November 30, 2022, the day ChatGPT was introduced to the general public, may eventually go down as the unofficial milestone for when the world stepped into the age of AI.
It’s only been a few months since the model’s debut. Yet experts in every industry are scrambling to grasp the potential benefit — or threat, in some circles — of this revolutionary chatbot. But the debate around the ethical employment of ChatGPT arguably burns the hottest in higher education.
Concerns over plagiarism and lack of critical thinking in using ChatGPT for school assignments are prevalent among higher ed pundits. Some have gone so far as writing eulogies for college essays, and several colleges and universities are taking steps to ban their students from utilizing ChatGPT altogether.
I think these are unfortunate reactions to a revolutionary application around which we are all still trying to gain some clarity.
Like a lot of the general public, I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface of ChatGPT’s capabilities. ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms like it may be the greatest innovation we’ve seen since the internet. Bill Gates argues that this technology is “the most important innovation” today, saying it will change the world.
ChatGPT is going to change the way we think about content marketing. It is the ultimate automated assistant for empowering your higher ed marketing teams.Click to tweet
I’ll share my opinions on that, but first, let’s talk about the fundamentals of ChatGPT for those who still might not be familiar with it.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an AI language model developed by OpenAI, which promotes itself as an AI research and deployment company.
Now, I could put my own spin on ChatGPT’s intended function, but I thought it’d be appropriate to go right to the source. So, I asked the chatbot directly, as you can see in our conversation below:
A chatbot that can quickly relay almost any searchable information in a casual tone is impressive in its own right. But it’s ChatGPT’s ability to respond to specific inputs and answer questions that sets it apart from all other automated assistants.
Let’s break down ChatGPT’s self-declared purpose to define what it means to higher ed marketing teams.
ChatGPT Provides Assistance and Answers Questions
ChatGPT doesn’t give you feedback like a classic search engine does. Instead, it generates comprehensive answers and solutions based on your distinct inputs. One of the most valuable features of ChatGPT, however, is its adaptive behavior.
For example, I asked ChatGPT, “What are some hashtags I can use on social media to promote our school’s engineering program?”
It immediately listed 15 engineering-related educational hashtags, but the unprompted reminder at the end of the response stood out:
“Remember to include your school’s name and any unique features of your engineering program to make your posts more specific and targeted to your audience.” — ChatGPT
You love to see it. Without any special prompting, the chatbot displayed an elementary understanding of higher ed marketing basics and gave me relevant suggestions. So, of course, I took the AI’s advice and gave it another shot:
Consider how long the average person might take to create a list like this on demand. In seconds, ChatGPT generated content that would take even an experienced social media manager several minutes, if not longer. That may seem insignificant in a vacuum, but it all adds up.Not only does ChatGPT provide robust solutions to your higher ed marketing needs, but it also empowers your teams by removing the mundane from their workflow.
Kyle Campbell, Founder and Managing Director of Education Marketer, gave this insightful opinion on ChatGPT’s potential on The Higher Ed Marketer podcast:
“The content creation process, if anything, automates the most basic level of content out of the system… We use ChatGPT to get rid of those basic processes, to free up more creative forms of expression.” — Kyle Campbell, Founder and Managing Director of Education Marketer
By adopting generative AI tools like ChatGPT, your marketing team can experience exponential growth in the quality and quantity of their content.
ChatGPT is an Idea Generator
Not only can ChatGPT free your team from routine tasks, but it can provide frameworks to help them build on the important stuff.
For instance, if your school has a consistent blog strategy, your writers probably spend significant time outlining topics. But what if you had an assistant that could do that for them?
Let’s take it a step further. Perhaps your advancement office has noticed a fundraising downturn and suggested the school needs to craft a donor-centric marketing strategy. Those men and women are the lifeblood of your school’s funding, so you really need to nail it.
Maybe ChatGPT can help with that:
Those look like some solid tips for creating a donor-centric marketing strategy. In fact, I’d bet you could get a blog out of that.
The final product was obviously a bit more fleshed out, but this is a practical example of how ChatGPT can help you get your core content off the ground.
ChatGPT is Still a Learning Machine
ChatGPT can work wonders in taking rote work out of your teams’ hands. However, we shouldn’t confuse the AI’s data curation with natural intuition.
While the results produced by ChatGPT’s artificial “brain” are impressive, even when given specific guidelines, its content usually lacks any real “heart.”
And as evidenced by a user on this Reddit post, its logical output is a work in progress:
Like a classic search engine or word processor, ChatGPT is simply another effective tool for streamlining the content creation process.
Even at this early stage, ChatGPT’s strengths far outweigh its weaknesses, but examples like the one pictured above should help ease marketers’ fears of AI coming for their jobs.
ChatGPT Will Change Higher Ed Marketing for the Better
The ChatGPT genie is out of the bottle. So your school’s administration must take any reservations about the technology in stride because it is not going away.
The world’s tech giants are jostling for a piece of the AI pie. Microsoft announced a $10 billion partnership with OpenAI to incorporate ChatGPT into their Bing search engine. Other investors are lining up to flush millions more into the product.
The rest of the world is ready to go all-in on ChatGPT or other AI systems like it. Higher ed leaders would be doing their staff — and students — a grave disservice by not acknowledging ChatGPT’s inevitable influence in the digital space or, worse, banning it altogether.
ChatGPT will usher in a new age in content marketing. Your higher ed marketing team deserves to be a part of it.
And if you have more questions about how your college or university can use ChatGPT or other regenerative AI models to empower your teams, we’d love to help you!
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Featured image by Hamid via Adobe Stock