What will AI really mean for the PR industry? (TL;DR – it won’t take your job)

If you asked me what Artificial Intelligence was two and a bit years ago, I would have looked at you with a slightly blank expression on my face. Similar to this emoji, in fact:¬†ūü§®.

Earlier this week, I read this piece by Stephen Waddington on the topic of how AI will impact PR skills and it got me thinking –¬†what will AI really mean for my job and my industry?

At Aira, we work with a number of businesses in the tech industry and brands who lend themselves well to technology related content. This has, almost by accident, given me a fairly broad understanding* of the world of AI and what it will mean for a number of industries.

*Not an expert Рsoz. 

Creating content around what the future of AI will mean for jobs, whether it will have a positive or negative impact on our society and the new jobs it will help create has, inadvertently, opened my eyes to something that is undoubtedly going to affect pretty much all of us. There’s a whole multitude of figures, predictions and reports out there that tell us when we should expect to see AI barging in on us and nicking our desks at work – such as this stat that tells us that¬†one in five existing jobs in British cities is likely to be displaced by 2030.

Maybe it’s naivety or maybe it’s my stubbornness to ignore anything that tries to scaremonger me, but I feel like we’re only exposed to news stories and articles that look at the ‘shocking’ impact of AI rather than a realistic idea of what it could truly do.

So, what will AI really mean for the PR industry?

The human advantage 

Something I’ve always been interested in is human behaviours, the way we interact with one another and the importance of recognising and reacting to different emotions.

Emotion plays a central role in PR. Campaigns that incorporate storytelling to draw out particular emotions from a consumer stand out the most – and, at the moment, this is something that AI and machines aren’t able to do to the same level as humans. However, it’s been argued that emotionally intelligent AI¬†is on the rise – in the next few years, could we be brainstorming campaigns with robots?

We can also assume that journalists are, on the whole, going to be more accepting of listening to your pitch and coming to you for stories than they are a robot. We’ve all seen the backlash that can come about when PRs address bloggers and journalists with the wrong name in an email – imagine the mistakes that could happen if we had robots in charge of media relations! Not to mention how unpersonalised and generalised pitches and outreach emails would be, too. As PRs, we’ve learned the skills needed to communicate with journalists, editors and reporters and I think this is something we’ll always have in our favour compared to AI.

Day to day tasks

This one is all to do with delegating. Just as a line manager would delegate to a junior member of staff, over the next few years I think we’ll be seeing ourselves delegate to robots. Yup.

Recruiting for a new role? Chatbots could be there to filter out the unsuitable candidates from the top talent before you get involved at the interview stage.

Organising your calendar, replying to mundane emails and answering sales calls for things you will literally never, ever want? These tasks could all become automated, to stop small businesses from spending on average 120 hours a year on admin tasks, as we’re currently seeing happen in the UK.

Content creation

I know – the highlight of many of us PR people’s jobs. AI better think twice before trying to take content creation away from me, right?

Well, not necessarily.

Algorithms are not only helping content creators, marketers and PRs to collect data on specific audiences but they can also help make sense of it too, meaning the time spent on creating news-worthy and targeted content is sped up significantly. And we all wish we had more time to create more content, don’t we?

In fact, this is something Coca-Cola has already done. Last year, Coca-Cola decided to choose AI over agency creatives (ouch…) to see whether they could create narratives, schedule social media posts and choose music for adverts more efficiently than humans. Anyone spotted a super dodgy Coca-Cola advert recently?

Ultimately, I do think AI will come to play a big role in the PR industry – for both digital and traditional – but do I think we’ll be fighting to keep our jobs in the future? Not really, no. Unless all our clients decide to follow in Coca-Cola’s footsteps, of course…

For me, the PR industry is very much a human focussed industry. It’s success relies on being able to communicate effectively with consumers and businesses and, truthfully, I can’t see a time where the public are able to resonate with a robot more than they are another human.

 

PR on the big screen: what lessons can we learn?

I might be almost 10 years late to the party, but this weekend I watched Hancock for the first time. The description on Netflix mentioned a ‘boozy superhero’ so I was expecting a Will Smith comedy classic…imagine my surprise when a PR guy turns up?

This wasn’t the first time this has happened; a few months back, ¬†I came across some of the Sex and the City boxsets in a charity shop. I’d heard of the infamous Samantha Jones, having been a fan of the films and also the more recent Carrie Diaries, so I knew she worked in PR but I really got to know her (in more ways than one (!)) and her career whilst making my way through the boxsets.

Samantha and Ray’s characters may be stark contrasts and have very different tactics when it comes to ‘good PR’ but there’s still plenty of lessons we can learn from both.

Lesson 1: PR tactics can be polar opposites, but they can both work

Samantha does kind of sell a totally false image of what PR is (which has most likely contributed to us having the reputation of selling club tickets…shoot me now) but you’ve gotta give it to her – she’s good at what she does.

Samantha’s job revolves around raising awareness of her clients through¬†celebrity endorsements, planning parties, and drinking cocktails. But in Hancock, we see Ray pitching a new All-Heart logo for businesses who are extremely charitable. Couldn’t be more different, could they?

