I could bore you with the obvious opening line. “I used to be worried about job safety in the age of AI, but now I’m excited to work alongside our machine-learning mates.”
But I won’t.
Unless that counts. I’m not counting it.
Instead, I’m simply going to give you my secrets for using AI to boost your copy.
These are the prompts I’ve discovered and perfected in my quest for better copy. To increase visibility and engage, inform and convert readers.
Use them to spot errors, improve phrasing and tailor your work to its intended audience. To review, refine and finesse your copy.
Let’s get into them.
“How long would it take the average UK adult to read the following passage?”
Online readers don’t want to read paragraphs of text to find what they’re after. They want answers, information, products – now.
So, how do you write for a short attention span? Concise, snappy, simple.
When I ran this prompt through ChatGPT, it kindly performed the formula for me – comparing the number of words against the average UK reading speed to suggest exactly how long the piece would take a typical reader to get through.
This prompt helps you understand whether you need to cut copy to keep it engaging for your target audience.
“Is there any content in the below passage you would consider irrelevant, unnecessary or not valuable?”
Another simple yet effective prompt.
We often get attached to our work – whether we’re trying to target too many keywords or simply think we’re producing poetry. And we sometimes ramble or repeat ourselves as a result.
This prompt highlights unnecessary tangents or content that adds no value and risks distracting the reader from the very reason they landed on your site.
“How would you evaluate the format of the following passage? Would you suggest any improvements to how it is presented, to improve readability or user experience?”
Copywriters are wordsmiths. We use words to express every idea. But sentences and paragraphs aren’t always the most effective way of communicating a concept.
This prompt highlights opportunities to make our content more digestible – giving readers the information they’re looking for with minimal effort.
Examples of AI suggestions include bullet points, paragraph length, white space and even visual elements, like icons and images.
“Do you believe the following passage is ordered correctly in terms of the value of the information? If not, which sections would you re-order?”
While not dissimilar to the prompt above, this dials in on the value of content sections.
Top-loading is a valuable copywriting skill that gives readers the most important information as early as possible. So, they quickly learn you’re the expert thought leader in your field – or understand why your product is the best on the market.
This prompt helps us get key content in front of our readers sooner by prioritising based on value. It may be a burning question, step-by-step instructions or even a call to action, depending on the piece and its purpose.
“How would you describe the tone of voice of the following passage?”
You might be tempted to tell AI about your intended target audience and tone of voice. But I think this prompt provides more honest and objective feedback on your first draft.
Instead of influencing the feedback, you can test your efforts by asking AI to describe the tone. You may be humbled by the response, but at least it will be an honest critique.
You can then use additional prompts, like “can you explain why you gave this answer, using examples from the copy?” for a deeper insight.
“Is there any language in the following passage you would deem inappropriate or out of place for [INSERT TONE OF VOICE]?”
Another prompt about tone of voice, that follows on from the last.
If you’ve generally nailed the TV – and AI agrees – or you’ve made some changes based on its feedback, you can now try this prompt.
This is designed to spot any individual words, sentences, phrases or content that stand out – even if most of the piece is spot on.
“Is there anything in the following passage that the average reader would find confusing?”
It’s easy to get lost in a topic. We research until we’re experts, then we write from that perspective.
And while we aim to use simple language and communicate complex ideas in an accessible way, we sometimes lose sight of what it’s like to be a beginner.
From overuse of technical jargon to dropping an industry term without explanation, we forget readers don’t share the existing knowledge we do.
This prompt shows us where we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves and highlights unclear passages to keep the reader engaged and informed.
“Can you highlight any passive sentence constructions in the following text?”
This prompt may not provide the wider feedback available through the previous prompts, but it’s still important. As a digital copywriter, passive sentences are my pet peeve.
We’ve already touched on toploading – the idea that the most important content should come as early in the copy as possible to keep the reader’s attention. But, this isn’t just within a page or section. It goes for sentences, too.
Passive sentences make the subject – the most important aspect – a minor thought in the sentence, relegated to the end.
AI highlights passive sentences so you can make them punchier and more authoritative.
“You are a [X] retailer writing a guide on [X]. Can you suggest where a call to action for [X] would fit naturally in the following passage?”
The balance between making a page genuinely helpful for readers – and our desire to push them down the marketing funnel – is one of the trickiest for copywriters.
We want to avoid unnatural product plugs, anchor text and ads. But we also want to kindly remind readers that our clients sell useful products or services.
If you’re stuck for opportunities to naturally weave calls to action into your copy, try this prompt. It may hand you the perfect link, or even provide inspiration for a new blog topic or helpful guide you could create to build a more natural path to customer conversion.
“You are a [X] specialist. You are writing an informational page about [X]. Answer the following FAQs concisely in a maximum of 100 words per question. The tone of voice should be [X]”
I’m not a fan of asking AI to write my copy. AI-generated copy will always be rehashed from existing online content. I prefer to use it for inspiration and feedback.
My one – albeit, caveated – exception, is FAQs.
Adding FAQs to the end of articles can provide invaluable insight for readers who may have specific questions after reading the main body copy. And, depending on the topic, there may be many relevant questions to answer if you truly want to provide the most useful resource on the internet.
However, FAQs work best as collapsible features – allowing users to open relevant questions without being overwhelmed with hundreds of extra words of text. They need direct and concise answers – this isn’t the place to plug products and lace copy with links.
So, I’ll occasionally get AI support for the foundation of my FAQ copy. Of course, I’ll edit, polish and perfect it – and fact-check all provided information. But, this can provide a useful starting block when approaching a daunting 20-question workload.
A few bonus prompts, since you asked so nicely.
- “If you were trying to make the following passage as concise as possible, are there any words or sections you would omit?”
- A quick win to keep copy concise and spot any rambling or repetition.
- “Where would you add white space in the following passage?”
- Whitespace is gold dust for online copy – helping readers scan pages to find the information they’re looking for.
- “Is there anything in the following passage that reads as unnatural or spammy?”
- There shouldn’t be. But it can’t hurt to get a second opinion.
- “Imagine you are [X] and you sell [X]. Read the following passage and suggest any places where you could naturally include a reference to your products or services.”
- Similar to the call of action prompt, but less salesy. This could simply highlight opportunities to add internal links or demonstrate expertise and authority around your subject area.
Think I’ve missed anything? Got your own AI prompts that have taken your copy to new heights?
Share them in the comments – I’d love to
steal hear them.