The release of ChatGPT has opened up a new world in content creation using AI technology. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, everyone from an entrepreneur building a business in Santa Clarita to a national franchisee can improve their marketing strategy and reach more customers. To find out more about what’s unfolding in real time, Amanda Benson-Tilch, host of The Ask Amanda Show, recently sat down with Santa Clarita’s savviest digital marketing consultant, Alison Lindemann of WSI Internet Consulting in Valencia.
AI, or artificial intelligence, describes the ability of machines to perform tasks that are typically generated through human intelligence. Using algorithms and statistical models, new technology provides business owners and individuals access to programs that use skills such as learning, reasoning, problem solving, and various forms of perception to make decisions and execute tasks.
“I know it sounds overwhelming to analyze data and make predictions, and it applies to a wide range of applications,” Alison said. “That’s the overarching artificial intelligence you hear about and see everywhere.”
What is ChatGPT?
A phenomenon that was released to the public in November of 2022, ChatGPT is a tool developed by an artificial intelligence research organization called OpenAI. Elon Musk was one of the cofounders of OpenAI and it is backed by Microsoft and LinkedIn.
“The first week it came out it had one million registered users, so it exploded,” Alison said. “Even now a lot of people still get a message saying, ‘Resources unavailable,’ because it’s pounded so much.”
In January it logged approximately 15 million searches per day. It’s widely considered a revolutionary technology, and many compare it to the iPhone.
What’s going to happen with these different AI pieces of technology?
“Everyday use, even as a consumer,” Alison said. “It’s capable of understanding and generating text. It can answer a wide array of questions. It can generate creative writing, professional writing, summaries, and all kinds of things that are mind blowing.”
ChatGPT is a website – not yet an app. You create an account with a username and a login, then you type the information you’re requesting.
“I used it recently to decline an invitation,” Amanda said. “I wanted to do it very tastefully and professionally. I just typed in ‘write a letter to decline an invitation’ and I put some parameters around it … and it literally drafted an entire letter.”
There is a free version and a paid version of ChatGPT, which is still in the beta phase.
“In digital marketing and in content creation – what I do for a living – it’s just life-changing for us and our clients, so we want access to this as fast as we can. What they promised with the paid version is that we would have 24/7 access to it,” Alison said. “There are still flaws and things are still, you know, it’s not perfect. They’re learning from all of us using it.”
What does ChatGPT do?
It crunches data,” Alison said. “You can put in data that you have and ask it to analyze it and give you recommendations. You could put in, for instance, every customer feedback post you’ve ever gotten and have it tell you the common issues or the things you need to do.”
You can command the tool to write formulas for Excel, create an original image, or you can tell it to create a video.
“I mean, I could keep going,” Alison added. “It’s well beyond just plain old content creation and that’s already amazing. Its uses span way beyond that. The whole idea of the chatbot and what we think about chat – this is it on massive, insane steroids.”
Live Chat/Chatbots – Then and Now
The live chat that often pops up in the corner window on a website with “Hi, how can I help?” is AI – it’s not a live customer service representative. These old school chatbots have been used by millions of people over the years.
“I don’t know about you, but those were annoying, and for the most part you didn’t feel confident,” Alison said. “Even now, we like live chat and we mostly like it with a live agent, because no one wants to call anyone. A customer support phone call is really crappy. I just want to go on and get the live chat agent and see if they can help me.”
The early models of the chatbot, which were not developed using the superior technology of ChatGPT, were only as good as the programming by the organization using them, and they couldn’t understand the semantics of what you said versus what you meant. You would type in your questions, but if they were different from the standard, you couldn’t get an accurate answer.
By contrast, “ChatGPT understands all that,” Alison said.
As a small business owner wanting to build a better customer experience through AI, you can load:
- User guides
- Product information
- Every question anyone has ever asked you
- All the FAQ’s on your site
- Third party data and information
“It’s going to use all that to actually have a conversation with the user,” Alison said. “The amount of information, the semantics, what it understands, how it helps, and how it learns is completely different from those early versions of chat.”
ChatGPT for Small Business Growth
Like any piece of technology, you create an account, input the information, and save it. You can refine it, but it really isn’t integrated with anything, so you may get the output and ask, “Now what?”
“Now they have opened what’s called API’s (Application Programming Interface) and they’ve given the code, open to the world,” Alison explained. “You need to find a developer and say, ‘I want to use ChatGPT technology and apply it in my business in X, Y and Z. I want to be able to do all these customer support things. I want to be able to answer support emails’ – which it can do nearly perfectly.”
You see how it will interface with your business process and how it integrates into your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) such as your database or a third-party mechanism you use. A lot of third-party tools used by business owners in L.A. and across the globe already have an integrated version, or they’re building one. Since this code is available to anyone, many businesses will develop their own chatbots or other ChatGPT technology.
