The Rise of AI in Digital PR

In short, artificial intelligence (AI) is a machine’s ability to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence. This rise in computer power coupled with digital data is what makes artificial intelligence so important right now.

In this article, we go into how AI is changing the landscape in terms of PR, and how its rise is affecting businesses, both for better and for worse…

How AI is changing the landscape of digital PR?

The advancement of AI is drastically changing the way PR works. From the elevation of big data and the importance of communication strategies, artificial intelligence techniques are becoming more and more popular with PR pros who are looking to optimise their workflow.

Such tools provide them with a broad spectrum of opportunities, including data management and content creation. Those who embrace the developing technology can reap plenty of benefits, but those who don’t could get left behind.

However, while the majority of the PR industry sees AI as a good thing, it’s critical that ethical guidelines are established. Because as easy as it can enhance the reputation of a business, AI can also destroy it if used incorrectly.

What PR tasks can AI help with?

So, with AI undoubtedly becoming a permanent fixture in PR, let’s take a look at some of the tasks it can help you with…

Content creation

This is a vital part of PR, and AI’s growth can now be used to help professionals easily create compelling content. 

From generating ideas to writing up articles, editing them, adding imagery and videos and creating social posts, AI can also help with SEO content. Many PRs utilise AI in this way because it frees up valuable time and maintains brand consistency in terms of tone and messaging across more than one platform.

However, for ultimate content, a hybrid method of AI and human touch is needed. PR pros can add context, expertise and experience where AI cannot, plus give content that certain personal flair that – at the minute – only people can do.

Crisis management

AI is becoming pretty prevalent in crisis management by offering solutions to sticky situations often when time is of the essence. PRs can use artificial intelligence in such situations to provide them with real-time insights and data analysis, helping them to react accordingly and make informed decisions.

It can comb through a wealth of news coverage and social media data to identify key themes that will allow PRs to adjust their message to the public’s perception. 

Boost audience targeting

Thanks to AI, PR pros can uncover more extensive data and research on their stakeholders. This includes things like demographics and behavioural patterns and allows them to accurately identify and prioritise them.

Furthermore, this boosts their chances of reaching the right people and engaging with them.

In terms of increasing audience targeting, AI can also help PRs to generate more targeted messaging. This can then be delivered through the most appropriate channels, be it email, traditional or social media.

What are the pros and cons of integrating AI into PR strategies?

The benefits of using AI in PR strategies are…

Automating routine tasks

Chatbots are a prime example of PRs using AI to answer common questions from stakeholders or customers. This frees up a PR’s time and allows them to focus on other aspects of their work.

It can also help to automate media monitoring and sentiment analysis which are big data-driven tasks imperative to an effective PR strategy.

Analyse large amounts of data quickly and accurately

Artificial intelligence can help PRs to locate trends and patterns through a variety of channels, whether it be social media discussions, media coverage, or other information sources. 

Like we said before, this can be incredibly handy in terms of crisis communications, where real-time analysis can help you find arising issues so you can respond in the quickest and most effective way possible.

Create more personalised and engaging communications

Using AI-powered content recommendations can help PR pros to find the most effective and relevant content to share with the right audiences. Also, it can be beneficial for creating personalised advertising and messaging based on different user data and preferences.

Cons:

Every rose has its thorn is what they say, right? Here are some of the potential drawbacks of integrating AI into your PR strategies…

Lack of personalisation

Depending on which way you look at it, AI can also de-personalise the PR side of things. Sure, it can help you create more personalised messaging, but you also run the risk of your content becoming less unique and authentic.

For example, if every PR starts generating their commentary through AI algorithms, brands could potentially all end up sounding the same. Therefore there’ll be a lack of individuality in terms of brand voice, plus, it being harder to connect with your audience on a personal level.

Over-reliance

It’s basically important to not get lazy. If you rely on AI too much in terms of completing routine tasks, you could risk becoming over-reliant on technology. For example, while artificial intelligence has been revolutionary in terms of crisis management, it’s still important to include human judgement when it comes to how you respond. A last look, if you will, to make sure that the statement you issue is appropriate. 

