Does AI Have a Future in PR?

10.09.2017 | AnnMarie Henriksson

Digiday recently posted an article uncovering how artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into PR. Newspapers such as the Associated Press and Washington Post are already using AI to develop earnings reports and write articles that don’t require dedicated reporters.

How will this affect PR professionals? Can we begin to realistically and effectively incorporate AI into our day-to-day activities?

This topic has been deliberated by many and sources have come to a similar conclusion: PR is more art than science, therefore its adoption of AI must be strategic and applied with caution.

Given the creativity, storytelling and personalization required to successfully develop most press materials – AI cannot just seamlessly step in – we can conceivably use it as a tool to automate and scale more mundane tasks.

A few tasks that PR professionals have already started handing off to AI include:

  • Speech recognition to transcribe speeches, presentations and calls
  • Tracking and analyzing high volumes of media coverage
  • Monitoring the sentiment of social media posts and engagement
  • Using predictive analytics to project trends from existing data

Although it is unlikely that AI will ever fully replace PR jobs, it is still a growing force in nearly every industry that should not be ignored. McKinsey predicts that as many as 45 percent of the tasks currently performed by people will become automated by existing technologies. Given this statistic, it is important for PR pros to embrace technology and use it to help automate some tasks, and then hone creativity and human intellect to uncover and communicate complex stories.

PR pros could technically start writing press releases, pitches and byline articles with automated technology, but it could be risky in terms of losing a writer’s voice or missing a client’s messaging. In order for technology to perform, it needs to be given an equation or set of parameters to follow. AI technology isn’t yet ready to take over telling complex stories. Humans are still required to create the story structure and paint the picture. The best AI can do at this point is help gather data, employ predictive analytics, and help wrangle and process the sheer volume of media being created.

For as long as people and relationships continue to drive news, PR campaigns will rely on humans to be successful and captivating.

Has your company started incorporating AI? What pros and cons have you discovered from automating tasks?


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Filed under: COMMUNIQUÉ PR, Planning, PR trends, Strategy, Technology

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