In our modern, digitized world, various tools and systems are becoming integrated into our lives every day that were once only seen as science fiction or light-years away. While Hollywood might have tried to paint a different (and much scarier) picture in the past, many industries are starting to recognize how integrating new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) can actually help individuals and teams do their jobs better, without any fear of being replaced, or worse, overrun by the Skynet.
Public Relations professionals in particular have a great deal of potential good that can come out of leveraging AI in our businesses. Incorporating this technology into our stack can help us better manage customer relationships, capture and act on leads, ensure that the programs we are working with are secure, and streamline time-challenging processes that often leave us with less time to actually work to promote our clients.
Cybersecurity for Our Business
Ironically enough, while some think we need to be protected from the machines, artificial intelligence can actually help keep us safe from other technology-based dangers. PR professionals spend a great deal of time doing research for clients, looking for new opportunities, and sending out emails and requests to addresses that we don’t necessarily know are secure. We often keep multiple tabs and pages open and interact with a large number of online sources, leaving gaping holes in our cyber defenses that can easily be taken advantage of by hackers and other dark actors on the web. Artificial intelligence can protect us and prevent cyber-attacks by analyzing suspicious behavior and characteristics of new software, acting on threats as soon as they are identified, and automatically responding to threats and suspicious alerts as opposed to the human route of needing to look further into the issue.
Attracting New Business
Our market is extremely competitive, and PR professionals need to be able to respond to leads immediately. Even- arguably, especially- ones that we may not know are there. We use multiple outlets to promote ourselves and our clients, including websites, social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter, newsletter subscriptions, blog posts, and more. We don’t get to immediately see when someone views a tweet, searches our company, or otherwise interacts with any number of our marketing systems. Artificial intelligence and marketing automation can collect all that data for us, showing when, for how long, and how often a user visited a page or connected with any of our systems. This allows us to see and know exactly who we are reaching, and who we should be reaching out to. AI can make our systems work for us, and does not leave us chasing leads, but instead allows us to pursue those leads actively and effectively- a big difference, especially for a smaller group or agency.
Keeping Current Business
We are not simply in this space to gain clients, but to retain them and service them as well, and artificial intelligence can help PR pros service our clients better, faster, and more efficiently, allowing us to provide even more of the human touch that only we possess. AI assistance can help us with some of the most time-consuming tasks within our days, such as data entry and input, reporting tasks, checks for errors and accuracy, research on outlets and reporters, and more. While all these tasks need to be done well, correctly, and have human interaction involved in them, integrating artificial intelligence to streamline and support these tasks can give us back more time to do the things that the machines cannot do- speak to, understand, interact with, and be creative with our clients.
Regardless of what the Terminator series may have tried to tell us as kids, the way we are able to utilize artificial intelligence makes our jobs and lives easier, especially within the fast-paced world of public relations. At the end of the day, we have no need to fear the machines. At least, maybe not until 2029.