Alright, time to put on our work gloves and dive headfirst into how to tweak the available chatGPT writing style to use your personalized writing personality.
Writing with AI: Voice, Tone, and Style
Let’s face it, getting a chatty AI to spit out responses in a voice, tone, and style that matches your own personal or brand vibe can be as challenging as getting a cat to participate in a dog show.
AI models, like kids at a birthday party, love following patterns and are fine-tuned with loads of data that follow a specific speech pattern. Although novel at first, the default tone can get quite dull quickly, and it also becomes a dead giveaway that the text was AI-generated.
The authenticity challenge
Search engines are already building filters to recognize AI-generated text and rank its content lower than human-generated content. How can you use AI to ASSIST you in the content creation process but do it in a way closer to what you would write yourself?
The answer starts with having a blueprint for the AI to follow when writing the text you requested.
Say the Magic Words
The simplest trick in the book? Ask your AI to switch up its style. Say “Write as a scientist” vs. “Write as a comedian” will produce dramatic results. Let’s give it a try:
Write a paragraph about unicorns as a scientist in a formal and rational tone.
The concept of unicorns, as it stands in popular culture and folklore, represents a creature, often equine in nature, that possesses a singular horn on its forehead. Scientifically, however, the existence of such a creature remains unsupported by empirical evidence or fossil records. What is of note, is that there are extant and extinct animals that feature a single prominent horn, leading some to theorize a possible root for the unicorn myth. One example is the Elasmotherium sibiricum, an extinct rhinoceros species, which roamed the Eurasian region …
Now let’s try something else:
write a paragraph about unicorns as a storyteller in a funny tone
Well, pull up a cushion and lend me your ear! We're diving into the sparkling, glitter-filled world of unicorns, folks! Imagine, if you will, a horse that looked at a narwhal one day and thought, "Hey, that's a sweet look, mind if I borrow it?" Boom! Instant unicorn. It's all fun and games until you try to play a round of hide-and-seek with them - I mean, a glowing, spiral horn isn't exactly stealthy, right? And you thought getting bubble gum out of your hair was a nightmare? Try dealing with a unicorn who's shed glitter everywhere! It’s like a fairy exploded! Oh, and the rainbows…
We are in totally different registers both for the information value of the text and the vibe each one gives off.
There’s a whole buffet of voice and style words. Want your AI to sound friendly? Or prefer a professional, formal, or playful tone? Choose your choice.
You can check out our Writing style cheatsheet HERE!
We also conducted a fascinating experiment: We asked chatGPT to repeatedly rewrite the same passage from Harry Potter using a long style of styles and highlight what word it changed when it wrote the new passage. Check it out: chatGPT Writing Style Experiment
The added benefit of using styles and tones is that it makes it harder to programmatically detect if the text was written by AI or an actual human.
You, the Stylist
Going one step further is to define your own style. Instead of a generic “friendly” or “formal” style, what if you could train chatGPT and other AI Models to use your custom style of writing?
Sounds pretty good.
Well, it’s actually more straightforward than you might think..with the right method and Prompt 😉
The key to nailing your style is understanding your own. Get your AI to play detective and analyze your writing style.
We will get you to write a detailed prompt that will get chatGPT to take some sample text you wrote or that represents how you want to write and generate a full writing style guide.
You will then be able to give that style guide to each new chatGPT session, give it a name and then ask the AI Model to use it to create the text you requested. Pretty awesome right?
Like the Prompt guide will suggest below, we suggest using a text snippet manager. I use Alfred for Mac, which does a variety of shortcut-related tasks but is also a great shortcut tool, text snippet manager and clipboard memory. You can google “text snippet manager” and look for either a browser extension or standalone software, but it will be an awesome addition to your AI toolbox. We should also be writing a “Snippet Tools Review” shortly.
Ok, back to crafting your writing style: To make this simple, we wrote a special prompt for you with instructions that you can find here: Prompts – Writing Style Analyzer.
Follow the instructions, create your style guide and come back here for some final words of advice.
The Art of Experimentation
Like anything worth doing, getting your writing style right can take trial and error. Think of it like making the perfect cup of coffee: getting the blend just right takes a few tries.
A good alternative is to provide a writing sample in your prompt. However, this could lead your AI to use the same structure or ideas from the sample. You want your AI to be something other than that person who tells the same joke at every party, do you?
Understanding your style guide
You should review the guide you produced like the Writing Style Analyzer mentioned, and remove or add to it to make it as accurate as you can. You should experiment with a few changes here and there. As the chatGPT Writing Style Experiment demonstrated, just a change in one instruction you give chatGPT can produce highly different results in writing the same text.
Meet Burstiness and Perplexity
Special consideration to one of the style guide parameters: Burstiness and Perplexity
If you want your AI-written content to look as human as possible, you want these two buddies on your team.
Perplexity measures how predictable the text is.
Burstiness checks the variation in sentence length and structure.
Humans, being unpredictable creatures, tend to have greater burstiness. So, if you’re looking for a more human touch, invite burstiness to the party!
Steering Your AI’s Style, aka Dealing with AI Stubbornness.
If your AI is still playing hard to get and refusing to match your style, it’s time to bring out the big guns. I’m talking about a technique called Two-Stepping (not the dance 🤠, the prompting technique).
It involves letting your AI give its typical response first with no tone or style guidance.
“As a financial advisor with 20 years of experience in retirement planning, write a 3-paragraph summary of the top 3 most important things to do as a medium-income family”
You are then asking for a second, style-modified option using your writing style. Ideally, you will need to give the style guide to chatGPT for this session before doing step one.
Rewriterite the text you just wrote using the [YOU STYLE NAME] style”
It’s a bit like letting your kid have a go on the playground before bringing them in for a bath. Once the AI had its fun, it can relax and be more adventurous with its style.
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It
Now that we’ve armed you with all the tools, it’s time for you to create your style guide.
- Find a writing sample.
- Use the Writing Style Analyzer prompt guide.
- Trim out anything that seems out of place.
- Configure a snippet to easily copy-paste your writing style into chatGPT, along with instructions on how to use it (how-to is also in the guide)
Tweak your style guide and try again. An hour or two invested in having a proper and relevant style guide will make your usage of chatGPT and other AI models much more productive and require less and less you reworking the text every time.
Let’s see how close it can get.