Muck Rack

The use of AI grew rapidly for PR pros in 2023, and it looks like that growth is set to continue through 2024, according to a report just released by public relations management platform Muck Rack.

The “State of AI in PR January 2024” study, which surveyed 1,001 PR pros from Nov. 2 to Dec. 14 of last year, found that 64 percent of them are already using generative AI in their work. That number is especially impressive when compared to the 28 percent who said they were using generative AI in Muck Rack’s previous study, which dates from March 2023.

Many of those not using it yet still are still to open to the idea. Almost a quarter (23 percent) said they “plan to explore generative AI,” while only 8 percent said they are undecided about using AI and 5 percent do not plan to explore it.

For those already on the AI bandwagon, writing social copy was the most frequently cited (64 percent) task for which it is used. Other popular AI uses are research and writing press releases (both at 58 percent), crafting pitches (54 percent), and strategy and planning (43 percent). Users were much less likely to employ AI for generating images to accompany content (16 percent) or finding journalists (15 percent).

Muck Rack State of AI in PR January 2024

A majority also say that AI has quality and efficiency benefits. More than half (52 percent) of respondents noted that AI made their work “somewhat better” and 22 percent said it resulted in work that was “much better.” They also found that AI speeds things up, with 52 percent saying it makes work progress “somewhat more quickly” and 37 percent boosting that estimate to “much more quickly.”

However, AI policies seem to be a bit less popular than AI usage. Only 21 percent of respondents said that they currently have an AI policy In the works, with 22 percent saying that they plan to have one in the future. Half (50 percent) said that they simply don’t have one. But those with a policy seem to take it seriously, with 58 percent of those with an AI policy saying that they strictly follow it.

AI training is also lagging, with just 21 percent of respondents indicating that their company offers it to employees.

Brand and agencies had different views of when to disclose AI use. More than a third (35 percent) of PR pros working for brands said they expect their agencies to disclose AI use “all the time,” with 19 percent wanting disclosure “some of the time” and 39 percent saying “it depends.”

However, only 19 percent of agency pros are down with the “all the time” disclosure policy, with 23 percent saying “some of the time” and 36 percent indicating that “it depends.”

And while AI is seen an a big help, survey respondents agreed that it can’t do the whole job. 95 percent said they have to edit text generated by AI, with 61 percent adding that they “have to make edits to most of the text.”