AI tools like ChatGPT and others can help you spend your time better and come up with new ideas. In this part of our article series, I'll show you what tasks these tools can and can't do.
One of the most interesting features of the new generation of AI tools is their flexibility. An offering like ChatGPT has, in its basic form, only one input line for the chat and nothing else. On the one hand, this is a good thing, as it allows you to very individually determine how you use the AI and what results it delivers. On the other hand, it makes it harder to understand the potential of these offerings. I've been using ChatGPT and competitors like Claude for almost a year now and still keep discovering new ways to use them.
One basic idea is to use a tool like ChatGPT as a helper, which is always on call and maximally motivated, but at the same time needs precise guidance. In the following I will give you some examples of how I use AI tools myself and hope that they will serve as inspiration for you.
Content and AI: the basics
For an introduction to working with AI tools, including for online marketing and content creation, check out Jan in his post Content & AI Basics.
Summarize articles and other media
Part of my job is to always stay up to date. You will feel the same way. In addition, there are topics in which I am privately interested. At this point, it is a challenge to use my limited time every day as sensibly as possible. There is one difficulty in particular: many content creators and websites have learned to make their content look as interesting as possible.
Headlines, YouTube titles, thumbnails: They're all optimized to make us curious. But what's really behind them? Too often, I've spent time with a piece of content only to find out afterwards that the title promised more than the content could deliver.
One helper I often use for this task is the Universal Summarizer from the paid search engine Kagi. It not only summarizes posts for me, but also PDFs, YouTube videos or entire podcast episodes - within a few seconds.
Already I understand better what is hidden behind a mysterious headline or whether the content is at all interesting and useful for me. Often the summary is enough for me, because many posts are nowadays artificially stretched to make them appear more valuable to search engines. The actually important, current fact is then buried under all kinds of back stories and marginal information.
Such a function can be implemented similarly with tools like ChatGPT or Claude. In their chat interface it is a bit more complicated than with the Universal Summarizer, but more flexible. It certainly works better if you set up your own application via the respective API or use an alternative web interface like TypingMind, which gives you more options.
Analyze documents and answer questions
Interesting bonus, especially for longer documents: You can ask the Universal Summarizer more advanced questions. Among other things, I've used this to find out in advance whether or not a certain piece of information can be found in a PDF. In one case, this helped me a lot to extract certain information from a company's annual report (or to determine that certain data could not be found in it).
Claude is also ideally suited for this thanks to its large context window of about 100,000 tokens. For example, I uploaded the current draft of the cannabis law for Germany for an article research and was able to get various evaluations. For example, Claude gave me a list of all the fines mentioned in the law - each with a reference to the paragraph so that I could check it quickly.
Translate statements that are difficult to understand into simple language
From my experience, a good use case for these tools are translations. And I don't just mean translating an English text into German. There were already useful tools for that, such as DeepL.
In addition, you can adjust the language level individually. This is very useful, for example, to turn officialese into a generally understandable text. Or you can use it to have a topic explained to you that goes beyond your own expertise. This is similar to the well-known subreddit "Explain Like I'm 5", but automated.
Or you use it to figure out how to explain to laypeople a topic you're particularly good at yourself. Or you have a draft of an angry email in front of you and ask your AI assistant to turn it into a polite and professional message.
"*" indicates required fields
Explain terms and concepts in exchange
It is important to take the "chat" part in "ChatGPT" seriously. Because one of the strengths of these tools is that you can enter into a dialog with them. A simple Google search, for example, definitely can't do that. ChatGPT and others react flexibly to your questions, wishes and requirements and adapt their response to them.
For me, this can at times be a bit like getting lost in Wikipedia and jumping from one article to the next to understand a topic - but much more flexible and efficient.
By the way, you can of course give ChatGPT a Wikipedia article and then ask questions about the content, have the terms and concepts explained and some more. I find this very helpful to get a handle on a topic. After all, Wikipedia is often not very beginner-friendly.
As already mentioned in the first part of this series, you should always check important facts and figures and not simply take them over. Even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales likes to emphasize that you should not believe his online encyclopedia, but only see it as a starting point for your own research. This applies even more to the results of ChatGPT & Co., which can also be wrong in terms of content.
