PR Is About to Get the AI Treatment

Image via MidJourney

Muck Rack has just confirmed what we are all probably thinking: PR is the next industry to disrupted by generative AI.

Muck Rack ran a poll of 1,001 PR professionals to find out how they’re using AI. The results are quite a bit different than even a few months ago:

Early this year, our data indicated a growing trend of AI adoption in PR. We found 28% of PR pros already using AI and another 33% considering it. In our new survey, 64% now report using the new tools in their workflow and another 23% still plan to explore it.

What PR professionals are saying about the tools is quite interesting. The majority feel that they make their jobs “somewhat better,” not a ringing endorsement.

The PR professionals we’ve spoken to so far clearly agree with this sentiment. In an industry that lives and dies by style, the robotic writing of most GenAI tools just doesn’t it cut it. When your whole business is based on convincing humans to do or buy something, it’s hard to trust a computer with that job.

There are ways around this — we’re actually exploring some — but right now the number of tools that suit the purpose are few to none.

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One interesting point in the survey? Most AI users disclose generative contributions to their clients, for better or worse.

The swift rise of AI use has led to unclear standards about disclosure between brands and agencies. Around one third of PR pros at brands think agency AI use should be disclosed all the time, while only 19% of agency PR pros say they meet that standard. And around one in five say they never disclose their AI use to brand clients.

PR is definitely in line for GenAI disruption. The process of writing a press release, targeting journalists, and collecting clips is antiquated, and modern PR professionals often focus more on story, branding, and general marketing. But it can still take hours to find the right journalist or influencer and then another few hours to craft a pitch. I’ll be writing about some of the tools and tricks we’ve found to solve this problem shortly, but until then it seems like GenAI is still a blunt instrument.

All that being said, it’s clear that folks are dipping toes into GenAI right now. How deep they’ll go and with what tools is still anyone’s guess.

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