The rise of artificial intelligence is changing the way the public relations profession is done. With the rise of big data and the need for efficient communication strategies, AI-enabled techniques are becoming increasingly attractive to public relations professionals seeking to optimise their workflow.
AI-powered tools provide public relations professionals with a wealth of opportunities from content creation to data management to supporting during crisis communications situations. The benefits are clear for those who embrace this new technology but those who don’t may get left behind.
The PR industry as a whole sees AI as a good thing. An overwhelming 86% of communications professionals globally see it as an opportunity rather than a risk according to research by Provoke Media and Sandpiper.
But are they practising what they preach? Additional research found more than 75% of agencies, brands, and independent consultancies are not adapting their approach to AI.
As AI adoption continues to grow, it is important to establish ethical guidelines and ensure transparency in its use to avoid negative repercussions. Just as the use of AI can help enhance reputation it can also damage it if used incorrectly too.
PR professionals must carefully consider the implications of AI on their work and remain vigilant in balancing the benefits of AI with their ethical obligations. They must embrace the innovation while carefully navigating the implications it undoubtedly will bring.
While this article addresses different kinds of AI such as generative AI which is focussed on the creation of content we will refer to it throughout as simply ‘AI’.
Importance of Artificial Intelligence in Public Relations
The growing role of artificial intelligence in public relations cannot be overstated.
AI algorithms are designed to analyse and interpret large datasets, providing invaluable insights that may be missed by human analysts.
This makes AI effective in identifying patterns, predicting outcomes, and understanding the nuances of coverage across all forms of media.
PR professionals can take advantage of these new tools to analyse public sentiment about their brands, products, or services, in real-time, allowing them to take swift action to mitigate negative trends or capitalise on positive ones.
It can also help to understand the most effective communication channels for their target audience, enabling them to produce a more targeted and personalised message.
Ultimately, AI tools can help navigate the complex and constantly evolving world of digital PR, ensuring campaigns are relevant and effective. As such, any PR strategy that ignores AI not only undermines the quality of its insights and analysis but also risks being left behind by the competition.
The purpose of the article
The purpose of this article is to provide readers with an understanding of how artificial intelligence is affecting the field of public relations. It explores various aspects of AI integration in PR, such as automation, data collection, analysis, content creation, and how it can support in times of crisis.
By examining how AI is already being used in PR, the article aims to highlight its benefits in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and cost savings.
Additionally, the article attempts to predict how AI will impact the future of PR, outlining potential future trends and challenges.
Overall, the article provides useful insights for any PR practitioner looking to have a broad understanding of the technological developments in AI and leverage them to improve their work.
PR and AI: A Game Changer
Artificial intelligence is changing the way PR is carried out. With the launch of various AI tools such as ChatGPT, Midjounrey and Stable Diffusion, PR professionals have to adapt by adding AI to the PR skillset and incorporating them into their day-to-day workflows.
Over the last twenty years, technologies like the internet, smartphone and social media, have completely revolutionised how PR is done and it seems the rate of change over the next twenty years will only increase.
AI will automate a lot of the PR process, making it faster and more efficient. It will add a new dimension to the PR workflow and will provide opportunities for PR professionals to focus their time on higher-value work while outsourcing mundane and time-consuming tasks to the AI.
However, while PR professionals need to understand how to use AI effectively, it can never replace the human touch in communication. AI is a game changer that will transform PR, but it will not replace the role of the strategic PR pro who can take advantage of these new tools.
Here’s where AI can tactically help the PR pro.
In today’s digital age, content creation is an integral part of public relations and now with the emergence of AI tools and third-party services built on top of these platforms, we can now create compelling content with ease.
Idea generation, article writing, editing, imagery, social post creation and SEO content can all be done using AI. This automation not only frees up valuable time but can also ensure brand consistency in tone and messaging across various platforms.
However, no matter how good these tools are (and they are good and getting better) a human touch is still needed. Where AI falls short, PR professionals can add expertise, experience and context. The content creation process will always require a blend of technology and human creativity to effectively communicate a brand’s message to its stakeholders.
