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ChatGPT: Friend or foe of internal comms?

As usage of ChatGPT takes off, internal communicators are divided about what this generative AI system will mean for the future of their profession. While some fear that a tool that can replicate the quality of human writing will put them out of a job, others are eager to tap into automation capabilities to streamline workloads and increase the impact of their comms efforts. So how worried about ChatGPT should internal comms professionals really be, and what are some of the ways we can use the latest product of the AI revolution to our advantage? Unily's Kaz Hassan gives his take.

AI

Is ChatGPT the beginning of the end for communicators?

ChatGPT is capturing headlines—and for good reason. In addition to representing a big step forward for AI, the free chatbot has sparked several ethical debates. Most notably, some experts fear that if people begin to rely on a machine to have conversations for them, it could lead to a loss of genuine human connection.

Since ChatGPT is still in its early days, it’s unlikely that it will entirely replace human conversations any time soon. However, the tool is quickly gaining traction—after OpenAI released it to the general public in November 2022, ChatGPT amassed more than one million users within just five days. Almost 30% of professionals said they’ve already experimented with ChatGPT at work and University of Pennsylvania professor Ethan Mollick believes it’s a tipping point for AI.

While generative AI—tools that use unsupervised or semi-supervised learning to process large amounts of data and generate original outputs— have been around for a while, ChatGPT is the first that can perform a wide range of tasks and create outputs that rival the quality of writing produced by the average human. As a result, ChatGPT is gaining many fans—as well as critics who are raising fears that the tool will de-personalize communications and perhaps even steal some peoples’ jobs.

So what does the rise of ChatGPT mean for internal comms professionals?

How internal comms can use ChatGPT to their advantage

Before determining whether ChatGPT can fully replace communications professionals, it’s important to understand what the tool is capable of—and what it can’t do. There are number of different ChatGPT use cases that can streamline internal communicators’ workloads, including:

#1. Find a description that demands attention—and fits your word limit

Once your content is ready, internal communicator’s next challenge is writing up a summary for it that will draw readers in, typically using a very limited number of words. ChatGPT can generate multiple options for descriptions, allowing professionals to prioritize strategic work and spend less time on tedious recaps. Users can even specify how many words or characters to use to ensure their summaries are the right length for the various platforms they’re publishing content across.

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#2. Write catchier headlines quickly

Have you had an article that was ready to go, but ended up delaying the publish date by a few days because you couldn’t think of a good title? Most internal communicators come across this challenge, which is something ChatGPT can help with. The tool can quickly generate a multitude of headline ideas based on the content you’ve written, so you can pick the best title.

#3. Draft policy and best practices documents

For most internal communicators, creating policy documents that dictate what employees can and can’t post and share is far from their favorite task. Legal departments are usually involved in drafting these documents, which means they might not use language that will inspire employees to share content.

With the help of ChatGPT, internal communicators can efficiently create a policy document that highlights what employees can share—versus what needs to be avoided. You can experiment with different tonalities by writing notes in the prompt section, so that ChatGPT can create a document that strikes the right note with your audience. Since generative AI tools have read many enterprise documents over the years, ChatGPT is also qualified to provide a well-researched first draft.

#4. Tailor messages for different audiences and channels

By now, most internal communicators know that personalization is crucial for maximizing the reach and relevancy of each message. In addition to tailoring content for their audience, comms teams increasingly have a number of formats at their disposal—including email, blogs, and internal social—which means that messages also need to be optimized for each channel.

Rather than rewriting the same content several different times to tailor it, you can use ChatGPT to tweak your messages for various audiences and content types. Internal communicators can even make sure ChatGPT’s outputs reflect the company style by adding a prompt that includes information about your preferred tone.

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#5. Spark more creative brainstorming and ideation sessions

Coming up with ideas for a campaign on a specific theme can be challenging. Instead of staring at a blank page, internal communicators can use the prompt section of ChatGPT to describe the campaign they’re working on and the tool will generate ideas that can be used as a jumping-off point. You can also ask ChatGPT a question and use the answers it creates to help you arrive at a solution for the problem you’re trying to tackle.

What ChatGPT can’t do

While there’s an impressive list of content-related feats that ChatGPT can accomplish, there are also some limitations that communications professionals can’t ignore. Most notably, internal communicators must be mindful that any time they enter something into ChatGPT, they’re sharing information. As a result, the tools can’t be used to generate a draft about anything that’s sensitive or confidential.

In addition to privacy restrictions, ChatGPT can’t develop an internal communications strategy that reflects the nuances and personalities of a specific workforce. Instead, the tool can save time on copywriting so that internal communicators have the capacity needed to capture the human stories that only someone in the company can tell.

Embracing automation as the key to comms success

The dialogue around ChatGPT is part of a wider conversation about how internal communicators can embrace cutting-edge tech innovations to streamline workload and enhance engagement.

This year, internal communicators are facing stagnant budgets and increased responsibilities, and managing this dichotomy means finding ways to work smarter is front of mind for every professional. 45% of chief comms officers reported that they expect their budgets to either remain the same as the year prior or to decline, according to Gartner.

Turning to tools like ChatGPT is just one of the ways internal comms teams can lean into technology to continue to deliver impact in challenging circumstances. But there are many other tech innovations entering the scene, promising to cut manual burden and boost results.

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Automation is a growing area of innovation in the internal comms space. Today, modern intranets and employee experience platforms are introducing powerful automation capabilities that give internal comms the tools to orchestrate complex multi-channel campaigns that respond to user behaviors. Not only is automation set to reduce the manual burden on internal comms teams, it also represents a step forward in bringing more consumer-grade, hyper-personalized experiences to employees.

Engagement Automation

For internal comms teams to create the time needed to invest in more strategic activities, like re-defining organizational values and evaluating the success of engagement strategies, leveraging the latest, greatest tech innovations will be critical in the year ahead. Whether it’s ChatGPT or campaign automation, internal comms should be looking to experiment with all that AI and automation has to offer. Giving into fear of the unknown and shying away from embracing new technologies will only leave teams struggling to catch up in years to come.

To learn more about the role that automation will play in future messaging strategies, check out the internal communications trends that will shape 2023.

The moral of the ChatGPT story: be inquisitive, not scared!

While ChatGPT can give internal communicators a much-needed leg up on growing content deficits, the tool can’t convey feeling and thought process in a story the way that humans can. Internal communicators will need to make careful decisions about what messages ChatGPT can help them create and which pieces of content requires more of a human touch. Some examples might include a landing page for a difficult message that requires empathy, a blog post that covers a personal story, and a team spotlight meant to showcase your company’s values. For content that tells a personal story or highlights differentiators that are specific to your business, no tool or bot can replace a writer who’s lived these experiences firsthand.

Harness automation to turn 2023 into the year you do more with less

With reduced or stagnated budgets on the docket for 2023, savvy internal communicators are taking advantage of every opportunity to reduce their manual workload—including harnessing AI-powered tools. To find out more about how Unily helps the world’s largest enterprises to transform internal communications with a cutting-edge employee experience platform, get started with a free demo of our market-leading platform today.

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Kaz Hassan

Having spent his whole career in the employee experience space, Unily's own Kaz Hassan has a reputation for being ahead of the latest trends and delivering disruptive takes on all things content, communication and culture.

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