You’ve done it — after countless informational interviews, phone calls with recruiters, and interviews with hiring managers, you finally received an offer for your dream job.
But before you accept it, you need to know how to negotiate your salary.
Being able to negotiate now effectively won’t just affect the next year or two of your life. Instead, it will create a snowball effect that could result in significant losses.
However, negotiation can feel awkward and intimidating, mainly if you’ve never done it. Here, we will explore how to negotiate a salary to ensure you receive what you deserve.
How to Negotiate Salary: 15 Steps
Whether you need to negotiate your salary in person or over the phone, the following tips will mainly apply to either situation.
However, avoid negotiating over email.
A HubSpot tech recruiter, Olivia Chin says, “I usually strongly prefer phone or in-person over email or writing because there’s a benefit to on-the-fly adjustments and questions — it makes for a more fluid conversation.”
Take a look at the following tips and the sample script to learn how to negotiate your salary.
1. Do your research.
First, research the salary range for the type of role you’re offered.
Ensure you know how much you can earn on the job market by considering all compensation factors, including industry, experience level, and location.
While many companies are remote or location-flexible, the cost of living is still a factor that can influence your salary. You must also ensure you’re researching salary in the correct industry.
A social media manager for a non-profit will have a different salary range than a social media manager at a major software company, so you must focus on the salary range for roles in the correct industry.
Additionally, look for information regarding salaries at your new employer. Use sites like Glassdoor to understand what people in your role or similar roles are making at the company.
Pro tip: You want to convey to your employer that your data is grounded in reality. Begin each statement by saying, “Based on my research… ” so the employer knows you’re not just asking for a higher salary for the sake of it.
2. Understand your value.
To successfully negotiate your salary, you must come to the meeting prepared with various business-related reasons you’re worth a certain amount.
You must seriously weigh the worth of the skills and experiences you bring to the table to emphasize them during the negotiation.
As career coach Brittany Hayles shares in the video below, “Sell your value, not your expectations.”
Hayles suggests that “at the end of the day, [the employer is] a business and two things are top of mind for them: profit and saving resources.
The best way to sell your value when negotiating your salary is to tell them how your being hired will save them money or resources.”
Listen to more of her salary negotiation tips below:
For instance, let‘s say you’ve received an offer letter for the social media manager role at a software company that offers the same starting salary as your current role.
However, you‘ve significantly exceeded expectations in your current position: Rather than increasing the company’s Instagram traffic by 50%, you increased it by 125%.
This information proves you’re worth the additional investment to your new employer. Or, let’s say you earned your last company an additional $50,000 through a new campaign you spearheaded.
Your new employer might see the necessity of offering you an extra 5% on top of your current offer.
Know how to communicate your value and what you bring to the role so you can confidently negotiate the salary you’re looking for.
Pro tip: Write down any valuable talking points you made throughout the interview process and use them to emphasize your skills and experience during negotiation.
3. Prepare your talking points ahead of time.
Once you’ve researched and know what number you want to ask for, prepare your talking points before your meeting.
Having everything outlined ahead can help you stick to your main points and avoid coming up with responses on the fly. The last thing you want is to forget a significant number or value when presenting your case.
Pro tip: If you’re nervous, writing your talking points down can help you stay on track.
4. Practice the conversation.
If you need to prepare more for the conversation, practice what you will say to someone you trust.
Saying your talking points out loud not only helps you work through them, but it can also help build your confidence — and confidence is critical when negotiating.
Practice your talking points with a friend, a family member, or anyone you trust and are comfortable around.
Bonus points if they’re familiar with the role or industry you’re interviewing for so they can offer specific tips for your talking points.
Best for: Practicing your talking points is especially important if this is your first time negotiating.
5. Come to the meeting with a collaborative attitude.
A negotiation is not an argument or a chance to offer an ultimatum.
Instead, negotiation is an opportunity for a productive, collaborative conversation to reach a compensation package that feels fair to you and your employer.