ChatGPT has numerous use cases for PR professionals and can support various aspects of the content creation workflow, including:
- Writing and editing. It can generate and edit written content with remarkable speed and accuracy can significantly reduce the workload for communication teams.
- Social media post generation. It can generate relevant and engaging content quickly and efficiently, and identify relevant topics for posts.
- Search engine optimisation. It can provide extensive support in the development of SEO content, encompassing keyword research, topical clustering and article writing
- Brainstorming and ideation. It can generate a large number of ideas quickly and efficiently can save time for PR professionals and improve the quality and creativity of their campaigns.
- Article summarising. Its advanced natural language processing (NLP) algorithm enables it to read numerous articles and efficiently summarise the critical points, saving time for busy executives.
Efficient media monitoring
Media monitoring has always been a crucial task for organisations that want to keep track of their reputation and stay informed about industry trends.
However, manually monitoring news websites, social media channels, and other sources can be time-consuming and laborious. Fortunately, AI-powered media monitoring tools can help automate this task and provide real-time insights.
These tools can analyse large volumes of data from various sources and alert users to important stories or emerging trends. They can also carry out sentiment analysis and identify influencers who are talking about a particular topic. Additionally, they can help organisations identify and track their competitors and their customers’ behaviour.
By using these tools, organisations can gain a better understanding of their key stakeholders, market, and brand impact, and stay ahead of any potential crisis. Leaving the technology to sift through and provide a high-level interpretation of the data, the PR professional can
Automated data analysis
Using artificial intelligence to analyse large data sets, PR pros can gain valuable insights into audience preferences and behaviour, allowing them to tailor their messages to better connect with them. By automating data collection and analysis, it allows PR teams to focus on creative and strategic thinking, rather than spending time on manual data processing.
Automated data analysis can significantly enhance the abilities of a PR professional, making their work more efficient and effective. As these new data analysis tools continue to evolve, it is essential they keep up with the latest developments and techniques to stay competitive and deliver the most value to the businesses they serve.
Predictive analytics is becoming increasingly popular in PR due to its ability to predict future trends and anticipate potential issues. By analysing vast amounts of data, machine learning algorithms can create predictions based on patterns and trends. This technology can help to understand an audience better and communicate with them more effectively.
Predictive analytics can also be used to track sentiment, forecast media coverage, and identify potential crises before they occur. AI-powered tools can also predict which topics are likely to gain traction among communities in social media.
Another important predictive analytics usage that utilises AI in PR is the ability to predict the likelihood of a journalist or influencer being interested in a pitch. PR software tools such as PRophet have built predictive algorithms to service this need, helping PR pros to ensure their pitches are relevant to the intended receiver.
By utilising AI predictive analytics, PR professionals can stay ahead of the curve and gain valuable insights into the ever-changing media landscape.
AI virtual assistants for PR professionals
Recently, there has been an emergence of virtual assistants that have been designed to support PR professionals in their client work. These virtual assistants can provide a plethora of benefits, such as assisting with media monitoring, conducting research, and even drafting press releases. This allows them to narrow their focus on tasks that require a human touch, such as relationship building and strategy development.
AI virtual assistants can improve productivity and streamline workflows and by automating repetitive tasks they free up more time for higher-value activities.
AI in crisis management
AI has an increasing role in crisis management and providing assistance in difficult situations often where time is scarce and the ability to react quickly can make a huge difference.
PR professionals can use AI in crisis situations to provide them with real-time data analysis and insights, allowing them to make informed decisions about their response strategies.
It can be programmed to sift through vast amounts of social media data and news coverage to identify key themes, sentiments, and influencers, helping to understand the public’s perception of the crisis and adjust their messaging accordingly.
Additionally, AI-powered chatbots can be used to gather information from concerned stakeholders, providing timely responses without human intervention. ChatGPT in crisis comms can help in a number of ways:
- Real-time response: ChatGPT can quickly and automatically produce reactive statements to inquiries, questions, and concerns during a crisis. This can be particularly useful during situations where there is a high volume of requests, or when response times are critical.
