Christopher Whitbeck

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now part of almost every industry, and marketing is no exception. 

How can marketers stay ahead of the technological curve without losing sight of what’s most important: creating quality content? The answer is using tools like ChatGPT to enhance the writing process and streamline operations. 

But content marketing with ChatGPT isn’t exactly simple. So, here’s everything you need to know about leveraging this AI technology to your advantage. 

What Is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a generative AI tool developed by OpenAI that creates responses to user inputs. Like an intelligent chatbot, it tries to understand textual prompts, process data, recognize patterns and provide the most relevant output possible. 

The app uses an AI technology called natural language processing (NLP). In short, NLP allows machines like ChatGPT to understand, interpret and generate human language, which means it can:

  • Answer questions.
  • Hold conversations.
  • Write copy.
  • Summarize text. 
  • Translate languages. 
  • Generate code. 

OpenAI launched ChatGPT in 2022, amassing millions of users in a matter of days. At the time, it used an AI model called GPT-3 — the third generation of OpenAI’s proprietary algorithms. Since then, ChatGPT’s utility has evolved alongside its underlying technology:

  • GPT-3 can generate highly coherent and contextually relevant written content. 
  • GPT-3.5 is a fine-tuned version of GPT-3 that enhances its capabilities. 
  • GPT-4 is a multimodal tool available through ChatGPT Plus. It can process image- and text-based inputs, giving it the power to describe humor in pictures, summarize copy from uploaded documents and more. 
  • GPT-4o is the newest, most powerful iteration. Released in 2024, it can process and generate text, images and audio in real time. 

How Does ChatGPT Work?

ChatGPT is a large language model (LLM). An LLM is a type of artificial intelligence made to learn patterns and structures in human language. This allows it to understand, summarize and generate content. 

Let’s break down a few key aspects of LLMs and how they operate:

  • “Large” refers to the number of parameters in the data set on which the model is trained. Generally, more parameters lead to better performance and reliability. OpenAI hasn’t publicly disclosed how many parameters ChatGPT has, but it’s rumored to be over 1.8 trillion — far more than any other model on the market. 
  • “Parameters” are numerical values and variables the model uses to map relationships between words and phrases. They directly impact the output of the LLM, like knobs and levers to a machine. 
  • Companies “train” models by feeding them enormous data sets full of parameters, which teaches them how to perceive the information and predict the next word in a sequence.

That last point is important: ChatGPT doesn’t generate new content, so to speak. It merely spits out content it predicts will best answer your instructions, based on the data it was trained on and the information you provide. So, the output isn’t strictly “original,” but based on existing content. 

Think of it as finishing your train of thought. For example:

content marketing with chatgpt brafton

How Are Content Marketers Using ChatGPT?

Despite its young age, marketers are already leveraging ChatGPT’s capabilities to augment their work. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 72% use generative AI in some capacity. 

From content creation to strategic planning, here are some of the most impactful ways it can aid your content marketing efforts:

Content Creation

What good is a marketing strategy without content? None at all. However, producing quality deliverables takes time many brands simply don’t have. Luckily, tools like ChatGPT can expedite, enhance and simplify the following tasks:
Topic ideation: Unsure where to start your content strategy? ChatGPT can set you off in the right direction. If you don’t see a content idea you like, simply ask it for more suggestions. 

  • Outlining: Once you have a good content idea, ChatGPT can generate an outline or brief based on the topic. This is often a good way for content marketers to understand how information should flow logically through the asset. Plus, it can reveal subtopics you may have yet to consider.

    However, don’t follow these outlines exactly. Why? Because, inevitably, the final product will mirror existing content already floating around the internet. Combine generated content briefs with your own research and brand perspective to keep the message original.

Content writing: From a meta description to a full blog post, ChatGPT can streamline the entire content creation process. By automatically producing written content, marketers don’t have to spend nearly as much time battling blank pages.

But be careful — generated content is more of a headstart than a skip to the finish line. You’ll still have to check it for quality and factual accuracy, and to make sure it follows brand guidelines.