Exercise gratitude and come prepared with your non-negotiables, but remain flexible on the final result.
For instance, if the company can‘t match your highest-range salary, you’ll accept additional vacation days or 100 more units of Restricted Stock allotment.
Best for: If you’re set on accepting this job offer, consider additional benefits you could ask for.
6. Have a salary range in mind.
The key to landing a job that aligns with your ideal salary is having a salary range rather than a set number. It can be challenging to get to a particular number, so come up with a range you’d be comfortable with.
Luckily, due to recent salary transparency laws, many job postings disclose a salary range now.
This works in your favor as a job seeker because not only does it help you decide whether or not to apply for the role in the first place, but it puts you in a better negotiating position.
When it comes time for your negotiation conversation, ask for the number at the top of your range. This is a crucial negotiating practice, not just in the job search but also in business settings.
The benefit of doing this is two-fold. If you ask for a number higher than your ideal salary, you might receive it. But even if the employer counters with a lower number, it will most likely be close to the compensation you’re aiming for.
What we like: It’s no surprise that 2 in 3 employees prefer to work at a company that shares pay information. As salary transparency becomes more prevalent, salary negotiation will become more transparent for job seekers.
7. Ask questions.
Instead of making statements like “I need” or “I want,” ask questions to keep the conversation going. Try saying, ”I would be more comfortable with X. Is that number flexible?”
It can be a turn-off to employers if you begin the negotiation with solid statements like, “I need 5K more.“
You must handle the conversation with tact. An employer will be much more open to the phrase, ”I would be more comfortable with an additional 5K.”
To further demonstrate empathy for your employer, add, “Is that number flexible?”
This phrase allows the employer to tell you how much more they can offer or alternative benefits they might increase while maintaining a sense of collaboration, which is crucial.
What we like: Asking questions and being flexible helps turn negotiation into a conversation rather than an ultimatum.
8. Be open.
Your employer doesn‘t want an endless negotiation, and neither do you. Determine your stopping point and say, “If you can offer X, then I’m on board.”
Using the phrase “then I’m on board” signifies to your employer that if they offer you something, you’re willing to accept the role, and negotiations can end.
Of course, you want to be fair to your employer.
If they tell you they can‘t offer you 60K, you don’t want to say, “Offer me 60K, and then I’m on board.”
Instead, you might say, “I understand the best you can do is $55,000. If you can do $55,000 and an extra week of paid vacation each year, then I’m on board.”
Best for: If you’re set on securing this job, then be open to different perks and benefits that can compensate.
9. Remember your worth — regardless of gender.
According to a pay transparency survey by Glassdoor, 68% of employed women have tried to negotiate their pay.
While 59% reported being successful in their negotiations, there are still hesitations employed women have around negotiating pay. Common fears include the potential of being denied or losing their job altogether.
To reduce these fears, it helps when you‘re negotiating to consider how you are an asset to the company. If you focus on reminding the company how you’ll support the organization and help them, you can make the conversation feel less about you.
Pro tip: Come prepared with as much market research and data as possible. Being equipped with research can help you confidently negotiate without having to come up with as many qualitative points.
10. Prepare to make a counteroffer.
Remember, making a counteroffer is expected, so be prepared to do it. Consider what your counteroffer will be ahead of the conversation for a successful negotiation.
While you’re interviewing, you should already have an idea of what your ideal salary is. Bring that number to the negotiation and be prepared to counter with that number if the initial offer is lower than your target.
Pro tip: Once the negotiation has started, it’s not uncommon to go back and forth a few times. To help speed up the process, have a final number in mind that you will accept.
11. Don’t commit to a number during the interview process.
Do your best to avoid verbally committing to a set salary during interview conversations.
If you‘re asked directly about your expected salary during the interview, say you’re open based on the predicted range shared in the job listing.
Not committing to a specific number during the interview stage leaves room for negotiation if they give you an offer.
