How to use AI to write content for a government service

Posted on December 7, 2023

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Generative AI can create content based on patterns it has learned from existing data. A prompt for generative AI is a set of instructions that tells it what kind of content to create. This post explains the steps for preparing a generative AI prompt you can use to create draft government service content.

An action page helps someone do something, like apply for a permit or pay a tax. Action page content should:

  • Explain what it is, who its for, and why it’s important
  • Highlight key information like cost and deadlines
  • Prepare people for a successful experience
  • Help them complete the action efficiently
  • Set expectations for what happens next
  • Provide contact information

If you haven’t used generative AI much, learn how you can use it to help you write content for your government website.

This should work with any generative AI service, but we tested it mostly with ChatGPT 3.5.

Update: we created a custom GPT using the same parameters as this prompt.

Gather source materials

Start by gathering the source materials for your service, such as:

  • Existing web pages
  • PDF documents (like forms, handouts, brochures)
  • Codes, ordinances, or regulations

Create your prompt

Follow these 3 steps to put a prompt together for a service, action, or task.

1. Create a doc to write your prompt.

Copy and paste this text into your doc:

Create content for [add the name of your service, task, or action].

Write it for grade level 5 readability. Use clear, plain language. Avoid idioms, metaphors, and jargon.

The page title should include a verb like apply, pay, register, or submit.

The introduction should include 1-3 sentences that describe who it’s for, when they need it, and why it matters.

The first H2 should say “Need to know” and this section should include a few concise bullets with information about:

  • Cost
  • Deadlines
  • Processing times
  • Penalties

The next H2 should say “Before you start” and this section should include information about what someone needs to know before they start the task. For example, they might need to gather information they don’t know off the top of their head, complete another task before this one, or read another page with more detailed information.

The next H2 should say “Steps” and this section should include a numbered list of the required steps. It should be clear how to do each step. For example, if the step is about submitting an application then it should explain their options (online, in-person, by mail, etc.) and how they do it.

The next H2 should say “What’s next” and this section should include what the user needs to know or expect to happen after they complete the steps. This should help set expectations and answer questions they might ask.

The next H2 should say “Get help” and this section should include contact information like an email and a phone number.

Use this information to write this content:
[add text from source content]

2. Add the content from your source materials.

You may need to paste in the entire text – not all generative AI models can access links to information.

3. Enter your prompt into ChatGPT.

Paste the entire prompt into Chat GPT or the generative AI tool of your choice.

Review for accuracy

Don’t rely on ChatGPT to write perfect and accurate content. Sometimes generative AI makes up information, so it’s important to review it carefully with subject matter experts.

You may need to adjust style, tone, and formatting. Make sure it’s easy to understand and it follows your organization’s content guide if you have one.

Create your web page

Create your web page with the new content. Make sure to use:

  • Proper heading structure
  • Bulleted and numbered lists
  • Sentence case

You may also need to add links to related pages and supporting materials.

Information about complex rules

Some services have complex rules and people need to review them before they apply. Linking to a chapter in the municipal code is not very helpful. Instead, make web pages to supplement the action page. Link to these pages as material to review in the Before you start section.

You can use ChatGPT, Bard, or Claude to help you write this content too! Here’s a simple prompt you can use:

Rewrite this using clear, plain language. Write it for grade level 5 readability. Avoid idioms, metaphors, and jargon. Source: [add source content]

Sometimes it takes a few follow-up prompts to produce helpful content for you to choose from. Here are some other prompts to try:

  • I want to [example: run a business out of my home]. Summarize the rules using clear, plain language.
  • What criteria and conditions do I need to be aware of?
  • What questions might people have about this?
  • How do I know if I’m eligible?

As always, review this content closely with subject matter experts to make sure it’s accurate. Organize your content logically, use headings, and make sure it’s easy to understand.


Let us know how this works for you. We will use your feedback to refine the prompt and instructions.

Sources and acknowledgments

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