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The future of PR and the use of artificial intelligence


Over the years, we’ve seen the evolution of technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and its use throughout social media. Although AI is still fairly new, public relations professionals are already starting to embrace this technology.


The textbook definition of artificial intelligence is described as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” While this may sound intimidating and the thought of, “Is this going to replace me?” crosses one's mind, AI has the potential to transform the way we perceive public relations, its practices and marketing communications.


Most of us use these types of smart technologies every day and might not even realize it. Technologies like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and so on; all use artificial intelligence technologies like natural language processing and natural language generation to answer our questions. Another example of this technology is Google’s text prediction. When writing out an email or working on a document, both Gmail and Google Doc will predict what the writer is trying to say and a series of sentences or words prepopulate.


David Oates, APR, Principal at Public Relations Security Service, a Crisis PR firm believes that AI can benefit organizations and PR practitioners in numerous ways. “Artificial Intelligence platforms cut costs by analyzing a company's data to determine exactly how to speak to their target audience,” said Oates. With this idea in mind, AI can increase revenue for a brand, while reducing costs through intelligent predictions and automation. Oates also noted that “Instead of spending precious time and money convening a focus group, PR practitioners can quickly analyze engagement rates of social media posts, Google AdWords and retargeting metrics.” Time is of the essence and with the use of AI on the field, this would essentially provide more time for PR practitioners to focus on developing and maintaining campaigns.


Manuelita Maldonado, a Public Relations & Strategic Communications Professional says, “In the field of public relations, this new relationship between humans and intelligent machines is enabling PR professionals to create data-driven campaigns, automate repetition-based tasks, analyze online conversations, predict a crisis and even produce personalized content.” Maldonado also mentioned that AI has the ability to process human language and allows companies to understand individual behaviors, preferences, beliefs and interests to deliver more efficient campaign strategies.


As time goes on and technologies continue to evolve, we will eventually see more of this AI technology on the field. This ‘real-time’ data will help deliver public relations practitioners important information to help refine and provide relevant content for our audiences. Public relations professionals can benefit from AI tools as they can help with analytics, scheduling, social posting and marketing. It is important for PR pros to get familiar with this sort of technology as AI will soon have a lasting impact on the future of the industry.


By Jessica Troche


Jessica is a senior at San Diego State University and will graduate in fall 2021 with a bachelor’s in Journalism and Media Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations. She currently resides in the Coachella Valley and hopes to land a PR role within an educational institution after graduation.

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