How to use ChatGPT to improve your think tank communications

15 February 2023

ChatGPT – the AI-powered writing assistant – can help make your communications more effective, and, importantly save you time.

At first, I wondered if ChatGPT was going to do me out of a job. But then I realised that while ChatGPT is a powerful tool, it’s just that: a tool. Like any tool, the quality of the results depends on the quality of the input. So, while it can be incredibly helpful to non-communications specialists wearing a comms hat, the best results will come from communications experts collaborating with the technology.

If you’re completely new to AI technology, I suggest starting with part one in which I offer a few tips for getting set up and started on ChatGPT.

The potential for AI technology in research communications is limitless. Sonia Jalfin’s 2020 article on what bots can teach us about connecting with the public is just one example. In our recent Twitter Space, Sonia and OTT Founder and Director Enrique Mendizabal exchange more ideas.

Here, I share four simple ways you can start using it to save time and improve your day-to-day think tank communications today!

1. Social media

Writing web-friendly and impactful social media posts is a skill, and a time-consuming task. ChatGPT can help you write them faster. We’re talking literally seconds (it’s insane).

For example, copy and paste a blog post, event blurb, or research report summary and ask ChatGPT to generate posts such as 5 tweets, 2 LinkedIn posts, and 2 Facebook posts.

Be sure to specify your desired impact, such as getting people to click to read the full report or sign up for the event. Ask it to include relevant hashtags and provide any relevant handles or links.

Always check the content for accuracy before posting, and if it’s not quite right, provide feedback explaining the error or adding more specific instructions meaning or tone.

For the comms professionals reading this, now think about what you can do with the time saved to enhance your social media presence. For example, by investing it in paid advertising to reach new or targeted audiences (see Cast From Clay’s beginner’s guide to paid advertising).

2. Web copy

Writing good online copy is critical for think tanks. This includes everything from blog posts to “About Us” pages, publication or event pages.

Online readers are busy, and brutal. If your webpage isn’t immediately clear, concise, and relevant, they’ll just click away.

As a comms professional, writing effective web copy is a skill that you’ve likely honed over time, but even with training, it takes time and effort.

ChatGPT’s writing and editing abilities are impressive. You can input your draft copy, provide clear instructions on tone and purpose, and see the results.

3. Research summaries, press releases, briefings, key messages, policy recommendations (you name it, ChatGPT will write it)

ChatGPT can also save you time in turning research findings into concise summaries, press releases, and briefings. Turn your findings into recommendations or help craft impactful messages.

The same rules apply. Be clear about what you want to produce. Provide the context, including the purpose, audience, tone – professional, persuasive, engaging, conversational, informative, authoritative?

You may need to break up the text, feed it to ChatGPT section by section, or even paragraph by paragraph. Remember, the best results come when you engage with the technology, combining your knowledge and experience with its resources. Don’t just blindly take what it gives you.  Work with ChatGPT to sharpen, refine, and improve the results.

4. Comms and engagement plans

Start by providing a clear overview of your research project and its goals. Use ChatGPT to help structure your plan by providing suggestions for objectives, target audiences, outputs, channels, and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) activities.

As you work through the plan, provide input on what you already know, and let ChatGPT fill in the gaps and flesh out the details. By asking for its suggestions and follow-up questions, you can deepen and expand the plan beyond your usual ideas.

Like with any plan, the more specific you are with your goals and audiences, the more helpful the tool will be. Not sure what your comms goals or audiences are? Try asking ChatGPT to act like a research communications expert and to ask you questions to help figure it out!

This is just the beginning of the learning journey. Share you experience, opinions and tips with us @onthinktanks.