PR firms start using AI for mundane tasks
Media companies like The Washington Post and The Associated Press are using AI to crank out earnings reports or write news articles that they wouldn’t typically dedicate staff to. Similarly, PR agencies are adopting AI as well, using it to predict media trends, turn speeches into text, monitor social media and more.
For instance, Shift Communications has a marketing technology team of 10, including six data analysts. The team runs advanced analytics, machine learning, paid search, social media and more for clients.
Christopher Penn, vp of marketing technology for Shift Communications, said that natural language processing involves determining whether people perceive a brand positively or negatively, and identifying the most important terms and common themes that emerge from speeches, social posts and articles. Meanwhile, his team uses speech recognition tools to turn voice content into words, and performs predictive analytics to project media trends based on historical data.
But, before you get any ideas, robots aren’t yet coming to write press releases and call up reporters.
“The use of AI is not meant to replace PR professionals’ jobs — instead, it allows us to do our work at scale,” said Penn. “So much media is created every day, and we humans can’t read it all, but the machine can. For instance, I was analyzing content for a client’s trade show this morning, and there were around 2,000 pieces of content around the show. I couldn’t read every article on my own, but I ran natural language processing on those articles in 15 minutes.”
Penn explained that in addition to natural language processing, tools for speech recognition like IBM Watson Speech to Text and Google Cloud Speech API help his team convert speeches into text, and then his team can perform natural language processing on that text-based content.
“The best services cost pennies or less per recorded minute, and so much value is locked up in non-searchable audio,” said Penn. “Think of everything we listen to in marketing: Conference calls, speeches and presentations, et cetera, and how much of that knowledge is locked away from search. We use speech recognition to turn client calls into transcripts, speeches into blog posts and so much more.”
AI can also help PR professionals plan their media outreach calendar in advance. For instance, Penn’s team could analyze the past three years of a company blog’s traffic to predict what the site’s traffic would look like over the next year. Let’s say the brand’s blog is predicted to see traffic spikes next May and next November, and its readers like the subject “precision marketing.” Penn’s team would relay this insight to the PR team at Shift Communications, which would then look for speaking engagements and contributed article opportunities around precision marketing for the client in May and November of next year, according to Penn.
Elsewhere, Crenshaw Communications uses AI to track where a client gets mentioned on social media and monitor how people perceive the brand, according to Chris Harihar, director of the agency. “You increasingly need AI for both the tracking and analysis pieces, especially for larger clients with high coverage volume,” said Harihar. “Sentiment analysis is the holy grail, but it is still in progress in terms of accuracy — at least from the tools that I’ve seen.”
One area where PR professionals haven’t applied AI, though, is writing news releases. Penn thinks that while AI can easily produce data-specific and highly formulaic financial news releases, it will take at least five years for the technology to write general news releases that require personalization.
Harihar agreed that news releases involve too many customized elements — including overall company messaging and point-of-contact writing preferences — for any software to manage.
“If an agency is claiming to have created some sort of a press release stack that automates release writing, I would call it bullshit,” he said.
‘I was actually relieved to get fired’: Confessions of a burned out brand salesperson
To combat burnout, employers across the industry have rolled out numerous policies. Still, employees say intense workloads continue to push them to the limit.
Understanding Google’s FLoC replacement Topics, and its unanswered questions
While privacy advocates are saying this doesn't go far enough, advertisers may think this won't be targeted enough.
Why Turkey is becoming the Silicon Valley of mobile gaming
Turkey’s gaming industry is mobile-first; few, if any, Turkish game developers focus on major console titles. Unlike console developers, who can spend years fine-tuning their games, mobile game developers are able to follow a spray-and-pray strategy, cranking out scores of mobile titles until one catches on.
SponsoredHow online commerce platforms can deliver safer shopping experiences
Marni Levine, vice president, commerce operations, Meta In the wake of the pandemic, commerce underwent a rapid shift online, exponentially accelerating and forcing businesses of all sizes to adapt. Now moving into 2022, these trends will only continue as people have grown accustomed to shopping online more for all their needs. According to a PwC […]
Google readies new interest-based advertising in next phase of Privacy Sandbox experiments
Google is trialing a new proposal in its Privacy Sandbox initiative called 'Topics' which it claims will facilitate interest-based advertising long after it sunsets third-party cookies in its Chrome browser in 2023.
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: ‘Bad behavior is positively rewarded’: Why brands continue to push the line on social posts
But recent posts, like Pabst Blue Ribbon’s sexually explicit tweet that got its social media manager fired as well as brands like Ruggables, Hellman’s mayonnaise and Peacock, among others, jumping into TikTok’s West Elm Caleb trend on TikTok have some in the industry questioning were the line is when it comes to standing out or going too far on social media.