Artificial intelligence (AI) is arguably the buzziest of all the buzz words making headlines right now; it’s starting to feel as though it is literally everything, everywhere, all at once. From the infamous ChatGPT to Tesla’s self-driving cars to Amazon’s Alexa, AI has arrived and it’s here to stay. But what does AI mean for PR, and how exactly can it enhance PR strategies?
So what about PR?
As we’ve discussed before, being open-minded is what will get you results in PR, and that includes being open to new technologies that can help you along the way. AI-enabled task automation has been simplifying PR processes for longer than we may all realise. It’s found a particularly useful niche in media coverage analysis tools, like Hootsuite and SemRush. Data insights based on real-time results boast increased accuracy and reliability when it comes to decision making, reporting, and evaluation.
Better still, AI review functions are a great grammatical tool for proofing a PRs work, giving advice on flow or structure. It can help synthetise large chunks of information to help educate PRs quickly and effectively on niche topics or provide speech-to-text dictation for interviewing clients or jotting down thoughts for a press release. AI can even take a PRs to-do list and use data to create an optimised schedule.
What’s ethics got to do with it?
The role of ethics is at play here too. That’s a more in-depth post for another time, but one key take away is that AI should be used positively as a tool and an aid, but it should not take on the role of the individual. Using AI to come up with work rather than merely fine tune it can be critiqued as ingenuine and takes away the human spirit and individuality that grounds good-faith, mutually beneficial PR.
A force for good fraught with danger
AI in PR is definitely a work in progress. For example, the use of chatbots as an additional communication channel can be complicated by bias. Even when programmed carefully, it can still lack sensitivity and human-centred contexts that are critical to managing relationships in PR. AI bots can also compute inaccurate or incomplete data and negatively influence high stakes, potentially escalating a PR problem rather than diffusing it, or creating one where there wasn’t beforehand.
It all comes back to balance, and making conscious decisions about how, when, and where to use AI to enhance your PR strategies. Keep automation for the activities that aren’t people-facing or high stakes, where you can afford to save time and increase accuracy.
PR will always be people focused
The Chartered Institute for Public Relations confirms that 59% of PR skills are predominantly not candidates for AI. People are the heart and centre of what drives PR, and while AI may be a handy tool in the working professional’s tool kit, it’s not about to take the wheel.