4 min read

Outlining With ChatGPT

Outlining With ChatGPT

One of the ways that content AI systems are useful to content strategists and writers is outlining. It uses the same sources we use (i.e., the internet) and can save you tons of time. However, just typing in “write an outline for X” isn’t the best way to get what you want.

I’ve played around with prompts for outlining with ChatGPT and here’s a simple way to try it out. I’ll include examples of how it responded to me so you can see the output. 

Keep in mind that any and everything you put into ChatGPT or pretty much any content AI system is public information and becomes part of the system. You don’t own its output. You also still have to cross-reference everything, including the factual accuracy and actual content marketing or SEO value of what it recommends. It’s flawed but it is fast. So use it accordingly.

Opening Prompt: Establish the Nature of the Inquiry With ChatGPT

You get garbage out of ChatGPT when you don’t establish the nature of the inquiry you’re making. So you must start there.

In this specific instance, I warmed it up by asking this:

I want you to communicate with me like an SEO content strategist. Can you do that?

Here’s how it answered:

Of course! As an SEO content strategist, my role is to help you create content that is not only informative and engaging but also optimized for search engines. I'll be glad to assist you with any questions or guidance you need in developing an effective SEO strategy for your content. Feel free to ask any specific questions or share your requirements, and I'll provide you with actionable insights and recommendations. Let's get started!

Second Prompt: Give ChatGPT Context

The next step you need to take is to give ChatGPT company context. In this scenario, I’m asking it to create an outline for one of our clients, ASLAN Sales Training.

Here’s how I directed it:

Act like you work for a sales training company called ASLAN. Their core principle is that sales training should be other centered and it is the opposite of a tactic called challenger. Do you understand?

Here’s how it answered:

Absolutely! As an SEO content strategist representing ASLAN, a sales training company focused on an other-centered approach to sales, I completely understand your requirements. ASLAN's core principle revolves around prioritizing the needs and interests of the customer, rather than adopting a confrontational or challenger-based tactic. Our goal is to provide sales professionals with the necessary skills and mindset to build strong relationships, understand customer pain points, and deliver value-driven solutions. With this philosophy in mind, I can assist you in creating SEO-optimized content that effectively conveys ASLAN's unique approach to sales training. How can I assist you further?

Third Prompt: Ask for the Outline

This is the prompt I vary the most. I tend to input very specific directives based on the kind of client I’m asking it to generate content for. 

For example, you may ask it to create a “technical” outline or a “surprising and engaging” outline or a “unique and creative” outline. I don’t think two adjectives really makes a difference, it’s just something I do to try to get it to output something varied. 

Note, when you do this, you will almost invariably get those EXACT words in the outline itself, which you’ll obviously have to remove. I do find, however, that using these adjectives changes the vocabulary it provides, so I think it’s worth doing if you’re really trying to get variety.

In this instance, here’s the prompt I used:

Create a robust in depth seo outline with header recommendations and keyword recommendations for an article titled X

(X would be the name of the article you want it to generate an outline for).

Note - I haven’t personally noticed a difference between asking it to “write” or “create” or “generate.” Maybe an actual AI prompt engineer would know if those verbs make a difference but I haven’t noticed that they do.

Here’s the outline it gave me:

Certainly! Keeping ASLAN's other-centered approach in mind, here's a robust SEO outline for an article titled "The Power of Other-Centered Sales Training: Building Lasting Customer Relationships."

  1. Introduction A. Importance of building strong customer relationships in sales B. Overview of ASLAN's other-centered sales training philosophy
  2. Understanding Other-Centered Sales Training A. Explaining the concept of other-centered sales approach B. Contrasting other-centered sales with challenger sales tactics C. Benefits of adopting an other-centered approach for long-term success
  3. The Fundamentals of Other-Centered Sales A. Empathy and active listening: Key components of other-centered sales B. Building trust and rapport with customers C. Understanding customer needs and pain points
  4. Shifting from Transactional to Relational Sales A. Exploring the drawbacks of transactional sales approaches B. Nurturing long-term customer relationships C. Leveraging the lifetime value of customers
  5. Techniques for Other-Centered Selling A. Solution-focused selling: Providing value-driven solutions B. Collaborative problem-solving with customers C. Customizing the sales process to individual customer needs
  6. Implementing Other-Centered Sales Training A. Strategies for integrating other-centered sales into training programs B. Role-playing exercises and real-life scenarios C. Continuous improvement and reinforcement of other-centered sales skills
  7. Case Studies: Success Stories of Other-Centered Selling A. Real-world examples of companies implementing other-centered sales B. Results achieved through the other-centered approach C. Lessons learned and best practices
  8. Measuring the Impact of Other-Centered Sales Training A. Key performance indicators for evaluating other-centered sales success B. Tracking customer satisfaction and loyalty metrics C. Collecting feedback from sales teams and customers
  9. Overcoming Challenges in Other-Centered Sales A. Addressing resistance to change within sales teams B. Overcoming objections and skepticism from customers C. Continuous training and development to reinforce other-centered mindset
  10. Conclusion A. Recap of the benefits of other-centered sales training B. Encouraging a customer-centric sales culture C. Embracing the power of lasting customer relationships

Header Recommendations:

  1. The Power of Other-Centered Sales Training: Building Lasting Customer Relationships
  2. Understanding the Other-Centered Sales Approach: A Paradigm Shift in Sales Training
  3. The Fundamentals of Other-Centered Sales: Empathy, Trust, and Customer Needs
  4. Shifting from Transactional to Relational Sales: The Long-Term Value of Customer Relationships
  5. Techniques for Other-Centered Selling: Providing Value and Collaborative Problem-Solving
  6. Implementing Other-Centered Sales Training: Strategies and Skill Development
  7. Case Studies: Success Stories of Other-Centered Selling in Action
  8. Measuring the Impact: Evaluating Other-Centered Sales Effectiveness
  9. Overcoming Challenges in Other-Centered Sales: Addressing Resistance and Objections
  10. Conclusion: Embracing Other-Centered Sales for Lasting Success

Keyword Recommendations:

  1. Other-centered sales training
  2. Building customer relationships in sales
  3. Benefits of other-centered selling
  4. Contrasting other-centered sales with challenger sales
  5. Empathy and active listening in sales
  6. Nurturing long-term customer relationships
  7. Solution-focused selling strategies
  8. Customizing sales to customer needs
  9. Measuring other-centered sales success
  10. Overcoming challenges in other-centered sales

Please note that you can modify or expand upon this

Cross Check and Edit What ChatGPT Gives You

I hope I don’t have to tell you this again, but obviously, you can’t just pull it out and plop it into a GDoc and off to the races. For SEO pieces, make sure you cross-check and validate against SERP (I recommend Surfer SEO SERP analyzer for doing that fast). For marketing, make sure it’s matching brand voice and ICP. You get the drift. Don’t trust it but quickly check to make sure what it generated fits the brief.

Try it out!

FYI, if you don’t have an account yet to try ChatGPT out, you set one up at https://openai.com.


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