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Posted on 31 January 2024 by Ceris Burns
AI’s influence has rapidly spread across industry. It is now being used in many business disciplines, including PR and marketing, with a fast-evolving number of tools to help us work smarter and more efficiently. So how will AI impact on PR and marketing practice, what are the strategic considerations and how can it help communicate your business strengths more effectively?
Capabilities in communications
AI presents both challenges and opportunities for businesses striving to be ahead of the game in their marketing efforts. Encompassing a range of technologies that enable machines to simulate intelligence, there are many ways it can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of PR and marketing campaigns.
There has been a recent surge in applications, such as ChatGPT, enabling AI-driven content creation. A rapidly evolving number of generative AI tools are now available to aid research and planning, content creation and fine-tuning of messaging, social media management, influencer mapping and data-driven insight into audiences, image and video creation, media analysis, and measurement and evaluation.
People-first content vital
A key outcome of recent SEO updates, including Google’s ‘Helpful Content Update’, has been increased emphasis on the importance of information that puts people first. Google has indicated that if extensive automation is being used to produce content, this is a warning sign that you should reconsider how you’re creating it. Wording that is largely generated by AI is less likely to perform well in search results and ranking of web pages.
Care and judgement also need to be exercised on issues such as copyright, impersonation, bias, duplication of content, privacy, and security, which all have the potential to damage company reputation. Earning customer trust takes a long time, and a brand can be tarnished very quickly through poor decision making.
Human decision-making remains essential
There have been concerns that AI could replace the need for tasks to be performed by humans. Ultimately, people are responsible for the content we put out. We still need to make decisions about whether the outputs generated are correct and provide creative and critical thinking. It’s clear that AI doesn’t provide a solution to poor decision making. Embracing these technologies will require appropriate training and a thoughtful and ethical approach, following the same exacting standards you should follow in any communications activity.
Another risk is that, as we move towards using more AI tools, our actual contact with stakeholders could become less. Face-to-face interaction remains an important way to reach people and to keep your ear to the ground when it comes to new information or trends. Networking events, industry debates, exhibitions, and conference presentations are all highly effective and valuable ways to be a trusted part of the industry and help raise your profile.
Good counsel counts
You may be able to use some of these AI tools in-house. In fact, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub AI Marketing Benchmark Report 2023, 61.4% of marketers have used AI in their activities. However, their use needs to be carefully managed. This is where PR professionals are well-placed to advise clients about the reputational implications of using AI. They should be involved in the communications decision-making process, to provide expert advisory support and strategic planning. In addition, any communications activity undertaken should always be in line with your overall business strategy, goals, and objectives.
Adoption of AI tools and automation technology remains gradual, but the pace is growing. If you’d like support on how to maximise AI technology, without putting stakeholder relationships and content at risk, please get in touch.