For some brands, the party/schmoozy PR tactics is what will work for them and for some a more serious and corporate PR approach is vital. There isn’t a universally right or wrong answer to what ‘good PR’ is; understand your client and their PR needs and you’ll be able to nail your tactics.

Lesson 2: Reputation is at the core of PR

In Hancock we see Ray send him off to prison as a PR tactic, which is probably a rather unlikely scenario for most of us but there’s still something we can learn from it. For your client’s reputation to be tip-top, you need to have the public on your side – it just so happens that in Hancock’s circumstances, he had to go to prison to achieve this.

It also goes to show that a reputation fail doesn’t mean it’s the end for a business. As a good quality PR person, you need to have the strategy and tactics in place to rebuild your client’s reputation if they’ve had a minor (or major) slip-up. What does your client need to do to win the forgiveness of their audience? What can they do to change their image in the media? PR has the power to turn a bad image around!

Lesson 3: Network online and offline to get to know the right people 

It’s no secret that Samantha is very much an extravert, in both her work and personal life. In Sex and the City, we see Samantha with a constant list of contacts and whilst some of these may be on more of a ‘little black book list’, we can be sure her list of professional contacts is sky high.

The contacts you have with journalists and editors can give you the edge when getting coverage; as soon as you have a new story or press release for a client, you know who to pitch it to to get the ball rolling.

Back in the days of Sex and the City circa the nineties, digital PR wasn’t yet a thing and traditional PR tactics were Samantha’s forte. Now, PR pros need to have both online and offline contacts in order to get the best coverage and links for clients in all types of media.

What type of PR person do you see yourself as? Are you more of a Samantha or a Ray? If you’re interested to see what other films have underlying PR themes that you may not have noticed, check out this post!

L x 

 

 

 

‚ÄėPR personality‚Äô: do you have to be an extrovert to work in PR?

The increase in use of personality tests, such as Myer-Briggs, have brought more attention to the personality labels ‚Äėintrovert‚Äô and ‚Äėextrovert‚Äô, but what personality type is needed to work in PR?

Even though PR centres around relationship building, communicating and networking with different types of people, which undoubtedly requires a certain level of confidence, does this mean extroverts are the only personality type that will excel in PR?

Read my¬†blog post in full over on Aira’s blog, here.

Startup Stock Photos

 

Yes, I may have disappeared off the blogger-sphere temporarily. But I did graduate with a First and get a PR job in the meantime…

Helllo there!!

Yes, it’s been forever. I do apologise. Ever a girl with an excuse or 10 on her hands, here is mine:

I was doing this…

13681088_10206747831435006_4005584525587105164_n

Continue reading “Yes, I may have disappeared off the blogger-sphere temporarily. But I did graduate with a First and get a PR job in the meantime…”

PR Interview #12: Arianne Williams, Britain’s Best PR Student Blogger 2016

It’s official – my reign as Britain’s Best PR Student Blogger 2015 is over…but I couldn’t see a better PR student (very nearly graduate!) than Arianne Williams to be this year’s winner. I had a chat with her about her life as a PR student, her greatest achievements to date and her future as a PR pro…

Continue reading “PR Interview #12: Arianne Williams, Britain’s Best PR Student Blogger 2016”

PR in Education: are schools telling students if PR is the right career for them?

I mentioned a couple of blog posts back that I was planning this blog post. It’s something that’s kind of irked me for the last 3 years. I mean, it’s not, like, haunted my nightmares or anything, but it is something I often wondered about.

My school and careers advisers never told me that PR was a thing; I didn’t know it existed, I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t know that my A-Levels, talents and passions all tied in nicely to being a PR pro. We all know PR isn’t the most hugely studied course at uni, but how is it expected to be when 6th forms & colleges aren’t telling students PR is something they could consider studying?

Continue reading “PR in Education: are schools telling students if PR is the right career for them?”

The final push…reflecting on the last 3 years

In FIVE days time I will have finished uni forever!!

I still remember sitting in my room in halls at 1am re-vamping my blog, which was then wonderfulworldxoxo.wordpress.com (WHY????), and turning it into a PR blog. I remember getting my first ever First for an assignment. I remember winning my first blogging competition…I remember winning my second ever blogging competition! I remember being asked to hold my first WordPress Workshop. I remember being asked to contribute for PR Stack 2. I remember my taster day and having to design a campaign around donuts. I remember going back the following year to chat to potential students doing the donut campaign!

Continue reading “The final push…reflecting on the last 3 years”

3 reasons why I’m looking forward to no longer being a student

I 100% in absolutely no way shape or form cannot at all believe that in 3 days time I will be starting my final…ever…term at Solent. When people say uni flies by, they are not lying – mark my words!

I have mixed feelings about finishing uni. Whilst I will miss living with friends, having the freedom of being able to do work from my bed and regular nights out, there are definitely¬†things I’ve very much had enough of. This post is basically going to be about the things I won’t miss which, I know, sounds very whiny and negative but I’m more going for the optimistic-I’m-so-grown-up-now-and-ready-to-have-a-real-job approach (try and stick with me!)

Continue reading “3 reasons why I’m looking forward to no longer being a student”