AI is no longer the stuff of futuristic sci-fi films; it’s here and it’s real. Whether it’s working behind the scenes to supply data and do calculations, or if it’s the major selling point of a business’s effectiveness — AI is deeply embedded within the PR sphere.

What’s AI, again?

At its core, AI is focussed on making intelligent machines capable of solving problems as well as — or better than — humans can. AI systems are developed to perform tasks like visual perception, decision-making, speech recognition and language translation.

However, it’s not just one type of technology. In fact, it’s a combination of:
  • Machine learning: This is a process where machines are fed data, and continually develop the algorithms they have been programmed with. The more data the machines are fed, the more accurately it can process similar information in the future, and the more sophisticated the algorithms will become.
  • Neural networks: A method of processing vast amounts of data, which is modelled on the way the human brain interprets information. Neural networks consist of layers of nodes that receive data, extract the most relevant information and send the data along to the next node.
  • Natural language processing: A component of machine learning that processes, sorts and categorises various elements of text. While a human can inherently understand the meaning of sentences and paragraphs, a computer cannot really understand language. Using the mechanics of language, computers can, however, identify the context and grammatical use of words in sentences.
  • Computer vision: This technology allows computers to identify patterns and recognise objects in images. It is used by some advert tracking companies to detect the logos of thousands of brands and businesses in newspapers and magazines. This technology allows the computer to understand what they ‘see’, which is why it is being used in self-driving cars, augmented reality as well as the development of robots.

So, how is AI being used in PR?

The modern age of PR is digitally-focussed and, because of this, AI is used to assist PR professionals with data management, identifying insights and automating tasks.

Let’s delve a little deeper into each of those.

AI makes PR data management a breeze

While humans get tired and bored after staring at hundreds of tables full of data, machines don’t. Correctly trained AI systems don’t make mistakes either.

So when it comes to pulling, organising and analysing data — AI is a PR professional’s best friend.

Utilising AI-powered systems, PR professionals build new campaigns based on real-world data. Since AI technology is able to sift through and analyse masses of data, it can be used to help PR pros identify the elements that will likely lead to a successful campaign based on the intended target audience.

It can also be used to remove some of the guesswork involved in PR, giving fact-based answers to questions such as:
  • When is the best time to begin a campaign?
  • What are the most effective subject lines to increase email open rates?
  • What kind of copy content will my audience respond to best?
  • Which journalists, bloggers and influencers should I approach?
Thanks to AI, PR can offer hyper-specific material and campaigns that are perfectly aligned with the target audience’s interests. Say goodbye to wasting time on content that doesn’t meet the mark, and say hello to including AI systems in your PR work!

AI does the mundane work for you

As with any job, PR is filled with some mind-numbing tasks that simply have to be done.

If only there was a simpler way to get those tasks done … Well, there is!

Tasks that require large amounts of repetition, or ones that are simply time-consuming, can easily be done by AI-powered technology. Transcribing, scheduling calendars, sending follow-ups and structuring meeting notes can be done through Robotic Process Automation.

When it comes to gathering the fruits of your PR labour and finding mentions of your clients’ brands in the media, AI-powered media monitoring systems can make your job a breeze!

For example, Newsclip uses an artificially intelligent ‘Data Engine’ that uses a combination of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning.

This means that the company’s clients can instantly respond to mentions of their brand on both traditional and social media.

“Newsclip’s investments into AI, machine learning and NLP have made possible what was only imaginable a few years ago: extracting value from an ocean of information, and converting Big Data into bite-sized, consumable pieces,” according to a Newsclip blog post.

And when it comes to compiling masses of data into client reports? Newsclip has that covered too!

“Our custom-built NLP engine has revolutionised the way we enrich the brand monitoring insights we deliver to clients. It provides them with an immediate, in-depth analysis of the mountains of data that the media generates,” says representative, Catherine Dabbs.

AI is changing the traditional PR model

It was bound to happen — out with the old and in with the new (and improved)!

The role of a PR professional has shifted thanks to the advent of digital technology and social media, so why would the rise of AI be any different?

For example, thanks to innovative AI technology, the way a crisis is anticipated and handled will drastically change. AI systems can continually collect data and through machine learning, NLP and entity extraction, some crises may even be averted.

With crisis-related data being collected and analysed by AI-systems, PR professionals can be instantly notified when they receive negative mentions in the media (or on social media, thanks to social media monitoring companies like amaSocial).

These instant notifications can help you detect negative coverage as the news breaks, giving you the chance to contain a crisis and minimise the damage to your client’s brand.

And once the crisis has hit, how do you fix it? AI systems can analyse the situation and suggest the best possible plan of action to recover.

AI technology like this will usher in a new era of PR — one where professionals will be able to work faster and work smarter.

What are some of the other ways you think AI will change the way PR professionals do their jobs? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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AI isn’t the only thing that’s changing the PR industry; images are too! Find out the Four ways visuals can help you nail your next PR pitch.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy