How to write a press release with ChatGPT

(Image by Maria Korolov via Midjourney.)

On Nov. 30, OpenAI released a beta of its ChatGPT chatbot to the public — for free. It is currently, hands-down, the best text and code generator out there. Within the first six days, more than a million people signed up to use it.

They’re using it to write working computer code, solve math homework problems, write school essays, even plot and outline entire novels. But, today, we’re going to talk about using it to write press releases.

We get a lot of press releases every day here at Hypergrid Business. Many are extremely well-written, from big PR agencies, and we could easily cut-and-paste them and run as is in the pages of our publication — except that they’re not relevant to our audience.

And we also get announcements from small OpenSim grids and service providers — the people our readers want to hear from most — but these announcements are often written by non-English speakers, aren’t organized well, and are typically just bullet points of information. They need to written up into article format, and that takes time. Too often, they slip through the cracks because we just don’t have the bandwidth to take on the work.

So let’s see how you can use ChatGPT to create a readable press release — one that a publication can use with little or no editing. Or that you can upload to your own website, and not be embarrassed by its grammar or style.

Things to keep in mind

Before you start, remember that ChatGPT doesn’t have access to information that happened in the past year — and only has limited understanding of what happened before. Plus, it doesn’t have access to the Internet, so it can’t look anything up.

You have to provide all the information it needs to write the press release.

Maybe a future version of ChatGPT will be able to do more. It is currently running on OpenAI’s GPT 3.5 AI engine, and GPT 4.0 is due out next year. But, for now, be prepared to provide all the info needed for the press release.

ChatGPT can write. And it writes very, very well. But it can’t magically pull quotes and information out of thin air. Well, it can, but those quotes will be made up!

(Image by Maria Korolov via Midjourney.)

Press release checklist

So, first make some notes for yourself of the basic info you’ll want to include in the press release.

This could include:

  • What is happening. Product release? Big event? New hire? New acquisition? New service? New pricing structure?
  • When is it happening?
  • Where is it happening? If on a grid, include the hypergrid address.
  • Who is doing it? Put your full company name and location here.
  • Why are they doing it? How will it benefit customers?
  • How will it work? Or how can customers access it?

Then — and this is super important — find some quotes. This could be a quote from you, yourself. Or it could be a quote from a customer. Don’t make up customer quotes! And if you use a quote from a customer that you found in some other context, such as in a social media post, check with the customer for permission to use it. Some customers will get upset, especially if their quotes are taken out of context, and your media campaign will become a PR disaster.

Announcement info for a new vampire grid

Let’s say that I’m opening a new grid for vampire role play.

Here’s my info:

  • New Kickstarter campaign
  • Target — $5,000 for vampire-themed OpenSim grid
  • Launch — January 15, 2023. Ends 2/15/2023
  • Who: Acme Ltd.
  • Where: Acme is based in London. Its hypergrid address is “grid.acme.com:8002”
  • Why: so that role players interested in vampires have a place to go. plus, land prices are low. it’s the first vampire grid in OpenSim
  • Quote from Acme CEO Joe Schmoe: “Second Life expensive , vamps popular — ten times the land on our grid fo same price. best customer service.”

Yes, I put typos in my notes above. That was deliberate — so that you can see how ChatGPT cleans every thing up very nicely.

I pasted the info into ChatGPT and hit the little arrow to get it started. The results started coming back immediately.

Screenshot from OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Here’s what ChatGPT came up with:

Acme Ltd. is excited to announce its upcoming Kickstarter campaign, launching on January 15, 2023. The campaign aims to raise $5,000 to create a new vampire-themed OpenSim grid called “VampGrid.”

According to Acme CEO Joe Schmoe, “Second Life can be expensive, and vampires are incredibly popular right now. With VampGrid, we’re offering ten times the land for the same price, plus the best customer service in the virtual world industry.”

VampGrid will be the first vampire-themed grid in OpenSim, providing a unique and immersive experience for role players interested in vampires. In addition, land prices on VampGrid will be low, making it an affordable option for virtual world enthusiasts.

Based in London, Acme can be found at its hypergrid address “grid.acme.com:8002.” The Kickstarter campaign will run until February 15, 2023.

“We’re excited to offer this new, affordable option for virtual world fans, and can’t wait to see what our community creates on VampGrid,” says Schmoe.

It even re-wrote Schmoe’s lousy, badly punctuated, mispelled quote! And it gave the grid a name — VampGrid. That’s not too bad!

And it used Associated Press Style for the date format and for the quote punctuation. Very good. That’s how press releases are supposed to be written.

But let’s make it better. First of all, its guess at the grid is wrong. Let’s say that the real name of our new virtual world is Vampire Grid. Let’s change that. Also, let’s get some quotes from other experts to add in, and some more info from the owner.

  • Another quote from Schmoe: “our new vampire grid will mk ppl happy. >100 have already pre-registered.”
  • Quote from Meg Doe, publisher of the Second Life Vampire Research Report: “I estimate that there are over 20,000 role playing vampires in Second Life. But I predict a loss of 2,000 vampires this year, mostly due to high land prices. A well-policed, solidly managed grid with strong content protection measures could attract many of these vampires, and the merchants who serve them.”
  • Quote from merchant Billy Bob Thorn, known as “Vlad Bloodsucker” in Second Life: “Second Life vamps already bought most stuff they need. Sure, I still sell some product updates. Plus, new players come & want basics. But there isn’t enough business to cover tier   I’m considering scaling back or closing completely. On the new grid, nall the vampires need to be outfitted from scratch, but my land rates will be a tenth of what they are now. My new shop will have twice the area of my Second Life outlet -I ll be bringing over all my original contnt.”

