The CIPR recently launched an interesting study that indicates that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in public relations (PR) will triple in the next five years. So that’s we chose AI as one of the trends in public relations in 2019, about which we should be attentive.
Does it mean that soon we are going to see robots doing the sell-ins to the journalists? Probably not: the spread of artificial intelligence in PR will be much less spectacular. Instead of robots, there will be a progressive implementation of intelligent computer systems, which will have the capacity to perform tasks previously reserved for communication professionals.
So what we can do now with AI?
Here are some examples of tasks that an AI systems can help us with now:
- Transcribe audio and video recordings, for example interviews snd webinars.
- Create media lists for the press releases distributions, calls, etc.
- Manage the sending of personalized messages to journalists and influencers.
- Automate media tracking and creation of reports in real time.
- Monitor social networks and follow trends, reactions, interactions, etc.
- Control the online reputation of the brands and warn of possible image crises.
- Answer simple enquiries from the media, such as requesting images or prices.
- Analyze large volumes of data to use in stories, articles, notes …
- Predict the reach and virality of a new, message or piece of
It may seem futuristic, but the reality is that artificial intelligence is already present in many tools that public relations agencies use in our day to day lives.
For example, the popular social media programming and management platform Hootsuite has developed an AI-based chatbot that allows brands to automate social conversations with their audiences; the email marketing platform MailChimp has an artificial intelligence filter to prevent spam shipments; and LinkedIn also uses this technology to improve job searches on its platform. Even the humble Word is gradually incorporating AI functions to help us in the writing and revision of texts!
There are other advanced tools based on AI that go much further, such as Persado. It is an online platform that helps to create content (from e-mail marketing messages to publications on social networks) that generate the maximum engagement of users. It suggests most effective words, images or calls to action.
In Spain we also have some interesting cases of the application of artificial intelligence in public relations. For example, Sprai.io portal uses AI to optimize the sending of press releases to journalists’ databases; while #SaludsinBulos platform has created a chatbot to combat fake news about health issues.
So, should we throw in the towel and start looking for another job?
Given these innovations (and those to come), it would be easy to think that soon public relations agencies may start to dispense a good part of their staff. Or, even more worryingly, that brands can dispense with public relations agencies, and contract software that helps them to create their messages, send them to the media and follow up.
However, it is not as simple as it seems. Any professional of PR knows that all these tasks (creating content, selecting the appropriate media and channels, monitoring, etc.) are only a small part of the work in a communication agency.
But no program has the ability, for example, to design a comprehensive communication strategy for a client; to establish personal relationships with media and influencers to they can be receptive to the messages of a brand; to manage a crisis communication campaign; or to choose an original location to make a difference in an event.
Public relations have a creative, social and intuitive component that no machine can imitate. In this sense, artificial intelligence is a valuable tool that will help agencies to automate and perform routine tasks more efficiently. This will free up valuable time that professionals can dedicate to better serve clients, journalists, prescribers, influencers and other publics with whom we deal with on a daily basis. Because artificial intelligence is more efficient to handle data; although, when it comes to managing personal relationships, any software can emulate the human factor.
Has artificial intelligence also reached your sector? Tell us on social media!