Artificial Intelligence & PR: Don’t Fear It, Embrace It!
Whether we like it or not, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is integrating itself into various aspects of our daily lives and has already made an impact on the marketing and communications industry.
As it shows no signs of slowing down, one of the big questions public relations professionals are facing is: What does this mean for the future of PR?
What is AI?
In short, AI refers to a collection of tools, technologies and algorithms that allow computers to perform certain tasks more effectively and efficiently than humans. Essentially machines can process information in ways we typically associate with humans, for example, discovering meaning or learning and evolving a response.
The impact on an organisation’s reputation
PR is the strategic management of reputation. Reputations are created by what other people think of an organisation’s behaviour and performance and are formed on a basis of trust. Trust in the digital world is delicate: on the one hand, we all want the convenience and speed that our world of iPhones and algorithms brings, but on the other, the idea of ‘big data’ and machines taking over decision making is a scary one.
There is no doubt that companies which want to take advantage of AI technology need to consider the ethics of their actions and the impact their decisions have on the organisation’s reputation and relationship with its customers.
PR professionals are well placed to advise companies about the reputational risks they face, help to mitigate issues and implement crisis management strategies.
How can PR professionals begin to utilise AI?
So far, there has been a slow but steady approach to the use of AI by marketing and communications professionals.
Here are just some of the ways that AI can benefit a PR agency’s daily operations.
- Automating day-to-day tasks
A form of AI called Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has the ability to automate repetitive tasks that don’t require much creativity, such as scheduling calendars and sending out follow-ups. This frees up time and resources that can be devoted to other, more pressing projects.
- Data-driven campaigns
A huge advantage of using AI is having the ability to comb through large amounts of data.
With this in mind, AI can be used to a PR professional’s advantage when creating data-driven campaigns. AI is able to identify the specific features that lead to a successful campaign, allowing PR professionals to make data-driven decisions.
These decisions are made on facts and insights, eliminating the guesswork.
- Sentiment analysis and crisis management
It’s vital that agencies are prepared for a crisis or negative situation. AI can be useful for crisis management because it is able to scan a plethora of elements and can forecast serious threats.
Through Natural Language Processing (NLP), AI can also understand human emotions and be used for sentiment analysis. This enables PR professionals to realise the difference between various tones, vocabulary and language contexts.
- More targeted, dynamic journalist and social media outreach
Reaching journalists and influencers is a time-consuming but vital job for PR professionals. They may struggle to find enough time to curate hyper-relevant lists or tailor their messages to each influencer directly.
AI can analyse previous articles written by social and news influencers and identify who writes often about specific products in order to coordinate much more relevant matches – giving a higher likelihood that the influencers and journalists will be interested.
Although it might sound frightening, AI can actually help to reshape the future of PR in a positive way, provided we use it to our advantage.
It doesn’t seem to be disappearing any time soon, so it’s time to embrace AI, not fear it!