Mailbag Monday Better Prompt Generation

Mailbag Monday: Where would you recommend getting started for learning better prompt generation?

Katie and Chris answer your marketing, data, and AI questions every Monday.


This week, Amanda asked, “Where would you recommend getting started for learning better prompt generation?”


Mailbag Monday: Where would you recommend getting started for learning better prompt generation?

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AI-generated transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:00
Welcome back to another episode of mailbag Monday where Chris and I are answering all of your marketing data and AI questions. This week, Amanda asked, Where would you recommend getting started for learning better prompt generation? Chris, I’m going to turn this squarely over to you. Because this like, this is your you’re over here. This is your wheelhouse, like, let’s say I, aside from saying, Chris, do it for me. Where would someone who doesn’t have a Chris Penn on their team? Where did they get started?

Christopher Penn 0:33
So I actually should have just read you do this, because here’s the secret. Okay, I’m ready. The secret is a user story. Story. The user story, when you’re thinking about what you want to do with AI, think about writing out a user story. As a marketing director, I want to build a list of job titles and company some of these job listings, so that I can put them in my newsletter, that tells you a lot about what you want to do. And here’s the thing about how large language models work. They are composed of basically big libraries of probabilities. That’s all they are. It’s just tables and tables of probabilities, the world’s biggest Excel spreadsheet, all just probabilities. And the more relevant words you put in your prompt, the better the tool works, because it has more probabilities to connect to. Let’s say, we wanted to write a blog post about SaaS, actually, B2B influencer marketing. So let’s actually do this, I’m gonna go ahead and fire up our good friend here. ChatGPT, which is, I’m gonna use the 3.5 model, which is the base model. If I write, write an outline for B2B influencer marketing, this is a really generic short crock, there’s so few words for the tool to clamp on to that what’s going to do is it’s going to create a very bland, generic set of pieces of content. And so when we’re thinking about creating better prompts, we have to start thinking to ourselves, Well, what is that user story? What is it that you want to be able to say? What is the purpose of the prompt that you’re doing? If you’re writing a blog, post, ebook, talk, those are things that you might want to put in. So let’s say write and outline for a 30 minute presentation on read B2B influencer market marketing. The talk will specifically be about how B2B influencer marketing works. What channels work best for B2B influencer, influencer marketing, marketing, how much a B2B influencer marketing program costs on average, what kinds of influencers to work with criteria for recruiting influencers? What to avoid and influencers and how to get how to measure you’re gonna be influenced.

Katie Robbert 3:30
Now. Now, before you hit go on that prompts, I just want to acknowledge that the outline that ChatGPT gave you is fairly extensive. It wasn’t just three bullet points. And so there’s definitely going to be some rewriting in this outline, but it gave you a decent amount of information to work with if you kept your prompt that basic, this at least as a decent starting point. It’s no specific, but it’s pretty good.

Christopher Penn 3:59
Yeah, it’s not it’s not like returning clown car results and things. You know, it didn’t put up the picture of Kim Kardashian definitely did. There’s enough just in the phrase Lone B2B influence marketing that is somewhat specific, that was able to narrow down some of those probabilities. But now if we give it a much more thorough prompt with more terms, we now are going to start narrowing things down. So again, this goes back to that user story. If you are trying to do both at the same time, if we’re trying to build a presentation you know as a influencer marketing manager, I want to present a an explanation about B2B influencer marketing to my stakeholders so that they endorsed the program. Now I have with that prompt, I’m getting much better results this time through because I’ve taken the time and you can you know, even to take this I’m gonna take this previous prompt purpose Some of the presentation is to convince executive stakeholders to approve a budget and human resources or an influencer marketing pilot program in our company, even things like putting chunks of the user story in here will help structure the presentation. Right? So the answer to Amanda’s question really is you get started by thoroughly explaining what it is that you want the tools to do. Think of it like a creative brief, right? You would never just hand to design to say, Hey, make me an outline for influencer marketing talk, they’d be like, Could you be a little more specific than that?

Katie Robbert 5:48
I think it’s really smart to always give the prompt a purpose. So it’s not enough to just say, write an outline for B2B marketing, you know, influencer, whatever it’s write an outline, for B2B influencer marketing, because I need to justify an influencer marketing program, to my board members, manager, whatever. And so having that purpose in every prompt is going to give you a lot more specificity, and focus to what you’re getting back. And it’s going to cut down on the amount of time that you’re rewriting, and regenerating and ultimately costing money to run these, these prompts.

Christopher Penn 6:35
Exactly. Now, the other thing keep in mind is each platform is different. So prompts that work well with say, ChatGPT, may not work as well with Bing, or Bard or GPT-4, all etc. However, the general rule of thumb is the more relevant words, the better. If you want a specific prop sheets for the ChatGPT system, we have one go to trust sheet, you can download that as absolutely no cost, no forms to fill out nothing, just just download the PDF. And that will help you structure prompts really well. You can also just use the user stories that we talked about earlier, you can write that out as well. But that’s that’s how I would suggest getting started with prompt generation. It’s, in some ways, it’s a little bit like SEO, where you think about what are the relevant words and phrases that you would use to to get a good search result? The same thing is true for promises, what are the relevant words and phrases that you would use to convince to convince a good designer, a good writer to how to write the exactly the content you want? Because that’s what these tools are, they are just like junior level employees. So you got to be specific and clear and detailed in your requests about

Katie Robbert 7:45
si use, you talk about SEO, and I think of it as delegation. And so how would you delegate a task to somebody else you would tell them what it is? Why you want them to do it, how you want them to do it, you know, so, you know, Chris, I want you to write a, you know, blog post about B2B influencer marketing, for the website, that’s 500 words long, you know, so that we can get more awareness. And that’s how we’re going to measure it. And so that translates into a prompt that could go into one of these systems.

Christopher Penn 8:19
Exactly. Right. So that’s, that’s the answer to Amanda’s question. It is you’re leveraging skills you probably already have, like delegation, like reading, writing creative briefs, like doing SEO, this is all just language. The difference is you’re talking to a computer, not a human, so you have to be even more specific, even more clear. But if you do that, you will get better results out of pretty much any modern large language model. If you’ve got prompt questions you want to ask about or you’ve got some prompts that maybe you want to share that works super well, and you’re allowed to share them. pop on over to our free slack, go to trust for marketers, where you have over 3000 other marketers, all of which are human, as far as we know, are asking and answering each other’s questions every single day. And to catch up on previous episodes of mailbag Monday. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter, go to trust Where recap our content every week. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll talk to you next time.

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