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5 ways AI is changing PR for businesses and communications teams

by | May 29, 2024 | Public Relations

AI is here and it’s not showing any signs of going anywhere soon. So communicators need to look at AI as a tool that can support, speed up, and even improve the way you work, including how you manage your PR strategy.

Crucially, AI is changing the way searches are being conducted and how users interact with content. So, if you want to get the best results from your PR efforts in this ever-evolving digital landscape, understanding AI’s impact on PR is crucial.

Here’s how AI is changing PR for businesses and dedicated PR teams.

Image credit: Pixabay

How is AI affecting PR?

AI is affecting PR in three main areas. Firstly, and this specifically relates to digital PR, it’s changing online algorithms and SEO. This means that PR teams must align their content strategies with these algorithms to ensure their messaging resonates with target audiences, adopting new optimization techniques for better visibility.

Secondly, AI is reshaping brand credibility. As people become more discerning over what they read and engage with online—becoming increasingly able to tell apart AI-generated and human-produced content—businesses need to improve their brand authenticity, ultimately maintaining a core ‘human’ connection that resonates with audiences.

Lastly, AI is transforming the workflow of PR-related tasks. Its efficiency can enhance productivity by streamlining repetitive work, enabling you to concentrate on the areas of PR that require human judgment and critical thinking. From outreach to social media monitoring, AI can be an extremely useful tool in PR, positively affecting how you manage your time.

Which PR tasks can AI help with?

The key to successfully integrating AI tools into your PR work is to see them as supporting, not replacing, human-led PR. Despite many areas of PR relying on data, predictions, and insights—areas in which AI can be a huge help—the right approach is to combine these time-saving capabilities with the unique skills and experience within your team.

So, which areas of PR can AI help with? Here are just a few tasks that AI can assist with:

Audience engagement

AI can help with audience engagement in several ways, such as tailoring messaging and content to specific audience segments. For example, AI-powered segmentation tools can analyze demographic data, online behavior, and engagement patterns to identify distinct audience segments, so PR teams can create more personalized communication across their campaigns. 

Take press releases, for example: with segmentation data, it’s much easier to make small edits that allow one piece of content to be outreached to more than one target audience. For instance, if a company has diverse audience segments such as young professionals, parents, and retirees, an AI segmentation tool can identify the unique interests and preferences of each group. 

PR teams can then customize press releases by tweaking language, tone, and messaging to resonate with each segment. This level of personalization increases the relevance of the content, resulting in higher engagement and better response rates.

Crisis management and brand trust

AI is reshaping how PR teams and businesses operate through the utilization of chatbots. While chatbots have existed for some time, their intelligence and capabilities are evolving in ways that significantly benefit brand perception. This contributes to enhancing trust, credibility, and loyalty among audiences, thereby amplifying the effectiveness of PR efforts.

Chatbots, like those offered by platforms like Zendesk (or one of many Zendesk alternatives such as Crisp), play a crucial role for businesses such as ecommerce brands and agencies. They ensure prompt responses to queries, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and protecting brand reputation. Many queries will still require human intervention, of course, but this more efficient use of resources is a good thing for internal teams and consumers.

Additionally, PR teams can program chatbots to deliver timely updates and guide users to appropriate resources in case of a crisis. This grants PR teams more time to manage the situation effectively and uphold the brand’s name.

Content ideation and creation

Coming up with unique ideas for campaigns can be tough, especially in saturated markets. AI is changing the game here too, streamlining ideation and content creation so PR teams can turn seed ideas into fully built-out campaigns. 

Generative AI is a great tool for generating new ideas. PR teams can start by thinking about core themes for the business, then use AI to uncover subtopics, interesting angles, and story ideas for PR campaigns. Once you get the ball rolling, you can develop these ideas further as a team, whether that means collating data or adding unique viewpoints.

AI can also help with content creation. It’s important not to solely rely on these tools, especially when it comes to written content which requires a consistent brand tone of voice. But AI can provide press release outlines, email pitches, or even act as a personal editor, improving written content based on your target audience as well as reviewing general grammar and punctuation for inaccuracies.

Media monitoring

Media monitoring is listening to who’s saying what about your brand, your competitors, your industry, and any other topic that’s important to you and your operations. It’s extremely important for reactive PR activities and AI can help keep your finger on the pulse.

AI-powered media monitoring tools continuously scan various sources, including news websites, social media platforms, forums, and blogs, to track mentions and emerging trends. By automating this process, AI enables PR teams to stay informed and identify quick-win opportunities so brands can promptly join in with relevant conversations.

Doing this monitoring manually might not be the best use of a PR team’s time, since it will require a lot of manual filtering. AI offers a more efficient solution, freeing up valuable resources for other tasks like crafting press releases or submitting pitches to journalists.

Data analysis

Where AI really excels is in data analysis. Internal data can often be used as the core hook within a PR campaign, sharing unique trends or behaviors that are relevant to the target audience. However, going through all of this data and extracting valuable insights isn’t always easy—and this is where AI comes in, quickly identifying patterns that can be used.

For PR teams, AI is revolutionizing the management of data, making it easier to uncover new angles and insights that captivate audiences. The same holds true for external data. Whether it’s connecting the dots between the number of hashtags on a particular topic and its impact or understanding the surge in a specific search term, efficient data analysis is a significant shift that will enhance many areas of PR.

It’s clear that AI is changing the way PR teams operate and businesses present themselves, and is something that should be embraced, not feared. Utilizing these tools as a way of supporting your efforts can save you time, help you turn small ideas into bigger concepts, and streamline your processes. Give it a go!

Matt Willis
A UK-based digital copywriter, Matt Willis is a skilled and passionate scribe with a keen interest in an array of subjects; his varied written work can range from deliberations on advances in the tech industry to recommendations about the top wildlife-spotting destinations. When he doesn’t have his fingers attached to a keyboard, you’ll likely find him hunting down obscure soul records, professing (inaccurately) to be an expert on craft beer, or binge-watching documentaries about sharks.

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