When Chat GPT burst onto the scene in November 2022, it’s fair to say that those who may not have considered the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) suddenly sat up straight. AI has been around for a while, so why did Chat GPT cause a particular stir?
The makers of Chat GPT, OpenAI, trained the model to interact in a conversational way. The dialogue format allows Chat GPT to answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. From a user’s perspective, it was the first time you could interact directly by asking questions or giving prompts, and then receive a detailed answer.
This opened a whole new world of possibilities for how AI could help improve efficiencies and automation even further. It has affected every industry, including PR.
Today, I’ll be looking at how the use of generative AI is impacting the PR industry. We’ll delve into some of the benefits AI can provide and cover the risks it poses.
What is generative AI?
Generative AI is artificial intelligence that creates new content, such as images, music, text, or voice. It learns patterns and structures from a set of training data and uses this knowledge to generate outputs that were not part of the original dataset but share similar characteristics. A popular example of a generative AI model is Chat GPT (as mentioned earlier). But many other models might prove useful for Marketing and PR professionals. Here are some of our favourites;
- Otter.ai – A necessary tool for any PR wanting to transcribe meetings, interviews, or events. Just upload your video files, and Otter.ai will do the rest. It makes absorbing information about events easier, and quicker.
- Copy.ai – An alternative to Chat GPT which delivers the most up-to-date responses by pulling from real-time data. Created with the marketing community in mind.
- Chat PDF – Analyses documents to quickly provide you with the information you need.
The benefits of using AI in PR
It’s not unfair to say that generative AI has been met with some scepticism from the PR industry, not without fault and we will delve into this further later. However, it cannot be ignored that these models can provide some benefit in terms of automation and research. Anyone who writes content will be familiar with the research phase of a project. A chatbot like Chat GPT can prove extremely useful at this stage.
See the example below. You can ask the model a question on any topic, and it will deliver a comprehensive answer in a matter of seconds. From here, you can digest the answer and use it to inform your own content.
Personally, I use this in tandem with other research methods. But it’s a great way to take complex information and digest it in a quick and easy way.
AI also becomes a useful tool if you need to digest the content of an event or webinar quickly. If I’m producing some press around an event, but don’t have the time to listen to a full 1-hour webinar, I’ll utilise Otter.ai and transcribe the video recording. From here, I can quickly scan through the content and pick out the key bits of information to use.
I find scanning through copy much easier than skipping through a video – so find it’s an extremely effective way to glean as much information as possible, as quickly as possible. As you can see from the 2 examples above, AI can be an extremely useful tool to improve your efficiency.
The disadvantages of using AI in PR
My examples above might have got you thinking about the extent of content that a model like Chat GPT can produce for you. You might have considered the fact that it could be used to produce blog posts or press releases. For the purposes of this blog, I asked Chat GPT to write it for me. See the screenshot below, the system was able to produce a comprehensive piece of content for me in less than a minute. (Scary and shocking!)
Now, this is where we highlight some of the risk factors involved in using AI. Asking it to produce long form content goes far beyond using the tool for research purposes. In other industries, you might have seen examples of this being a real concern – for example, students using Chat GPT to write essays for them. There are many debates among educational organisations about how Chat GPT will feature in learning. But, in PR, we are an industry that has been built on ethical grounds. Our focus is on providing accurate and original content to help a brand tell their story, build their reputation and guide them through times of crisis.
Chat GPT has been proven to provide inaccurate information. This is because the model doesn’t access a database for facts to answer your questions. It pulls from its own dataset and was trained to provide answers based on patterns.Therefore, if you’re asking it to write a full piece of content, it’s likely to get stuff wrong. Therefore, if you’re just researching a topic, you’ll also be fact checking that information against other research to ensure its accuracy.
We recently ran the webinar, Is AI the end of Public Relations?. Our PR Account Director, Amy Hayward-Paine, provided useful insight into the issue of ethics when using AI. In this, she spoke about the Chartered Institute of Public Relations ethical code of conduct and how those in the industry adhere to values such as honesty, openness, fair mindedness, respect, integrity, and forthright communication. The use of AI can contradict some of these values, and that is seen in the reaction of their industry to these new tools.
A recent report by CIPR says that “the reaction so far within the public relations industry seems divided between those who see it as an existential threat – or an opportunity to augment the role of the professional. Some have simply dismissed it as a gimmick.”
In conclusion, PR relies on real human connections to deliver impact. Using AI to aid idea generation or help with research can be useful. But, when producing thought provoking, insightful content, the human mind can’t be replaced. Furthermore, you cannot ignore the need for accurate information in PR. Sometimes, the AI models fall short and cannot be solely relied upon to produce content.
Anicca Digital and AI
At Anicca, we embrace new technologies. It’s part of our DNA to be ahead of the curve and we use technology to deliver value for our clients. We’ve recently developed an AI powered content creation tool, Mammoth, which can be used to produce product descriptions, titles, meta-descriptions and H1 heading at scale.
Choosing Your Digital PR Agency
This is where working with a PR agency can come into its own. Especially if they understand the world of PR, digital and SEO. These channels don’t live in isolation anymore. A great PR agency will be kick-ass storytellers, be able to get your content placed in highly authoritative publications and understand the technicalities behind SEO and how to rank in Google.
It sounds straightforward, but not all agencies can offer this. But, Anicca Digital certainly can – our team is an excellent mix of creative and technical minds.
We’ve run many successful, integrated campaigns for our clients that have hit their objectives and got results. Just check out this case study where we got 1.3 million coverage views for Pall-Ex or this excellent PR and Social campaign for Diwali and Leicester City Council.