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A Year After ChatGPT, Here’s What Marketing and PR Pros Have Learned About Generative AI

Look Left shares tips and tricks that can help marketers use AI to increase productivity, scale content strategies, tell their stories and more.

It definitely represented a “What the hell just happened?” moment. One day, marketing and PR pros are just living their best lives, and the next, the industry got a proverbial Yahtzee shake. And nothing’s been the same since. 

A year ago today, ChatGPT launched. A million people signed up for the generative AI tool in the first five days, and today, there are more than 100 million weekly users. New AI services and updates to “old” systems seemingly emerge daily. Can you remember the last time your day didn’t involve either a conversation or task related to AI? Probably Nov. 29, 2022.

While some feared this seismic shift, Look Left saw it as an opportunity. We started exploring ways to get smart with AI and use this tool to do our jobs better and make our clients’ lives easier. The technology has also allowed our clients to reexamine their offerings and share their AI-related stories with the media.

We’re proud to say that we've learned a few things in the 365 days since ChatGPT turned the world on its ear. Here’s a sampling of what the Look Left smarty-pants have figured out.

Embrace AI as a productivity opportunity for content and SEO

Bryan Scanlon, principal: “AI will create content—a lot of it—for you. But it’s not creative or clever (at least not yet). People are. One of marketing’s sweet spots has always been clever, creative programs. Good B2B writing, especially in enterprise technology, uses a dash of cleverness (along with digital optimization) to boost attention and impact, and is then optimized to reach the right audiences. If you’re a great content producer, AI can help you do it faster. But it won’t necessarily help you do it better.”

John Masserini, senior digital strategist: “Generative AI has allowed marketers to scale content strategies by reducing the time spent on predominantly manual tasks. An example of this is search engine results page (SERP) analysis — a research input that informs what types of content are ranking for specific keyword searches. Historically, this task has taken 30-45 minutes per topic cluster. Now, with GAI tools, that same task only takes 3-5 minutes — allowing marketers to be 10x more efficient in their decision-making.”

Figure out how AI fits into your company’s story

Chris Poisson, senior media strategist: “AI is evolving at a rapid pace, and reporters are on the hunt for interesting AI-related stories. Whether it’s how AI is transforming industries, solving complex problems, or creating innovative solutions, AI is a timely hook capturing reporters’ attention. Identify your company’s AI experts and tap into their expertise to uncover fresh perspectives. They shouldn’t be self-serving, but truly unique insights reporters find valuable.”

Be smart about how you choose tools

Amy-Gabrielle Bartolac, media relations strategist: “I've never heard so many PR pros on the same page about uncertainty — how to use AI for writing. I recently attended a PR conference — from students to the C-suite, everyone questioned how to use AI. Not knowing the starting point can be the most difficult hurdle; experimenting (within reason) is better than not using it at all. Gaining a baseline understanding of AI tools and knowing their limitations help you narrow down to the best tools, and ask experts the right questions.”

Incorporate AI into your marketing and PR processes early on

Geena Pickering, account manager and media strategist: “A major lesson learned from using generative AI over the last year is that it really is a tool that can help PR pros do our jobs better. But you have to incorporate it into your processes early on to yield the best results. Through trial and error, you’ll find the best ways to brainstorm and use those findings to build content and media strategies — from email subject lines and pitches to cascading content strategies. When AI jumps in at the beginning of the journey, we produce stronger results for our clients.”

Hone your prompting chops

David Sprague, senior content and media strategist: “If you want a Big Mac, don’t tell the drive-thru operator, ‘Gimme that one sandwich so many people like.’ Ask for a Big Mac. Same concept for AI prompting. Be clear, but include as many pertinent details as possible. Generative AI systems are learning, and the more accurate direction you can give it, the better. It will take a lot of time on the front end to learn how to effectively prompt, but once you figure it out, getting the desired results will happen more quickly, and with fewer iterations.”

Stop stalling — lean into AI now

Liesse Jayalath, director, creative and content strategies: “It's been a while since something truly disrupted the content marketing industry. Generative AI has forced marketers to consider how they ideate, produce and publish content. It's challenged the status quo and created new ways of working. The people who have benefited most from AI aren't those who have resisted or blindly adopted it, but those who have used it to hone their craft.”

How will we use AI this time next year? It’s hard to say. But for marketers, it’ll be important to stay on top of the technology, experiment and, most importantly, apply your talents and insight. That’s where you’ll be able to use the technology for differentiation.

Want more smarty-pants insight on AI? Check out our e-book, “Leveraging Generative AI in Modern Content Marketing.”

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