Training my clients on AI prompting
I train all my clients on writing for searchers, and I’m convinced that reworking our SEO workflow with AI prompts is the future. I now also train my clients on my new AI-enhanced SEO process. I was inspired by Ross Simmonds’ Whiteboard Friday, where he walks through where, in the content creation process, human SEOs are still needed.
My clients are the subject matter experts, and I’ve trained them on the AI chatbot prompts they can use during the content creation process outlined below. I’m beginning conversations with them about how to provide AI guidance and ethics policies to their employees.
A few guardrails before getting started with AI
Before I get into my tested AI prompts, you need to be aware of a few caveats:
AI cannot count or do math well; it should only be quadruple-checked by other tools and the human eye.
ChatGPT mirrors your intelligence and education level; you must train it to write for your target audience’s reading level. I prompted AI to drop the reading level for one client to match their target audience. Most writers, by default, write based on their education level (this client was no exception), and the copy is not always readable to the audience you are trying to target, who may have a different reading level.
It can generate responses that are biased based on its training set.
Ideally, AI should only be used to partially generate content — a human’s expertise is still needed. And I still think that AI can ID a writer’s unique fingerprint. There’s an exhibit at the Planet Word Museum in DC that walks through how they have trained AI on a corpus of language, and it could tell that J.K. Rowling was also Robert Galbraith because every writer has unique language choices. Google has said that AI-generated content is acceptable if it’s “original, high-quality, and people first demonstrating qualities of E-E-A-T.”
It also makes stuff up, called “hallucinations.” Treat AI like you would a new-to-you intern and check every step, and you should be OK. You can ask your AI chat if it understands your prompts, ask for references, and review any references it provides. If the output is poor, you can turn it around and have the AI interview you with questions to craft the perfect AI chat prompt.
New projects should be started in new chat conversions.
Multi-chain prompts with the context of the goal, audience, and information about your business get the best results.
- When using AI, make sure to:
NOT share proprietary information
Have client permission to share their data with AIr
Review the outputs — the answer, the references, the logic
Be careful of copyright — don’t generate images “in the style of [artist’s name].”
What tools should you use?
Most of the real power of AI chat comes from using an AI Chatbot that:
You can use plugins (like ChatGPT4)
Access live links (like you can now with ChatGPT 4 and Bing Chat).
Can ingest large amounts of text. Claude.ai is excellent for this, but the Split Long Text Chrome plugin can break your prompts into sections to make it easier for AI chatbots.
I’m going to start from the beginning, from a consultant’s perspective — focused on content creation or editing. You’ll notice that as I go, I use different AI software, chatbots (ChatGPT4, Bard, Bing, Claude.ai), or other tools (Capsho, Microsoft Designer, native Microsoft tools), depending on which I think works best for the task at hand. I have a list of SEO software saved in case I need it for a specific use case, but I default to finding free tools to get my work done, if possible.
Across the board, you can be most effective when you provide AI chatbots context about your brand, goals, target audience, and plans for the output. If I need the output in a particular brand voice or to mirror a person’s writing style, I also add that to the prompt (but as mentioned, be careful not to copyright.)
I use this language:
Analyze the text below for style, voice, and tone, and generate the output to match the style, voice, and tone.
Then, I paste an email/blog post/landing page/transcript in the tone I’m trying to mirror.
Here are some everyday SEO tasks and activities where I’ve been able to speed up my delivery, findings, and outputs using AI.
Speed up everyday SEO activities with AI
Know who you/the client is talking to:
Caveat: This is 1000% not as powerful as conducting research directly with your target audience via a client discovery session, user focus group, or a “jobs to be done” formal research session. Ideally, you confirm what you get from AI with human conversations with your target audience.
But if you’re lost as to who you are talking to, this is a better starting point than not thinking about your target audience. I’ve enhanced my basic prompt here with tips from Andy Crestodina to make it a chained set of prompts:
Build me a persona of a [job title] who works for a [company type] company. List the roles, goals, challenges, pain points, and decision criteria for selecting a [your company type] company.
What keeps that persona up at night?
What words does that persona use to describe his/her [service] challenges and solutions?
If you were [describe your persona], what online resources would [persona] read to help you be more effective at your job?
Topical research — What topics should you cover? What are your topical gaps?
Here are the titles of our published blog posts related to X content. What content is missing?
Based on the episodes in this feed, [feed URL], what topics related to “[keyword]” have not been covered? The target audience is X, and the content is focused on X or helping X persona with x.
Know the main topics and subtopics that must be covered in your copy
Create a table with the semantically related subtopics of X topic organized by the stages of the searcher’s learning about the topic. The output should have one column for the learning stage and another with the keywords used in a search.