If you want even more ideas for what to say in this situation, career coach Cass Thompson shares detailed advice on how to answer this question in the video below:
Pro tip: You shouldn’t have to negotiate salary in an interview, but if you’re pushed to answer, provide a range so you don’t get stuck with a specific number.
12. Keep it professional.
Keep the conversation focused on the value you bring to the role. Don’t use personal financial needs like student loans as your reason for negotiating. Instead, use your resume to exemplify why you deserve a certain amount.
Pro tip: Focus on the value you bring to the role and how it benefits the company. When you position your expertise as a value-add, rather than making it personal, you’re making a better case for why you deserve the salary you’re asking for.
13. Consider other things to negotiate.
You can negotiate more than your salary. Consider which employee benefits and perks might be negotiable if the pay isn’t.
Aside from money, here are some other things you negotiate:
Work schedule or location (asking to be remote or hybrid).
Pro tip: Consider what you value the most and whether or not you’d be willing to accept a lower monetary offer if it came with one of these perks.
14. Take your time.
Negotiating can be nerve-wracking. While you may want to accept whatever they offer just to get the conversation over with, don’t feel pressured to respond immediately if unsure.
It’s okay (and often expected) to ask for 24 hours to think it over.
Take your time thinking about what they’re offering and if it aligns with the salary and benefits you had in mind.
After considering it and researching, you may find a few more things you’d like to negotiate to come to a package that works for everyone.
Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to return after 24 hours with a counteroffer. Come to the conversation prepared with your talking points and have a final number in mind.
15. Thank them for the conversation.
Regardless of how the conversation ends, you must thank your employer for taking the time to negotiate with you.
This conveys professionalism and shows the employer you respect them and their time — which is more likely to get you what you want and be the right thing to do.
How to Negotiate Salary: Sample Script
Whether you’re negotiating your salary over the phone or by email, here’s a complete script to get you started:
Thank you so much for the offer. I’m very excited about this opportunity. Over the phone, you offered $50,000. Based on my research, the salary range for this role in the industry is typically between $55,000 and $65,000.
Additionally, I feel I can offer unique value to your company. I earned my company an additional $10,000 in my prior position with a campaign I launched.
For these reasons, I would be more comfortable if we could settle on $60,000. My qualifications and experience reflect this salary.
I’d be eager to accept if you can move the pay to $60,000.”
Remember that if you offer a range, you want to start at the higher end of the range, but you should expect the employer to try to meet you more in the middle.
Responding to the script above, an employer might say, “Okay, how about $55,000?”
If they counter with a little less than what you’re asking for, you might respond with the following statement based on an employee benefit or perk you feel is essential to you:
“I understand the best you can do is $55,000. If you can do $55,000 and increase the Restricted Stock Unit allotment to 100 units, then I’m on board.”
Lastly, if you need to decide whether to accept the offer, it’s acceptable to say, “Great. Do you mind if I take 24 hours to think it over?”
Knowing how to negotiate your salary is a valuable skill that can help you throughout your career. Follow these steps to negotiate confidently and secure compensation that matches the value you bring.
If you’ve been a marketing professional for years now, learning about the four Ps of marketing might seem like a throwback to you.
However, for those of us who work in the industry but didn’t study marketing in college, it’s entirely possible you haven’t heard of the marketing mix.
Below, let’s learn about the four Ps of marketing and how they’re still relevant in today’s marketing landscape.
The four Ps are meant to help marketers consider everything about a product or service when they’re deciding how to market it for their business. Framing your marketing around the four Ps will help you learn what the competition is doing and what customers want from you.
How to Use the 4 Ps of Marketing
You can use the four Ps to answer questions about the product, price, place, and promotion of your product or service.
For example, you can ask yourself:
Product: How does your product meet your customer’s needs? What problem(s) does it solve? What unique value or features does it offer?
Price: What is the value of your product? What are my competitors charging?
Place: Where are customers looking for your product?
