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Using Generative AI in PR: A Quickly Changing Landscape

By February 19, 2024 No Comments

Just a few months ago, we at BOCA discussed the future of AI in our lives and in PR, as we wrote about here on our blog. Even in the five months since, the technology has developed greatly, and we have to keep reassessing the role that AI will play in PR.

According to a recently released survey by Muck Rack, the number of PR agencies that have incorporated AI into their workflows spiked from 28% in March to 64% in December, with another 23% planning on adopting AI tools in the future. Of those already using AI, up to 74% claim that the tools have made their work at least a little better or more efficient.

It’s true that LLMs like ChatGPT can help expedite processes, increase ROI, and streamline campaigns. While these tools can’t replace writers, they can help to compile data or generate inspiration for new ideas. Tools like Cision can create a snapshot of the competitive landscape for specific companies, providing a clear and concise view of how best to steer a client in the right direction.

The rapid consolidation of data into terms that are easy to understand saves time on research and learning new skills. AI can track trends across media, pin client and competitor news, and identify or predict trends in time for fast coverage. One of its more important uses in PR is the ability to track the effectiveness of campaigns and media strategies in real time. It is undeniable that these new tools, along with ones we can’t even predict yet, will change the way PR and other media companies work.

However, there are risks associated with any new technology, and AI is no exception. Even in the short time since September, these risks have multiplied; the power of image and video generation, the amount of misinformation, and the mistakes caused by AI feeding on its own false conclusions are all things that have to be closely monitored to ensure that companies do not further push messaging that comes from false or flawed data. AI will not replace PR jobs, because human PR professionals are still needed to vet the data and the writing that LLMs give us. But prompting and managing these tools is a skill we must all learn because any PR company unwilling to adapt to new technology will likely be left behind.

The Muck Rack survey introduced another notable issue with AI—client expectations. More than a third of clients (36%) expect to be informed all the time about the use of AI tools, and another 58% say they expect to be informed sometimes depending on the situation. However, only 19% of PR companies say they always disclose this information, and 21% say they never do. This disconnect between client expectations and the realities of the PR industry will have to be resolved, or companies will risk losing their client’s trust, especially if they are caught plagiarizing or spreading false information.

This is why BOCA commits to learning everything we can about these tools and using them to their fullest without sacrificing the quality of our work. We have an amazing team of industry professionals, so the trick to AI usage is complementing their knowledge and skills with increased efficiency.