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Developing your prompting superpowers with ChatGPT


Learn the art of effective prompting with ChatGPT in our latest article, and see how it can transform your content creation process.

AI tools like ChatGPT can be a huge time saver for creating content. You can use it to draft an article, outline a presentation, create content for social posts, and more.

To get a great draft out of ChatGPT takes a little bit of skill. The information you share and/or ask of ChatGPT can make all the difference. The information you provide along with your ask is called a prompt.

This article includes tips to help you take your prompts to the next level. The example used is around creating a draft for a website blog or article. The learning, however, applies to all types of writing activities and more.

What are the essentials of a good prompt for ChatGPT

If you ask ChatGPT to Write an article about volunteering you will get a very general reponse. If you provide a bit more information, like the example that follows, the response you get will be more focused and specific.

We are a nonprofit focused on helping underserved middle and high school students learn how to think about building web and mobile applications to create solutions to challenges in their community. Often, we use volunteers with related skills to come and share knowledge with students.

Your audience are professionals working in technology. They are interested in doing good but are not sure what they can do as a volunteer. They have very busy schedules and time can be a challenge.

Write a persuasive blog post on the importance of volunteering for this and its benefits for individuals and impacted youth. The post should be between 500 and 1000 words. Reading level target is 6th grade. Tone should be fun and confident.

The second prompt shares a lot more detail than the first. Its response will be far more specific as a result.

This example prompt includes three key elements. It shares context, defines audience, and sets requirements. Let’s explore each of these elements in greater detail.

Context tells ChatGPT the subject matter and background

Define the subject matter for your writing. Provide enough background information to help the AI become “your writer” instead of a more generic one.

In the example prompt, the part in bold represents the context information.

We are a nonprofit focused on helping underserved middle and high school students learn how to think about building web and mobile applications to create solutions to challenges in their community. Often, we use volunteers with related skills to come and share knowledge with students.

Your audience are professionals working in technology. They are interested in doing good but are not sure what they can do as a volunteer. They have very busy schedules and time can be a challenge.

Write a persuasive blog post on the importance of volunteering for our organization and its benefits for individuals and impacted youth. The post should be between 500 and 1000 words. Reading level target is 6th grade. Tone should be fun and confident.

Context provides the background, goals, and more for the writing task. It might include all or some of the following:

  • What is the topic: Is this an article about volunteering, COVID, or the impact of AI?
  • Background information: Who does the article represent? We are a nonprofit that provides programming for middle and high school youth …
  • Specific content to work with: Sometimes you might share example writing or writing you want to edit or evolve. Here is an example of a social post we used before and liked …, here is a introductory paragraph we want to expand
  • Purpose & goal: What is this writing intended to do? To inspire readers to volunteer, to donate, to register, to download, …

Context “teaches” ChatGPT about the subject matter, the big picture, and the purpose of the writing tasks.

Audience tells ChatGPT who you are writing for

You need to define whom your writing will be for. In our example prompt the part in bold is the audience related information.

We are a nonprofit focused on helping underserved middle and high school students learn how to think about building web and mobile applications to create solutions to challenges in their community. Often, we use volunteers with related skills to come and share knowledge with students.

Your audience are professionals working in technology. They are interested in doing good but are not sure what they can do as a volunteer. They have very busy schedules and time can be a challenge.

Write a persuasive blog post on the importance of volunteering for our organization and its benefits for individuals and impacted youth. The post should be between 500 and 1000 words. Reading level target is 6th grade. Tone should be fun and confident.

Here are some ideas to help you define your audience.

  • Demographics: Child, adult, parent, …
  • Interests & hobbies: A.I., social good, bowling, …
  • Challenges: Not enough time, overwhelmed, …
  • Knowledge & skill level: Beginner, professional, seasoned
  • Goals & aspirations: Wants to be more involved, would like to know how to start, …

Your prompt should tell ChatGPT who your content is for. What they do, their needs, and challenges.

Requirements tell ChatGPT what you want it to do

You’ve shared the context and defined the audience for your writing. The last bit of information to share is the requirements of your writing. In our example, the last paragraph defines the writing task.

We are a nonprofit focused on helping underserved middle and high school students learn how to think about building web and mobile applications to create solutions to challenges in their community. Often, we use volunteers with related skills to come and share knowledge with students.

Your audience are professionals working in technology. They are interested in doing good but are not sure what they can do as a volunteer. They have very busy schedules and time can be a challenge.

Write a persuasive blog post on the importance of volunteering for our organization and its benefits for individuals and impacted youth. The post should be between 500 and 1000 words. Reading level target is 6th grade. Tone should be fun and confident.

Here are some ideas to detail your requirements.

  • What type of content to produce: Article, outline, summary…
  • How many: 10 title variations, 3 social posts, …
  • Length: 500 to 1000 words
  • Keywords: Include the words “nonprofit” and “ChatGPT”
  • Tone: fun, funny, serious, …
  • Reading level: 7th grade

Your prompt should detail what you want ChatGPT to do. The type of writing, length, style and more.

A good prompt FTW!

A thoughtful and detailed prompt = a far better response from ChatGPT.

In many ways, this is not any different than how you might collaborate and delegate a task to another person. If someone is going to write an article draft for you you’d want them to know your organization, audience, and the purpose for the writing well. You’d also want to give them some constraints to guide them to produce a draft that meets your strategic needs.

Creating prompts that detail context, audience, and requirements help you get the most out of AI like ChatGPT.

When you create a great prompt save it somewhere. Create a prompt “scrapbook” so you can reuse them to save you more time in the future. Also, always remember that you are the writing expert. A prompt may give you a good draft or start, but you need to be prepared to revise and assess the draft to get it ready for publication.


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