Promotion: How can you differentiate your product from competitors? Where can you reach your audience?
Always consider the needs and preferences of your target audience. Ultimately, your product, its price, its place of distribution, and its promotional strategies should appeal to your customers the most.
Thinking about your marketing in terms of the four Ps will help you strategize how to reach your customers. The 4 Ps of Marketing are also known as your marketing mix — more on that below.
To develop a marketing mix, you’ll need to think about how you can uniquely position your brand amongst the competition. The most important part of thinking about the marketing mix — or the four Ps of marketing — is to understand the customer, the competition, and your company. You’ll evaluate your product and how to promote it.
But getting started isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate collection of marketing mix templates you can use to visualize your marketing mix and share it with your employees or investors. Use the templates to organize your initiatives and activities by the right section.
Featured Resource: Marketing Mix Templates
Use the template to follow along with the 4 Ps of marketing below.
The 4 Ps of Marketing (Example)
1. The First P of Marketing: Product
When you think about your product, consider exactly what you’re selling. Is it a specific product? Or is it a service? Your product can be a physical product, an online app, or a service such as house cleaning. Really, anything that you’re selling is the product.
Then, think of your brand messaging, the services you offer, and even packaging. When you define your product, think about what problem your product solves for your customers. Consider how your product is different from competing products. What features are unique to your product?
It’s important to know your product intimately so you can market it.
We’ll use Marketing Hub as an example.
What is it? “Marketing automation software to help you attract the right audience, convert more visitors into customers, and run complete inbound marketing campaigns at scale — all on one powerful, easy-to-use platform.”
Who is it for? Modern marketers who juggle too much data and who are stuck with impossible-to-use software solutions that make their job harder, not easier.
Which features does it have? Marketing Hub offers blogging, SEO, social media management, email marketing, and ad tracking tools in a single, intuitive platform.
What problem does it solve? Marketing Hub simplifies the marketing automation process for busy marketers by bringing all data and tools under one roof.
2. The Second P of Marketing: Price
When it comes to price, you have to consider how much you’re going to charge customers for your products or services. Of course, you need to make a profit.
When coming up with your pricing strategy, you also need to think about what competitors are charging for the same product or service and how much customers are willing to pay. You can also think about what discounts or offers you can use in your marketing.
When you decide on a price, you want to think about perception. Do you want to be known as a cost-effective option in your industry? Or perhaps you’re a luxury brand and the price is slightly higher than competition on the market. Keep in mind that pricing SaaS products is a little different than pricing physical products.
Either way, the language you use to market your product will be greatly impacted by the price of your product.
Marketing Hub is priced to grow with you as you grow.
We offer the following subscription tiers:
3. The Third P of Marketing: Place
When it comes to place, this might mean the physical location of your company, but it could also be defined as anywhere you sell your product, which might be online.
The place is where you market and distribute your product.
Remember that not every place makes sense for every product. For example, if your target market is seniors, then it won’t make sense to market on TikTok. It’s important to choose the right places to market your product and meet your customers where they’re at.
Think about possible distribution channels and outlets you could use to sell your product. Be sure to take into account whether your business is B2B or B2C.
At this point, you’ll need to think about how to market your product on all the various channels that make sense for your company.
As a provider of a SaaS product, we offer Marketing Hub directly on our website.
Marketers can sign up for Marketing Hub by creating an account directly on our platform. We’ve created a convenient sign-up page for free subscriptions — or they can request a demo from our friendly sales team.
4. The Fourth P of Marketing: Promotion
Promotion is the bread and butter of marketing. This is when you’ll think about how to publicize and advertise your product.
Additionally, you’ll discuss brand messaging, brand awareness, and lead generation strategies.
When it comes to promotion, keeping communication in mind is of the utmost importance. What messages will resonate with your target market? How can you best promote your product to them?
Think about where, when, and how you’ll promote your brand.
We want to be where marketers are. Most importantly, we want to help them grow in their careers — as well as grow their businesses.
