The world of PR is rapidly evolving to meet the demands of fast-paced news cycles and a torrent of online content. So the world of media relations needs to evolve as well. Gone are the days when matching clients to publications was as simple as sending a press release and making a few phone calls. If, indeed, those days ever really existed in the first place.
In fact, connecting thought leaders with journalists amid the growing flood of internet content is a skill that needs re-mastering across the board. Journalists receive hundreds of PR pitches every day. What’s more, the ratio of PR professionals to journalists, at 6-to-1, continues to climb, up from 4-to-1 in 2010. What this means for PR pros is that there’s a lot more competition out there fighting for media attention.
PR professionals need to utilize all the tools at their disposal to make sure their message stands above the rest. One very promising new tool involves using artificial intelligence (AI) to scour the media landscape, monitor story trends, and match clients to the appropriate media outlets for their message. Recent AI developments can provide the data and techniques necessary to deliver compelling pitches to receptive journalists.
In short, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach media relations.
What Is AI-powered martech?
AI-powered matchmaking in PR works through the use of several algorithms that scour the web in order to spot trends in what publications are writing about. Instead of waiting for news bulletins or relying on internal teams to identify trends, PR companies can use AI to quickly do the footwork.
After pinpointing the trends that relevant publications are covering, innovations in this technology can match trends to specific clients based on their areas of expertise, and then create recommendations about what publications to pitch—even which journalists to target.
Such tools can lower the cost of market research while also providing the fodder to nurture client relations based on a deeper understanding of the media landscape that goes beyond simple keywords. More than anything, this could give agencies an edge when it comes to delivering media wins.
How will AI change the media world?
AI-powered matchmaking technology is taking PR agencies far beyond simply monitoring the media. We are on the cusp of actually predicting what journalists are likely to write about. In the same way that Spotify can suggest music you might like or Amazon can Recommend products, such PR algorithms will be able to tell you which journalists are likely to be receptive to a client’s message. For example, emerging algorithms can analyze which journalists consistently cover big tech and Web3, and suggest them as excellent contenders to pitch to – not simply based on keywords in coverage, but deeper understanding of relevance, patterns, and intelligent predictions made within the broader media landscape.
This level of targeted analysis should be useful for journalists as well – leading to more relevant pitches based on the journo’s real area of interest and likely areas of coverage. Such AI-informed pitches promise to offer journalists new angles on trending topics they care about and offer more meaningful content with expert advice to support on stories. AI-powered PR will challenge the belief that cold pitches largely irrelevant / a waste of time and, at best, such analysis has the potential to transform the way PR pros forge media relations.
AI-powered matchmaking is only one of the exciting martech advances to look forward to. According to McKinsey, the use of AI in sales and marketing could add as much as might add $2.6 trillion in value to industry.
Despite the promise of AI, adoption has so far been slow, and PR has historically lagged other industries in the adoption of innovative tech. In fact, a 2019 Global Communications Report from USC Annenberg concluded that only 18 percent of PR professionals surveyed thought that AI would be a disruptive force in the industry. And the Institute for Public Relations contends that the adoption AI has only just begun.
It might take some time before such tech is properly implemented, adopted, and that agencies and organizations embrace such innovation. And, likewise, the implementation must be thoughtfully executed so avoid degrading the authentic interpersonal aspects of successful PR. But, all said, we are likely sitting on the cusp of significant innovation in the PR space powered by accelerated development of AI-powered tools, and soon PR pros could have even more time to focus on what truly matters—developing high-value relationships with and between clients and journalists.