A copy of the State of PR Technology 2023 report
 · 8 min read · July 19, 2023

AI Insights from The State of PR Technology 2023 Report

Nicholas Berryman

The results are in and 76% of PR practitioners foresee that critical thinking will be the paramount PR skill of the future. The truth is, AI can do a lot to speed up productivity. But can it ever quite replace that essential human touch?

Early adopters are already bringing the advantages of AI technology to bear in their daily work. The State of PR Technology 2023 shows just where and how.

See the stats behind these figures and much more.

In this article you’ll find some key insights and valuable takeaways drawn from the State of PR Technology 2023 report, including findings on:

PR pros biggest challenges for 2023

Among the greatest challenges facing PR pros in 2023 we find some repeat contenders and a few growing trends. Unsurprisingly, mental health continues to top the charts while the need to work on a tight budget seems to be on the rise. Can AI and new technology be leveraged to help solve these issues?

Mental health and tackling burnout

Our study shows that 35.9% of respondents have faced symptoms of burnout in the past year. The PR field has always tended towards being both demanding and stressful. And it’s our mental well-being that often takes the hit. These numbers point to a real need that AI and technology may be equipped to fulfill. Other studies, made last year, confirm this need.

Struggling with tight budgets

The data shows that over 48% of PR practitioners are struggling with tight budgets in 2023. Up from only 34.4% in 2022. This limits the access many PR pros have to new technology. Limited resources can quickly turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

First, PR practitioners struggle to effectively showcase their true value. Which means their importance can be more easily underestimated. This leads to a negative effect on future budget decisions. This issue is looking like one of the biggest for 2023.

Although a closer look at the numbers show it impacts the industry unevenly. Investments in new tools and AI backed solutions may provide the way out.

Find out more about solutions already on the market.

PR pros are already using AI - how is it changing PR today?

67.8% of respondents say they’re already using ChatGPT or other AI solutions in their work. These early adopters share their insights, sentiment, enthusiasm and fears in the full report. But here’s a quick sneak peak of their first impressions.

How do PR pros feel about introducing AI to their workflows?

Results show that PR professionals are generally optimistic and enthusiastic about AI. But let’s dive a little deeper into the numbers. It seems there may be a connection between those who use AI most often and rising levels of satisfaction with AI solutions. The opposite also appears to be true, with those who use AI least voicing the lowest confidence.

It seems that the proof is in the pudding. Those who have more fully embraced AI technology into their daily PR practices are AI’s biggest advocates.

Delve into the changes, both advantageous and concerning, brought about by artificial intelligence in the field of PR. Read our latest article "AI in Public Relations: the Benefits and Risks of Change".

The threat of AI in the PR industry

This one gets a lot of buzz with fake news leading the conversation in almost every circle. With every new technology comes potential risk. And fear of the unknown gives rise to a multitude of rising anxieties. So we asked our PR pros what they felt the biggest pitfalls might be.

PR pros don’t buck the trend

The threat of AI being misused to manipulate readers and spread misinformation rides high in PR’s apprehensions.

This threat centers around the credibility and reputation of both clients and businesses. The main fear being that fake news may hijack our stories and narratives.

Human intuition still plays a key role in the PR industry

Hot on its heels is concern around the loss of that uniquely human touch. Truth is, the PR industry is still very much about personal relationships, human intuition, and emotional understanding. Both with journalists and with our audience. 

As AI lacks that essentially human element, it could have a profound negative impact on the authenticity of our work.

PRs fear AI's creativity limitations

In third place, but still holding a respectable lead, is the threat of unification and the lack of creativity that AI has shown. This threat still holds significant weight with over 50% of respondents confirming its place in their anxieties. 

The PR industry often demands that PRs think outside the box. Adapt to unique situations. Develop innovative strategies. The fear is that an overuse of AI solutions could lead to everything becoming just a little too samey.

Each of these threats circle back around to the same solution. That AI is best used to aid and support human creativity.

What automation tools are PR pros using now?

If the majority of PR practitioners are already using AI backed solutions and software, what are they? From Media Monitoring to creating PR reports, AI and technology can offer a lot. So we asked our respondents what they find to be the most valuable tools in their toolbox.

Here are the results 👇🏼

The most valuable solutions and tools on the market

Unsurprisingly, our respondents find media database tools to be their biggest asset. These allow PR pros to keep track of journalists, their beat, and their contact info. Not to mention keeping all that up to date.

Running a close second is media monitoring. Which allows PRs to track things like sentiment and other important metrics. 

Tracking sentiment is a step above more common tools. It essentially means that you’re not only tracking the number of mentions, but whether or not those mentions are good or bad. This can be a game changer for wider PR strategies.

You can start tracking sentiment and media mentions in real time too with Prowly’s Media Monitoring tool that offers a 7-day free trial.

Something that surprised us was that newswires came in as less popular than social media management tools. This might mean that PR managers are moving away from mass distribution. Instead favoring personalized pitching for their top quality news placements.

In response, Prowly has introduced an email personalization feature. Which allows PR specialists to build meaningful relationships with journalists by creating one on one personalized emails within a single send out.

Which media database tools are PR practitioners using?

Media database tools are clearly the most popular. So we asked which tools our respondents preferred.

We’re proud to say that Prowly came out on top. But much to our surprise, 41.1% don’t use a media database tool at all! Which begs the question: how are they gathering their media contacts and keeping them up to date?

The media environment is one of rapid changes and dynamic flow. Ideal for automation.

Once again the results lead into a dawning truth. AI best supports us in the repetitive, mundane tasks of keeping our databases clean and up to date. Freeing up the talents and time of PR pros to focus on the more creative and human elements of their work.

Over a third (35.9%) of respondents report facing burnout in the past year. And nearly half (48%) are contending with tight budgets in 2023. The stem of each of these seems to be that PR pros struggle to demonstrate their real, practical value.

The use of AI solutions in PR is already prevalent

Luckily, it seems that AI and technology may have the remedy. 67.8% of PR practitioners already leverage AI solutions in their work and the availability of valuable media monitoring and database tools is on the rise.

The time is ripe to become an early adopter and discover where the AI and technology of 2023 can enhance and support your PR work.

Get to know top PR skills in 2023

76% of PR practitioners see critical thinking to be the top PR skill as they look forward. And modern PR software puts complex analytics at our very fingertips today. This has the potential to free PR pros from the tedious and daunting burden of providing tangible proof of their value.

PRs should focus on crafting their own approach and personal strategies in adopting AI. Fueled and supported by data and reliable reports. This can free PR pros up to focus on greater PR strategies, creativity, and building long lasting human relationships.  

Gain more valuable insights and the data you need to make the right choice for you.

The State of PR Technology 2023 Report

The State of PR Technology 2023 provides a deep dive into the top trends in PR technology and AI. We interviewed 303 PR professionals who work at companies ranging from 1 to 500+ employees (including non-profits, PR agencies, in-house PR teams and others) to get their opinions and insights on technology in the public relations industry.