Aaron Blank & Ray Rasmussen
Aaron Blank (L) & Ray Rasmussen

The summer of 2023 might as well have been nicknamed the “Summer of AI,” with numerous AI product launches from tech giants and startups, bringing Generative AI closer to millions.

But as the dust clears from the initial frenzy, what have we learned about AI’s likely impact on the PR world? Are robots coming for every PR pro’s job?

We’ve experimented with dozens of AI solutions, met with thought leaders in the industry, and discussed what the future might look like for PR teams, from in-house experts to global agencies and everyone in between.

Our conclusion: AI will indeed have major impacts on the PR industry – but not yet. The tools on the market today often can’t deliver the results on their own. They still require a human touch.

That said, it’s time for communication leaders to prepare for the inevitable changes that AI will bring.

Successfully navigating the AI revolution will require them to understand three key things: what AI does and does not do currently, where AI should be leveraged in their day-to-day, and how to prepare your team for inevitable changes.=

What AI can & can't do

Today, generative AI excels at rote tasks and sparking creative inspiration, aiding in formulating plans and inspiring content approaches. It’s beneficial for crafting headlines, initial drafts of press releases, or even devising campaign structures.

In its current form, AI struggles mightily when asked to engage with increasing specificity and levels of detail, such as creating targeted communications plans specific to a need or organizational situation. This means that every piece of AI-generated content requires human review and tuning before publication.

Humans still matter

Humans remain essential for public relations. Employers continue to rely on skilled and imaginative individuals capable of conceptualizing and executing complex projects beyond the reach of AI.

While AI can mimic entry-level writing and respond to elementary queries, it remains far from proficient in crafting high-level strategies and tactics. Humans still need to make decisions such as choosing between traditional and digital advertising, cultivating meaningful connections that go beyond transactional engagements and navigating crisis situations that require strategic thinking and comprehension of cultural impacts.

Readying your team

It is inevitable that communication leaders will encounter anxious team members who fear their jobs will be replaced by AI entirely. Leaders should take this opportunity to begin preparing their team members for their responsibilities in the AI-powered future. That can mean formal training, perhaps drawn from the burgeoning number of AI tutorials available on the web. Counsel team members and help them learn more about AI and how to harness its power rather than worry about their short-term futures.

Leaders should prioritize the establishment of comprehensive AI policies to ensure ethical and responsible AI usage. They will need to consider when and how the use of AI is disclosed to partners and clients. Data privacy should be a central concern to protect confidential and sensitive information that communications professionals often handle. Finally, clear guidelines regarding the circumstances under which AI tools should be employed should highlight human oversight, and strategic decision-making remains an integral component of the AI-driven process.

The future is coming – but not yet

Leaders should begin preparing their teams now by identifying the areas where AI might be able to streamline teams processes and add value.

Ultimately, PR is driven by people. Leaders need to create an environment where their people can thrive by harnessing the power of AI – and do it without the fear of being replaced.

Tools to consider using

While our thesis is all about the fact that AI is not ready to take over your jobs, the tools are definitely supportive in nature. So, we want to leave you with some tips on some tools you can consider using.

If you are interested in using some tools that will inspire your daily interactions or workflows as a PR professional, consider these:

• ChatGPT:
• Microsoft Bing
• Jasper:
• Muck Rack
• Brand24


Aaron Blank is CEO and President at Fearey. Ray Rasmussen is Founder and Managing Principal at rGen Consulting.

*Join them for a webinar Dec. 6 at 2 PM EST on making AI a powerful ally in the world of PR moderated by Researchscape's Tony Cheevers. Register >>