers. But I also know that podcasts can be tough to produce, and there’s no direct ROI that some other channels have. Plus, budgets are tight, and I’m concerned about getting approval. How can I justify this effort for our business and demonstrate its potential benefits beyond immediate financial returns? — LOOKING FOR AUDIO ROI

Paul Chaney: You are right to be a fan. Podcasting is hot right now, especially in business, and I don’t see its popularity diminishing any time soon. But let’s back up from your question for a moment and look at podcasting’s use more strategically. 

How do you decide what media to use in your content marketing efforts? Aren’t they tied to your organization’s business goals and the marketing goals that accompany them? 

Every form of media (or medium) comes with pros and cons. For example, social media is excellent for building audience engagement and customer service. However, its value as a sales tool is questionable, especially in B2B. On the other hand, display advertising is ideal for branding, and demand generation is intended to lead prospects down the sales funnel from awareness to interest to decision. 

What about podcasting? What marketing role does it best serve? I see value in three areas: 

  • Thought leadership. You said you have several in-house thought leaders; podcasting is perfect for showcasing their expertise. 
  • Building awareness. Much like blogging (also a thought leadership medium), podcasting helps build awareness of your brand, people, products and services. 
  • Customer engagement. Podcasting is by its very nature conversational. It’s a great way to keep customers and prospects engaged when done well. 

The other question is to answer: How important are any of those goals to your organization, and where do they fit in your marketing strategy? That’s the first decision you have to make. 

Regarding production, podcasts aren’t as hard to produce as they used to be. Lots of software exists to make the task more straightforward. (Of course, the difficulty level depends on the production value you want to achieve.) More difficult, in my opinion, is choosing topics and scheduling guests. As for budgets, producing a quality podcast doesn’t have to cost a lot. 

One more consideration: Are your competitors podcasting? If so, why? That may be a good enough reason to look into it. 

Having said all that, don’t jump on the podcasting bandwagon just because it’s popular or your competitors do it. Think strategically. 

Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for advice from a licensed mental health provider, health care provider or legal professional.