It would be the ultimate power, don't you think? If you could predict not only how an audience will greet your press release but how reporters and journalists were going to report on it? It would be like, holding the world in the palm of your hand and owning it. It's the one thing that PR can't do and that's manipulate the message the media sends out. But that may have already changed.
Although this may be the automated project planning pipe dream to most, in some corners of the world, is it very much reality, AI is playing a rather proactive role in shaping the way PR will be in the future. One namely, Forecast has already stated that they have already helped more than 40,000 projects; a milestone that speaks volumes.
In the past, PR has been either something quite dusty and slightly out of touch and yet, in others, it has been the slow runner, not quite catching up with it's younger digital marketing counterpart and left to the big boys in business with influence at the core.
But today, PR is an open playing field. With apps like Forecast and PRophet, the reality of your average Joe of Joe Bloggs of down-the-road-limited, predicting how the news will make you news is something not just revolutionary but world dominating.
So how does it work?
Simple and it's a one word answer: data.
These forward thinking apps use your data to predict the behaviour of the future. Sounds simple enough, right? Agencies use data collected from clients to assess how their campaigns have been received in the past, and now it has been navigated and responded to by the press. The results are analysed like there is no tomorrow and from that, sharper, faster and more efficient focused routes for future campaigns are established, and it is from these results that a, 'rinse, wash repeat' solution is applied.
Each developer states that data is proficiently managed to avoid 'leakages' of personal and private information (especially to the competition)
In the same vein, PRophet works in a similar way: They have understood the ever growing pressures that journalists are under on an hourly basis. Top reporters can drown in a sea of ever lasting pitches and can spend much of their time sifting out the diamonds from the ruff which is exhausting and time consuming and not itself, newsworthy. What PRophet suggests is that their tech will craft out the 'top of the pile' pitches by using 'natural language processing and machine learning.'
It's that's not dissimilar to the way PR pros like myself work now. Except we're human beings and can often miss out on a specific keyword or link out of a crucial strategy. The other downside is, (and this may not be a real downside) is that humans take longer, and can consider outcomes more carefully, adding the 'human' element into the project. AI's, I guess are only one short step behind. (The uncompromising 'natural ability rather than synthetic' which only humans have is something I personally find, my clients still would rather have.)
Perhaps the most important idea to come from AI designed automated project planning is that it may be better placed to plan for the future. As humans we worry and care perhaps too deeply to our own set of agendas.
We lose focus on certain things. It's what humans do. Covid has given us a chance to worry about the future more intently and more personally . We are still heavily resourceful but that focus can waiver. We can adjust for situations, especially of the crisis kind, and those of us who are crisis management specialists, that ability to detach yourself from X and attach yourself to Y is crucial. AI of course doesn't and can have only one course of action minus compassion. (If you haven't watched, find Humans - the television series on BritBox - a must see as it explores all known flaws of both synth and human.)
So, what can AI do faster, sleeker and more efficiently? For those of us who are project managers, perhaps the idea that AI could be taking jobs away might be a long associated problem. However, clients will still need humans to converse, listen and discuss. Humans are still need to debate project goals, trajectories and simply bat ideas around with some humour and humble interaction, something that thankfully, AIs cannot do.
The only key thing that does separate humans from AI is the ability to be innovative and spontaneous. Where does thinking outside the box come in to AI? The ability to shift direction, change angle and bring in something that's unique.
What are your thoughts on AI for PR? Is this the future of PR and if so, are you comfortable with it?
In many ways it can relieve the headache of the tried and tested formula we have been used to for so many centuries. Then again, will be eventually, like most corners of industry, be just another empty place where humans once existed?