ChatGPT has transformed my writing process, providing me new ideas and turns of phrase. It's also help me become a more thoughtful writer by forcing me to organize my thoughts, define my audience, choose the right tone, and outline my content for better results.

ChatGPT has made my life easier. No longer do I stare at a blank screen. My first draft is always ready in moments. It gives me ideas and turns-of-phrase that wouldn’t have occurred to me.

What I didn’t expect, however, is that AI is making my writing better. I thought it would make me lazy, alluring me to a shortcut.

Instead, it’s made me more thoughtful.

That’s because to get the most out of ChatGPT, I have to organize my thoughts. I have to plan and set a goal. I have to provide structure.

So instead of sitting down to write aimlessly, I sit down to write with direction.

Here are the details I include when prompting the bot for a first draft.

1) Who is my audience?

You, reading this blog, are one of thousands of people that have been ushered to this site. The more I understand what you’re looking for, the more relevant the content will be. So when I sit down to write, I tell the bot what types of people will receive this piece of marketing. 

Naturally, the broad base generally includes nonprofit professionals. But I’ll think through whether or not it also includes board presidents and board members. Or perhaps fundraising consultants. Or past clients of CauseMatch services.

The more specific I am when articulating my request to ChatGPT, the better the draft will be.

Going through this exercise helps me understand my audience better. A member of a nonprofit board looks at fundraising in a different way than a Director of Development. For the former, it is a passion project. For the latter, a livelihood. Each of them feels the pain of a budget deficit differently. 

Because of ChatGPT, I am more sensitive to the various roles my audience members assume and how each one approaches fundraising differently. 

2) What tone do I want to strike?

I like to tell ChatGPT if I want to be casual or professional, witty or straightforward. I like to tell the bot if I want to include puns or jokes. Often, I’ll tell it to write at a 6th-grade reading level to make sure the message is skim-able.

By considering the tone that best aligns with my purpose, I can better guide ChatGPT to generate drafts that effectively accomplish my goals.

3) What structure am I going for?

Nearly all of my writing teachers have advocated for me to use outlines as part of the writing process. I’ve always been reluctant to embrace them. 

Now, outlining is a necessity. I need to give the bot a roadmap, just like I need to rinse my dishes off before I throw them in the dishwasher. 

Otherwise, I’m stuck getting gunk off my draft as I mutter under my breath. 

As you incorporate AI into your marketing, think through the important details as you provide instructions. Not only will your work product emerge stronger, you yourself will grow in a better, more thought-organized writer. You’ll convey your org’s message more clearly than you ever have before. 

And your audience will respond in kind. 

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