How AI Benefits PR

AI has become a popular topic across multiple industries, including PR. I’ve read everything from the doomsday scenario where there are predictions that AI will demolish the PR industry completely, to champions who say it’ll make PR more relevant than ever. My feelings tend to fall in the champion camp. Here’s why I think this:

Right now, PR professionals have access to a lot of data. But just because it’s available doesn’t always mean it’s useful. AI helps with datamining, which helps PR professionals determine what data is useful and what’s just noise.

Having the ability to sift through and make sense of large amounts of data quickly and easily means that PR professionals have more time to get back to the core of our profession: smart ideas.

And those ideas allow us to create campaigns that are tailored to target audience, who, because of AI, are becoming more and more specific. And we’ll be able to share messages with them that are micro targeted, providing content they want to receive, where and when they want to receive it.

In some ways we’re able to do this now through various analytic programs already available to us. But I believe we’re just at the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come.

Here is how I predict AI will benefit the PR industry within the next several years:

  • PR professionals will be able to help clients define and reach more specific goa
    The success of any PR campaign should be based on whether it was able to achieve predetermined goals and objectives. Unfortunately, too often goals and objectives are too broad or generic to measure against. AI allows for more granular goals, with smaller, more niche audiences, which helps PR professionals create campaigns that are more specific and more measurable.
  • Quicker turnaround time for target audience analysis in campaign planning
    One of the biggest time sucks in developing a PR campaign strategy is the deep dive into target audiences: where do they spend time online? What do they read? Who are their influencers? AI will be able to streamline this process, allowing more time to create smart campaigns specific to these audiences.
  • More feedback data throughout a campaign so that adjustments can be make quickly and accurately
    We already have a lot of analytics available to us to quickly determine what campaign elements are resonating and which aren’t. I anticipate that AI will only increase the speed and accuracy of this information.
  • Higher communications expectations from audiences, which is a good thing!
    I get annoyed when an ad pops up on my social newsfeed that is totally irrelevant to me (no, I am not interested in my daily horoscope). Shouldn’t they know me better than that? Well, they will. There is already little tolerance for communicators who aren’t talking to their audiences about what they want to hear, when and where they want to hear it. This intolerance will only increase, which means we as communicators need to get on the ball and dig into the data before we piss off our client’s audience.
  • PR will get much better at determining how big a crisis situation will be
    AI allows PR professionals to analyze thousands of social media posts in a short amount of time. This, combined with other data rich factors, will allow predictions to be made about how bad a crisis will get with a high level of accuracy. This helps PR professionals to know which situations need more focus in diffusing.
  • Finally (and my biggest hope of all): AI will allow journalists more time to go back to more in-depth journalism
    Already, The Associated Press is taking advantage of AI with machines that are writing full earnings reports — more than 3,500 each quarter for U.S. companies. It’s also working to generate AI-written articles for 10,000 minor league baseball games per year. It would be amazing if this resulted in more journalists being able to focus more on writing in-depth, meaningful pieces, working in conjunction with PR professionals who have some great stories to get out there.

For as great as AI is (and will be) for the PR industry, there are some things it just won’t do:

  • AI won’t do our work for us
    It will make some aspects easier, but the PR profession will remain alive and well.
  • AI won’t replace personal relationships
    Personal relationships with journalists still remain an important aspect of the PR industry (though not nearly as important as they once were). This also goes for personal relationships with clients. It’s true, AI now allows us to turn a conference call into a transcript and presentations into blog posts, but it can’t replace the living, breathing, thoughtful person who makes it all come together.
  • AI can’t find the “story” for us
    Soon (but not yet), AI will have the ability to write press releases (I don’t think any PR professional is sad to hear that), but it’ll be a long time before AI can find deeper meaning and tell a story with the facts from a press release. For now, that remains in the hands of PR professionals.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about AI and the PR industry. Please share them on our Twitter feed @mavenagency.

In conducting research for this blog posts, I came across these AI products/services relevant to the PR industry:

  • Keyhole – hashtag analytics
  • Lytics – customer data platform
  • Buzzsumo – find out what content is popular
  • Narrative Science – interprets data and transforms it into narratives
  • Automated Insights – interprets data and transforms it into narratives
  • AirPR – media measurement and attribution analytics
  • TrendKite –  PR measurement and analytics

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