Generative AI is advancing at an incredible pace. Since Amazon Alexa launched in 2014, we’ve used AI to bring efficiency to various household tasks. I love it. It keeps track of my grocery list and enables me to play my 90s R&B playlist with a simple voice prompt. Today, generative AI and ChatGPT are doing the same for certain aspects of the PR industry. From generating press releases and social media posts to crafting personalized pitches, AI-powered tools are reshaping the way PR professionals work. Here’s my take on the risks and rewards of incorporating generative AI in public relations.
Benefits of Generative AI in PR
- Enhanced Efficiency
Generative AI can significantly improve the efficiency of PR workflows. AI-powered tools can automate tasks such as writing press releases, drafting media pitches, and creating social media content. ChatGPT can be an excellent resource for brainstorming, too. By streamlining these processes, PR professionals can save valuable time and allocate their resources more effectively. This allows PR pros like myself to focus on strategic thinking and building relationships with the media.
- Personalization and Customization
Generative AI enables PR professionals to tailor their messages to different target audiences. AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data, including social media trends, news articles, and consumer behavior, to generate personalized content recommendations. With the proper prompt engineering, PR pros can enhance PR campaigns by delivering messages tailored to specific demos and interests.
- Data-Driven Insights
Generative AI tools can analyze vast amounts of data and extract meaningful insights, providing PR professionals with valuable intelligence. The PR industry has long used these tools through platforms like Cision and Muck Rack. By analyzing sentiment analysis, media coverage, and social media conversations, AI-powered tools can help PR teams monitor brand reputation, identify emerging trends, and measure the impact of their campaigns.
Maintaining authenticity and transparency in PR communications can be a challenge when using generative AI. As professionals, we are entrusted by our clients to be ethical and transparent in our work. I’ve found that AI-generated content often lacks the emotion and tone that build trust with audiences, sometimes sounding robotic. Attribution (and exhaustive fact-checking, see next point!) is critical when considering a piece of AI-generated content.
- Misinformation and Bias
Generative AI relies heavily on training data, and platforms like ChatGPT don’t filter for what’s true and what’s false. In my own test cases, ChatGPT has even fabricated events and sources. This is relatively common. Just ask the NYC lawyer who made the mistake of using ChatGPT to file court documents! Additionally, studies show that generative AI amplifies stereotypes about race and gender. If the training data contains biases or misinformation, it can perpetuate false narratives or reinforce societal bias. PR professionals must be vigilant in ensuring that AI-generated content is factually accurate and free from bias. This extra research and fact-checking is absolutely necessary but can be time-consuming.
- Legal Considerations and Data Security
Using generative AI in PR raises important legal considerations. Copyright ownership of AI-generated content is a gray area, and PR professionals must ensure they have the necessary client permissions or intellectual property rights. As a best practice, PR pros should never enter a client’s IP into a prompt.
Generative AI presents exciting opportunities for public relations pros – enhancing efficiency and brainstorming. If used carefully, generative AI has the potential to streamline some content-related processes, but the risks are plentiful. As the training data gets more refined, perhaps ChatGPT will take over broader aspects of PR work, but we’re not quite there yet. Even then, nothing can replace hard-earned relationships (and trust) with clients and the media.