Our inbound marketing strategy will focus primarily on organic acquisition. We’ll promote Marketing Hub over the following channels:
The 4 Ps of Marketing Examples: Apple and e.l.f. Cosmetics
Let’s break down the 4 Ps of marketing for Apple and e.l.f. Cosmetics.
Product: iPhones, Macs, iPads, Apple Watch, AirPods, Software, and Services (i.e., Apple Music, Apple TV, iTunes, etc.).
Price: Apple products are often priced at the higher end of the market. The brand commands premium pricing due to its reputation for innovation, quality, and design.
Place: Consumers can purchase products online and in retail stores. Apple products are sold worldwide and have a significant global market presence.
Promotion: Apple places a strong emphasis on cultivating a dedicated and loyal consumer base. Their marketing campaigns reinforce the idea of being part of an “Apple ecosystem.” Once users buy one product — like an iPhone – they’re more likely to choose other Apple products like MacBooks, iPads, Apple Watches, and more. This ecosystem fosters a deep brand loyalty. This sense of loyalty is evident in their product launches, which are a must-see event in the tech industry.
Product: e.l.f. offers a comprehensive range of makeup and skincare products, brushes, and beauty tools.
Price: One of e.l.f.’s main value propositions is its affordability. Many of their products have a low price point, making the brand accessible to a wide range of consumers. Its lower price point sets it apart from other brands in the beauty space.
Place: e.l.f. products are widely available in drugstores and big-box retailers like Target and Walmart. It also has a a strong online presence, selling products directly through their website and other online retailers.
Promotion: As a challenger brand in the beauty space, e.l.f. seeks to establish itself as a recognizable and reliable option at the drugstore and beyond. The brand is proactive across social media, including TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, to engage with younger demographics. In addition, their campaigns often involve user-generated content to foster a sense of community with their audience.
Back to You
Even though marketing has changed since the four Ps were developed, the foundational elements of the industry haven’t. You can apply the concepts of the marketing mix to create winning marketing strategies that help you profitably launch and promote your company’s products.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
According to our 2023 State of Marketing report, blogs are among the top marketing channels that offer the highest ROI.
Despite numbers showing how blogs can benefit business, some marketers and business owners wonder, “Do people still read blogs?”
To determine where blog readership might stand today, I surveyed 325 people about how often they read blogs. Here’s what I know:
Do people still read blogs anymore?
As a blogger who writes daily, my findings were encouraging; most respondents (29%) read blogs 1-4 times a month, 18% read every day, and only 17% never read blogs.
The graph below illustrates a breakdown of how often respondents read blogs.
While the percentage of people who never read blogs surpasses that of people who read 1-3 or 1-4 times a week, more people read blogs daily than never at all.
So, we know more people are reading blogs, at least sometimes than not all, but are they reading more or less than in the past? According to our respondents, it’s about the same or more.
57% of people in the survey say the amount of blog content they consume is the same as last year, while 35% say their blog consumption has increased. Only 9% say their consumption is less than the previous year.
You may also wonder how people are reading blogs. Are they barely skimming through or deeply reading the content?
According to the survey, 35% of people skim through blogs most of the time, and 38% do a mix of skimming and deep reading.
13% deep read more than they skim, and only 6% navigate to the information they need as quickly as possible and then leave without reading the rest of the content.
Our research shows blogging is still an excellent way to reach consumers and expand your business. People are still reading blogs; most are doing more than just skipping to the information they want and leaving.
To help you grab attention from large audiences — even if they less frequently read blogs — here are five ways to innovate your blog strategy.
How to Get More Blog Readers
1. Experiment with video and text in your posts.
As of 2023, video is the most popular and most effective marketing media format for the fourth year.
Including video in your blog can add depth to your content and boost engagement since people will be compelled to click on the video and watch it.
On the HubSpot Blog, we regularly add videos to our blog posts to give more thorough details or expert tips on the topic we’ve written about. This way, readers who find the blog post can read or watch the content.
