Artificial Intelligence has been one the hottest topics in the PR industry. Many Public Relations professionals believe that AI will continue to be a strong ally that will change the industry in a positive way. Yet, there is some anxiety about how AI will affect jobs.
In the fall of 2018 MSLGroup and Publicis.Sapient surveyed 1,846 communications professionals from around the word. According to the survey, PR pros are embracing AI with a surprising level of confidence and optimism. 55% feel largely positive about an AI-driven future in communications while 38% have mixed feelings.
“PR pros are in the early stages of seeing how AI might affect their work. While some in PR fear the changes that AI might bring, we should embrace it and learn what we can. AI has the potential to free up our time to focus on more strategic initiatives while it takes care of some of the more mundane tasks. Those who are “cutters and pasters” in the PR field may want to think about their future and how they can learn to add more value, as those roles may be in jeopardy as AI becomes widely used.” – Michelle Garrett, Michelle Garrett Public Relations
According to Communications Platform TrendKite, Artificial Intelligence will impact the practice of Public Relations in five main areas: 1. Mundane daily tasks 2. Deeper audience insight 3. Better understanding of influence 4. Improved media lists and custom pitches 5. Useful media monitoring.
Many agencies are already using tools that utilize Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to develop media lists, track audience sentiment about their client’s brands on social media, find appropriate influencers, interpret analytics and so on. They rely daily on tools like MuckRack to target specific journalists, monitor news, and build reports. Trendkite to measure PR metrics and BlogDash to reach out to bloggers and influencers. Social listening tools like Talkwalker, help PR professionals watch out for trends important to their client’s business. Talkwalker’s social analytics engine spots trending stores in real time and tracks discussions on online news sites, blogs, forums and databases, giving PR and social media professionals an understanding of what the audience thinks about their client’s brand.
“Over the next few years, Artificial Intelligence is going to change the way we work in PR & marketing by getting rid of manual, time consuming tasks. At Talkwalker, AI is part of our platform’s DNA, and enables us to find hidden mentions of brands in images, to improve accuracy of our sentiment analysis and to provide more accurate social media analytics results to our clients.” – Albane Flamant, Senior Marketing Operations Officer – Americas at Talkwalker
The ability to collect and analyze social conversation around brands is very valuable for PR professionals. With social listening tools, they can analyze stakeholder attitudes and find out what content resonates with their client’s audience.
“With real-time data being used as an asset, professionals in the PR and media industries are able to provide their audience with content they want, rather than content they find annoying. This helps them eliminate time being wasted on content that won’t be received well by their audience.” – John Bara, President and CMO of High Tech marketing firm Mintigo
“I can see almost instantly if a piece of content is going to “STICK”. If it does, I can refine it, if it doesn’t I can drop it and try something new.” – Keith Keller, Social Media Specialist, Twitter Expert
AI-powered social listening tools make it easy for Public Relations professionals to anticipate a potential PR crisis. These days, an isolated incident like a disgruntled customer complaint can explode into a full-blown crisis in a matter of minutes. AI can monitor social mentions and other online activity, pick up signals of potential crisis and send alerts, prompting PR professionals to take immediate action.
In conclusion, many PR professional’s skills could be complimented or replaced by Artificial Intelligence. As AI matures, it will eliminate many of the task oriented jobs, and with the repetitive tasks out of the way, creativity will soar. As TrendKite states: “The advancement of Artificial Intelligence is excellent news for PR pros” … but ‘terrible news for organizations and folks who refuse to evolve because they will be outperformed by the competition and ultimately left behind”.