Twenty years ago, public relations and communications professionals were wondering about the impact of social media on PR. Today PR and corporate communications professionals are going through a similar conversation about the impact of AI in PR. 

 A new report was published by the UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR’s) AI and Big Data Readiness Report. The report found that while practitioners are aware of AI’s potential, their knowledge and skills are limited. But “practitioners are optimistic and have an eagerness to learn.”

Economist Dr. Swati Virmani of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is a panel member of the CIPR’s AIinPR panel and has co-authored the report, and found: 

  • PR practitioners (43.2%) feel less confident and have limited knowledge in using AI. 
  • Compared with (13.9%) who feel very comfortable. 

Social media listening & NLP tools 

Shortly after the turn of the 21st century, a small but growing band of tech PR people were blogging. PR professionals were members of one of the first professions to recognize the importance of blogging and social media. It made sense at the time. PR people spend time pitching stories to journalists and attempting to get earned media. If a blogger appears in your industry and starts writing lots and lots of content and you see that content popping up on Google, it’s quickly apparent that the blogger has a platform, and you want your company or clients to be on the platform. 

Natural language processing then started to be used for providing insights into social media coverage using sentiment analysis. Companies needed better tools than Google and search engines to understand what was being written about their company and the industry. And so the growth of NLP tools for social listening. The social listening industry has grown into an important part of the industry, using Big Data tools, PR professionals can use NLP tools to monitor what’s happening real-time, but also use such big data to analyze what’s happening with a brand. So, AI in PR isn’t really anything new, not at least in the 21st century. 

Measuring the Value of Public Relations

Marketers could always easily measure their impact, advertising showed an impact on sales, online marketing has made it even easier. For public relations, digital PR has shattered that old question of does PR work? Traffic can be measured; conversions if sourced, measured; and backlinks and the quality of the link ranked. PR measurement has come a long way. And it will only get better with the possibility of monitoring media coverage using AI. 

The CIPR’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) panel published research in 2018 revealing the impact of AI on public relations practice. It predicted the impact on skills in the profession in the next five years. The CIPR explained, “The report found that 12% of a public relations practitioner’s total skills (out of 52 skills) could be complemented or replaced by AI today, with a prediction that this could climb to 38% within five years.”

Graphic of AI in PR Today Graphic of AI in PR in five years

The Impact of Artificial intelligence on PR

PR professionals know the best PR is all about having a great story or hook. It isn’t just about having relationships in the media, and journalists and bloggers posting content because of the relationship.

Rather, does a company have a great story? What makes the story different from anything else out there? If the topic is hot. In January 2022, anything related to augmented reality (AR) and the metaverse was likely to be published. It’s then easier for people to publish articles like yours. The hook is why it’s good to do your research into a story or journalist. Before calling, or sending out any kind of email, asking yourself whether or not someone would be interested in reading it is important so that you aren’t wasting time and resources by sending something no one wants. A tech PR pro will always research his/her client before pitching them. He/she won’t just pitch something because he knows someone at the company. Though existing knowledge helps, a PR professional will do their due diligence anyway, and find out the answers to their questions before pitching. 

So, not only do companies need PR and PR professionals in the PR profession. Using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, public relations pros can generate more value and a bigger impact from PR by using AI to research news sources, reporters, and stories faster than ever before. There’s no doubt that GPT3 — which was developed by researchers at OpenAI — has sparked renewed interest in AI-generated content. PR professionals can use AI-generated content for researching stories, topics, and data sources. Which can then be used in:

  • Researching journalist backgrounds
  • AI-assisted PR pitch angles 
  • Story & press release titles
  • Outlines for stories
  • Finding topics that are not covered by other influencers but which their inclusion could help differentiate your messages from others
  • Media interview talking points

Researching topics for articles using AI content generation tools can help you identify potential gaps where you could write an interesting piece of content. AI research can help to inform an audience that they are missing an important topic, i.e. product, service, or new innovation. 

 AI Research tools for content creation 

Artificial intelligence content generation tools will help you with monitoring media coverage or social media listening tools. However, these insights can be combined with artificial intelligence (AI) content generation tools. AI writing software will provide briefs to PR professionals on a topic, some will even give competitive insights. If AI content generation tools have research capabilities that measure the evergreen nature of topics, social listening tools might tell you what’s happening, but the AI content generation research tools if used correctly can tell you what’s important, or what may be important in the future for a topic. 

Human Input Still Needed For AI PR content creation

It’s not only the simplification of tasks such as research where AI will have an impact, but also the development of content. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools can be used by public relations pros to create compelling copy for press releases, blog posts, social media updates, and web During that process, human intervention is required to manage AI writing software. While machine learning can help reduce the time it takes PR professionals doing repetitive tasks in the writing process, humans are still needed in the process to oversee and manage such tools. 

Public Relations Industry AI Research Roadmap

AIContentGen is helping PR agencies to understand how to use AI Content Generation through consulting. So, how do you use it for pitching journalists, how do you use it for researching brand message topics and gaps? 

  • Researching journalist backgrounds
  • AI-assisted PR pitch angles 
  • Story & press release titles
  • Outlines for stories
  • Finding topics that are not covered by other influencers but which their inclusion could help differentiate your messages from others
  • Media interview talking points

Will AI have an impact on PR? 50 companies and tens of thousands of users indicate there is going to be an impact, AIContentGen’s 2021 AI content generation Market Map illustrates the growth in the number of vendors for these tools. How PR professionals navigate their use, and the extent of AI-assisted writing will be different for every agency. As John Seabrook of the New Yorker described when he was quoted in Mark Henrick of ProvokeMedia’s piece “The Rise of AI-Assisted Writing–And What That Means for PR”.“I’m not saying AI can write better than most human PR folks, but it can come close enough so that you can begin to think about deploying the humans for something else,” he says. 

About AIContentGen

AIContentGen and its Senior Analysts, Scott Sweeney and John Cass are solely focused on researching, publishing, and consulting on the AI Content Generation for marketing, communication teams, agencies, and the writer’s marketplace. When looking for the most current and updated information AIContenGen is your source. Keep current by following us on LinkedIn, and subscribing to our blog.



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