Here’s one example of a blog post where we included a video related to its topic:
On top of improving the user’s experience, placing videos on your blog can also make web content rank in video-based search results. Additionally, video content can also be incredibly engaging when you share them on your social media channels.
This step-by-step guide walks you through how to brainstorm, script, and affordably shoot videos for your blog or other platforms, even when you don’t have a big budget.
Many AI video generators are also available, making video creation quick, easy, and cost-effective.
2. Add infographics or other original images to your content.
You don’t need to be an expert graphic designer to create visually appealing infographics. When I worked as a digital journalist for local newsrooms, I often had to design graphics on short notice for breaking news.
I wasn’t familiar with Photoshop and had no real graphic designer experience — but I did have Canva. And that got the job done.
With all the technology and design-related apps today, creating basic graphics isn’t impossible, complex, or time-consuming. In fact, I used Canva to make the first few infographics in this article.
If you hire a graphic designer or get the hang of creating graphics quickly, you can also test posting infographics as the center point of your blog posts. Here’s a post where the HubSpot Blog did precisely that:
While it might take a little bit longer to create branded designs and templates for your blog initially, these visuals will be beneficial for gaining image search traffic.
Like video content, original images can be highly shareable and engaging on social media.
3. Publish original data, quotes, and expert insights.
Some bloggers think they can get away with writing short, light-lift blog posts between 200 and 300 words. While tiny, low-effort posts might get some search traffic, they won’t make your content feel original or interesting to the reader.
To compete with more experienced blog sites, write in-depth posts with data and facts to back up each point you discuss. If you need assistance crafting lengthier blog posts, try HubSpot’s AI Blog Writer or Free Blog Maker.
You can post on your blog if you leverage data collection platforms like online survey platforms to collect original data. This will make your content look more credible and trustworthy, but it also can boost search traffic. Here’s how:
When you include your data in blog posts, other bloggers or journalists looking for data to back up their points might link to your posts as evidence.
Like data, original quotes also encourage backlinking. Aside from this benefit, blog posts with quotes or expert insights from industry thought leaders might be shareable or engaging on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
Data, expert quotes, and insights also provide knowledge, and many readers are drawn to blogs that provide an opportunity to learn something.
In the survey, 61% of respondents said they were attracted to the last three blogs they read because they wanted to learn something, educate themselves, or answer questions unrelated to their career or schooling.
4. Use SEO strategies to build traffic and rank on search pages.
While many of the tips above will help you boost your non-organic traffic and the reader’s experience, you should also pay attention to organic traffic — which will likely account for most of your views.
Aside from videos, visuals, and encouraging backlinks with original information, you can also improve organic traffic by leveraging keyword research and other SEO strategies.
If you‘re new to SEO or search engine optimization, getting up to speed on these strategies is easy.
While some tactics are as simple as adding alternative text to your images, others include internal linking related blog posts to a new piece you’re publishing.
Check out this blog post to get up to speed on a few easy and effective SEO tactics.
5. Promote your content on the right platforms.
Although SEO will likely be your primary traffic source, you’ll still want to ensure you promote blog posts on social media channels.
Why? While it will take time for blog posts to rank in search result pages, you can share your content on social media, email, or other channels to gain non-organic traffic immediately after you publish a post.
Lastly, promoting any content from your website effectively boosts brand awareness. Our survey shows that most blog readers (30%) discover blog posts via social media posts and promotions.
Just 18% find blogs via search engine results.
By posting valuable blogs on your channels, you could gain more followers, post shares, and engagements from audiences you didn’t have before building a social media strategy.
Building a Better Blog
As we go into 2024, we will see even more bloggers adopt competitive strategies that embrace new content formats to gain audiences and prevent low readership. Regardless of which tactics you decide to test out, keep these things in mind:
Add videos and visuals: Video and graphic marketing are getting more abundant and effective in generating traffic and leads. Additionally, younger generations engage with this content more than others. If you have the bandwidth, be sure to experiment with visual content.
