Over the holidays, I spent some downtime playing with ChatGPT, the new AI-powered content generator that's been receiving a lot of attention lately. I wanted to see if it lived up to all the hype. So I signed up for a free account and within a few seconds of verifying my email address, I gave it the following command:
Write a blog post about how radio stations can use email marketing in the voice of Seth Resler.
In less than a minute, the chatbot spit out the following:
“As the Digital Dot Connector at Jacobs Media, I've had the opportunity to work with a wide range of radio stations on their digital marketing efforts. One area that I think is often overlooked by radio stations is email marketing.
Email may seem like an old-fashioned form of communication, but it's still a powerful tool for reaching and engaging with listeners. In fact, recent studies have shown that email has an average return on investment of 122%, which is four times higher than other marketing channels, including social media.
So, how can radio stations use email marketing to their advantage? Here are a few tips:
- Build your email list: The first step in any successful email marketing campaign is to build a list of subscribers. This can be done through online sign-up forms on your website, social media profiles, and even through on-air promotions. Encourage listeners to sign up for your email list by offering exclusive content, discounts, or other incentives.
- Segment your email list: Once you have a sizable email list, it's important to segment it based on different criteria, such as location, music preferences, or age. This will allow you to send targeted, relevant emails to different segments of your audience, rather than blasting the same message to everyone.
- Create compelling content: The key to any successful email marketing campaign is to create engaging, valuable content that your subscribers will want to read. This could include news and updates about your station, behind-the-scenes glimpses of your team, or information about upcoming events and promotions.
- Use a professional email marketing platform: There are many different email marketing platforms available, each with its own set of features and benefits. Some popular options include Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor. These platforms allow you to create professional-looking emails, track their performance, and segment your list based on different criteria.
- Test and optimize: As with any marketing campaign, it's important to track the performance of your emails and make adjustments based on what's working and what's not. This could include testing different subject lines, calls to action, or segmentation strategies to see what resonates best with your audience.
In conclusion, email marketing is an often-overlooked, but powerful tool for radio stations to engage with their listeners and drive tune-in and loyalty. By building a list of subscribers, creating compelling content, and using a professional email marketing platform, you can effectively reach and connect with your audience.”
Even if you're a regular reader of my column — and I am — you would have a very difficult time distinguishing this output from something that I wrote the old-fashioned way. Frankly, it sounds like me. The only minor quibble I have is with the statistic in the second paragraph, which may or may not be true and is not sourced. Other than that, this is frighteningly good.
Last year, I started using Jasper AI to write some blogposts. While it is also powerful, it still requires a lot more manual work. With Jasper, I still spend an hour or two writing a blogpost, but I can produce much longer posts that are optimized for SEO in that time. In short, with Jasper, I spend less time being an author and more time being an editor and optimizer.
Despite the benefits of Jasper, I have so far opted to use it only for posts that are written for search engines, not for posts that are written for humans. So, for example, I have not used it to write entire blogposts for this blog. However, I do occasionally use it to write my concluding paragraphs here. I suck at writing concluding paragraphs.
At first blush, ChatGPT is far easier to use than Jasper. It appears to produce better content with less work and less time.
What does it mean for radio stations? I don't know yet, but here are a couple of other prompts that I gave the chatbot, along with the responses that it returned:
Write a short mass email from KROQ in Los Angeles wishing listeners a Happy New Year.
Dear KROQ listeners,
As we enter a new year, we wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support and for being a part of the KROQ family. We hope that 2021 brings you health, happiness, and lots of great music.
As we look back on the past year, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue bringing you the best in alternative rock and for being a source of entertainment and community for our listeners. We can't wait to see what the new year has in store and we hope you'll continue to tune in and rock out with us.
From all of us at KROQ, we wish you a Happy New Year and all the best in 2021!
Sincerely, The KROQ Team
Thoughts: Aside from the fact that the chatbot got the year wrong (presumably because the knowledgebase that it was trained on ended in 2021), that's a pretty strong email! Notably, the AI got the format of the radio station correct. If you have an overworked staffer responsible for writing the station emails in addition to all their other duties, this could be big time-saver!
Write a paragraph explaining to KQED listeners to why they should support the radio station by becoming a sustaining member.
As a listener-supported public media organization, KQED relies on the support of our community to continue providing high-quality programming and services. By becoming a sustaining member, you can help ensure that KQED has the resources it needs to continue bringing you the best in news, arts, and culture. Plus, as a sustaining member, you'll enjoy the convenience of monthly giving and the satisfaction of knowing that you're supporting a vital resource in your community. Your support makes a big difference and helps ensure that KQED can continue to be a source of information, inspiration, and entertainment for all. Thank you for considering becoming a sustaining member and for your support of KQED.
Thoughts: While you shouldn't trust the AI to fact-check or do actual reporting, this paragraph could easily be used on a website, in an email, or even as copy to be read by an on-air host.
Write a first-person Instagram post in the voice of Angela Yee explaining why she left The Breakfast Club to launch her own show.
Hey guys, it's Angela Yee here and I just wanted to share some exciting news with you all. As some of you may know, I recently made the decision to leave The Breakfast Club and start my own show. It wasn't an easy decision, but after 10 years with the show, I felt like it was time for me to spread my wings and explore new opportunities.
