Why and how you should use AI in your PR efforts

Artificial intelligence is no longer solely for science fiction sagas. Its business applications are growing, including public relations and marketing. Here’s how data and insights help strategy.

Better decisions begin with data and artificial intelligence.

Even in its early stages, AI is positioned to change the way we do business forever. CEOs are beginning to understand this. According to PwC, 72 percent of business leaders termed it a “business advantage.”

A 2016 survey from Narrative Science found that 58 percent of enterprise business executives are already using predictive analytics within their organization.

Companies spend about $30 billion on PR per year, and executives rightfully demand to see a return on that investment. Unfortunately, 82 percent of practitioners say they have no way to evaluate the return they receive on PR.

PR coverage has typically been measured by media outlet audience size. For example, if a PR pro gained coverage for her brand in Forbes, she might report the circulation of Forbes as the potential audience size that saw the message. This method of measurement does not tie back to business objectives, and these softer metrics often do not resonate with executives.

Marketing and advertising tech revolutions have forever changed the way marketers work and measure their success. The methods they use to attribute business achievements (and even revenue) back to marketing efforts have engendered bigger budgets and new skills.

Way back in 2012, Gartner predicted that by 2017, CMOs would spend more on technology than CIOs would. Either way, there has been a radical shift. PR pros now must figure out how to attribute their campaign success to business objectives to stay relevant in today’s world of razor-sharp marketing attribution.

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With this explosion of content and demand for measurement, PR responsibilities are growing dramatically. Your strategy has so many options because content is now omnichannel and not just about media relations. Earned and owned media are digital channels measured among the larger marketing mix across brand- and sales-driven KPIs.

You are no longer accountable for just impressions and AVEs, but web traffic, customer engagement and conversions. These challenges can seem insurmountable with limited time and budgets.

Fortunately, we now have two major tools at our fingertips: data and insights. We are entering the era of data-driven PR through artificial intelligence.

AI can now help communicators in every aspect of their strategy and campaign cycle. By taking advantage of massive quantities of data and using AI to draw insights on it, PR pros can now:

  • Cut through clutter and find useful, relevant data
  • Quantify buzz and press hits
  • Properly attribute revenue
  • Know which tactics are working
  • Spot brand and revenue indicators
  • Identify PR funnel accelerators

The day-to-day work of a PR pro has evolved from reporting fluffy, imprecise metrics to truly driving business impact. The future is here, and AI is going to play a major role in the work we do—whether we’re ready or not.

Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer is co-founder of AirPR. A version of this post first appeared on the AirPR blog.

Topics: PR


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