Artificial Intelligence (AI) Impact on Public Relations (PR)

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technologies that enable machines to perform cognitive tasks-like seeing, writing, moving, reading, or analysing data-as well or better than humans. It is the imitation of human intellect in robots that are programmed to think and act like humans. In simple terms, it is any machine that displays human-like characteristics such as learning and problem-solving.

AI’s ideal feature is the ability to rationalize and execute actions that have the highest possibility of achieving a given objective. We use AI every day to attain certain goals in our daily consumer life. For instance, our phone’s voice assistant uses AI technologies like natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation (NLG) to answer our questions; Gmail uses AI to predict what we’ll type next and complete sentences for us. Additionally, Amazon, Jumia and other online shopping platforms depend on AI to recommend products for you based on what you’ve bought in the past.

Apart from AI impacting our daily consumer life, it also has the ability to impact our professional life, especially if your work involves PR and or marketing communication. AI has the potential to transform the way we approach PR and marketing communications because of its excellence in automating repetitive tasks and enabling intelligent capabilities that give PR and communications pros superpowers. With its automated scanning process, artificial intelligence will be able to determine the best time for press releases, social media posts, and other avenues of engagement with their target audience, based on when people interact with the information and which platform or means of communication receives the most interaction. This provides data that PR businesses can utilize in the future to guarantee that they are reaching their target consumer in the most effective way possible. At the same time, these data will assist PR professionals in making suggestions about which communication channels to use, how the material should be created, and even what type of information to include.

Apart from scanning information and sorting data, AI has enormous benefits in PR with more being discovered often as the technology continues to advance and evolve. According to a recent blog published by Public Relations Today, here are some of the ways AI is and will be impacting PR positively:

  • Speech-to-text technology – This helps with media interview transcripts and searching within podcasts or press conferences using speech-to-text technology.
  • AI-assisted contact recommendations – Such tools exist to proactively identify reporters who are writing about your industry, enabling you to target media most likely to cover your news, rather than manually building traditional media lists on categories and keyword searches.
  • Predictive analytics – These tools can help you customize story angles for journalists based on interests, past coverage, personalities and trends and predicting the probability of a journalist covering your story.
  • Video authenticity monitoring – There are even tools that can be used to monitor for “deep fake” videos that could negatively impact your client’s brand reputation.
  • Natural language generation – AI machines can produce content using natural language generation, and translate it into multiple languages for broader distribution. These technologies require refinement, but they are developing quickly.
  • Sentiment analysis – Such tools are being perfected to carry out advanced sentiment analysis on social media posts, media clippings and more.
  • Attribution for earned media – These tools are very promising as they intend to attribute sales outcomes to earned media coverage if, for example, a prospective buyer reads an article about your client and then downloads a white paper. This technology is still in its initial stage but could be a game changer for an industry yearning for an objective way to prove return on investment.

It is evident that AI is making PR professionals work easier, faster, better and smarter every single day. For example, AI can be used to write up preliminary press releases and even build websites using predetermined procedures for the gathering and compilation of data. Besides, through data analysis, AI can determine the most relevant information to include in a press release, based on audience engagement and modify future press releases to grab and retain the audience’s attention. AI may also be used to monitor media coverage of competing goods and clients’ competitors to ensure that their clients are responding appropriately or receiving a fair amount of media attention with their own campaign.

In a nutshell, according to AI marketing expert Christopher Penn, AI has made PR work smarter and more effective in three ways: automation, acceleration and accuracy.

  • Automation: AI is allowing PR professionals to automate repetitive tasks such as tracking media coverage.
  • Acceleration: AI is enabling PR professionals to obtain insights from the digital world in real-time. For example, when conversations spread rapidly and time can be your most valuable asset, AI comes in handy.
  • Accuracy: Through AI, PR professionals can accurately measure people’s feelings and opinions about a brand and compare that sentiment against other metrics like engagement or sales.

Well, all the above prove that AI have and will greatly change the world of PR especially when it comes to information dissemination. It will make PR work faster and more effective. However, the greatest fear with automation and use of AI in any industry is that this will lead to job losses. As much as it may seem so, this is not the case in PR industry. This is because the PR industry still relies greatly on the human touch for face-to-face client interactions, social networking and provision of insights and recommendations on how to use the data captured through AI for the best outcome for the client. It is worth noting that artificial intelligence will enable public relations professionals to focus on tasks that can’t be automated such as brainstorming creative ideas, and building great relationships with their clients, as opposed to performing repetitive tasks that currently take their attention away from client interactions. Therefore, AI should be viewed as a tool to embrace in PR to provide efficiencies in data gathering so that employees can fully focus on their clients and the creative aspect of their industry.