I added some typos to those quotes because that’s how people usually send them.

So I’ll give ChatGPT a prompt to fix the name of the grid, and add the three new quotes.

Screenshot from OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Here are the results:

Acme Ltd. is excited to announce its upcoming Kickstarter campaign, launching on January 15, 2023. The campaign aims to raise $5,000 to create a new vampire-themed OpenSim grid called “Vampire Grid.”

According to Acme CEO Joe Schmoe, “Second Life can be expensive, and vampires are incredibly popular right now. With Vampire Grid, we’re offering ten times the land for the same price, plus the best customer service in the virtual world industry. Our new vampire grid will make people happy – over 100 have already pre-registered.”

Vampire Grid will be the first vampire-themed grid in OpenSim, providing a unique and immersive experience for role players interested in vampires. In addition, land prices on Vampire Grid will be low, making it an affordable option for virtual world enthusiasts.

Meg Doe, publisher of the Second Life Vampire Research Report, predicts that “there are over 20,000 role playing vampires in Second Life, but I estimate that there will be a loss of 2,000 vampires this year, mostly due to high land prices. A well-policed, solidly managed grid with strong content protection measures could attract many of these vampires, and the merchants who serve them.”

Billy Bob Thorn, a merchant known as “Vlad Bloodsucker” in Second Life, adds that “Second Life vampires have already bought most of the stuff they need. Sure, I still sell some product updates, and new players come and want the basics. But there isn’t enough business to cover my tier. I’m considering scaling back or closing completely. On the new grid, all the vampires will need to be outfitted from scratch, but my land rates will be a tenth of what they are now. My new shop will have twice the area of my Second Life outlet – I’ll be bringing over all my original content.”

Based in London, Acme can be found at its hypergrid address “grid.acme.com:8002.” The Kickstarter campaign will run until February 15, 2023.

“We’re excited to offer this new, affordable option for virtual world fans, and can’t wait to see what our community creates on Vampire Grid,” says Schmoe.

ChatGPT added in the new quotes, updated the grid name, and generated a new press release.

But it got something wrong — the fact that the vampires will need to be outfitted from scratch on the new grid is a plus for the merchant, not a minus, so I’ll have to replace the “but” with an “and.”

Also, since it changed the quotes from the expert, the merchant, and the CEO, I’ll need to contact all three of those people and make sure that the edited versions are okay with them before I send the press release out or publish it on the company’s website.

But the press release is still missing something — oh yeah, an “about us” section and contact info at the bottom.

Let’s ask ChatGPT to add it in.

Screenshot from OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Here is what it gave me:

About Us:

Acme Ltd. is a virtual world development company based in London. Founded in 2020, the company specializes in creating immersive and engaging experiences for role players and virtual world enthusiasts.

Contact Us:

For more information about our upcoming Kickstarter campaign and Vampire Grid, please contact us at [email protected]. Our team is available to answer any questions you may have and provide additional details about our project. Thank you for your interest in Acme Ltd. and Vampire Grid.

It filled in some missing info, like the year the company was founded, and it made its best guess about the contact email address. Both of those need to be replaced with actual info. Again, you can do it manually before you publish the press release, or you can have ChatGPT do it. Just type in, “the company was actually founded in 2018 and our contact email address is [email protected] and the Kickstarter URL is …” And it will make the changes and redo the press release.

If you don’t like the press release it gave you, type “retry” or hit the “retry” button. If it runs out of steam before finishing it — it’s got a length of 500 words or so for the output — just type “continue” and it will finish the text.

You can see from these examples that ChatGPT has a perfect writing style, but it doesn’t always have all the facts. So make sure that any press release is reviewed for accuracy, ideally by multiple people, before you send it out. And especially double-check the quotes.

For other tips on how to write and distribute a press release, and what information you should include in it, check out my earlier article 10 steps to a good press release — plus one bonus step for a great one.

What happens when ChatGPT is no longer free?

With millions of people using ChatGPT, OpenAI is racking up quite the computing bill right now. Sure, it’s getting feedback from users — people can vote ChatGPT’s responses up or down, or tell it that its answers are wrong. And OpenAI will be able to see all the ways in which people are using it, which will help the company identify the top use cases in order to better market the AI model to clients.

But, at some point, the free beta is going to end, and OpenAI will start licensing the tool commercially. You’ll probably see the functionality pop up in tools like Jasper, CopySmith, and CopyAI. And you’ll have to pay for it.

But wait!

Remember how OpenAI came out with Dall-E 2, the AI image generator, last spring? At first, it was a closed beta, then an open beta but pricy. Then Midjourney came out with its own version, with better graphics, and a $30-a-month unlimited plan.

(Image by Maria Korolov via Midjourney.)

And then Stability AI created its own version of the image-generating AI, Stable Diffusion, and gave it away for free and open source. It spent $600,000, according to a Tweet by founder Emad Mostaque. They released it in August, and you can go download it and run in on your computer, provided you have a good enough processor, and get as many images as you want, for free, with no restrictions or filters of any kind.

Now Mostaque is hinting that Stability AI might come out with a version of ChatGPT next:


And they’re not alone. Non-profit open source organization LAION says they’re already on it:

So even with the free ChatGPT goes away, expect to have something very similar appear soon as a replacement as a replacement.

Here’s a video in which I have ChatGPT create a press release in real time — unedited:

Maria Korolov