- Content creation support: From writing and editing to social media post generation, ChatGPT can quickly create content to publish during a time of crisis. Editing and proofing by a human is still required but it can cut the content creation process exponentially.
- Multilingual support: ChatGPT can communicate in multiple languages, allowing organisations to reach a broader audience during a crisis. This can be particularly helpful when dealing with international crises or situations where there are multiple languages spoken.
- Consistency in messaging: ChatGPT can provide a consistent message across different communication channels, such as social media, email, and chat platforms ensuring everyone receives the same information reducing risk of conflicting messages..
- 24/7 availability: ChatGPT is available 24/7, which can be crucial during a crisis when people may be seeking information outside of traditional business hours.
- Data collection and analysis: ChatGPT can collect data on the types of questions being asked and the concerns being raised during a crisis. This data can be analysed to inform future crisis communication strategies and to identify areas where additional information or resources may be needed.
However, the use of AI in crisis management must be coupled with a human touch, as ultimately, it is human relationships that need to be managed during a crisis. Therefore, while AI can be a valuable tool in crisis management, it should not replace the vital role of human expertise and providing an empathetic approach when it’s required.
Improved audience targeting
With the use of AI, PR professionals can now gather more comprehensive data about their stakeholders, including demographics, psychographics, and behavioural patterns. This allows them to identify and prioritise them more accurately, ultimately increasing their chances of successfully reaching and engaging with them.
AI technology also enables PR professionals to generate more targeted messaging and deliver it through appropriate channels, such as social media, email, or traditional media.
The implementation of advanced analytics further enhances this ability to track and measure the effectiveness of these campaigns, resulting in better-informed decision-making and maximisation of the return on investment.
Improved audience targeting with AI marks a significant step forward in providing a more personalised and impactful approach to communicating with audiences, in an industry that has often struggled with data and measurement.
AI-powered PR Campaigns
There is no doubt that AI can play a role in PR campaigns. From helping with campaign ideas, performing research, sifting through data, identifying influencers, and developing content to the measurement stage.
It’s likely that there will be specific AI software launched that helps at each stage of the campaign process.
Challenges in AI Adoption for PR
The adoption of Artificial Intelligence in public relations has its fair share of challenges that need to be addressed. Firstly, data privacy and security concerns arise with the potential for data breaches, leading to the loss of confidential information. PR professionals need to ensure that they follow strict data security and privacy protocols to mitigate these concerns.
Further, ethical considerations come into play when implementing AI. These considerations can revolve around potential data biases or the impact of AI on human interactions. PR professionals must be aware of ethical boundaries and ensure that AI is deployed in a manner consistent with their ethical guidelines.
It is also important to note that understanding how to use AI requires continuous development and training. Staying up-to-date with the latest developments in a technology that is advancing so fast may mean that some PR agencies fall by the wayside.
Finally, although AI may improve productivity and cost-effectiveness, it is still essential to recognise the importance of human touch and emotional intelligence in PR. Personalised interactions and empathy are vital aspects of PR, which cannot be entirely replaced by machines.
AI adoption in PR requires careful navigation of data privacy, ethical considerations, training and development and balancing the role of technology with a human touch.
The Future of AI in PR
As advancements in AI technology continue to grow, the PR industry will undoubtedly receive a considerable impact. Artificial Intelligence will play an increasingly significant role in the way PR professionals analyse data, personalise their communication strategies, and deliver relevant content to their target audiences.
It will allow PR professionals to automate repetitive tasks, leverage predictive analytics, and develop more efficient workflows- freeing up their time to focus on creative and strategic endeavours. Blending human and AI capabilities will be crucial for the success of public relations, as the human touch will remain essential in building and maintaining meaningful relationships with stakeholders.
The future of PR and AI presents limitless opportunities for innovation, and PR professionals that embrace and adopt these new technologies will be best poised to succeed in the years to come.