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Let’s skip “AI can write your blog posts” and jump straight to the fun part. One of my most important tasks as the founder of a PR agency is to constantly generate new ideas and perspectives for media features. Some of our clients have been with us for many years. And after years of talking about the same foods, I sometimes get the impression that there are just as many ways to cook an egg.
The same thing happens with the founders: basking in your own juice and repeatedly talking about your product, you lose the ability to look from the side and look at your creation with a fresh look.
Founders and early employees tend to get so deep into their own products that they lose objectivity and perspective. In my case, due to the nature of PR work, I’ve always lacked a creative buddy to have a couple of beers with and toss a few ideas with. Brainstorming alone in front of a screen is another thing entirely.
I could never pinpoint exactly why it was so difficult to reach this state of flowing ideas until I found an explanation in Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler. As the author notes, creativity is not a skill, but a state of mind. This can happen spontaneously while walking in the park or while joking with friends. How do you deliberately achieve that state of mind in order to accomplish a task that requires creativity?
I decided to play around with some tips to turn ChatGPT into my brainstorming best friend. It’s like a conversation, so I thought it might be helpful to get into that creative state when ideas are flowing. Here are some ways to use AI as a brainstorming buddy.
Related: 4 ways to spark your creativity
1. Ask ChatGPT to pretend to be your favorite comedian
We love products and companies that indicate what everyone felt but no one said out loud. How to determine the trend before anyone else? I feel that stand-up comedians are often the first to call us to ridiculous things that we, as a society, accept as normal. So, I decided to ask ChatGPT to act as Ricky Gervais, a comedian known for his controversial and borderline offensive performances.
In my case, I’m brainstorming for a PR campaign, but the same concept can be used if you’re looking for inspiration for a new product or service. I would choose a topic that I want to explore, such as romantic relationships. And then I would ask ChatGPT to act as a comedian and tell me about some of the ridiculous trends in this particular topic.
At first he gives general answers, but for PR, the facts are the most important. I start by asking him to list the top 5 trends/interests, and then pick one and dig deeper into it. I would suggest something like:
“Give me five popular cases and specific examples that have been circulated in the media on this topic.”
That’s when things get interesting, because examples that I’ve probably never heard of really spark some ideas.
Related: What does ChatGPT mean for the future of business?
2. Ask ChatGPT to be an influencer in your niche
If you can use ChatGPT to talk to an imaginary comedian, why can’t you ask them to pretend to be any public person to brainstorm more seriously? For example, the author of a book you admire. Or a podcast host. If they’ve written a book and you’ve always wanted their opinion on your particular case, well, now’s your chance!
Ask ChatGPT if they are familiar with a particular book or podcast. If yes, ask if he can act as an author. This usually results in a disclaimer stating that it’s just an AI and can’t speak for a real person. Think of it this way: by asking ChatGPT to pretend to be your favorite author, you are simply offering a conversational lens. You don’t want to know everything you can find online on the topic of starting a service-based business. You want to look at it from the perspective of Eric Rise, author of The Lean Startup. It’s a way to ignore these generic answers and use ChatGPT for brainstorming.
Related: 4 ways to use ChatGPT
3. Use These ChatGPT Hallucinations
You know that sometimes ChatGPT gives you facts that can’t be traced back to the source. If you’re using AI to create content, these facts need to be double-checked and triple-checked; however, when using AI to generate creative ideas, I found these hallucinations to be a great source of inspiration.
I mentioned earlier that almost every conversation with ChatGPT requires detailing and asking for specific examples. In my case, I often ask something like:
“Give me five examples of XYZ that have been covered in the media.”
I carefully google the results and check everything. However, the facts that I could not prove turned out to be the best finds! These are free ideas that haven’t been released yet… which means I can try them out in one of my campaigns.
The same can be applied to brainstorming for a brand or product. What are some of the more well known solutions to the problem you are working on? Has anything been written about them? What are some of the more creative solutions to the same problem? Perhaps some start by asking ChatGPT to pretend to be someone who doesn’t share your views. Brainstorm, go deep and ask for specific examples for each general answer. Then google the examples and treat the hallucinations as ideas you could try!