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As technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, PR professionals find themselves at the forefront of a seismic shift, where AI-driven tools and algorithms are revolutionising the way communication strategies are crafted, executed, and measured.
From media monitoring and sentiment analysis to personalised content creation and influencer identification, the impact of AI on the PR landscape is exhilarating.
We’re delving into the ways AI is reshaping PR, exploring the opportunities it presents, the challenges it poses, and the new frontiers it opens…
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
As a refresher, AI stands for artificial intelligence and is a generic term used to describe computer applications that perform complex tasks which used to be performed only by humans. Generative AI can create different kinds of content such as blog posts, social media posts, audio, advertising copy, art work and so much more.
AI in the PR industry
ChatGPT certainly got the PR industry talking when it launched in November 2022. Writing is one of the key skills of a PR professional and generative AI, with its ability to write PR content of any type, from blog posts, to news releases, white papers, speeches and even email pitches, could be seen as either a threat or a godsend.
Using a tool such as ChatGPT means within seconds you can have a finished piece of content. However, there have been varying degrees of success with the results, with critics saying the content produced is either wrong, too simplistic, or even dangerously biased.
But, in this report published in February 2023 by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations titled, “AI tools and the impact on public relations practice”, AI practitioner, Christopher Penn thinks we’re looking at how AI can help PR all wrong.
In the report Christopher states:
“What these tools produce is a statistical average of what they’ve been trained on. They aren’t going to produce anything original because they can’t by definition.”
So that’s one area cleared up – ChatGPT could help you produce average content, but it won’t be able to produce stand out, knock-your-socks-off content. And what PR wants to produce average content?!
Where the likes of ChatGPT will be able to add value however is in refining content. Chris goes on,
“Here’s the part everyone is overlooking. These tools are better at refining text than they are creating.”
So rather than replacing PRs, AI can be used to support the content creation process. A potential new skill for PRs is even highlighted in the report: providing AI with the right prompts – so-called “prompt engineering”.
How else can AI help PRs?
As we know though, PRs do more than just write. AI enabled tools can help with a host of other PR skills including:
There are even AI tools readily and cheaply available which can create images and video using text only inputs. The programmes, such as Synthesia, use your brand’s text coupled with AI voices and avatars, to create all-new image or video content. Putting aside the slightly scary sci-fi nature of this, it saves considerable time and money for businesses when compared to producing video in the traditional way.
Launched to far less fanfare than ChatGPT, Google quietly rolled out an AI tool which has the potential to be just as transformational for PRs. Simple ML (machine learning) for Sheets is an add-on for Google Sheets that aims to open up machine learning for all. Anyone with data in a Google Sheet can now use machine learning. In PR this might include analysing media coverage headlines, scouring social media content for themes and patterns, or estimating media coverage exposure where you may have a few blanks.
Exciting times for the PR industry
Now is certainly an exciting time for the PR industry with the ability to make the most of the burgeoning AI tools available to sharpen up our reporting and analytics, as well as freeing up time spent on laborious tasks.