PR and AI: 21 ways artificial intelligence is changing the PR game

As artificial intelligence continues to develop, it will significantly impact public relations. AI and public relations can go hand in hand. AI can assist in managing and monitoring communications, identifying potential crises, and generating content. Here, we will explain how AI is changing the industry, the risks involved, and what you can do to mitigate these.

published: June 1, 2023
updated: June 26, 2024

What is AI, and how does it impact businesses?

AI (artificial intelligence) refers to machines that can perceive intelligence, and synthesize and infer information.

It is the science and engineering of intelligent machines that can mimic human intelligence to perform tasks and then, on the information they collect, improve themselves.

AI is designed to significantly enhance human capabilities and contributions, making it a valuable business asset.

The chances are that you're already using AI in your everyday life. When you ask Alexa to play Spotify, use sat-nav, or do a basic grammar check on an email before you send it, you're already harnessing the power of AI.

AI has advanced dramatically in recent years, and we're only just beginning to tap into its uses in the business world. Take, for instance, the utility of AI when creating copy. It can help produce high-quality text with minimal input and help you turn it into something amazing. This is just one area in the PR world where the impacts of AI are being felt. AI is now used for marketing campaigns, customer service responses, strategic planning, and many other functions in business.

AI in PR

We've all seen the impressive things AI can do. We're at peak hype where AI is concerned. Everyone seems to be talking about it, but while many are scared of missing out, they don't quite know what to do with it yet.

Recent AI public relations developments have generated both enthusiasm and fear. AI regularly features in the latest PR trends and shows no signs of slowing.

With more companies implementing automation technology, those who get on board early will have the advantage. By utilizing AI to automate certain tasks, teams will have more time to devote to growth-supporting projects. Alternatively, it can help us work more efficiently in developing relationships that are based on reputation and trust.

Here are 20 ways artificial intelligence can be used in public relations.

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1

Ideas and inspiration

AI can be used to brainstorm creative ideas and stimulate creative thinking. Consider the brand, category, and target audience for some thought starters. You can gain context quickly and easily through mediums such as ChatGPT and Writesonic. It is also possible to structure your request so that you receive more helpful information. You should ensure each query includes a "speaker." An example could be:

“You are an experienced copywriter working in tech and want to know the top 10 tech enterprises where little or no investment is needed. Write in a professional tone.'”

Obviously, this process cannot replace traditional research altogether, and these points are always subject to validation. But it is a great place to start.

2

Creating press releases and reports

One significant application is Natural Language Generation (NLG) technology, which enables PR practitioners to generate personalized content tailored to their target audience. By automating routine tasks, AI allows professionals to allocate more time to creative content creation and strategic thinking. However, it is essential to remember that automation should not replace the discernment and judgment of PR practitioners.

Most PR software executives believe that AI will complement and enhance the work of PR professionals rather than replace creativity and human interaction. While AI can undoubtedly contribute to crafting engaging press releases and reports, human professionals' participation remains indispensable in the communication process.

3

Creating media lists

An AI media list generator incorporating machine learning algorithms from GPT-4 is a cutting-edge solution now available. This revolutionary tool aids PR practitioners in building customized media lists, identifying media coverage prospects, conducting sentiment analysis, and monitoring media impressions. With AI support, PR professionals can redirect their attention to strategic initiatives, allowing AI to handle mundane tasks. Undoubtedly, AI and PR are transforming the landscape, but important to acknowledge is that that human involvement remains vital in communication.

4

ChatGPT

ChatGPT is an AI-powered language model created by OpenAI. Using ChatGPT, you can effortlessly generate media lists, create content, or develop ideas that suit your specific requirements. It should be used with caution, however, since it can produce inaccuracies and misinterpretations. Its purpose is to simulate human-like responses when given text prompts. In order to learn and respond to many different topics and queries, it uses the vast amount of textual information available online, utilizing the GPT architecture. The ChatGPT platform has been featured in several headlines and at the forefront of discussions about artificial intelligence and ethics. It's designed to understand context, generate coherent text, and mimic human-like interactions. ChatGPT has extensive applications. ChatGPT offers undeniably huge automation and content generation benefit.

Learn more about how to use ChatGPT for public relations

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5

Videos

Yes, that's right. AI technology has entered the video creation field. With the latest AI animation software, high-quality videos can be created quickly. Videos are a valuable addition to your website and social media pages. About 80% of online content is video.

