How to Use ChatGPT to Refine—Not Define—Your Media Pitches

chatGPT creating a customer service message

Editors have it tough right now. Journalism is not only facing job cuts but waves of AI-generated pitches. As a result, there is less staff to sift through more story ideas of lower quality.

An editorial contact of mine shares that the number of pitches written by ChatGPT is quickly filling his inbox. He can tell since they’re largely generic, poorly written and pitching the same content. There are no prizes for guessing that these ideas don’t get picked up.

The frustration is palpable and shared by many of us in PR. ChatGPT simply can't offer the finger-on-the-pulse takeaways of a genuine thought leader. Generating pitches from a tool that only imitates insight is a recipe for win-less campaigns and strained editorial relationships.

Of course, ChatGPT isn’t all bad for PR. It’s a powerful platform that can streamline pitching processes and improve novel ideas. But starting from a point of originality is key. Let’s explore how we as practitioners can leverage AI to refine our pitches rather than define them.

Don’t Waste Your Chance With the Media

We all want our pitches to stand out from the crowd. But, with more than half of editors receiving anywhere from 50 to 500 pitches weekly, ChatGPT isn’t the answer.

The problem is that generative AI draws from existing content and struggles to propose innovative perspectives. This doesn’t make for unique angles or compelling commentary. Further, the resulting angle is only as good as the prompt and is even then likely to regurgitate overused phrases and clunky language.

Define the Originality and Then Refine the Approach

On the other hand, generative AI is handy when starting from a point of originality. Whether informed by your client or inspired by news events, the hook makes or breaks the pitch. This isn’t going to come from a chatbot whose “knowledge” is non-existent beyond 2022.

But, armed with a fresh idea, ChatGPT can add value:

  • Use it to experiment with the subject line—the most important element of any pitch.
  • Ask ChatGPT to generate clickable headline variants and choose the best.
  • Get more granular by pitting multiple subject lines against one another and asking for its preference depending on the outlet.

Think of the tool as a digital sounding board, asking for pitch strengths and weaknesses and requesting a list of potential publishers. By first defining the angle and then working backward, ChatGPT can help you see the pitch in a new light.

Stop Cutting Corners and Get Creative With the Basics

Generative AI isn’t ready to take over from actual thought leaders and tried-and-tested writers. Of course, this technology can be a time saver, but many practitioners use it as a corner cutter. This only hurts pickup and editorial relationships.

Let’s do our friends in journalism a favor and bring them real stories. This means going back to the PR basics. Speak deeply with your client, understand who and what you’re pitching, and get creative with your offering. Then, and only then, turn to your digital assistant.

Jeffrey Kitt is Founder and Head of PR at Redgum Press.