When you write a ChatGPT prompt you’re actually asking a colleague to do a job for you. Ask yourself who would do this job in real life. If the job is normally done by a copywriter tell ChatGPT to “act as a copywriter and…”. If the skill level of the person who will read the document is relevant, say “you’re writing for someone who is new to this topic so explain any terms that are not common knowledge”. And if you want ChatGPT to write marketing materials for your business, you must provide the necessary information about your business.
You and ChatGPT are two colleagues working together on a project. Keep your prompts simple, clear and specific. Just like any instructions you’d give to any other colleague. Below I’ve listed some useful tips to get you started.
Act as a …: Tell ChatGPT to “Act as a …” (Subject matter expert, copywriter, knowledgeable friend, etc.)
The reader is …: Tell ChatGPT who the reader is “the reader is new to the topic so explain any terms that are not common knowledge”.
Include background information: Provide context and background information where needed. ChatGPT can only write about your business after you’ve provided information about your business.
Be natural: Use clear natural language as you would use when talking to a colleague.
Keep it simple: Ask one thing at a time. The more complex and convoluted your prompt or request the less likely you’ll get a good response.
Set parameters: Set limits “Write a 500 word text on the subject of …”
Tweak the output: Ask ChatGPT to “please rewrite the text you’ve written so a newbie can understand it”.
Be nice: Be polite talk to ChatGPT as if you were talking to a colleague you like and trust. ChatGPT is programmed to reward good behaviour.
Ask for help: If you don’t know what you’re doing, say so. “I’d like you to help me to do … but I’m not sure how to ask. Can you guide me through the process please?”
One chat per topic: If you want to go off topic, start a new chat, or reset the current prompt, say “Ignore all previous instructions.”
ChatGPT says a prompt is…
“A ChatGPT prompt is like a message or request you give to ChatGPT. It contains the information or question you want to discuss or get an answer to, along with any necessary context. Understanding the context is important because it helps ChatGPT provide more accurate and relevant responses. You use prompts to communicate with ChatGPT by describing your topic, question, or task, along with any relevant background information. These prompts are typically straightforward and to the point.”
Here are some example prompts that demonstrate how to structure your requests to ChatGPT:
Prompt: “Can you provide a brief overview of the causes and consequences of climate change?”
Emulate this by being clear and specific in your request. State what information you’re seeking and provide a concise topic.
Prompt: “I need ideas for reducing energy consumption in a household without making major renovations. Can you suggest some practical and cost-effective solutions?”
Emulate this by presenting a clear problem or task, specifying your constraints, and asking for practical advice or solutions.
Opinion or Explanation Request:
Prompt: “Explain the concept of blockchain technology and its potential applications in layman’s terms.”
Emulate this by asking for an explanation on a specific topic and indicating the level of detail or simplicity you’d like in the response.
These prompts demonstrate that you should be explicit about what you want from ChatGPT and, if necessary, provide context, background information, or additional instructions to get the best results.
Here are three example prompts for writing tasks:
Creative Writing Task:
Prompt: “Write a short story about a detective solving a mysterious case in a small, coastal town.”
Emulate this by providing a clear theme or idea for your writing task, along with any specific details or elements you’d like to include.
Persuasive Essay Task:
Prompt: “Compose a persuasive essay arguing for the importance of renewable energy sources in combating climate change.”
Emulate this by specifying the type of writing you want (persuasive essay), the topic, and the stance or argument you’d like to be presented.
Technical Writing Task:
Prompt: “Write a step-by-step guide on setting up a secure home Wi-Fi network, including tips on password security and firewall configuration.”
Emulate this by clearly defining the task, specifying the format (step-by-step guide), and indicating any specific details or aspects you want to be covered.
These prompts show that when requesting writing tasks, it’s important to be specific about the type of writing, the subject matter, and any particular instructions or elements you want to include in the written content.
You can find many more tips on SEM Rush.
Before you go, my advice is don’t share any sensitive information. It’s possible everything you type into ChatGPT will one day be discoverable by any internet user. My advice is to err on the side of caution.