Traditionally, PR has been thought of as more of an art than a science. From this perspective, PR is all about people, relationships and intangibles like brand perception. But that’s changing with the latest generation of AI-powered tools. That’s because many of them now offer to transform PR into much more of a data-driven science. That, of course, leads to the natural question: Why aren’t more PR professionals taking advantage of the latest and greatest AI-powered tools?
According to one estimate, less than 3 percent of all articles about PR mention artificial intelligence. However, at a time when so many everyday web applications are using AI to make better recommendations, curate playlists and help plan the optimal route to your destination, there’s surely room for PR professionals to embrace the AI revolution, right?
At its core, AI is really just about reviewing and analyzing more data points than humans can, all in a much shorter time period, and with much greater accuracy. Thus, if you can transform any PR task into a set of data points, then you’re well on your way to using AI.
For example, consider something as basic as “media coverage.” You could theoretically use AI-powered tools capable of understanding text and classifying articles, and use that to track media coverage of both your company and your rivals.
Or, you could tap into the predictive power of artificial intelligence. There are several ways this could be useful to just about any PR professional. For example, consider how powerful it would be to predict how big of a trend something will become within the next 30 days.
Or, consider the area of crisis management. AI-powered tools are a way of making sense of the millions of disparate pieces of content added to the web each day – all the blog posts, social media updates and comments written on news sites. Imagine being able to understand the possible implications of any social media crisis – and then receive “expert” recommendations about how to prevent it from spreading.
AI could also be the key to making more efficient use of customer or audience data. You can think of something as simple as a hashtag as a piece of data. When AI-powered tools are combined with natural language processing skills, something amazing happens: you can create a real-time word cloud of what people are saying about you at any point in time, all without having to dedicate hours to scouring the latest social media posts.
For PR professionals, it’s time to recognize that what was just an “art” is now a “science.” New AI tools make it possible to take all the content being created each day on the web and transform it into actionable analysis. Instead of spending hours each day reading through industry blogs for insights and trends, you could let a computer handle that for you. And, instead of completely ignoring some types of content – such as audio content and image content – you can now use powerful speech-to-text and image recognition tools to make sense of them.
This might sound a bit too futuristic, except that it’s not. We’ve now reached a point where Spotify knows exactly what you want to listen to, Google knows exactly what you’re searching for, and Facebook knows how to identify your friends in any photo you upload to the social network. Now it’s time for PR professionals to become part of the AI revolution.