New generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, make it easier for other publishers to study, copy, iterate, and learn from the expertise of the top selling news subscription brands.
With 10.75 million paid subscriptions across print and digital, The New York Times is the world-class subscription marketer. No wonder many — as executives often confide — study and copy what The Times is doing.
New generative AI tools promise to make the marketers’ work more effective and efficient. ChatGPT, Dall-E, and others can produce text, images, audio, and video, and they are as easy to use as mobile messengers.
Literally, if you know how to write a text to a friend, you know how to use ChatGPT, a prototype AI chatbot developed by OpenAI.
Prompting AI tools to produce quality marketing assets is a new skill combining art and science. Here are some examples:
Prompt: Act as … a marketer of a digital subscription at The New York Times. Here is a copy of its subscription landing page (for Europe): “Special offer. Unlimited access to all the journalism we offer. €0.50/week (Billed as €2 every 4 weeks for your first year). €20.00/year (Billed as €20 for your first year). Subscribe now. Cancel or pause anytime.” Can you analyse this offer?
Hint: Focus your conversation ChatGPT on a specific subject and use the relevant language. The opening question helps set the playing field for the conversation and boundaries for responses. You can also make the bot pretend to be a person of your choice, and this results in answers written from the perspective of that person.
Example response from ChatGPT: “As a marketer of a digital subscription to The New York Times, here are some points to consider regarding the offer text:
The offer includes “unlimited access” to all of the journalism offered by The New York Times, which can be appealing to readers who want to be able to access all of the content on the site without any restrictions.
The offer is presented in two different formats: a weekly rate of €0.50 and an annual rate of €20.00. This can allow readers to choose the option that best fits their budget and reading habits.
The offer includes the option to “cancel or pause anytime,” which can be reassuring to readers who may be hesitant to commit to a long-term subscription.
The offer includes a discounted rate for the first year of the subscription, which can be a strong incentive for readers to sign up. However, it’s important to note that the rate will increase after the first year, so it may be helpful to include this information in the offer text.
Overall, the offer text clearly communicates the benefits of the subscription and provides readers with multiple options for signing up. However, it may be helpful to provide more information about the rate increase after the first year to give readers a more complete understanding of the terms of the offer.”
Prompt: Create … a new version of this offer. Focus this time on The Times’ quality journalism. Write it in the style and length that I showed you above.
Hint: After setting the playing field, follow up and discover that ChatGPT remembers your previous prompts. It can also create new text from scratch or revise the text you entered. Set the boundaries for the style and length. And if the answer is not satisfactory, click “regenerate response.”
Example response: “Special offer. Unlimited access to award-winning journalism. (...) Subscribe now. Cancel or pause anytime.”
Prompt: Brainstorm … 20 more examples. Each should emphasise different benefits, such as the mission to search for truth, verifying information, witnessing events, investigating facts, and sense-making. Please write in the same style as in the first example.
Hint: ChatGPT is a master of remixes. When you find a satisfactory response, provide feedback to the bot (a simple “I like it” will suffice). And ask for more iterations. The chatbot can create endless lists within the boundaries you set, based on your tips or beyond them.
Example responses: “Join the quest for truth with The New York Times … Be part of the conversation … Get the whole story … Experience history … Make a difference … Be an advocate for justice …”
Prompt: Suggest a prompt … for an illustration for this offer’s landing page. Feature a reporter doing an interview. Make it playful and draw it in a cartoon style.
Hint: Use ChatGPT to suggest prompts for other generative AI tools, such as image-creating DALL-E by OpenAI. In general, the more specific and detailed prompt, the richer the image generated.
What prompts did you find useful? Let’s create an INMA AI phrasebook. E-mail me at email@example.com.
Interested in more examples of generative AI use in subscription marketing? Join the Readers First Initiative’s Webinar on January 18. Register now.