Offer original insights and tips: Original quotes and data will boost your search and non-organic traffic while making your blog more credible.
Leverage search and social opportunities: Most internet users are still finding blog posts primarily through search and social media platforms. So, even when experimenting with new content types, leverage keywords, alt-text, and other SEO tactics to ensure you’re paying attention to search opportunities. You should also give them additional promotions on your social media channels.
If you keep the above methods in mind, you can increase readership and boost awareness and conversions for your organization.
If you‘re a marketer who does a lot of writing, you’ve probably heard about writers, bloggers, and other creators using tools like ChatGPT to streamline the writing process.
However, if you‘re a skeptical writer like me, you’re probably a little wary of using AI to craft your content.
You might think: “Can this tool write well? Will it capture the correct voice and tone I want? Is it accurate? How can I use it?”
Fortunately, you don‘t need to wonder anymore. I tried using ChatGPT to write a blog post, and I will share my experience and let you know if it’s worth trying out.
Fun fact: This is my first time using ChatGPT in this way, too, so we’re learning together!
Using ChatGPT to Generate Ideas
Every blog post starts with an idea, so why not see if ChatGPT can generate a few for inspiration? After logging into the free version of ChatGPT, I was taken to the main chat page.
After typing my request into the chat (“Give me ideas for a blog post about cats”), ChatGPT generated 15 blog ideas and headlines. The first five are below.
Not bad, but let‘s take things a step further. Here’s ChatGPT’s response to my second request, “Give me ideas for a blog post about cat statistics.”
Overall, I like the ideas ChatGPT generated. I especially appreciated that ChatGPT included headlines with its ideas and suggested how to approach the topic.
For example, ChatGPT suggested I approach the topic of cat breeds by providing a list of the most popular cat breeds based on registration statistics from breed organizations.
I prefer ideas involving statistics, so I go with ChatGPT‘s fifth suggestion: “The Economics of Cat Care: How Does it Cost to Raise a Cat?” Now that I know the topic I want to pursue, I’m ready to create an outline.
Pro Tip: It helps to be as specific as possible in your requests. Notice when I mentioned wanting to write a blog post about cat statistics, ChatGPT gave more nuanced answers. This is a pattern you’ll see throughout the article.
Using ChatGPT to Generate a Blog Outline
First, I told ChatGPT to generate a blog outline based on “The Economics of Cat Care: How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Cat?” This is the chatbot’s response.
Below is an excerpt of the outline:
A. Anecdotal story or intriguing cat fact
B. Importance of understanding the costs of cat ownership
C. Overview of what the blog post will cover
II. Initial Costs
A. Adoption or purchase fees
B. Essential supplies and equipment
Litter box and litter
Food and water dishes
Bed or scratching post
C. Initial veterinary expenses
ChatGPT also provided the following short paragraph describing the breakdown of the outline:
“This outline provides a structured framework to explore the financial aspects of cat ownership, from initial costs to ongoing expenses and unexpected situations, while also offering readers valuable tips for managing the financial aspects of raising a cat.”
The outline is all right; it separates different aspects of the cost of cat ownership into sections like initial costs, ongoing expenses, and more.
However, I want something closer to my outlining style, which includes headings and subheadings. So, I typed in another prompt, asking ChatGPT to generate another blog outline and include subheadings.
This is what ChatGPT generated:
I prefer this outline because it’s more comprehensive than the previous one and has subheadings that are specific, short, and straight to the point. ChaptGPT also gives a good breakdown of the kind of content to include under each subheading.
Here’s an excerpt of the chatbot-generated outline:
A. Why Understanding the Cost of Cat Ownership Matters
B. The Joy and Responsibilities of Cat Ownership
C. Overview of What This Blog Post Will Cover
II. Initial Costs
A. Adoption or Purchase Fees
B. Essential Supplies and Equipment
Litter Box and Litter
Food and Water Dishes
Bed or Scratching Post”
The second outline will be the foundation of the blog’s final draft.