AI and machine learning can now create videos without a crew, actors, sets, and complex editing software. With just a few clicks, you can create an engaging video ready for posting on your website or social media with an article or script. In Text-to-Video AI, images and clips are matched with text using technology. When you paste an entire article, the AI creates a slideshow-like video based on stock footage and text overlays. This is great for turning listicles and informative articles into videos for thought leadership and opinion pieces.

6

Video monitoring

You can even track "deep fake" videos, which may negatively affect your brand's reputation. These are manipulated and fake videos to impersonate an image or voice of someone. By monitoring social media for such videos, AI can help you take action to remove them. Thanks to AI, these videos are recognized by AI algorithms. Deep learning enables PR professionals to identify fake videos by analyzing visual and audio cues. Press releases can also released to clarify the action taken after filtering fake videos.

7

Email replies

AI-powered tools have the ability to compose emails in a calm and professional manner, enabling effective client communication. Email replies are a great example of a task we’re doing that we don’t need to be. AI can make this simple (but time consuming) task more efficient.

These tools analyze language patterns and context to produce polite and empathetic responses, helping to avoid any unintended passive-aggressive or negative undertones.
They can also provide suggestions for rephrasing or adjusting the tone, offering constructive feedback to improve the clarity and positivity of the message. Additionally, these tools ensure consistency and efficiency by adapting to individual preferences and organizational guidelines automatically, playing a crucial role in maintaining strong client relationships and leading to enhanced client satisfaction and overall business success.

8

Rapid decision making

AI tools can greatly benefit effective planning and decision-making processes. These tools leverage user-provided datasets, patterns, and trends within those datasets to analyze large volumes of information swiftly and accurately. By extracting valuable insights, they provide crucial strategic planning and decision-making input.

AI tools excel at identifying patterns and trends, allowing businesses to anticipate future scenarios, optimize resource allocation, and manage risks effectively.

Furthermore, the knowledge and insights gained through AI-driven analyses contribute to developing new ideas and innovative solutions, promoting continuous improvement and growth within organizations. Ultimately, these AI tools empower businesses to make well-informed decisions, enhancing efficiency, competitiveness, and overall success.

9

Audience analytics and media analysis

In AI in public relations, sentiment analysis powered by AI is widely used to monitor, measure, and handle public sentiment toward brands, campaigns, or public figures. Its applications in PR include:

10

Reputation management

PR professionals utilize AI tools to analyze online conversations, social media mentions, and news articles to assess public sentiment toward a brand or organization. This helps them identify positive or negative sentiment patterns, track the effectiveness of PR campaigns, and proactively manage and safeguard brand reputation.

11

Crisis communication

During crises or sensitive situations, AI-based sentiment analysis aids PR teams in monitoring and evaluating public sentiment. By swiftly identifying negative sentiments or emerging issues, PR professionals can promptly respond, address concerns, and mitigate potential damage to the organization's reputation.

Learn more about crisis communication
12

Media monitoring

AI-powered sentiment analysis supports PR professionals in monitoring media coverage and evaluating sentiment towards their clients or organization. This enables them to gauge the success of media campaigns, track brand perception, and identify opportunities for media engagement or necessary intervention.

13

Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics and AI have revolutionized the field of public relations, empowering professionals to harness the power of data for strategic decision-making. By utilizing AI tools, you can efficiently analyze vast information to uncover valuable insights that guide your PR strategies.

This saves time and means you can predict the messages that will hit home with your target audience. With AI, you can enhance campaign effectiveness and make better-informed decisions based on solid data.

14

Social media management

Utilizing social media automation tools, such as AI-powered scheduling features, can greatly assist in managing and automating social media content posting.

These tools enable the scheduling of tweets, the creation of content calendars, and the timely sharing of images at consistent intervals.

Businesses can save valuable time by leveraging automation while maintaining a consistent online presence that fosters connections with their followers. However, it is crucial to remember that genuine human interaction should not be replaced by automation. It is essential to engage authentically with the audience, responding personally and fostering real connections to create a meaningful social media presence.

15

Attribution for earned media

PR tech tools powered by AI, such as Cision Impact and Onclusive, are valuable assets for PR professionals. They offer features like media tracking, impression analysis, and the ability to attribute sales to earned media coverage. By leveraging advanced technologies like sentiment analysis, predictive analytics, chatbots, and natural language generation, these tools enhance efficiency, refine strategies, and deliver positive returns on investment by leveraging data and making insightful predictions.