At the same time, the providers of such tools are of course aware of such weaknesses in their offerings and continue to develop them. Bing Chat, for example, is based on the same technologies as ChatGPT, but uses Bing's search results as a basis. So Bing Chat's answers are based on what it has found online, and it gives you those links as sources.
Or Google's AI assistant Bard now has a button to back up its statements with search hits or make it clear when there are no sources. Even with that, these tools are far from perfect. But the development is definitely going in the right direction.
Provide ideas for topics and keywords
These tools are also great for stepping out of my own creative bubble. When I'm thinking about topics and keywords, for example, I can use one of these tools to exchange ideas.
Keyword research guide
The important topic of keywords and SEO (search engine optimization) is still new to you? Then read our step-by-step guide With keyword research to SEO success.
Again, you can make sure that the answers are ideally suited to your situation and question. But you have to provide ChatGPT with the necessary information. If you ask only a general question, without further guidance and without background information, you will get only a general answer.
In the next part of this article series, I'll go into more detail about how I use ChatGPT, Claude, and others to create texts. There I will also go into how the prompt influences the response.
Brainstorming for projects, products or business concepts
Such tools are just as helpful for moments when you are thinking about your offers and products. The AI assistants help you when you want to get rid of some initial ideas and thoughts because you might want to develop something new from them. Or when you feel that you need a neutral view from the outside.
ChatGPT does not replace interpersonal contact. It is still enormously valuable to talk to friends, colleagues, coaches and others. Rather, these AI helpers are another tool that can support you in such moments. They don't want to sell you anything. They have no personal opinion. They don't have a history with you that influences their answers. That can be a strength and definitely a helpful addition.
Sort and structure information
ChatGPT and others can also be amazingly good at finding a meaningful structure for data. For example, I can explain a topic idea to these tools and they help me with the outline. Or I give them unsorted notes and they find helpful categories to present them more clearly. That can help you prioritize tasks as well.
Or think of the tiresome transcripts of conversations for meetings. Google Meet, Zoom and others can mostly transcribe these days. But without further structuring, the result is pages and pages of text. It's much more helpful if an AI can tell you what the main points of the conversation were and list who said what.
Outlook: Where the journey for assistants is headed
What makes ChatGPT and Co cumbersome today are the intermediate steps that are always necessary. For example, if I want the German summary of an English article, I have to copy and paste the original text every time and explain the task with the corresponding prompt. Besides, every chat starts from scratch again: ChatGPT, Claude, Bing Chat and others don't learn me. And they also don't learn in all versions from previous chats.
I see a lot of potential here for the future. One step that we are already seeing today: Integration with other services. Microsoft, for example, adds "Copilot", an assistant directly in the already familiar interface. A plugin like WP Wand adds it in the WordPress backend. There would be many more opportunities for useful integrations here: I'd love to have the content summaries mentioned above in the browser at the click of a button. Or an AI assistant in the email inbox that goes far beyond Gmail's categories and learns over time what types of messages and what topics are important.
Some of this can be implemented yourself if you have the resources to deal with the APIs of the offerings. Then you could automatically deliver the basic prompt for recurring tasks. Or background information about the company and its target groups is noted once and also always supplied.
Another much-discussed point: the evolution of AI assistants into AI agents. The idea behind this is not just to ask questions and get answers to them, but to assign more complex tasks to an AI. After all, why spend your time finding the best deal on a new laptop when your AI agent could do it on its own? You would then tell this tool the framework data and your wishes, and it would set off on its own search and provide you with the results with individual recommendations afterwards. Or even more complex: book a trip.
My conclusion on the possibilities of AI tools
After the initial enthusiasm about a new tool, a certain disillusionment often sets in as soon as you have explored the limits and realize: It cannot fulfill all hopes and wishes. Certainly, ChatGPT and similar tools are not the artificial geniuses they appear to be in some gushing reports. They just have their problems in everyday life.
But for me, various tools from this area have very quickly secured a permanent place. And when the Universal Summarizer tells me within seconds what an hour-long YouTube video is all about, I still find that fascinating.