A lack of automation has long plagued the public relations industry.
Advanced communications technologies are growing increasingly popular in similar sectors, like marketing and advertising, but has not yet impacted the public relations industry in any substantial way. Many PR professionals see augmented intelligence (A.I.) and automation as a threat to their jobs and a hindrance to the creativity that makes their work unique and gratifying, despite its growth across other industries. PR professionals looking to do their jobs better, and to validate their work in a more effective way, need to embrace A.I. for what it is and what it can be: a tool to help us do our jobs better, not to steal them.
Our industry has the potential to be drastically improved through predictive technology like A.I., machine learning and natural language processing. These technologies can completely reimagine our workflows – helping PR professionals navigate an ever more competitive and transactional news environment by deploying a data-driven approach to media intelligence and relationships. It’s a big catch-up moment to other areas of marketing, which have been driven by data for years now.
As a podcast host and writer for various industry websites, I get pitched at least 30-40 times a week. Of those pitches, 90% of them are terrible. On the flip side, I also founded an agency and have spent many years pitching media myself. As a result, I’m familiar with the frustration many PR professionals (especially younger ones) feel over the lack of earned media “intelligence” tools available on the market.
These experiences have led me to the firm belief that PR professionals need to be more open to using data-driven insights to up-level themselves, account for staffing issues and improve their work. Technology challenges and client demands have consequentially caused individuals to resort to taking shortcuts and opting for mass media lists instead of identifying unique and relevant media targets. However, as an industry, we should be thinking about how to combine our creativity with data-driven insights to ensure the right pitch is sent to the right people at the right time. We should be open to tools that enable us to skip the hundreds of outreach and follow-up emails that only lead to ineffective media campaigns and frustrated journalists.
As a tool, A.I. can be particularly useful in pinpointing targets in a media industry that is becoming increasingly more fractured. While great PR work demands forming personal connections, A.I. can be a powerful tool to connect us with the right contacts. Too often, with big analog databases, we’re looking at lists of names, but we’re not digging deeper. Instead, we need to move from long and intense media lists to fewer, better targets. This transition will help us land more placements and build better relationships.
A.I. and machine learning have the prospect of shaping media relations as never before. By discussing the capabilities and practical applications of these technologies – and the impact they are likely to have on how journalists and communications professionals do their jobs – our industry leaders can offer a compelling and optimistic window into the future of news and public relations.—
PRophet is the first-ever A.I.-driven platform, built by and for PR professionals, to use a proprietary combination of natural language processing and machine learning to predict media interest and story sentiment before you ever send a pitch.