Three essentials for writing a good ChatGPT prompt

ChatGPT is only as good as the prompts you give it. Here are the three essentials of writing a good one.

The results you get from AI powered tools like ChatGPT will only be as good as the prompts you give them. A vague or general prompt will get you vague, general results. Here are three essentials for writing a good prompt.

1: Be specific. 

Detail precisely what you are looking for. 

  • General: What are best practices for CRM?
  • Precise: What are best practices for using CRM with account based marketing?

Explain the context of the question: Do you need talking points? Blog ideas? If so, include that in the prompt.

2: Be brief. 

  • Using fewer words forces you to pinpoint what it is you want. Before you enter your prompt, read it and ask yourself, “Is this word really necessary?” Eliminating unnecessary words makes it more likely ChatGPT will give you precisely what you are looking for.
  • One of the great things about ChatGPT is that it understands normal language. One of the things it understands is what parts to ignore. When I entered “What are best practices for using CRM with account based marketing” into Bing, it ignored the words “what are.” While you can use everyday language, knowing what it uses gets you thinking about what ChatGPT responds to.
  • For a complex request, use several simple sentences instead of one complex sentence with several clauses or subpoints. 
  • Do not say please or thank you. While this may seem odd, several experts I spoke with say it happens quite often and can confuse the program. 

3: Be clear.

  • Use words that are easy to understand. Keep a thesaurus handy. Not only can it help you find a simpler word, it can also suggest subtly different words you may want to try in a prompt. 
  • Avoid jargon and slang. Smart content. Top-of-the-funnel. Lead flows. While you and I know what those are, ChatGPT may not. Or each one may have several different meanings depending on the context.
  • Watch out for acronyms. Top-of-the-funnel is frequently written as TOFU. I’m sure you can see where that could be confusing. 

In my example I used the acronym CRM and spelled out account-based marketing. That’s because there are very few other uses of CRM besides customer relationship management. However, ABM has many very common uses (Anti-Ballistic Missile, Agent-Based Modeling, Activity-Based Management, etc.). I suspect ChatGPT would get the right one given the context of CRM but I wanted to be sure.

If at first you don’t succeed

Also, one final tip: If you’re not happy with the results you got, hit the “retry” button. This tells ChatGPT to generate something different than the first results it gave you.


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.