You communicate with the AI tool:
- What you want
- What it is
- How long you want it to be
- Your basic tone
“Start from there and then understand that it will take feedback, so you can keep optimizing it and giving it feedback and it’ll keep working on it,” Alison said. “The same thing with giving it supporting materials. You can give it background to start with, to say ‘look at all this to understand my niche and the way I write things and understand the technical terminology, and now write for me blankety blank.”
You can give it questions you want answered, or give it keywords for search engine optimization.
“One of the questions I get asked a lot from clients is: ‘How do I respond to negative reviews?’” Amanda said. “You could just plug that in and then copy and paste the negative review into this website and it will come out with an answer on how to respond.”
Building Your Brand with ChatGPT
New business owners needing help with the application of ChatGPT are advised to be sure the content matches the voice of their brand.
“You can tell it what you want,” Alison said. “You can say, ‘Look at my website and get my voice, read my branding guide, here are other things I’ve written. This is who I am and the tones that I use. This is how I want you to communicate all the rest of everything I do under that account.’”
If you’re creating organic content, such as a new web page, you can go online and look at your competitors to provide ChatGPT with examples on the topic. You say, “Here’s my website so you understand my tone. Write my own web page on this topic.”
One example is to upload a white paper on a topic and tell the AI tool that you want:
- Three choices for a great title
- Action steps in bullets
- A concise summary and a call to action
“I had to rewrite a mission statement because it’s been years since we’ve had this one,” Amanda said. “I plugged in the mission statement and said, ‘Write a version of this mission statement including these three words.’ They’re new words that I’ve developed for this brand’s voice. It did that and it gave me something beautiful, but it was too long, so I just said, ‘Write a shorter version’ and it came up with it. Then I said, ‘Break it down into two sentences.’ I kept on the same thread and then I had a lot to choose from to go over with the client.”
How to Improve Your Business with AI Technology
ChatGPT technology is another tool to help your business succeed by trimming costs or improving your business reputation with better communication. There are various applications that would benefit a small business in Santa Clarita or a larger, nationwide enterprise.
Customer Service Representatives
Certain businesses, such as a Santa Clarita insurance company, could use AI to replace human service at the level one position. So, a customer service rep might be fine using AI, but a level two position might be better served by personal interaction with the client base.
Baby boomers did research in libraries with physical books. That system has become more efficient with the internet, and AI saves even more steps. But the research acquired through ChatGPT shouldn’t be used verbatim.
“You’re still responsible,” Alison said. “I’m not speaking as an expert on education or anything, but it’s a tool. Nobody should be publishing straight up out of it.”
AI can create images for you without technically withholding royalties, because it doesn’t take images from Getty, iStock (or any other stock sharing site) and give it to the end user. Its computer, the algorithm, “learns from” all of those sites.
“Even though it creates an image that it only gives to you, those Photoshop sites are already taking exception, because it’s going to affect them when we’re not buying the images from them,” Alison said. “They’re saying you still don’t have the rights to give away these images that your AI model learned from looking at all the images that are royalty-based images. It’s not clear where this is going to go. We should be editing those pieces of content.”
ChatGPT for Content Creation
“Now that this can create photos for you, it can also create blog posts for you, it can create your newsletter topics, it can create your YouTube content, like titles and things,” Amanda said. “It’s really going to change the way that we work with some of these other vendors in our lives.”
Is it still beneficial to use a content writer?
“They say that programming, content creation, and even some law research – these are some of the three emerging areas where it’s going to impact us,” Alison said. “They even say in the creative field the impact is minimal right now because it’s not a human, it’s not a brain. I think it’s more of an operational efficiency. If I’m a writer, I’m going to use it as a tool because it’s going to help me be more efficient in creating content for you. If I was a copywriter and you gave me an outline and wanted me to write 1,000 words, I could input that outline.”
If you generate a newsletter or do any other publishing, a digital blog or a physical ad, AI can help you.
A business owner wanting to use AI needs to ask:
- What kind of content do I need?
- How often do I need it?
- What do I struggle with?
- Do I have content that needs reformatting or summarizing?
If you contract with a copywriter to produce a press release, your turnaround time may be several days, while AI can get it done right away so you can check it off your list. You also don’t have to know proper formatting for press releases.
Creative Ideas and Brainstorming
If you don’t know where to start with a project and you need help developing your business content, AI can provide that. If you just come up with an outline or bullet points, it can go from there. You can give it feedback, telling it to rewrite a certain paragraph or add something.
It’s helpful with writing ad content and promotions. “The more time you put in, the more that comes out,” Alison said. “Let’s say you have a topic which is complex. You can say, ‘Please rewrite this at the 13-year-old level.’ It could be even a social topic, like a political one. You could say, ‘Rewrite this whole website for kids.’”
