AI is Changing Communication in PR: Benefits and Risks
 · 12 min read · May 13, 2024

AI in Public Relations: the Benefits and Risks of Change

Nicholas Berryman

Most PR professionals surveyed (67.8%) in The State of PR Technology 2023 already utilize AI in their work. These numbers mean the growing link between AI and Public Relations is undeniable.

So, let’s take a closer look at how PR professionals use AI. Artificial intelligence in the PR industry is already changing the landscape, both the good and the bad. More importantly, it provides some raw data to tackle the AI revolution in PR.

We'll talk numbers and provide insights into:

By the way, now you can revolutionize your PR process with Prowly! We supercharged our workflow with AI to cover every step of creating a press release. From brainstorming ideas✨ to drafting and editing content, connecting with the perfect journalists, and even summarizing your press release in an email.

Artificial intelligence in Public Relations: your daily work

The State of PR Technology 2023

The results are in! And why not? But let's dive deeper into the data and see what comes up. We did some digging with our respondents. What did we find?

Well, it turns out that the PR pros who describe themselves as happy and extremely happy about using AI in Public Relations are the very same ones who use it most (80.2%) and feel most confident about their ability to do so (65% satisfaction score).

This nudges us to conclude that those who use AI technology to enhance their PR and communications work often perceive its benefits more positively.

But how are these PR professionals using AI in their daily lives? Let's run through an example or two and explore the potential benefits.

Recently, we analyzed ChatGPT for PR, yielding specific results and outcomes designed for PR specialists. Explore our latest blog post to delve into the details.

Using Generative AI for ideas and inspiration

This is where it all begins. Generative AI tools can help stimulate human creativity. For example, you can use artificial intelligence to brainstorm creative ideas and help create content by providing meaningful inspiration to enhance your messages and communication.

Using AI tools in content creation

AI that benefits from Natural Language Processing puts the power to quickly generate press releases and PR reports directly into your hands.

It may not be a match for human expertise. However, it can significantly enhance human capabilities by helping create personalized content.

Discover the best ChatGPT prompts in our recent blog post.

AI support in research

AI-powered tools can be a valuable business asset to communication professionals in their ability to perform tasks that usually take up too much of our precious time.

AI has proven efficient in conducting research and providing the desired results. This frees up PR professionals for more of that uniquely human creativity that PR thrives on.

Using AI for media monitoring

Beyond AI-generated content, we can find even more uses in. AI can track and perform sentiment analysis to track the success of our PR campaigns. Giving you the data you need to head off any potential crises.

AI can also provide data analysis to allow PR professionals more time to apply their human expertise to great PR strategic planning.

AI assistance in reporting

The idea of using AI for public relations wouldn't be complete if we left out reporting. AI-powered tools can act as virtual assistants to help show the value of our work.

AI technology helps by providing the raw data and sentiment analysis needed to link sales results with earned media coverage.

It also provides historical data analysis and tracks market trends and the performance of PR communication campaigns to help secure future budgets.

Discover new opportunities to enhance your PR efforts through technology with The State of PR Technology 2023.

Minimizing potential risks with ethical guidelines

The State of PR Technology 2023

Every new era of technology comes with a new era of risks and fears. As AI develops and has a greater impact on human conversations and interpersonal communication, the truth of these fears will become clear.

AI tools for PR are becoming increasingly important due to their practical applications. But it's important to remember that these new tools are, in the end, our virtual assistants.

Like any new assistant, AI is prone to mistakes that PR professionals have long outgrown. AI can mimic human intelligence and create content more quickly than anything seen before, but our experience as humans gives us the power to judge.

Let's run through a few of the biggest perceived threats and what you can do to prevent them from developing into potential crises.

A commitment to accuracy: double-check everything

Audio and video manipulation and the propagation of Fake News tops our list of threats, with 63.9% of respondents naming it as one of their biggest anxieties. And not without cause!

While the power of AI in content creation is undeniable, we must be sure to double-check everything it produces before publication. Why is this? Because Generative AI is known to hallucinate.

What does this mean? Simply put, AI-generated content sometimes answers questions with false information.

These mistakes are easy to spot with a bit of human interaction. Simply double-check the facts and figures to ensure their accuracy. It's an extra step, but it's still a massive time saver in the long run.

And it’s the best remedy for manipulation and fake news.

Prioritize data security: beware of what you put in and what comes out

37.8% of respondents have cybersecurity and privacy concerns regarding AI and PR.

This seems like a no-brainer, but even Samsung learned this hard way. That's just one example. But the fact is, artificial intelligence repurposes user input to enhance the machine learning process. In other words, what you put into it is what you get.

AI does a lot of heavy lifting with content ideation, creating press releases, following text prompts, and more. And the AI collects all this data to use as building blocks for future generated content.

This means your data may end up in someone else's answer or your answer may include copyrighted data from another business. This risk is real enough that companies like Valve have already begun to double-check AI generated content to protect themselves.

In short? Don’t put confidential client information into generative AI tools. And stay wary of potential copyright issues.

Stay open and transparent: don't keep AI behind the curtain

Fears over a lack of transparency in where and how companies are using AI are shown in 26.4% of respondents. This arises from a general distrust of AI in communications where the human touch is still so essential.

We get the sense of dishonesty from AI communications masquerading as human communication and mimicking human behavior. In the end, this comes back to ethical practices.

