For Public Relations (PR professionals, a common topic of discussion is what the future of PR is in the ever evolving age of artificial intelligence (AI). The ever transforming technological landscape is fast changing forcing professionals to adapt to these changes at a rapid pace and when we talk about embracing technology, AI is the need of the hour.
AI is fast evolving and the field of PR is no exception. Currently AI is being used to automate tasks like media monitoring, content creation and social media management and analytics and as AI grows it will play an even greater role in reducing the need for human element.
So does this mean that the future for professionals is bleak? Will machines and AI replace communications/PR professionals?
In order to find the answer a research by American journal Hubspot involved taking responses from top management PR/Advertising professionals who expressed their opinion on what the future holds for PR industry and how it will change and adapt in the future. According to experts, technology has already significantly changed the industry by making journalists easier to find, coverage simpler to compile, and networks more straightforward to manage. Collaboration and collective working at global agencies are more streamlined than ever before. This trend shall accelerate, with automation and machine learning significantly speeding up.
In additional to this the fragmentation of the media, with so many more specialist publications, TV/web channels, blogs and other online platforms, is a development which will continue to impact on daily PR activities and open up a wider range of options for generating coverage for clients. This means that PR professionals need to better educate themselves of what relevant channels are out there and then work harder, communicating with more journalists across more media channels to generate a decent client ROI.
In fact AI is likely to create new opportunities for professionals who are ready to embrace new tech for the following reasons:
AI will provide more space to focus on more specific tasks: AI has automated much of the time consuming tasks such as media monitoring and content creation as mentioned above which will lead PR professionals to focus more on developing and executing campaign strategies and build relationships with key stakeholders.
AI is helping PR professionals to be more data driven: AI can help in gathering data about audiences, trends and competitors in order to make more informed decisions regarding PR Campaigns.
AI is helping PR professionals to be more creative: AI can broadly help in designing new ideas and concepts for campaigns which will enable professionals to find more creative ways to communicate with audiences.
According to a research by MC Kinsey International it reestablishes the above notion that “the hardest activities to automate with currently available technologies ar those that apply expertise to decision making, planning, or creative work.” In the PR professionals world this would encompass devising communications strategies, building relationships with journalists, and producing content.”
So the question now arises Where does PR Professionals go from here?
The answer is simple PR/Communication professionals need to be more skilled in the future using AI to their advantage while also maintaining the human involvement. There is no doubt that artificial intelligence like information technology is undergoing exponential growth predicting AI to outperform humans in most jobs in next 20 years but for us PR professionals it is important to be vigilent of emerging technologies and identify opportunities to work alongside AI wherever they may appear.
To conclude AI in near future will actually help PR/Comms specialists to be more skilled at their jobs. Though AI will form a large part of the future of PR, there are other trends and tools to keep on top of such as learning how to personalize your content, and to harness the power of video and offline content to stay ahead of the game. Therefore AI is in fact an opportunity for PR and not a threat.
The write is a PR professional