  • Graphic design: ChatGPT is a multimodal generative AI tool, which means it can also create visuals based on textual descriptions. This feature, available in ChatGPT Plus, is useful for web design, social media marketing, product imagery and more.
  • Social media marketing: Generally, ChatGPT understands how to write copy for specific platforms, like Instagram or Facebook. That means you can simply ask it to write captions for your channel of choice and it’ll automatically tailor the output to match its requirements. It’s also good for hashtag writing, content distribution and social media post ideation.
  • Email marketing: Want a compelling subject line? Ask ChatGPT. Need to write a whole batch of emails? It can do that, too. With the right instructions, you can amplify your open rates with an email marketing campaign tailored to your target audience. 

Research

No matter what role you play in the process, every content creator knows the value of research. But digging up data? It’s not always simple. When time isn’t on your side, or you’re sifting through a swarm of resources, ChatGPT can ease the burden. 

Let’s say you’re writing an article about recent trends in marketing automation; maybe you stumble across a series of resources from the Content Marketing Institute. ChatGPT can help by summarizing the studies, pulling out key pieces of information and suggesting related articles for additional research. 

content marketing with chatgpt report

Additionally, as a writer, I use ChatGPT to grasp the basics of complex subject matter. Take quantum computing, for example. When a cybersecurity client asked me to tackle this topic, I had it answer a few fundamental questions, like:

  • What is quantum computing?
  • How does quantum computing work?
  • Why is quantum computing important to cybersecurity?

Combined with loads of additional research, this exercise helped me understand what I needed to write with confidence. Plus, now I know what a “qubit” is. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is likely a big piece of your content strategy puzzle. And, like most other pieces, artificial intelligence can help you figure out exactly where to place it. ChatGPT can assist with:

  • Keyword research: If you have a general idea in mind, you can ask ChatGPT to suggest relevant keywords. Feed these into a keyword research tool (like Semrush) to confirm they’re accurate but not too competitive. 
  • Content structuring: Asking ChatGPT to analyze a page’s structure can help you improve search engine rankings. Input your existing content, then ask for ways to improve the meta description, headings, hierarchy, etc. 
  • Competitive analysis: ChatGPT can also evaluate your competitors, providing insights into their SEO strategies. Compare these results with your own marketing strategy to uncover gaps your competitors haven’t considered. 

ChatGPT Pros and Cons: What It Can and Can’t Do

ChatGPT has faults, but also tangible benefits. 

In terms of efficiency, it distills the entire content creation process into a matter of seconds. This reduces the effort needed to activate a content marketing campaign. Also, it gives production teams a solid foundation to kick-start their creative efforts. 

Plus, it’s cost-effective. For the price of a ChatGPT Plus subscription, you gain a marketing automation tool that can help you optimize distribution, improve search engine rankings and generate leads. 

However, think twice before entrusting it with your entire content strategy. Keep in mind the breadth of things ChatGPT can’t do:

  1. It can’t give you 100% up-to-date information or cite sources accurately. Each version of ChatGPT has a knowledge cutoff date and doesn’t account for events after that point. Notably, 4o uses training data up to October 2023, while ChatGPT-4 — which was released earlier — uses data up to December 2023.
  2. It has no moral code. ChatGPT can be used for bad just as much as it can be used for good, unfortunately. It lacks emotional intelligence, so it will generate hateful, racist and sexist content when prompted a certain way.
  3. It isn’t always accurate. AI content tools like ChatGPT are prone to “hallucinations,” which happen when they veer from the truth or generate unfactual information. Although experts still aren’t entirely sure why this happens, they estimate it occurs up to 27% of the time.
  4. It can’t write long-form content. Even with specific instructions, ChatGPT typically falls short when generating content, often by several hundred words. So, you can’t exactly churn out a 2,000-word white paper without manual intervention.
  5. It can’t replace human creativity. Automated AI content creation is helpful, but it doesn’t match the innate capabilities of a quality content marketing team. While it streamlines work and gives helpful guidance to creatives, it can’t fully understand your target audience, know what they desire or acknowledge the emotions your content can evoke. 

Key Takeaways

Here’s what you need to remember:

  • ChatGPT can enhance your content marketing efforts — not do the work for you. 
  • It’s a resource that can save time and energy when used with proper guardrails. Make your prompts as specific and detailed as possible to get the best result. 
  • It isn’t always accurate, so do your due diligence when using it to conduct research and write copy. 
  • There’s no replacing human touch. ChatGPT doesn’t understand emotions or your target audience the way you do. 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment! AI is evolving all the time. Explore what it can do with a cautious curiosity, reflect on what you learn and use these insights to make your content the best it can be.