From being called a lifesaver to a disruptive, even “existential”, threat – it’s got a ton of labels.
But thanks to its massive impact, companies are lapping it up to boost revenues and reach goals.
In the 2017 Economist Intelligence Unit report, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Real World,” 75% of 203 cross-industry executives surveyed said that AI will be implemented in their companies in three years.
But the PR industry is about people. AI is about doing things without people. Does seem like a fundamental difference? (In fact, less than 3% of news stories talking of PR even mention AI.) (1)
Interestingly, that’s also the recipe for a successful marriage.
Take legacy publications – struggling to survive with declining subscribers and plunging advertising revenues.
A new-gen of pop up, social media, video influencers, etc are making it easier for consumers to get what they want.
To stay afloat, PR needs to adapt.
AI is the flexible, smart, and effective PR tool for tomorrow.
If implemented soundly, AI can have a profound impact on PR.
AI can help businesses reach unseen productivity levels.
It can drive better engagement between corporate PR teams and journalists, with a steady stream of connectivity.
PR need not reach out to press in bursts with only news to share. AI can alert PR managers to engage consistently through comments and insights based on newsworthy stories.
Like Google Alerts and Talkwalker notifications track news and trends, and tools like Hootsuite automate media monitoring.
AI can also predict what works for businesses. It can help teams understand messaging and inform future content. For instance, IBM Watson can read and interpret legal and financial regulations, and compare a company’s compliance too.
AI can spot buzz-worthy content. All PR managers need to do is pick what matters and run with it.
AI can deliver super-effectiveness to journalists.
Instead of rummaging through a stash of pitches (hundreds every day), AI can prioritize.
It can weed out irrelevant pitches saving massive time and effort.
Google and Jigsaw, for instance, help publishers weed out toxic comments.
Yes, AI might not understand natural language just yet. But for swamped journos, relevant pitches are a breather.
Another area that AI can help with, is finding relevant sources for stories with complex criteria.
Imagine finding out the email ID of a CEO of a company that has raised funding for "500 Startups" based in Chicago, in a snap.
AI offers an exciting playground for PR folks.
Low-skilled, repetitive tasks like writing coverage reports, dispatching press releases and creating media lists are already automated across agencies globally. The Associated Press uses AI to pen upto 3,500+ full earnings reports / quarter for U.S. companies. (2)
This could mean more time saved and spent on focusing on what really defines a PR agency: ideas.
With AI spreading its wings, there’s a need to brush off unfounded fears of a possible takeover.
People will play a crucial role in the automated PR industry. They just need to look for areas where human acumen is supported, and not eliminated by AI.
It could make PR more creative, fun, and impactful in the fearless future.