Sep 20, 2023

Candu's Jonathan Anderson breaks down how to write the best ChatGPT prompts

Candu's Jonathan Anderson breaks down how to write the best ChatGPT prompts

"There’s no limit to how much you can copy and paste in before hitting create."

"There’s no limit to how much you can copy and paste in before hitting create."

Tell us about yourself. What are you working on right now?

I’m Jonathan Anderson, one of the cofounders of Candu. I’m the half that can’t code; I’m the no-code part of our no-code alliance. We help product growth teams build user experiences that look like they’re coded, but actually are managed by nontechnical team members. Our goal is to help improve user experiences to improve product life, growth, and PLG motion. To that end, we make lots of pre-built templates for things like onboarding surveys, checklists, banners, empty states. If it’s content on your product, we don't think your developer team should manage it.

How do you use AI for work?

I joke sometimes that my job is to send a lot of emails, so I use Superhuman plus Grammarly to review all of my written email communications. We use AI when creating internal docs for strategy in Notion, to build our content calendar, to create collaborative posts with other creators, and for technical documentation. I use it to transcribe user interviews and customer interviews. And there are probably other places that we’re using that I don’t know about. We don’t use it to create our own application; we’re not using it for Copilot.

When did you start using it?

The real answer is when I realized that my LinkedIn game needed to be at a higher level of polish, and I needed to produce more. We don’t have a marketing team; we’ve had a couple of different marketers come in and try to make it work. But fundamentally, we’re still an early stage start-up figuring out our marketing motion. The thing that worked the best for me was channeling, “What do product growth teams care about? How do we help them?” I use ChatGPT to help me quickly create short-form content.

How do you get ChatGPT to produce what you want?

There are two issues with ChatGPT-3 and 4. One, it’s really hard to upload attachments, so I can’t use it for data analysis. Two, it’s hard to get humor, tone, voice, clarity [right]. It just creates nonsense sometimes. That said, it’s great for finding arguments. I feed it my previous prompts and then, for example, say, “Hey, we’re launching this new feature. I want to [highlight] it.” Then, it’ll come up with something that [sounds like it’s] written by a mixture of Wikipedia and social media users who aren’t me, so I need to rewrite it in my own tone and [make] it more concise.

Walk us through how you build your prompts.

We have six different types of content that we create: an interview with a pull quote, a new template we’re launching, a product launch announcement, or a new experiment. I try to create the right prompt for the type of content.

Let’s say we’re doing a feature launch. I’ll write something by hand and then I’ll pass it back into ChatGPT and say, “How would you improve this writing?” Maybe they’ll find small issues and improve it. Then, I’ll say, “Please turn this into a prompt for future launches.” It will discover for itself how to recreate this. For example, “core value prop, followed by a joke, followed by three reasons to use the experience, followed by CTA.” Then, I’ll use that prompt when creating the next version.

For example, we launched this new resource hub. [I asked GPT to] write me a short LinkedIn post about it, to make it fun and engaging, [and to explain] why it’s useful. It wrote me something [that] wasn’t casual enough and [with] too much fluff. I kept tinkering with it. I rewrote it, fed it back in, and said, “Okay, now make this into a prompt.”

ChatGPT doesn’t get humor yet, which is fine. For example, I rewrote our feature launch to the lyrics of “I’m So Complicated,” which it didn’t like since it uses copyright—but I still needed to get the initial lyrics up.

The copy always needs tweaking. There’s never going to be a time that it’s perfect. I don’t think that that’s the expectation.

What tips and tricks have you learned that improve the quality of your prompts and output?

There’s no limit to how much you can copy and paste in before hitting create. For example, if you're trying to create a help doc, go find another example and then copy the entire thing in and then hit “make this version for me.” Being iterative with responding back to it is quite valuable. “Rewrite this in a way that’s less casual.” “Make this more concise.” “I wrote this blog post, make it as coherent as possible.”

How do you navigate GPT’s different shortcomings?

The same way it knows what Adele sounds like, I want it to be able to do that for my writing style. It can’t do that yet. You also can’t upload documents with the interface. I love data analysis, and would love to have it connect to Google Sheets and tell me all sorts of things, like trends in our data. I’ve used Google’s feature for this, and it’s not very good.

It should be able to reference a photo and then give you the SEO and create that alt text for you. I’ve gotten really into using Canva a lot for editing, so I’d love a Canva relationship. [It’d be great] to ask it to create similar things to my most successful LinkedIn post, or what three hashtags to use based on usage. It can’t do that type of thing right now because it can’t look outside of itself.

Are you imagining that If GPT had access to the Internet, it would be able to see what you’ve posted and be able to extract some insights on engagement from the Web page?

Yes, it should be able to do that today. For example, Wikimedia has a plug-in where it can do that today with Wikipedia. It should be feasible to look up a specific page that you’ve referenced and then or follow a link to learn from that page instead of me having to copy and paste it in.

Do you use GPT to create posts collaboratively with others?

For example, I’ll have a conversation with someone about product onboarding. We’ll get the transcript from the call, then I’ll have ChatGPT turn that into a post about that topic. I’ll use insights from that conversation to create the post outline and fill the sections in that way. It’s really sped up and helps me translate a conversation into an evergreen blog post, a LinkedIn post, or a carousel.

How would you describe the value ChatGPT has for your business?

It’s such a time saver. There’s so much content that I create in a day that’s high quality, and I’m able to create [it] in a much shorter amount of time. It feels like I was on shoes and [now] I'm on roller skates. I can just go faster in every direction.

Do you have a hot take on generative AI?

There was a time when I felt like technology was not advancing anymore. Then we started talking about crypto but, okay, who’s that really helping? Now, we have a weight loss pill that actually works, we were able to create a [brand-new vaccine] in a year [using] Crispr, and now we have AI that can actually drive a car. Wow, we are flying.

There’s so much dumb human work that needs to happen right now that, in theory, AI can just automate away, which is great. I wonder if as a society, we will lose the ability to write. In the same way that we can just look things up on our phone, we will no longer need to be able to construct an argument. Are we just going to lose that? We have a worse sense of direction today than we did ten years ago because of map [software]. I wonder if something similar will happen with being able to write a thesis.

But what I’m really excited about is that a car can drive itself. I can’t wait for that.

Can you share an example prompt that you've used successfully?

Title: Briefly describe the feature or update you're announcing.

Introduction: Mention if this feature or update is inspired by another company or industry best practices. A sentence that encourages users to integrate this feature into their workflow.

Key Features:

  • First feature - Explain why this feature is beneficial and how it simplifies the user experience.

  • Second feature - Discuss the efficiency or speed that this feature provides.

  • Third feature - Describe the versatility of this feature, including the types of media or formats supported.

Call to Action: Provide a link to the new feature or template. Mention how people can reach out to you for a trial or more information.

Emoji Recommendations: Use emojis that best describe each feature for visual appeal.

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A occasional newsletter showcasing the latest conversations with leaders, builders, and operators who use generative AI to power their work.

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A occasional newsletter showcasing the latest conversations with leaders, builders, and operators who use generative AI to power their work.