It’s that time of year again when PR pros are making predictions for the New Year and revisiting the death of the press release, the need for more creative media relations as newsrooms continue to thin out, why paid practices are a must have, the rise of influencer marketing, an increased focus on content distribution and how new measurement tactics will help redefine ROI for PR.
Take your pick -- these predictions, among other tried-and-true trends, seem to resurface every year. And, they’re not wrong. In fact, many are quite exciting. But, for those -- like me -- who jump at the mention of new tech, the trend to watch for 2018 is the incorporation of AI (artificial intelligence), which I see playing a role in three main ways.
Just as with advancements in data science and machine learning, AI will help companies delve deeper into their target audiences to reach them on a more intelligent, personal level. With the ability to predict interests and uncover trends, companies -- especially consumer brands -- will be able to create more relevant products and services with the buyer experience front and center.
With this level of intel, PR pros can produce more sophisticated campaigns with relevant messaging that corresponds to various audience segments. PR and comms priorities can align with reality and adapt as markets change over time.
Talk about ensuring the most bang for your buck!
A lot of day-to-day tasks that PR teams undertake are crucial to understanding the industry landscape, competitor activities and new trends, or to demonstrate the success of a campaign and establish benchmarks or records.
But, the amount of time spent on these types of tasks -- including news scanning, media monitoring, coverage clipping, reporting and other similar endeavors -- could be greatly reduced with the help of AI. There are already helpful services out there for such tasks, but many still require a lot of manual oversight or corrections since the intelligence just isn’t quite there yet for the tools to really know what’s relevant and what’s not.
This could all change with AI so that PR pros can get even more time back in their day and use their strategic brains for more creative campaigns and relationship building -- the things that lead many of us to join the field in the first place!
When it comes to social interactions, human involvement is obvious. Or is it?
Chatbots are rising in ability and prevalence as major companies invest in the development. But, for PR, we need to think beyond today’s most common chatbots like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, and typical questions like, “What’s the weather today?”, to fathom a useful interaction that helps further PR goals of brand awareness and beyond.
AI advancements are helping create smarter chatbots that are paving the way for PR pros to help further conversations on behalf of brands in a relevant way.
The easiest place to imagine this is on social media where chatbots could interact intelligently with relevant hashtags, or respond to comments or direct messages on a company’s behalf. It’s just a matter of harnessing that level of machine integration in a strategic way to help expand PR efforts, which can focus on more of the human elements that bots can’t take over!
How do you think we’ll see AI impact PR in 2018?
Meredith L. Eaton is a Vice President at March Communications, focusing on driving awareness and engagement for technology innovation brands in cloud, telco, security, infrastructure, AI and IoT markets. By aligning her clients’ business objectives with PR initiatives, Meredith has helped companies – from large, public brands to niche startups – execute business-critical, integrated campaigns to capture competitive market share and shift brand perceptions. Follow her on Twitter.
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