How to use AI prompts to ask the right questions

How to use AI prompts to ask the right questions

September 4, 2023

As communication professionals learn more about using AI, the increasing value of AI to our profession keeps growing as well. At the same time, it’s important to keep making the best use of AI in communication activities by checking accuracy and quality of content resulting from the AI.

As Muck Rack’s Linda Zebian said in an April 2023 article:

Generative AI can help you draft copy for press releases, pitches, social posts, blogs and more, and help reduce the time you spend on writing. However, think of it more as a brainstorming session than a final draft. Anything written by you, or your AI tool, should be reviewed, personalized and edited. Every time.

AI can also help you build a starter list of potential journalists to pitch based on your news. Remember, suggested journalists to pitch generated by AI tools are only as good as the media databases powering them, so be sure you’re confident in the accuracy and currency of the database you’re using.

How to experiment with the use of AI tools so you can learn the right prompts

Prominent UK PR professional Stephen Waddington said experimenting with an existing project is a good way of investigating the potential of the technology and how easy it could be integrated into your workflow. He outlined in his newsletter article of 8 March 2023, “Hacking AI in PR: Using AI tools to write a press release,” bout how AI tools could be used to help write a theoretical press release which would be based on a recent CIPR report researched and written by Andrew Bruce Smith and Waddington about the impact of AI tools on public relations practice. These are the points he made:

  • Task 1 – Extracting the key points from a report. WordTune creates summaries of text based on a PDF, URL, or text. It is effective at pulling out the key messages and topics from a document. The output can be exported as a Word document or via Clipboard.
  • Task 2 – Developing the key points into a press release. The Wordtune text summary a good place to start to create a press release. You can also provide this dataset to OpenAI Playground and ask it to generate a press release.
  • Task 3 – Generating a series of headlines for a press release. OpenAI Playground will also generate a series of headlines for your press release.
  • Task 4 – Generating a pitch. OpenAI was used to generate a pitch for the press release for pitching journalists.
  • Task 5 – Creating a Q&A or talking points for interviews with journalists. Use OpenAI or Chatbot tool to generate a Q&A or series of talking points for a spokesperson for an interview. Andrew Bruce Smith used a no code tool to build one using the report as a dataset.

Waddington noted that the above experiment showed the potential of AI to support and replace human work. It was a relatively straightforward task based on manipulating text. The outputs were crude and need human refinement, but the potential is clear. He said:

Using tools in real life examples also highlights issues. Wordtune works well to synthesise documents. However, we’ve found countless issues with OpenAI. There’s a limit to the amount of text that it can process and it works on a predictive basis and so will make stuff up.

My suggestion would be to identify common tasks within your agency or communication team. These could be survey design, analysis of datasets, content production, or pitching. Next, build an innovation team or run teamwide hacking sessions to experiment with how new AI tools could be applied to these tasks.

45 ChatGPT prompts for PR pros, plus how to write a good AI prompt

Muck Rack provided helpful advice in May 2023 for writing effective AI prompts:

Words to get you started

The verbs you include in your AI prompt make all the difference in getting the results you want. Here are a few to get you started. Start your prompt using one of the words below.

Example: List 5 ideas for an email subject line about a new pet grooming service

  • List
  • Generate
  • Produce
  • Propose
  • Compile
  • Describe
  • Brainstorm
  • Name
  • Develop
  • Answer
  • Outline
  • Write
  • Argue

ChatGPT prompts for better pitching, writing and more

Research prompts

  • List common challenges of [audience]
  • List of companies that are competitors of [company name]
  • List of companies that provide [service]
  • List the benefits of (product/service) for [audience]
  • Generate [number] of interview questions for [person’s title] about [topic]
  • List [number] of job interview questions for [role]
  • How can (product/service) help [audience] overcome [challenge]
  • List [number] of influencers in the [industry] space
  • What are the top trends in [industry] in [year]?
  • In the voice of [interviewer/journalist], generate a list of [number] interview questions for [name and/or title] about [topic]

Writing enhancement prompts

  • Write a [number] word blog post about [topic] for [audience]
    • …in a [tone] tone
  • Write [number] of blog post titles about [topic]
  • Create an outline of a byline about [topic] for [publication or type of publication/url]
  • Write an engaging email subject line about [topic]
  • Suggest [number] subject line variations based on the following
  • I’m going to give you a pitch to a journalist. Please suggest 5 email subject lines. [paste pitch]
  • Read the AP Style Guide and provide edits to the following [pitch, blog post or other content] based on its principles:
    • [paste your pitch, blog post or other content]
  • Read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and provide edits to the following [pitch, blog post or other content] based on its principles:
  • Write a follow-up email to gently remind [person/title] about [topic]
  • Write a [number] word email to drive interest in [topic, product or service]

Muck Rack’s 2023 AI resource kit for PR pros

Resources on how PR pros are using AI in 2023, security risks and company policies

Applications of AI in public relations

In a UK Communicate online magazine article of 3 April 2023, Stephen Waddington explores what the rapid development AI tools means for the PR sector. He notes there is already a growing range of applications of AI in public relations based on GPT-4:

  • Text and image generation: tools can help generate content by predicting the next word or phrase from the GPT-4 database in response to a prompt. These tools also work for images. It’s useful for idea generation and creating first drafts of anything text based but it’ll make mistakes and worse, hallucinate.
  • Editing and summarisation: this class of tools is extremely useful for making sense of a large document and has already been demonstrated to create summaries, press releases and presentations based on a report or transcript. A chatbot can also be used as an interface to ask questions of the dataset.
  • Evaluation and modelling: the measurement and evaluation community is experimenting with using ChatGPT to evaluate media content. It’s also being used for role play and will readily suggest questions that stakeholders might ask about a situation or scenario.
  • Planning and decision making: there are a range of tools that act on dataset provided by the user and patterns and trends. This can help with planning; decision making and ultimately may have the potential to build new knowledge.

A great opportunity faces the PR profession: grasp the opportunity and enter the new age of PR and communication management, or fade in effectiveness.

Kim Harrison

Kim J. Harrison has authored, edited, coordinated, produced and published the material in the articles and ebooks on this website. He brings his experience in professional communication and business management to provide helpful insights to readers around the world. As he has progressed through his wide-ranging career, his roles have included corporate affairs management; PR consulting; authoring many articles, books and ebooks; running a university PR course; and business management. Kim has received several international media relations awards and a website award. He has been quoted in The New York Times and various other news media, and has held elected positions with his State and National PR Institutes.

Content Authenticity Statement. AI is not knowingly used in the writing or editing of any content, including images, in these newsletters, articles or ebooks. If AI-produced content is contained in any published form in future, this will be reported to readers.

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