The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the PR Industry

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the PR Industry

Philippa Dods
24 September 2018
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This post was originally posted on the G2 Crowd blog.

With facial recognition to unlock our phones, navigational apps to tell us where traffic is backed up and virtual assistants making conversations with our computers completely normal, it’s become evident that artificial intelligence has already had a serious impact on the way we live and work.

Looking ahead, the promise AI holds for almost every facet of society is profound. From autonomous driving and its potential to decrease the incidence of road-related accidents to the instant translation of written or spoken word into any language, the impact is clear. But with all the hysteria around “robots stealing our jobs,” what is the flip side of all this hype? AI already is helping streamline business processes, And as PR professionals, how can we determine the impact of AI on PR analytics?

Working Harder or Working Smarter?

While some are cautious of the growing digitisation across industries today, others welcome it with open arms.

However, regardless of what industry or sector you’re in, everyone aims for maximum productivity and efficiency.

AI in the workplace helps this – it takes the pain out of administration, crunches numbers, organises files and essentially frees up our time to focus on what matters, enabling us to be more productive on a day-to-day basis and to work smarter, not harder. There are so many digital tools and platforms available today, most of them powered by AI software, that help us to create, organise, and prioritise tasks.

AI and the impact on analytics

Analytics, the discovery of patterns and knowledge within big data, is a compelling aspect of any business. Analytics are necessary for making any strategic business decisions and, as you know, close to impossible to discover, manage and understand without the help of computers.

Be careful about listening to all the hype around humans losing their jobs to robots. Remember, just two decades ago when computers were becoming properly integrated into businesses, we all feared the same thing. One can do anything on a computer – from communication across the world to automatisation of every manual task, writing, filing, calculating, translating, designing, and everything in between. A computer can do what a human can do in a fraction of the time.

But computers haven’t replaced us. In fact, your laptop is useless without you in front of it.

If we start thinking of the possibilities that AI will enable us, with human intuition, we’ll be on the way to a prosperous digital future.

What Does This Mean for the PR Industry?

Artificial intelligence is already assisting with some of the admin tasks necessary to be completed in the PR industry. This includes creating reports, distributing press releases, and creating media lists. It’s also become clear that AI will be able to help on the analytical side of PR such as gathering and analysing data to demonstrate the ROI of a campaign or accurately turning data from rows and columns into written text.

Looking to the future, AI will soon be able to help write content, namely press releases, and product descriptions, although it cannot cover every topic yet.

It will also be able to help with:

• Audience Insights: Artificial intelligence will make it possible to predict consumer interests, trends and buying patterns, so that companies – especially B2C – will be able to shape and create products that are better suited to their target audience.

• Daily Tasks: Many of the tasks that PR pros have to undertake on a day-to-day basis are completely necessary but take a lot of time. With the help of AI, essential but time-consuming tasks like news scanning, media monitoring, coverage clipping, social listening, sentiment analysis and reporting can be done much more quickly and efficiently.

• Social Interactions: AI advancements are also helping to create smarter chatbots that PR pros can use to interact with consumers as brands. The best way to do this is on social media, where chatbots can follow relevant hashtags or respond to messages and direct messages on the brand’s behalf.

The good news is that it is a widely held belief in the PR industry that machines do not possess the creative ability to do this better than humans but instead will be a necessary and helpful aid.

TIP: Beginner PR pros should reference this guide on how to write a press release.

How It’s Working in the Real World

With AI in the mix, PR professionals are able to provide their audiences with better and more relevant messages, they’re able to create and share more reports, the speed of data processing is increased, and analytics are more accurate (and timely, as it can be updated in real-time).

The Press Association is using AI to help local news platforms produce more data-driven stories on subjects that will affect their readers more directly. The service, RADAR (Reporters and Data and Robots) will use automation to create a stream of local stories for hundreds of media outlets. Pete Clifton, Editor-in-Chief at the PA, says that “RADAR is about us harnessing publicly available data with the right mix of journalists and automation – it’s a level of journalism that we could never do with the number of reporters that we have,” illustrating the importance of the combination of human and AI work.

Human and AI, You Say?

“Human acumen combined with cognitive computing renders the best outcomes.”

As in almost any industry, PR pros should view AI as a helpful assistant – one that can work quickly and accurately can handle admin chores as well as the analytics of any campaign or company. This will result in more time to focus on developing and implementing strategies, creating brand awareness and improving audience engagement.

Let’s see where it takes us.