Views: AI is not a direct replacement for PR

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IS AI an opportunity or a threat to the PR industry? The simple answer is both, writes Andrew Laxton, CEO of Mixology Communications

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On the opportunity side, AI will free up more time to focus on strategy consulting and the critical role of communications in driving real business outcomes, and less time on account administration. The real threat lies in the evolution of AI and its ability to incorporate neuro linguistic programming to analyse the strategies used by an individual and how to apply them to reach a specific goal. Once AI can relate the thoughts, language, and patterns of behaviour learned through experience to specific outcomes, then we will have cause for concern. Not just to the PR industry but to multiple business sectors.

How AI can be used in PR

AI has multiple uses not just in PR but the broader communications function. Platforms such as ChatGPT help with developing a framework for content while Writesonic creates blogs, ads, emails, and website copy. SlidesAI builds structured PowerPoint presentations, while Synthesia allows you to produce videos without mics, cameras, or actors but by using AI avatars and multi-language voiceovers instead. And there are many other AI tools that can be used for generating art, music, graphics, even code. However, this is a marketplace that is becoming increasingly cluttered and there is a real danger of AI succumbing to the ‘henhouse’ effect, where everything begins to look and sound the same.

Why AI enhances PR

There are components of AI that will enhance time and efficiency, particularly around account administration. PR software firm Muck Rack has even got in on the act with the recent release of its platform that recommends which journalists to target based on the keywords of your AI-generated media pitch or press release. However, media pitches still need to be hyper-personalised. A universal approach does not work especially when pitching stories to journalists across different industry verticals and markets.

Do’s and don’ts when using AI for PR

AI is based on historical data, so it doesn’t provide access to anything that hasn’t been published before. Using AI to remain relevant and meaningful is a challenge if you want to have a clear point of difference and maintain your individual brand identity. Fact check and verify everything, and always repurpose content to the tone of the author and its intended audience.

Risks with over reliance on AI

When you have no point of difference, you lose your identity and quickly become background noise and irrelevant to your audience. Quite simply, AI should never be viewed as or used as a direct replacement for PR. Those who do will be in a race to the bottom.

At this moment in time AI is in a hype cycle, we will then see a thinning out phase and eventually quality will survive over quantity.

The question keeping me awake at night concerns the future role of human intervention in technology. Because if AI is being used to eradicate human involvement from society, who then benefits from the future use of AI?