The PR Council advises disclosing to clients and co-workers if generative AI tools are used in any part of the creative process. We agree. Such openness fosters transparency raises awareness and builds trust.

Use diverse training data: evaluate AI for biases

Machine learning builds artificial intelligence by observing human behavior. Unfortunately, this can lead to unintentional biases that cannot be ignored.

In the realm of artificial intelligence and public relations, the risk is even greater. The risk of bias and discrimination by PR AI sits high in the minds of communication professionals. 32.8% of respondents name it among their fears.

To prevent a public relations AI-related crisis, be aware of biases hidden in AI communication tools, both in written content and in developing imagery for a campaign.

It's important not to think of AI for communication as a replacement for diverse experiences, insights, or engagement.

Extra tip: We prepared a comprehensive article on introducing an ethical AI framework to your PR agency, which will walk you through all the PR Council guidelines and provide specific steps to follow.

Where Artificial Intelligence meets human empathy

Topping the charts with two of the biggest threats PR professionals see for AI and communication go hand in hand. The fear of losing that human touch (56.1%) and the unification of content and loss of creativity (50.6%).

With the power of AI to create creative messages, continuous improvement is still needed.

AI-powered communication may have its place. But when it comes to relationship building? That remains person-to-person.

The communication process between technology and humans is still developing. But when thinking of how to communicate with artificial intelligence, remember this:

→ AI is here to assist, not to replace - remember to keep that human touch in your work.

Uncover how PR pros adapt to AI in our free report, The State of PR Technology 2023.

Artificial Intelligence in Public Relations: the biggest benefits 

The State of PR Technology 2023

Now, onto the good stuff. When it comes to public relations and technology, we're always looking for those little quality-of-life perks. Machine learning tools are no exception.

To perform tasks such as sentiment analysis and tracking across social media is the essence of AI PR. AI public relations should make our work more efficient and free PR pros up for more creative work.

But let's take a closer look at how PR pros are profiting from AI in communication today.

Enhanced efficiency and productivity

A stunning 61.4% of early adopters of AI in communication report increased efficiency and productivity across the board.

It's easy to see how. 76.6% of PR pros are using PR intelligence tools to automate all those tedious, repetitive tasks, saving massive amounts of time and freeing it up for more strategic planning.

But what's more? 58.7% report using it to speed up research across social media and other platforms. And 42.2% report using artificial intelligence communication tools to enhance or automate their content ideation and creation.

This is a prime example of how AI in communications can create more efficient and rewarding business environments.

Faster and easier research

With Google rolling out its new internet-linked chatbot, Bard, across Europe and Brazil, it's easy to see how 58.7% of PR professionals have benefitted from AI speeding up their research needs.

These new AI-powered tools have direct access to the internet. Making them both a research assistant and a search engine. Further enhanced with voice assistants and options for text prompts, they're more accessible than ever.

This is just one example of an AI PR application. AI tools can also help companies automatically track user behavior across social media, but more about that later.

Reduced costs and resources for PR business activities

Need an answer for tightening budgets? Well, it seems investment in AI may be the key.

43.5% of respondents report that investing in public relations AI tools has reduced the overall costs and resources companies need.

It's easy to spot the savings. With reduced man hours required for those tedious, repetitive tasks, faster research, and more efficient content creation, it's clear how AI in PR and communications saves both time and money on a daily basis.

Improved and automated content creation

While the risks are well established, the perks of having AI in communications are undeniable. 42.2% of respondents are already utilizing AI to enhance their communication efforts.

This can be as straightforward as generating personalized messages to support relationship building. Crafting posts and visuals for social media. Or providing a business with ideas for branding their own corporate communication efforts.

Of course, AI algorithms don't have all the answers and still need that essential human intelligence to turn the mundane into the outstanding.

More data-driven insights

Enhanced media monitoring and analysis is coupled with better measurements and reporting data for PR activities. These make the charts with 27.9% and 27.5% of respondents reporting their use respectively.

The unique strength of AI in Public Relations is its ability to sift through countless social media posts and journalistic articles, perform sentiment analysis, and provide real data on the performance of our PR and marketing campaigns in real time.

This is a double benefit. It saves PR professionals countless hours of reading and research and provides rich data for PR reports to drive future budget decisions.

Artificial Intelligence and Public Relations - the Future of the PR industry

There's no doubt that the introduction of Artificial Intelligence, AI, in the PR Industry will change how we approach communication. But that change does not have to be for the worse. Messages vary from optimistic to doom and gloom, but with this guide, you can make AI work for you.

One thing is clear. The nature of PR work is shifting. AI is taking over all the repetitive and mundane tasks that haunt our daily, weekly, and monthly calendars.

This is a clear message for working communications professionals to develop new skills or polish off some of their old favorites.

As AI continues to revolutionize public relations, it's essential for PR professionals to stay informed about the latest trends and innovations shaping the industry. Catch up on PR Episodes 2024, where industry leaders came together to discuss the transformative impact of technology and AI on PR.

The State of PR Technology 2023 report provides many insights. Most of all, the data highlights the importance of critical thinking, adaptability, editing, and storytelling skills. As AI grows in the PR industry, this trend will continue with a greater emphasis on social sciences.

The rampant growth of technology will continue. PR professionals should create their own unique approaches and strategies to stay ahead.

These strategies should be based on solid data, following ethical guidelines, and can benefit from comprehensive and accurate reports.

Gain all the insights you'll need to craft your own approach to AI in PR in The State of PR Technology 2023.