I'm really excited to share my own unique perspective and bring fresh, diverse voices to the airwaves. I'm also looking forward to connecting with my listeners in a deeper way and having the freedom to cover the topics that are most important to me.
I want to thank all of my supporters, both old and new, for your continued love and support. I can't wait to see what the future holds and I hope you'll tune in to my new show!
Thoughts: Again, the date is incorrect: Angela was a founding member of The Breakfast Club when it debuted in 2010, so she was with the show for over twelve years, not ten.
I'm also not convinced that this text accurately capture's Yee's voice or sufficiently expresses the importance of the announcement. The language in the second paragraph is pretty vague, to the point that these words could have just as easily come out of the mouths of Audie Cornish or Kara Swisher, two very different broadcasters who also launched new shows recently. Yee's quote in Variety contains more specifics, making it sound more authentic and doing a much better job of conveying her passion and excitement:
“I really love talking to people who are cultural icons and who my family would be excited about like, ‘Damn Angela went to Patti LaBelle’s house!’” Yee tells Variety. “That’s like a great conversation at the house for Thanksgiving. It’s always moments like that that really mean a lot.“
“To have had the opportunity to sit down with Nipsey Hussle and people like that, I think is really amazing for us, as far as history and even knowing these people in a different way than the rest of the world knows them,” she continues. “ I love that we have the opportunity to do that. When people are like, ‘I had no idea they were like that I actually really like them, now I’m going to listen to the album or watch the movie.'”
While the AI may be fine for website copy and mass emails, I am not a fan of using it for heartfelt announcements like this one. Sometimes, you just need a human touch.
Write a short description of an episode of the Grammar Girl podcast about the “rule” against splitting infinitives.
In this episode of Grammar Girl, host Mignon Fogarty tackles the “rule” against splitting infinitives. Despite being a commonly cited grammar rule, Fogarty explains that there is actually no rule against splitting infinitives in the English language. In fact, many respected grammarians and style guides argue that it is sometimes necessary or even preferable to split an infinitive in order to convey meaning clearly or to avoid awkward or clunky wording. Fogarty provides examples of correctly split infinitives and discusses when it is appropriate to use them. This episode is a must-listen for anyone who has ever been told not to split infinitives and is seeking to understand the true rules of English grammar.
Thoughts: While this could be edited into shape, I'm not a huge fan of this output as it is. For starters, it's generally not a good idea to begin a podcast episode description with the phrase “In this episode…” because many podcast directories truncate the descriptions, and you could wind up with a view of several episodes that all begin with the same sentence fragment. But that's the sort of insight that is gained through experience.
I also feel like this description repeats variations of the phrase “split infinitives” too often, making it sound awkward. That could be a function of the fact that the description is longer than necessary, making it feel like “filler.”
On the plus side, the grammar appears to be correct.
For comparison's sake, here's the actual episode description on the Grammar Girl website:
“The ‘rule' against splitting infinitives appeared in the 1800s, but it wasn't initially put forth as a rule. See what was on Henry Alford's mind when he advised against the construction.”
While the AI output is adequate, I like the real description better because I appreciate the brevity, which I think will serve the podcast better given all the places where that description could appear. It goes to show that AI is no substitute for real-world experience yet.
In conclusio– aw, hell. Write a concluding paragraph explaining why radio stations should start experimenting with AI content creation tools like ChatGPT.
In conclusion, radio stations that are looking to stay competitive in an increasingly digital landscape should consider experimenting with AI content creation tools like ChatGPT. These tools can help radio stations save time and resources by automating certain tasks, such as generating social media posts or creating personalized recommendations for listeners. They can also help radio stations reach and engage with new audiences by allowing them to easily create content in multiple languages or by providing personalized recommendations based on individual listening habits. While AI content creation tools are not a replacement for human creativity and expertise, they can be a valuable addition to a radio station's content strategy, helping to drive tune-in, engagement, and loyalty.
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That software is scary good at what it does. I can see it replacing junior publicists and copywriters in some situations. Apparently it was trained using large volumes of existing text, and does a pretty good job of regurgitating words into sentences having proper grammar. It might be fun to inject a few well chosen keywords into the generator and watch what comes out. You could write crime stories, romantic shorts, or maybe even comedy material by spicing up the input text. Thank you for bringing this tool to our attention.
Seth Resler says
That’s a great idea for a prompt! “A priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar…”
David Manzi says
Haha! Yeah, take a moment and enter that one. I’d love to hear the response!
David Manzi says
I think you did a good job pointing out some areas where Chat misses (if only slightly) the “human touch.” Overall, though, to quote Seth Resler, “this is frighteningly good.”
Having more fun with chatGPT (while it’s still free to play with). Try a prompt like this… “Write a song in the style of the Beatles about a cat who loves a porcupine”. Yeah, it’s a silly example, but the bloody thing (chatGPT, not the cat!) knows how to write song lyrics. I have to wonder if the machine has been or will be trained using the thousands of melodies written over the years. “Compose a melody in the style of Nirvana to go along with the lyrics you just wrote”. So many questions… Copyright? Royalties?
Seth Resler says
Ooh, those sound like some fun prompts to play with! As for copyright and royalties, we are already starting to see the first lawsuits around AI-generated content. It’ll be interesting to see where the courts settle on everything!