Is AI the end of public relations as we know it?

The recent webinar, ‘Is AI the end of Public Relations?’ presented by Amy Hayward-Paine at Annica, shed light on the growing influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the field of public relations (PR) and communications. The evolving nature of AI poses both advantages and challenges, and it is crucial to explore its potential impact.

In this article, I will delve into the benefits AI brings to PR while acknowledging the risks highlighted by Erodotos Miltiadous and the insights shared by Greg Matusky. Moreover, I will touch upon an upcoming panel discussion on AI’s influence in journalism, emphasizing the need for a cautious approach in embracing this transformative technology.

Benefits of AI in PR and communications: AI presents numerous opportunities to enhance PR practices and streamline communications. By automating routine tasks, such as using chatbots to respond to common queries, PR professionals can allocate more time to strategic and creative endeavors. AI also facilitates media monitoring and sentiment analysis, enabling data-driven decision-making, which is crucial for effective PR campaigns.

With AI’s ability to quickly analyze vast amounts of data, professionals can identify patterns and trends in media coverage, social media conversations, and other sources. This empowers them to make well-informed decisions, particularly in crisis communications, where real-time analysis is paramount. Additionally, AI can aid in creating personalized and engaging communications by recommending relevant content and tailoring messaging based on user data and preferences.

Challenges and potential risks of AI in PR: While AI offers significant benefits, it is essential to address the potential challenges and risks it poses. One concern is the misinterpretation of data, as AI’s effectiveness depends on the quality and bias-free nature of the training data. Inaccurate or biased data sets could lead to misleading conclusions, especially in sentiment analysis where AI may struggle to capture the tone and context accurately.

Mark Hossain's Terminator art

Thanks to sci-fi movies, AI has a poor PR image

Another challenge is the risk of over-reliance on AI, potentially neglecting human judgment and decision-making, particularly in critical situations that demand a nuanced response. Moreover, there is a risk of compromising personalization if AI-generated content becomes the sole source of communication, possibly diluting the authenticity and connection with audiences. Lastly, the use of AI in PR and communications raises concerns regarding data privacy and protection, as AI relies on user data, and ethical considerations must be upheld to safeguard individuals’ information.

Embracing AI with caution: As AI continues to evolve, it is crucial for PR professionals to embrace this technology thoughtfully. Greg Matusky emphasizes the importance of recognizing AI’s potential to reshape the entire communications workflow, going beyond content generation: “That’s where the revolution will be waged—not as a party trick to write blog posts at the quality of the average human being or outsourced SEO firm. Rather, the real gain will be achieved once we accept AI as the missing link in the long-overdue tech enablement of the entire communications workflow.”

The envisioned collaboration between communicators and AI involves educating machines about corporate nuances, enabling precise stakeholder customization. However, it is essential to strike a balance between AI’s capabilities and the human touch in maintaining brand voice and authenticity. PR professionals should leverage AI to enhance their work while upholding industry principles and values. Continuous monitoring and evaluation will be vital in harnessing AI’s potential while mitigating its risks.

Looking ahead: The impact of AI extends beyond PR and communications, reaching journalism as well. The Frontline Club’s upcoming panel on 24 May discussion on AI in journalism will shed light on the rapid automation of news writing, fact-checking, and headline generation. While AI offers efficiency and speed, questions arise regarding the accuracy and impartiality of AI-generated news. As AI technology advances, it is crucial to address these concerns and consider the future of human journalists in an age of automation.


PRWeek podcast:
PRWeek UK’s Beyond the Noise podcast on ‘AI won’t take your job, but a human who knows how to use it will’ published on 17 May looks beyond the hype around AI and focuses on how the technology is being used in the comms industry at the moment. The guests discuss which AI tools are being used and presented, and how. They analyse the advantages and limitations of AI at present and the possible long-term implications, including whether the technology might ultimately make some PR roles redundant.

New press release tool:
Want an AI-powered free press release tool? Built by US-based Gregory FCA Public Relations, the team reversed engineered each news release flavor to build prompts appropriate to the kind of new release you are writing. So if it’s a capital raise, one of the prompts asks, how will the proceeds be used? CIO at Gregory FCA Jono Matusky said: “With recent advancements from OpenAI and others, we believe that generative AI will soon become a widespread tool in marketing and public relations, and we want to make sure that communications professionals understand that AI isn’t magic, expensive, or hard to use.” It’s also featured on Product Hunt with reviews from PR professionals.

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