How to Unlock the Power of Old AI Conversations (so that you can create better content ... not just more)

A peek behind the curtain of how I generated a "warm and inviting" email

Hey there, Cyborg Writing friends! You might have seen my last post celebrating our milestone of 500 subscribers.

You guessed it … I did auto-generate that content.

You might wonder why I would do such a thing … or how I did it.

Good news. This is going to be a sneak peek behind the curtain. And for those of you who'd rather watch than read, I've got a video walk-through as a bonus up above.

Here is a key AI trick that saves me lots of time: reusing old AI conversations to craft new content.

It's not just about efficiency; it's about creating something valuable while keeping that personal touch. Intrigued? Let's get to it.

Why bother reusing old conversations with AI?

You've already invested time and thought into previous interactions, and that context can help you build better future content.

Plus, you don't have to start from scratch every time. It's like having a conversation with an old friend—you both know the backstory, so you can dive right into the good stuff.

Recently, I decided to shift how I’m using Substack. I’ve been super-impressed with a Substack page called "Writers at Work," which functions as space for all their content (not just newsletters).

I thought, "Why not make my Substack a complete resource, too?"

But this means revising a lot of content: welcome pages, emails, and eventually a subscriber update. So, I started an AI conversation to help me draft new content. I threw in some context, set my goals, and added a successful example from Substack.

This helped me think through my new approach and generate the first iteration of this content that I needed.

Then I decided to update my subscribers in a post after reaching 500 subscribers.

Here's the cool part. Once you have an old conversation filled with context and goals, generating new content is dead simple. Just feed in additional specifics like subscriber milestones, and voila, a new post is born.

Here’s the process in a nutshell:

  1. Identify the Context: Look for an old conversation that aligns with the new content you want to create.

  2. Update the Context: Add any new elements or shifts in direction.

  3. Generate: Use the conversation to draft new content, tweaking as needed.

That post was a cinch to create because I had a conversation that already knew what my Substack was about. All I had to do was update it with the new milestone and clarify where subscription money goes. A few tweaks, and it was ready to go.

Tips & Best Practices

So there is good reason to start thinking about your prompt operations in structured ways. If you are using GenAI in random ways, then these reuse cases don’t work so well.

So here are just a few tips that might help you:

Keep it organized: One simple trick is using emojis as markers. For example I dropped a little red book emoji 📕 next to my Substack conversation, because I knew it might come in handy later.

Adapt and evolve: Don't be afraid to evolve your previous conversations. Even if you were discussing "ancient rhetoric" in the past, you could adapt it to "modern storytelling techniques" for a new post. The AI follows the conversation, so guide it where you need it to go.

Don’t just think about efficiency: Reusing conversations isn't just about saving time (though it does that brilliantly). It also adds a level of consistency to your content. You're drawing from the same well of ideas and tones, which helps maintain a coherent brand voice.

Quality of quantity: Generating lots of content can be fast, but the focus should always be on quality. Revisiting older conversations allows you to deepen and refine your ideas over time. It's not about churning out content for the sake of it; it's about adding value with every post.

It’s not really about speed … it’s about leveraging your own content in new ways.

So not only was it faster for me to go back to this old conversation, it helped me keep the voice consistent and think about how the new content connects to the old content. It’s not really about speed … it’s about leveraging your own content in new ways.

Fun fact: I used that same old conversation and my video transcript to generate this very post 😆. If you watch the video, you’ll see that I came up with new ideas in the process.

Isn't it fascinating how one conversation can spawn multiple pieces of content?

You'll be seeing a lot more format experiments in the near future. I'll be diving into prompt operations and sharing some exclusive content that I've been crafting elsewhere.

All of it will be easily accessible right here on Substack.

What do you think of this new format? Do you like the blend of video and text? Your feedback is invaluable, so don't hold back.

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Cyborgs Writing
Cyborgs Writing
Lance Cummings