Pro Tip: Every writer has their own way of planning and outlining their work. Before asking ChatGPT to generate an outline think about how you prefer your outlines and specify your preference in your request.
Using ChatGPT to Write a Blog Post
This is where things got tricky for me. I submitted two prompts to ChatGPT to write the blog post and compared the results. My first prompt asks ChatGPT to generate a blog post based on the second outline.
I also direct ChatGPT to keep the post to 800 words and to use an upbeat, friendly, and conversational tone.
The first paragraph of ChatGPT’s post is almost exactly what I wanted:
“Hello, fellow cat enthusiasts! If you‘ve ever wondered about the true cost of having a furry feline friend by your side, you’re in the right place. Cats are wonderful companions, but they do come with financial responsibilities.
Today, we‘ll dive into the economics of cat care and break down the costs associated with raising a cat. Don’t worry; we’ve got plenty of tips to help you budget and ensure your kitty gets the best care without breaking the bank.”
However, the rest of the blog post still reads more like an outline. See the screenshot below.
Notice the post is mainly numbered and bulleted. I then submitted another prompt asking the same thing, but I omitted any mention of the word “outline.”
ChatGPT’s opening paragraph was similar to the first:
“Hey there, fellow cat lovers! If you‘re reading this, chances are you’ve either got a kitty curled up in your lap or you’re seriously considering adopting one of these adorable furballs.
Cats bring so much joy into our lives, but they also come with responsibilities, including the financial kind.
So, let’s talk about the economics of cat care. How much does it really cost to raise a cat, and how can you make sure your feline friend gets the royal treatment without breaking the bank?”
Once again, I like the opener because it captures my desired tone. However, the rest of the draft still reads like an outline.
I tried regenerating the draft a few times but still got similar results that were bulleted and numbered like an outline.
Pro Tip: Specify the style, tone, and purpose of your article when requesting a draft from ChatGPT. Again, the more specific you are in your prompts, the easier it is for the AI to generate your desired outcome.
While I can see how ChatGPT can save writers time, the chatbot is not my preferred method of generating blog posts.
As I mentioned, the opening paragraphs aligned with my vision, but the rest of the content was too bulleted to read like a conversational blog post.
That said, I can undoubtedly see ChatGPT as a valuable tool for planning, such as topic ideation and outlining.
Citing Sources with ChatGPT
Furthermore, if you often have to cite sources in your work, you may encounter a hiccup using ChatGPT. I asked the AI tool to cite its sources when generating drafts.
The first time I asked it to cite a source, ChatGPT said it could not and generated the following response:
“I apologize for any inconvenience, but I cannot provide specific sources or citations for the information in the blog post as my responses are generated based on a mixture of licensed data, data created by human trainers, and publicly available data.
The information in the blog post is a general overview of the costs associated with owning a cat, and the figures provided are based on common knowledge and general estimates up to my last knowledge update in September 2021.
For accurate and up-to-date information, I recommend consulting reputable sources such as pet care websites, veterinary organizations, and financial planning resources.
These sources can provide detailed information on the specific costs of cat ownership in your area and any changes that may have occurred since my last knowledge update.”
The second time I tried, the tool generated a blog post that included links to sources, but some references were outdated or led to dead links.
Update: Since writing this post, OpenAI announced ChatGPT would be able to browse the internet to give users “current and authoritative information” and links to sources.
This means ChatGPT will be able to include information from sources post-2021.
How I Would Use ChatGPT
I would use ChatGPT as an assistive tool to help me develop blog topics and generate outlines to organize my thoughts.
My concern is that I would spend too much time tweaking ChatGPT‘s drafts to my liking and that I’d be better off writing my own content based on its outlines.
Have you used ChatGPT to write content for you? What was your experience?