16

Budgeting

AI-powered tools provide PR professionals with the ability to analyze historical data, market trends, and campaign performance, which in turn offers valuable insights for budgeting purposes. By uncovering patterns and correlations within the data, AI can assist in forecasting future costs, ensuring effective resource allocation, and optimizing budget distribution based on expected outcomes.

Moreover, these AI tools excel in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of various PR activities and recommending optimal strategies for resource allocation.

By closely examining past campaign data and performance metrics, AI can identify the activities that yield the highest return on investment (ROI) and suggest adjustments that optimize budget allocation accordingly.

In addition, AI plays a pivotal role in accurately measuring and evaluating the ROI of PR activities. By automating the tracking and analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as media coverage, website traffic, social media interactions, and lead generation, AI-generated insights shed light on the impact of PR efforts on business outcomes. This aids in justifying budgets and provides valuable information for future planning endeavors.

17

Chatbots

Engaging with customers in real time creates a sense of trust between the service and the individual. It's about conversations. Chatbots allow for data to be shared. They are 24/7, so an inquiry can be registered and automatically routed, ensuring you get all leads. Bots automatically route chats with potential clients to the right team. Chatbots can also help answer frequently asked questions and recommend products based on customer preferences. These capabilities have improved engagement levels. Discovering this intent is helpful and lets us know where to take the lead. AI chatbots can also improve work routines and automate schedule management without the need for users to intervene. The increasing use of chatbots has brought significant changes to the business landscape. Businesses also use AI technologies to analyze customer data, gain insights into their behavior, and become more efficient at meeting their needs. Even though chatbots are AI-powered, that doesn't stop them from being personal.

18

Speech-to-text applications

Step in AI and speech-to-text translation. With meetings and discussions, it is necessary to document these as efficiently as possible to maintain accuracy. Keeping up with note-taking is difficult but made much easier with software capable of dictating speech into written text. Not only are these useful for automated meeting note-taking, but they can also write speeches out, too, should there be a need to have one last minute. With speech assistants, anyone can recite a speech, which will be written into text for them.

19

AI assisted recomendations

Similar to the above, regarding PR, AI-assisted recommendations are like having a reliable partner beside you. Consider it your PR expert, armed with industry knowledge to help you maximize your efforts. With the magic of machine learning, AI can sift through mountains of data to offer valuable insights and guide you toward the most effective strategies for your PR campaigns. It can even predict which messages will strike a chord with different audiences, saving you precious time and energy. So, let AI be your trusty sidekick.

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20

Influencer identification

In today's marketing landscape, businesses utilize advanced techniques to identify influencers who can make a difference. By diving deep into social media data, experts can pinpoint individuals with significant sway over specific target audiences. They carefully consider factors like follower count, engagement rates, the relevance of content, and the demographics of their audience. With this, agencies can select the most suitable and relevant influencers for collaborative efforts that resonate with audiences.

21

General time saving

AI technology saves time by automating tedious and time-consuming tasks like data entry, appointment scheduling, and customer support. By leveraging AI, businesses can streamline operations and allocate human resources to more strategic and value-added endeavors.

Moreover, AI's capability to analyze large datasets facilitates faster decision-making based on data-driven insights. Essentially, AI empowers professionals to work more intelligently and efficiently. Which is a welcome relief.

Instead of relying on employees to share information with new employees, where meaning and purpose may also get diluted, AI can power your central knowledge bank with all your firm's documents, providing solid historical knowledge in context. Having this information more easily at your fingertips without having to search through folders is a huge efficiency gain.

What are the biggest threats AI poses?

Companies need to understand that AI will soon permanently change every company, job, and industry. Those who stick to doing things manually will almost certainly stay behind. Not experimenting can be a risk. While AI's advantages are numerous, it is crucial to be aware of the downsides. These can include its perpetuation of bias, privacy compromise issues, and the spread of misinformation. We've seen stories in the news about deepfakes and imitations. In the era of 'fake news,' these have the power to cause irreparable harm and undermine public trust.

Automation in any sector has the power of displacing large numbers of people and making their roles redundant. PR is about ultimately about authenticity and building relationships. With the steady rise of AI, there is a real risk of losing the human touch and the uniqueness of human creativity and ideas.

There is also a lack of transparency and accountability with AI. This stems from the nature of deep learning AI models. These systems use vast amounts of data, but the reasoning behind their output is often a little opaque at best. This lack of transparency raises doubts about its reliability and fairness, as well as who is accountable for wrong or biased information. Without frameworks ensuring the responsibility and accountability of AI are defined, there is still a large degree of uncertainty about its use.

