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AI and PR shaky relationship

That world has seen some drastic changes in the last decade, especially when it comes to technology. These advancements have both improved and disrupted our lives. For instance, artificial intelligence. It has transformed the way we communicate and get things done. However, we can’t overlook how machines are fast replacing humans at jobs they’ve held for decades. As Siri becomes our personal assistant and Uber develops self-driving cars, what’s next on the horizon for AI?

Artificial intelligence and PR have had a shaky relationship from the start, but AI has also been one of the most talked-about advancements to hit the industry. AI was always positioned as a means to smoother workflow, and agencies today factor AI simulations in their campaign strategy.

A 2016 survey from Narrative Science found that 58 % of enterprise business executives are already using predictive analytics within their organisation. Companies spend about $30 billion per year on PR, and executives rightfully demand to see a return on that investment. Unfortunately, 82% of practitioners say they have no way to evaluate such returns.

PR coverage has typically been measured by media outlet audience size. However, this yardstick does not tie back to business objectives, and these softer metrics often do not resonate with executives.

With this explosion of content and demand for measurement, PR responsibilities are growing dramatically. You are no longer accountable for just impressions and AVEs, but web traffic, customer engagement, and conversions. These challenges can seem insurmountable with limited time and budgets. Fortunately, we now have two major tools at our fingertips: data and insights. We are entering the era of data-driven PR through artificial intelligence.

AI can now help communicators in every aspect of their strategy and campaign cycle. PR professionals can use these two tools to:

  • Cut through the clutter and find useful, relevant data
  • Quantify buzz and press hits
  • Properly attribute revenue
  • Know which tactics are working
  • Spot brand and revenue indicators
  • Identify PR funnel accelerators

Impact of AI on PR success

The media pitch is slowly evolving. Did you know that the Associated Press uses AI to write earnings reports? In fact, it now produces 12x more stories than it was able to prior to using AI. As media outlets turn to AI for routine reports and journalists employ AI to smartly scan their inboxes, our pitches, releases, and content marketing need to change. We as practitioners need to be sure that our PR materials are easily understood by AI as this practice becomes more prevalent.

Measurement is more impactful. AI can power more sophisticated reporting by quickly gleaning the sentiment of social posts and news articles for you and your competitors and offer recommendations. Look at some of the sample reports from TrendKite for example. They include insights on the impact of PR, key message pull-through, and sentiment analysis – data that is tedious and time-consuming to analyse manually.

Strategy is becoming smarter. With such measurement and insights in place, PR teams can better identify trends as well as emerging threats. Armed with this level of understanding, we can create content that speaks to key customer needs, proactively address potential crises before they expand, and create smarter overall strategies.

Every one of these precedents requires one key attribute of PR professionals: consistent long for development and learning. At C&B, our vivacious goals address this need. Truth be told, four of those six rules are specifically required to influence utilization of AI in PR: To be “Enthusiastically Curious,” Learning Never Ceases, Desire to Be the Best, Drive Change. While you may state it in an unexpected way, PR masters who exemplify these attributes are the ones that remain to use AI in PR most effectively.

The day-to-day work of a PR professional has evolved from reporting fluffy, imprecise metrics to truly driving business impact. The future is here, and AI is going to play a major role in the work we do—whether we’re ready or not.

Reem Masswadeh is Client Services Director at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |