People often say artificial intelligence (AI) isn't going to put anyone out of a job any time soon. But they're wrong. Unless you work out how to incorporate AI into your workflow today, tomorrow you'll be out of business.
I'm not saying an AI writing bot is literally going to do your job for you: AI still can't produce intelligent, comprehensible text without human supervision. But AI can already generate pitches, press releases, email outreach, and social media updates, and it can do it faster than a human can.
So, although AI may not replace PR professionals outright, agencies that don't adopt AI run the risk of obsolescence.
Many industries have seen the writing on the wall. Healthcare, finance, and transportation have all become leaders in AI adoption, and those industries have become more efficient and profitable as a result.
But for some reason, PR lags behind. Despite dozens of articles written on how to use AI in marketing and PR, many agencies just aren't biting. Why?
Yes, change is hard, and it's certainly understandable that PR firms and marketing companies would be comfortable with their established patterns and workflows. It can be tempting to keep doing things as you always have.
But it's time for the PR industry to adopt AI and adapt it to its own purposes. Even if AI is not perfect.
The Rise of 'AI Wrote This'
The articles get shared in the company Slack channel. The reaction is often "pretty cool, smarter than expected, wild to think AI came up with this all on its own." Maybe someone says, "Should we try this out sometime?" And then the idea is forgotten or dismissed as mere curiosity.
The lack of urgency is understandable. AI applications for PR right now are admittedly limited. When I tried to get a leading AI text-generator company to generate a LinkedIn outreach message targeted to me, for example, it was basically a word salad:
I love that you founded Intelligent Relations and it was co-founded by startup founders. And our experience, startups are often super innovative, always questioning the status quo and doing things differently - I admire that. Also the fact that the industry has been around for so long but it hasn't improved as a real issue - I'd love to see it be more transparent and accountable.
Not exactly Shakespeare.
I can see why you'd dismiss an AI text generator as a time-wasting tool. Why bother taking the time to change your processes to incorporate a tool that is still flawed, at best?
Novelty vs. Application
Imagine two PR companies.
PR Company A is still stuck in the curiosity phase. The company tinkers around with AI, maybe using it once in a while to see whether it really can write an article. The people at that company are having fun, but they're still thinking of AI as a toy and failing to see its true potential.
PR Company B has integrated AI into various facets of its business: drafting press releases, sending pitches to journalists, and doing social media outreach. Yes, sometimes it's messy, and the results require human intervention to catch logical flaws and just plain weirdness. But the company understands not only the current applications and limitations of AI but also its future promise.
At my firm, we've incorporated AI into every process we can think of, from scanning the media landscape for trends to gathering data about publications and journalists to generating pitches to send to those publications and journalists. No, AI isn't perfect, but it's a hell of a lot faster to ask AI to generate text and then edit it than to come up with the text yourself.
It's the difference between sending out 25 focused pitches and sending out 100 spray-and-pray pitches. It's the difference between getting a press release to a client in just one or two days vs. needing a week to put it together.
And as AI inevitably improves, companies that adopt it now are going to be the ones best positioned to take advantage of those improvements.
I'll be honest: Sometimes even our own AI text generation will give me a press release that needs a lot of work. The journalist outreach it generates is not always pitch-perfect. But our capacity and overall levels of high-quality output have increased since we incorporated AI into our work.
PR Company A will eventually realize—maybe in a year, maybe in five—that AI isn't going away and that its applications will become ever more crucial to running a successful company. But by then it'll be too late. By the time Company A begins integrating AI into its workflows, all of its clients will have moved on to companies that already did—and are better, faster, and more efficient as result.
A Necessity, Not a Replacement
It's understandable that although AI will never replace human ingenuity, creativity, and originality, some marketers are intimidated by it: It's a tech-heavy subject full of unintelligible acronyms and terms such as "neural network."
When things are working well as is, and when AI is still laughably bad in many cases, it's tempting to conclude that you don't need it.
But that's not the danger. The danger is that if you don't start using AI now—even with its limitations—you'll be outrun by companies that do. Because AI is here to stay.
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More Resources on AI Writing Adoption
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