Loss of privacy 

It’s widely known that AI requires a lot of data to function. This means it’s possible that it can be too intrusive in PR and communications and result in the loss of privacy for people.

Take a chatbot, for instance. In order for it to provide the most curated answers, it needs to collect personal data and info from customers. Naturally, this could cause concern for some, especially when it comes to how the data is used and how effectively it is protected.

The future of AI in digital PR – what trends or advancements can we expect?

So, what does the future hold for AI and digi PR? Let’s find out…

Chatbots becoming useful

If you can get over the fact that chatbots use personal info, they’re actually a great help for businesses that need to stay online to interact with their customers 24/7.

However, for years, plenty of them have been pretty unhelpful due to their limitations. But with the advanced AI technology of today, including machine learning, integrations and natural language processing, chatbots have finally gained the capability to do what they were designed for.    

Which is to provide helpful and relevant answers to customer queries, improve user experience overall, and navigate users to the right places.   

Optimising and repurposing content

AI content marketing gives people the opportunity to produce, optimise and then repurpose all kinds of content on a huge scale on different platforms really effectively. 

This includes content for SEO, social media, email marketing and even videos. 

For example, say you’ve got a social media post that needs optimising – AI can shorten sentences, improve grammar, add hashtags and even prepare future content by scheduling it weeks and months ahead.

It can also repurpose content and make it suitable for different formats.

Social media marketing will become saturated

A further AI trend that is set to increase over the course of the year is social media marketing becoming more competitive and oversaturated. This is through the AI technology making it easy to produce social media content constantly and at scale.

In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if there becomes an increasingly overwhelming amount of content from both influencers and brands, as everyone will have the resources to be able to post more than they have usually been able to.

Due to this increase in content creation and posting – and the fact that AI is making it easier to create, plus manage social media accounts for small brands or influencers who are new to marketing – it’s thought that social media marketing will become way more crowded than ever before. 

As a result of it being easier to ‘become’ a social media influencer through the use of AI tools, the number of content creators is practically doubling, which is further saturating the industry.

If you’re currently ‘influencing’ or managing a relatively successful social media page for your brand, you may have noticed the pressure to up your game.

Who is effectively using AI in their PR strategies?

If you’re looking for some inspiration from brands who have mastered the art of AI technology, look no further than the giants below…

Amazon 

Of course, Amazon was one of the first major players to jump on the AI train. Using it to head personalised shopping recommendations, over the years, its algorithms have become quite mature.

The eccomerce platform also uses AI to instigate dynamic pricing, which basically means lowering them to generate more sales when needed and bumping them up when products are in high demand. The algorithm then allows optimum sales and automatic revenue.

And Amazon hasn’t stopped there, either.  Continuing to be ahead of the game in terms of tech, they’ve even opened physical stores where no check-out is needed. Instead, the stores have cameras and AI-powered sensors that can tell exactly what products a customer has picked up. Then, as soon as they walk out of the store, they’ll get charged automatically using the Amazon Go app.

Starbucks

At Starbucks, personalisation is a priority and an integral part of their customer experience. From having the technology to customise drinks tailored to your individual tastes, they also have a loyalty card option and a mobile app where they collect and analyse customer info and data. This includes a customer’s purchase, plus when and where the orders were made.

To process this data, Starbucks use predictive analytics which allows them to deliver personalised marketing messages to customers, including recommendations and offers with the intention of increasing the average spend. They also use the customer data to help them with business decisions such as what products they should offer and where they should open new stores.

Plus, they have an AI-powered virtual barista on the Starbucks app that lets customers place orders through voice command on their phones.

There’s no escaping it

Whether you’re into AI or not, there’s no getting rid of it. This means, in terms of PR, it’s something that pros will need to adapt to in order to move with the times. Whilst doing so, it is important to remain present, as regardless of how advanced a piece of technology is, there is nothing quite like personal, human touch.

Ellie Mckenna

Content Executive

MSc Digital Marketing & Communications. All things pattern and design. Find me eating pizza in a floral print 🌸🍕
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