How to reduce the risks of AI

These risks remind us of the need for ethical guidelines and rigorous oversight when utilizing AI technologies. Below are just some of the steps we can take to mitigate against these.

People still need to train the AI, AI only becomes a risk when people abuse the technology.

Stay updated on regulations and best practices

Until there are firm regulations and laws on AI use, the rules are that there are no rules. Public relations professionals should be proactive in developing guidelines in this respect.

This is why it's important to create ethical frameworks for working.

Contribute and advise management and those colleagues for whom you're responsible, ensuring you comply with any newly introduced rules. This is particularly crucial in Europe, where regulations are more likely to appear first and impact more likely to be felt sooner.

Have procedures in place for checking accuracy

With the sheer amount of content AI can produce, it's never been more vital to check its factuality. Double-check everything. AI frequently gets things wrong or uses older data. This extra step in the process could save embarrassment later on. Help stop the spread of fake news.

Think about data

AI is only as good as the data. Many language models have abstract datasets across departments. The data is not ready for AI. So, think about the data structure, how it's stored, and how it can be prepared for AI. Poor-quality content is a danger to reputation.

AI 'hallucinations' are a major reason for the delayed uptake of AI. They hugely reduce confidence and trust in AI systems in general. Untouched outputs can produce inaccuracies and untruths. You need a firm strategy for developing the project. What does the output need to look like to be usable?

Think data security

AI uses user input to enhance machine learning and output. What you put into it is what you get out. This presents a big issue for AI adoption as it has huge ramifications for confidential or sensitive data, and there have already been notable examples of this going south for companies.

There are now procedures to delete data you give to certain generative AI models. Check thew data and privacy controls before you sign up, or before you input data into it. Or even better, do not put private data into these tools.

Agnostic AI

Some vendors try to lock people into using their products only, so when new products come along, it's difficult for companies to switch. This is where Agnostic AI is gaining popularity. Building an agnostic structure means exchanging models as new ones emerge, replacing old ones with the new. It’s a strategy that offers businesses flexibility, scalability, and an efficient means of applying new models while remaining independent of any specific AI vendor.

Be open about its uses

It's fine to use AI. Many of the problems or doubts about its usage stem from companies trying to pass AI communications as their own. While AI can often be spotted by trained eyes, it can sow the seeds of distrust. Start by being open and transparent about AI use and where and how you use it, and consider restricting its use.

Read and learn

The field of AI and PR is growing rapidly. It's important to keep up with the latest developments. Follow the AI gurus on LinkedIn, read their posts, and engage with online AI communities. You'll hear the latest ideas, discussion points, and challenges—invaluable for boosting knowledge and becoming more 'AI fluent.'

Books, conferences, and newsletters also help you stay current with the latest developments. Continuous learning is key. Data science moves fast. Get hands-on experience where you can, and practice leveraging AI.

AI training

In-house AI experts lessen the risks involved. The advantage of this is that they can offer continuous support and mentorship. Where this isn’t feasible, consider external training to get employees up to speed and confident in using AI language models in their everyday roles. External training exposes PR pros to a broader range of use cases and perspectives. Training can educate people on biases often prevalent in outputs.

You need to have the right skillset. Skills are getting more nuanced. As an example, a 'prompt engineer' is now a recognized role. Training encourages a safe learning environment. You need to have control of how you use it. Develop the skills and awareness. Be free to experiment.

Conclusion

We fear what we don't understand. But as we learn more, we can feel more comfortable and see the value firsthand. Doing nothing is not an option. When looking at AI in PR in an AI big data and readiness report, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations found 43% of people said they had limited knowledge of AI and felt less confident using it but wanted to. But how do we learn? We need to understand the tech, even as a creative industry.

It is important to note it won't replace PR professionals altogether.

Many human elements like relationship building and good people management are still absent from AI. And data is data and still needs to be interpreted. Indeed, there are moral issues. Look at the recent ChatGPT ban in Italy. More testing is required too. It needs to solve actual PR problems. We cannot just plug into elements of it. We need to ask how can we improve the work that we do. PR is an intersection of different things—writing, strategy, critical thinking, etc. We’ve seen how it can benefit us in all these areas.

People are getting value from it already. Companies need to be brave and bold. People with domain expertise mixed with AI knowledge could leverage it greatly. Arguably, PR professionals are those best placed to use it. As professionals, we were already slow in adopting SEO and digital PR. Its successful implementation is an existential issue. AI PR is here to stay, though.

June 1, 2023
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