ChatGPT prompts are the instructions or queries you enter into the tool in order to spark a reply. You feed ChatGPT a prompt and it will respond as though in a conversation. The key to getting a good response is learning how to write effective ChatGPT prompts.
When you ask a human a question with zero context, you know how useless those responses can be. They need to know who/what/why/how/when in order to give you a helpful, thoughtful response. ChatGPT is no different; the better the prompt, the better the response.
The best prompts include relevant details to help the platform understand the scenario or context — background info, facts, preferences, details, and so on. Following are some best practices for writing effective prompts so you get the most out of your time with ChatGPT.
Our #1 recommendation: before giving any prompts, provide ChatGPT with context about your business first.
This will help the tool understand your industry, terminology, and unique aspects of your business, allowing it generate more accurate and relevant responses. Following are some ways you can provide ChatGPT with context about your business.
How to Provide Context:
1. Describe Your Business
Briefly describe the industry or sector your business operates in and the key product or service you offer.
2. Business Objectives
Outline your business goals, mission, and any specific objectives you have. This information helps guide the responses toward addressing your business’s unique needs.
3. Target Audience
Describe your target audience(s) or customer demographic. Knowing who your customers are will help ChatGPT to tailor responses with the appropriate tone and content.
4. Challenges and Opportunities
Share any current challenges or opportunities your business is facing. This information can be used to generate insights or recommendations related to your specific situation.
5. Competitive Landscape
Provide information about your competitors. This context can be valuable in generating responses that consider the competitive environment in which your business operates.
You don’t have to enter all of these things every time; just know that the more info you provide, the more customized the responses. You can still ask questions and seek information without providing extensive background details in every prompt. Providing context initially or as needed can enhance the accuracy and relevance of the responses you receive.
Now that you’ve informed ChatGPT with your valuable background information, you can continue the conversation by entering a specific prompt to get the response you need. Following are best practices for writing effective prompts for ChatGPT.
How to Write Effective Prompts:
1. Be Clear and Specific
Use clear language to state your prompt and be specific about the task or topic you want ChatGPT to address. For instance, instead of “Talk about revolutionary marketing strategies”, try “Explain three effective digital marketing strategies for small businesses using Google Ads”. Imagine the difference in the responses you’d receive. If you’re asking a complex question, consider breaking it down into smaller, more manageable parts.
2. Ask One Thing at a Time
Focus on one aspect or question in each prompt. This makes it easier for the tool to generate a coherent and relevant response. If you have multiple questions, consider breaking them into separate prompts.
3. Provide Context and Details
Briefly give context to your inquiry. This helps ChatGPT understand the background and tailor its response accordingly. If your prompt refers to specific concepts or information, include relevant details. For instance, instead of simply saying “Write a sales pitch”, try “Write a sales pitch for a new digital marketing training program specifically for business owners who don’t have a lot of time, money or people at their disposal.” Include relevant details that will help it understand who, what, where, when, why or how.
4. Specify the Format
Clearly state the format in which you want to receive the information. For example, do you want a list, a summary, a detailed explanation, step-by-step instructions, or an outline? Do you want bullet points or paragraphs? Make it all clear as part of writing an effective prompt.
5. Set Parameters
Specify any constraints to guide the response you want. How many words, characters and sentences do you want? How many versions or outputs do you want? For example, writing a prompt for headlines could look like: “Write 10 headlines of 170 characters or less for an article called 5 Tips for Better Content Marketing”.
6. Use Examples
Provide examples related to your inquiry. This helps it understand the kind of information or tone you’re looking for in the response. It can even be helpful to include existing content or reference materials as an example if you want it to provide something similar in terms of content or tone. For instance, you can instruct it to use your brand voice as part of your prompt, then provide your brand kit so it can reference that as a guide.
7. Iterate and Refine
If the initial response is not exactly what you’re looking for, consider refining your prompt. You can iterate and ask follow-up questions to get more accurate results. Try using different words, more specific details, or even asking for it to “Pretend you’re a teacher and I’m a grade five student…” to give more direction in your prompts. Remember, this is a conversation and it remembers everything you’ve talked about so far, so reference its previous responses if that helps. For example, it may provide you with 10 headlines but they’re very formal with big words. Ask it to rewrite those same headlines using more conversational language. Overall, just know that learning how to interact effectively with the tool will likely take some trial and error.
8. Understand Its Limitations
While ChatGPT can provide valuable information, it might not always be accurate or up-to-date. Use critical judgment and cross-reference information when necessary.