Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most talked-about topics in the media today. In fact, according to data from TechNews, since January, there have been an average of 4,000 articles per month that mention AI. From the role AI is playing in helping autonomous vehicles make decisions in milliseconds to how it is providing recommendations to healthcare providers about potentially lifesaving treatment options to all of the “boring” AI uses in between, we read about and engage with AI on a daily basis.
However, with all of the buzz that AI is creating, it is becoming increasingly difficult for organizations to cut through the noise. While there is a fantastic group of journalists and influencers who cover AI, they are inundated with pitches, news, and other information from companies trying to stand out as a leading authority in the space.
As you work to uncover unique AI storylines and highlight them through placements with relevant AI reporters, collaborations with industry influencers, or via creative campaigns on digital channels, it’s helpful to understand the key trends leading reporters are covering in this space daily.
Top AI Media Trends
Knowing the major trends currently being discussed in the media related to AI can help organizations stand out from the crowd. Keep in mind that simply obtaining coverage among business, technology, vertical, and trade media is not the ultimate goal. Leveraging the right media relationships can lead to thought leadership opportunities that expand far beyond the standard press release. Here are the top trends being covered in relation to AI:
Ethics: There is a sense that in the rapid adoption of AI, ethical frameworks and regulations have been left behind. Media tend to err on the critical side, but praise organizations that are transparent about their AI strategies and practices. Because the foundation of AI is data, governance and compliance play a role in the media conversation around AI ethics as well. It is critical that any spokesperson who is discussing AI has a stance on the ethics debate.
Explainability: As AI becomes more advanced and complex, the media is focusing on Explainable AI (XAI), which leverages user experience (UX) elements to explicitly tell users how the AI technology arrives at its decisions or recommendations. It’s critical that companies communicate transparently with customers about how and why AI arrives at certain decisions and prioritize earning consumer trust in their methods for collecting consumer data.
Vertical Use Cases: Multiple vertical markets are implementing AI to drive real business results faster than others, and these use cases are being highlighted in the media. The most popular vertical markets are Financial Services, Retail Services, Transportation, Healthcare and Manufacturing. The media is highlighting how companies are using AI to enhance their products and offerings and ultimately, how AI is changing these industries.
What's Needed to Break Through
In order to stand out in this crowded AI field, there are a few things that all companies should consider when telling their AI stories:
New Products/Services: Major product announcements still drive coverage, particularly with trade and vertical outlets. Being able to demonstrate to journalists how AI is embedded within a product and how that will impact business results for customers is critical.
For example, last year, Numerica Credit Union was one of the first financial institutions in the United States to allow members to do their banking by voice, using Alexa. Since then, many financial institutions have followed suit, offering voice banking to customers using Alexa and Google Home. According to PwC, the addition of voice banking can improve revenue growth, reduce risk, and increase customer retention, benefitting both consumers and financial institutions with efficiency and cost savings. They estimate it can decrease human error by 15 to 30 percent, improving customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores.
Unique Use Cases: Real-life AI use cases make the difference for journalists. The key here is being able to show how AI is delivering actual results, and more importantly, the steps the AI took to solve that challenge. Craft a compelling and unique story to demonstrate why the use case is innovative and newsworthy.
For example, Walmart recently opened an AI-powered store in New York with AI-enabled cameras and interactive displays. Kroger tapped Microsoft to help it build two “connected experience” stores in which shoppers would, among other things, get personalized deals as they walk inside − either on their phones or on screens mounted on the shelves. Enel, an Italian multinational energy company, worked with C3.ai to create AI/machine learning algorithms that detect fraud with the goal of doubling the recovery of unbilled energy while improving productivity.
A Kickass Thought Leader: Everyone has an opinion about AI, but in order to position a spokesperson as a true industry thought leader, they must have a unique angle on a particular topic, and more importantly, the track record/experience to back it up. Consistently providing media with strong commentary strengthens relationships and increases the credibility of both the company and the executive.
For example, thought leaders who can speak to both the positive and negative impacts of AI on consumers is a continued point of interest. Breaking news can create timely opportunities for thought leaders to offer a rapid response that ties back to their overall messaging, but the most critical part about any rapid response opportunity is to have a unique point of view. Maintain frequent, proactive conversations with media to keep clients top-of-mind when news breaks.
Although AI has been in the works for decades, many experts say we are still at the beginning of its trajectory. Media and influencers will continue to be flooded with pitches by a crowded market. Organizations who offer a unique point of view and can demonstrate real business results they’ve achieved by using AI will be the ones who cut through the noise. The more inundated with AI material that the media and influencers become, the more they will depend on reliable sources of thoughtful, accurate, and distinctive stories.
Joe Ferrary is vice president at Highwire PR.