Can a robot help your exec sound less like a robot?

You bet it can. If you’re using generative AI the right way.

A Greentarget study found that 13 percent of journalists never use quotes from releases, and 31 percent rarely do. Can you blame them? Most of what they’re given looks something like this:

“My partner Lionel Metcalf and I are delighted to announce the addition of sequins to our line of high-quality home linens. Under the leadership of a talented management team, we have developed a world-class product that will serve generations of customers and revolutionize the home linen industry.”

That’s not how a real person talks – sounds more like rehearsed corporate jargon. When a quote is filled with hype, it becomes meaningless. In fact, reporters rank quotes as the least important element in a news release – after the boilerplate and the dateline.

Ironically, executives' quotes have read like they were made up by a robot, long before PR pros started using robots to write them. And, using AI to edit and fine-tune your quote can actually help it sound a lot more authentic and human.

Here’s how it’s done:

Start by composing the quote yourself. Keep it short and use it to convey opinion and emotion undergirded with fact.

Feed the quote you drafted into your AI writing assistant and ask “Rewrite this quote in five different styles.

Give the AI guidance on tone, because the general body of executive quotes it’s been trained on are effusive, vacuous, and generic. Directions such as “Be personable, but clear. Conversational, but direct” work well.

I fed the quote above to ChatGPT and it generated these quotes:

  • Casual and Excited: “Hey everyone, Lionel Metcalf and I are over the moon to share some exciting news! We've jazzed up our awesome home linens with the glitz and glam of sequins. Thanks to our super-talented team, we've whipped up a game-changing product that's gonna rock the home linen world for ages!”
  • Professional and Concise: “Lionel Metcalf and I are thrilled to announce the incorporation of sequins into our high-quality home linens. With the guidance of our skilled management team, we've developed a top-tier product set to redefine the home linen industry.”

They also gave me options for Poetic and Flowery, Playful and Imaginative, and Formal Announcement.

Next, pick the style that best matches your exec’s personality and your corporate voice. Then ask “Rewrite this five different ways.” You can also use prompts such as “Give me five suggestions for making this quote more concise and compelling.”

Lastly, choose three you like that are different from each other to present to your exec for approval. This use case is an example of AI not simply making our work more efficient, but allowing us to overdeliver by presenting three options instead of one.

“Drafting quotes” was one of 25 PR use cases for AI that I presented to my Inner Circle this week. They got more than 50 prompts – specific to our discipline – that they are using right now.

We’ll keep leaning into AI after we start accepting new members soon. To learn more about the program and be alerted when we open the doors, be sure you’re registered for our Inner Circle Wait List.

Thoughts on using ChatGPT to help with this piece

Ironically, other than the demo quotes, I didn’t use AI to write this post. That won’t be the case every week, but it’s how things worked out this time.

This article was originally published on September 13, 2023

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