I saw this one shared by Aleyda Solis’s SMX Advanced presentation and have adapted it to my workflow.
Export a raw list of keywords and their search volumes from Moz Pro’s Keyword Research tool. Upload this list to ChatGPT and ask the AI tool to cluster the keywords into semantically associated groups (while maintaining the associated search volumes). Export this to a .csv file.
Create a hub and spoke model from a list of these keywords, consolidating those that are too similar and would be targeted by the same content to avoid duplicates.
Take their search intent into consideration to group them.
These will be used in the X section on our website.
The hub and spoke model should be in English and list each keyword’s search intent.
The target audience is [x], and this should attract and engage [name of the target audience here] for a [type of business/service].
List them in a table along with their specified average search volume in additional columns listed below.
Additionally, suggest titles and meta descriptions following SEO best practices for creating content to target them: [list keywords here].
Know your unique brand value and how to surface it in content
This needs to be executed with an AI chat with access to the internet (ChatGPT4 or Bing Chat) or ChatGPT with the BrowserOps plugin:
Based on these competitors [list competitors names & URLs], how is [your brand + URL] different?
Create written content with AI
Create a content brief
I like using the pre-set prompts in AIPRM, an add-on to ChatGPT. I particularly like the “Content Brief with Expert SEO Guidance.”
Create other types of content with AI
Generate podcast interview questions
“I need a summary of [book] by [guest]. What are the key takeaways? What can you tell me about the author?”
“[Paste YouTube transcript]
What can you tell me about [guest] from this show?”
“[Paste social media URL]
What can you tell me about the person on this account?”
“Develop [number] questions to ask a [subject matter expert] about [topic] on my podcast. Be sure to address how [topic] impacts [industry/audience] and use real-world examples to frame your questions where possible.”
Create elements of video text: titles, transcripts, descriptions, and thumbnails.
“Generate a video description and title for [insert YouTube link] that includes keywords [“Keyword 1,” “Keyword 2,” “Keyword 3”] and related phrases.
Make sure it covers these main points: [talking point 1] [talking point 2] [talking point 3].
Also, recommend related videos from [YouTube channel link] that I can include. Make it [number of] words and write in a [adjective] tone of voice.
Mention the key benefits and value the video provides to the viewer.
Keep the description concise (2 short paragraphs) while highlighting why someone should watch the full video. Provide relevant hashtags.
Here’s the video transcript [paste transcript or provide video link].”
This prompt type could also be set into ChatGPT for sheets if you have multiple videos to optimize.
Create social media posts, graphics, and promotional emails
Prompt option 1:
“Generate a series of [number of tweets] engaging tweets for a social media campaign promoting [product or service]. Please include [key features] and use a tone that appeals to [target audience].
Additionally, incorporate [hashtags] and a [call to action] to enhance the campaign’s effectiveness. Write it in the style of the provided example, capturing its tone, voice, vocabulary, and sentence structure. Example: [paste example]”.
Prompt option 2:
“I am looking for a subject line for an email about [the thing you want to promote]. The email will be sent to [the audience], whose goal is to [action desired from recipient]. Generate ten subject lines with [specific tone/style] and include [keywords/phrases].”
Prompt option 3:
“Develop a persuasive email that entices [job title] at [company] to sponsor my [newsletter/podcast/YouTube channel] that targets [audience]. Some reasons they should advertise with me: [audience size, niche, open rate/downloads/etc.]”
I have also used Capsho (a paid podcast promotion software) for this task and have been impressed by the output, and I will be trying out Buzzsprout’s AI functionality for this season of my podcast.
Pull together data for a content audit
I used the Advanced Data Analysis plugin with ChatGPT4 to create the content audit sheet. I had it combine sheets for the following with the URL as the key:
social shares data
“Can you combine these sheets for me? The key is the URL. I’m uploading sheet 1 of  now. Upload crawl data, Google Search Console data, backlink data, social shares data, and data from Google Analytics 4. Before uploading, ensure the URL column is labeled “URL” in all sheets.”
That prompt gave me a colossal sheet I could start from to look at patterns and spot areas for improvement.
You can also use ChatGPT to develop schema markup and generate Python code.
Graphics and presentations
I use various Microsoft AI tools, such as Microsoft Designer,which teaches you how to craft prompts and helps you create AI images. Here’s an example of one I made:
It also has features like uploading a document into Microsoft 365 and exporting it to a fully designed PowerPoint. I am also playing around with generating images in ChatGPT with the Argil extension. And Adobe Firely has great graphic options. Here’s an example from that tool: