Artificial Intelligence and Public Relations
Is it reasonable to think that even a complex professional activity with a high added value such as Public Relations can benefit from AI?
Perhaps it is best to ask directly what improvements AI will bring to the structure of agency work and the services offered to clients.
In fact, there are already Artificial Intelligence tools and applications that are optimizing the work of PR professionals, relieving them of the most repetitive jobs and giving them the opportunity to focus their activities on the most creative and complex tasks.
What AI applications are used in Public Relations?
Some areas and activities of Public Relations that already benefit from the introduction of AI are for example:
1. More effective relationships
Reaching journalists and influencers becomes more effective and dynamic by improving lists and adapting content. The evaluations are carried out not only on numerical parameters but on a complex of factors such as audience engagement and loyalty, the quality of interactions, the correlation with company parameters (eg sales performance). Contact lists become more up-to-date and relevant. The PR professional can concentrate on curating the relationship, leaving mainly the selection of subjects to the machines.
2. Monitoring multimedia conversations
With image recognition it is also possible to monitor visual conversations (without textual mentions); through natural language recognition (NLP) for audio and video content can be analyzed. For example, Instagram users through stories make the most relevant moments of their lives accessible in a genuine way: places visited, objects seen, clothing worn, food consumed, friends met. This is new and profile able information, precious for those who manage to analyze it effectively. Likewise, the analysis of the content of videos posted on YouTube can help to deepen the knowledge of the target audience.
3. Broader and deeper sentiment analysis
Various tools allow a more inclusive and intelligent sentiment analysis: the expansion of the analysis of textual, audio and video content online, the improvement of the interpretation of the contents, the refinement of the sentiment analysis, the preparation of automatic reports.
Let’s take an example. In a simple post like “That Adidas commercial was annoying and too long, but the Doritos commercial was incredible” the more traditional techniques would consider this negative phrase, as there is one positive word (“incredible”) and two negative expressions (“annoying” and “too long”). But an NLP system discerns that this sentence is actually positive in relation to Doritos.
4. Adoption of tools to avoid or anticipate crises
The speed of spread of a crisis makes it necessary to use tools to manage it before losing control (crisis management). For example, an early discovery of the harbingers of a crisis, its immediate evaluation based on historical data, the decision of the next move, the prediction of evolution up to 30 days are already within the reach of the AI systems in use in RPs.
5. Decisions based on more up-to-date and in-depth information
Artificial Intelligence makes it possible to transform a mass of data (coming from social networks, blogs, events, competitors, analysts, influencers, journalists) into automatically generated texts in natural language, therefore more easily used for human evaluations.
These documents may include competition reports, market trend trends, macro trends on consumption and consumers, the advent of hot and trending topics.
Analyzes can become more regular and timely as it is no longer a human intelligence to fathom and sift the information. They can also be more in-depth as it can exponentially increase the amount of data being evaluated by Artificial Intelligence.
6. More personalized and available content
With AI, it becomes easier to write content that normally requires a great deal of effort for production and that constitute material of great interest to the target audience, such as case studies, data sheets, white papers. The Associated Press news agency produces 4,400 financial reports per quarter fully automatically, with a 15-fold increase in productivity compared to the past. Avocados From Mexico used IBM’s AI Watson at Super Bowl 2019 to give the public a personalized image of the dog that best fits the profile derived from the social content of the individual participants.
It also becomes easier to produce customized content for the individual journalist or influencer, avoiding the distribution of generic and poorly targeted material but making content available to each journalist on the topics that interest them most, accompanied by the type of data that in the past they have used in others articles, in a style modeled on his writing.
Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Public Relations Professionals?
A research conducted by the CIPR ( Humans still needed: an analysis of skills and tools in public relations ) showed that 32% of the typical activities of Public Relations has no technological support, and even it is expected that it will have in the future. These are skills such as flexibility in a context of constant change, mentoring, familiarity with theories and their applications, strategic thinking, ethical evaluations. Even certain human traits such as empathy, trust, irony and wit, the ability to build relationships cannot be automated (at least not yet). A further 27% consist of businesses that enjoy the support of IT or AI tools for in-depth decisions or analysis.
When the less complex and creative activities (basic research, content creation, campaign evaluation, criticality monitoring and a long series of repetitive processes) are more or less predominantly carried out with the help of Artificial Intelligence tools, public relations professionals they are assessed on the ability to build and manage deep and lasting relationships with other human beings, to make decisions on complex scenarios, to evaluate the ethics of their work, to evaluate environmental changes and cultural trends, to develop solid strategic thinking.
These will remain the inalienable traits of a serious PR professional for at least a few decades.