Instead of creating a literal interpretation, ChatGPT uses the language sentiment. Google Translate is more literal.
“Creating a version in another language is really hard, because to do it right you really need someone in that native language to rewrite it the way it should be – not a literal interpretation,” Alison said. “It sounds like this technology is going to explode in language.”
Problems with ChatGPT
ChatGPT is imperfect right now.
“It has some limitations in the back end where, I don’t know if it’s 1,000 words or whatever, but it’ll kind of end abruptly,” Alison said. “You can tell it to keep going, or if you don’t like what you got from it, you can just say, ‘Try again.’”
ChatGPT is currently frozen in time – at the end of 2021 – because that’s when OpenAI built it.
“It’s not cloud-based where it understands the world every single day and everything that’s happened since then,” Alison said. “Everything that’s loaded in there, basically, is back from that time. So, if you want to talk about the last Super Bowl, it doesn’t necessarily know that it exists. That will change, I’m sure. But that’s in the model. Who knows how perfect this stuff is?”
Amanda emphasized the need to read the content created by AI.
“One of my biggest pet peeves is when somebody sends an email out and they haven’t proofread and personalized it,” she said. “It will be very generic unless you have it understand your brand and your personality. I would definitely proofread it to make it your own a little bit.”
Amanda admitted to feeling nervous about the consequences of the new technology: “I feel like it’s going to make us all dumber or it’s going to make us all really smart, really professional, much more on point.”
Alison’s advice to business owners is to embrace the newest AI technology.
“It’s going to change our lives as business owners and content people and those who are in advertising and media – any business, anything, even your internal communication – just knowing that it’s part of the process,” Alison said. “It’s important that you wordsmith it, you edit it, and you maybe add your own flavor to it before you publish it and then you can feel good, that it’s yours and you’re not going to have issues with that.”
Meet the Experts
Alison Lindemann – Digital Marketing
After 17 years in the corporate management world, Alison joined WSI Internet Consulting in 2004. She has a strong business background including 17 years with Farmers Insurance as the Director of Service Operations as well as Director of Sales in their corporate office in Los Angeles. She completed the Farmers Executive Training Program and was the recipient of their Management Excellence Award. Alison has expertise in both traditional and digital media, as well as strategic planning, competitor analysis, personal development, social media, customer experience, conversion optimization and search engine optimization. Alison holds a BSBA degree from the Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School, and she holds the CPCU Designation, ARP Designation, and numerous digital marketing certifications. She has co-authored two books with WSI entitled Digital Minds. She is the recipient of three Web Marketing Association Awards, and she speaks regularly on digital marketing best practices and strategies.
Need a digital marketing consultant who can help you design and execute an effective new strategy? Contact Alison at WSI Internet Consulting for a consultation.
Amanda Benson-Tilch – Small Business Consulting
While you may notice her first by her wit and second by her infectious sense of humor, the next thing you’ll learn about Amanda Benson-Tilch is: She’s a problem-solver. Owner and Growth Strategist of Ask Amanda Consulting, she offers the skills, tools, and network it takes to get the job done — no matter the task.
Working with each client differently, she helps identify blocks, present solutions, implement them, and execute. And if she can’t execute, she’ll connect you to someone who can. She’s helped past clients improve their branding, operations, customer service, marketing, company culture, and more. She’s organized a company-wide rebranding and restructuring after it was bought out. And she’s helped small businesses in Los Angeles increase their growth without increasing the headache. From consulting to full-scale project management, Amanda steps in to help your business level up with ease.
In addition to her work with Ask Amanda, she’s also the Director of Business Development for Thomas Realty Co., a property management company in Burbank, where she oversees the growth of select tenants. Currently, she’s serving as the Managing Director of both Burbank Fitness Club and Burbank Center Apartments. Over the last year, she helped completely rebrand, renovate, and rebuild the gym, and she recently started the same process with their luxury apartments.
About The Ask Amanda Show
On any given day, small business owners and entrepreneurs spend most of their time putting out fires, solving problems and asking themselves questions like: “How do I brand this? How do I reach more people online? Why can’t I break through my revenue ceiling and reach the next level of business?” They often feel like an island – holding it all together without small business support, clarity, or the feedback they need to finally achieve their vision. That’s exactly why Amanda Benson-Tilch created The Ask Amanda Show. As a small business consultant, not only does she have the answers to the questions you keep asking, but she’s also created a podcast community that reminds you: You’re not alone in this journey.
Tune in once a month to get access to small business experts in Los Angeles and beyond, acquire nuggets of inspiration and answers to those burning questions preventing you from growth. Enjoy powerful guest interviews as Santa Clarita small business experts share their stories and provide actionable steps to help you grow your business. Whether you’re a business owner, aspiring entrepreneur, or someone looking to get more involved in your community, this is your show!