Revolutionising communication with AI-powered PR

Suresh Rangarajan, Consultant & Senior VP at Concept Public Relations, writes about Artificial Intelligence becoming indispensable in the near future for undertaking or completing PR assignments

e4m by Suresh Rangarajan
Updated: Dec 18, 2019 4:29 PM
Suresh Rangarajan

Public Relations is a dynamic field of communication that effectively builds, bridges the communication path between the client(s) of diverse sectors and multiple streams of traditional and unconventional media. The importance of a PR agency stems from the fact that any bit of news communicated from the client is of paramount importance with client’s preloaded expectation that it would have coverage value. The value addition of a PR agency is ascertained on the success rate in translating client’s information aligned to their business objectives to successful messaging and building of a core narrative in the media.

Consistency in good performance also is a good yardstick for PR agencies to win the trust and goodwill of their clients. However, there are always instances of a slip between the cup and the lip. There is often frenzied coordination between the agency’s client servicing team who check with their client to get effective ‘Media Pegs’ which would interest a media house editor or journalist to enquire further and decide about filing a story.

It is essential to mention that vis-a-vis advertising (paid media), Public Relations is earned media which gets coverage on the merit/newsworthiness of the content. Uncovered news isn’t taken too kindly by clients and is often a contentious topic which is very difficult to tackle/solve. The solution is to have ample time for strategic brainstorming on the ways and means to deliver optimum coverage for the client. This is bound to happen only if many of the operations pertaining to client servicing is automated to a great degree.

This gap now can be filled by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which would become indispensable in the near future for undertaking or completing PR assignments successfully. Tasks such as social posting, calendar scheduling, meeting note-taking, email scheduling, content creation, SEO strategy, Influencer marketing and Analytics could be very effectively undertaken by AI in close co-ordination with PR. A detailed view on AI’s absolute dependability is vouchsafed by some amazing features which help the PR community.

Clients require absolute precision in the success of their PR campaigns. This would require carefully engineering by the PR agency with quality analysis of data. For instance, AI renders invaluable assistance in informing the perfect time to send campaign mails and post on social media. Promotion of a campaign is given a big fillip with the determination of the best places such as specific social media platforms or trade publications helping in efficacy. The most effective influencers and bloggers could be identified by AI. This enables PR professionals to make real-time decisions to make modifications in their PR campaign.

The grassroots of any PR Agency is the day-to-day operations which form the backbone of client servicing. This keeps the retainer or project engagement with the client running without any stops and gaps. Sending follow-up emails, calendar scheduling, drafting minutes, posting to social media etc. are some of the tasks which would fall under this bucket. AI easily helps in the execution of these tasks thereby strongly complementing the client servicing function. On the client’s side, the customer support gets a good streamlined help via answering customers’ queries. A brand’s website or a social media handle gets a query/queries which would need a prompt and intelligent response. AI often is used to recognise and answers in a quick and efficient fashion in the company’s business hours or hand it over for a manual response for a more complicated answer.

Sentiment analysis is a very fine-tuned function executed by AI. This is explained by the fact that PR and AI aren’t all about data and decoding it. AI can glean through data for ‘sentiment’ which can be good or bad. AI PR tools has the ability to comb through digital, social and traditional media for good or bad mentions of brand name and evaluate the overall sentiment of the same. There are even some AI tools which can trace subtle negative traits such as sarcasm or irony. This helps the PR agency to assess the status quo of their clients’ brand performance in the market and thereby identify problems and skillfully guide the brand around problems. AI also analyses positive sentiment and helps conclude on the positive points of the brand.

A client or a PR agency can’t work together on an even keel. There would be instances wherein PR agencies would be required to quickly firefight and douse crisis, which a client would have to face when a sensitive matter reaches the media and gets widespread coverage. This might make a transitory interesting read for a publication’s readers but it leaves lasting and significant damage for the client’s brand and business. AI can predict crisis by analysing of mountains of data amongst social media posts and help the PR agency in preventing any potential crisis.

Influencers are an important collaborator in a PR campaign. They carry a lot of clout amongst their followers and have the power to endorse a client’s brand which a PR agency might recommend.

However, there are some grey areas which this route is peppered with. Fake followers or lack of active social engagements being some of them. AI can scan through posts and detect the difference between an active and a fake following and thus be able to recommend the ideal choice of influencers for a PR agency to work with.

Artificial Intelligence is a very powerful complementary tool. However, to dispel fears of AI taking over completely the operations of PR is unfounded as it lacks creativity and imagination. For instance, it can’t craft a PR campaign or converse with the media. In essence, a collaborative role would be a ‘win-win’ situation i.e. implying that PR without AI is bound to be fraught with challenges and AI without PR wouldn’t be a complete model. Both working in tandem is going to work wonders. The coming days in Indian PR scenario is going to be highly significant with the AI integrations.

Suresh Rangarajan is an analytical and performance-driven professional with extensive experience in public relations and corporate communication. He is a Consultant and Senior Vice President at Concept Public Relations, one of India’s largest integrated communication consultancies.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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