Every sector and profession is being disrupted by technology. PR has not been left behind – to an extent. We changed gear from print to digital; our toolkit to reach our target audiences widened with the advent of social media; we have tools that could be integrated into the PR stack that can give us real value in terms of measurement.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in its many forms has the potential to transform the way we approach PR and marketing communications. Indeed, McKinsey estimates that AI will create up to $2.6 trillion in business value in marketing and sales.
Before we dive into some of the case studies in PR, it’s important to note that AI does not replace humans. It enhances and supports the work we do as humans, our knowledge, creativity and productivity.
AI is already with us
Sometimes – particularly in the tabloid press - AI is portrayed as the stuff of science fiction but it already affects our everyday life. The technology that allows enables machines to perform cognitive tasks, from seeing, writing, moving, reading, analysing data, has many use-cases. From googling your closest sandwich shop to asking Alexa what the weather will be like.
AI can and will help PR. It will automate and augment our daily jobs. Here’s a list of things it can already do and will do. Do you have any to add to the list? Anything you think needs automating?
- Research and strategy: AI could be used to help you analyse the comms strategies of your competitors. It could also help you monitor print, broadcast and online channels, predicting emerging themes and potential issues.
- Creating reports: Report creation is a repetitive and time-consuming task, making it a good candidate for automation. By automating the factual tasks, we’ll have more time to consider what the results actually mean. Additionally, AI will see us using advanced sentiment analysis on media clippings and social posts/comments.
- Creating media lists: Media lists can take a huge amount of time, manually searching and building out the best list to pitch your client to. While there are tools out there already, none are perfect and require a lot of manual scrutiny. AI will help put together the most fitting press list for your objectives, from who you want to reach and the story you are selling in. Using AI, we may be able to find a way of targeting journalists in the most efficient way for media coverage.
- Pitching: At some point, AI will be able to help us create tailored pitches for journalists based on interests, past coverage, personalities, and trends.
- Using data to showcase why the journalist should care: It may be possible to support your pitch by adding predictive data about the popularity/demand for stories. We’ve certainly used insights into traffic to various opeds to re-pitch the publications.
- Writing press releases and OpEds: OpenAI recently launched GPT-3, the third-generation of its AI model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. This could change the world of PR and marketing by automating articles and releases. It’s not there just yet, but if the creators get it right, it has the power to change not just the face of PR, but also journalism. We’re planning to test it out and report back. Watch this space.
- Automatic transcriptions: This has been in the pipeline for years but for non-technical conversations, it’s pretty good now. We already use it on Zoom, and its transcripts are great for capturing quotes and questions during press conferences and watercooler sessions. It also provides a great reference point if you need to cross-check actions following a strategy meeting.
- Translating audio into any language: We increasingly work across borders and languages – wouldn’t it be great if we had a babel fish-type device to allow us to speak to our colleagues in their native language? Actually the technology already exists Amazon Connect, Amazon’s cloud-connected call centre solution. It’s only a matter of time before this technology hits the mainstream - making multi-lingual communications even more seamless.
The opportunities for AI to augment the work of PR are endless. By automating the repetitive tasks – the tasks that are done many times throughout the month, we will have the opportunity to think more deeply about the strategic decisions, bringing more creativity and bigger impact to the work we create.
We need to make sure we are innovating and delivering the best to our clients. The good news is marketers believe in the power of data and using it to their advantage. Read more here about our research into marketers using data.