Getting Comfortable with AI in PR

Over the past few years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has solidified its place in working environments. According to a 2024 report from MuckRack, 64% of public relations (PR) professionals said they use AI. 

The technology has proven to be highly useful in cases such as idea generation, finding media contacts and measurement. However, there are very valid concerns around the ethical implications of AI and some worry about losing the “human element” that makes public relations so impactful. 

In this article, we take a look at the questions and concerns surrounding AI in public relations; how to use AI for good, plus AI tools we love. 

 

Concerns with AI: 

While AI technology isn’t new – it was introduced in the early 1900s and significant applications were being tested in the 1950s – the technology started taking new form in our everyday lives with the introduction of Deep Learning applications such as OpenAI. As an industry, we are still figuring out standards and policies around how to use the new technology ethically. An article from Harvard Business Review reports that legal implications regarding the technology are still unclear, particularly concerning copyright infringement, ownership of AI-generated works, and unlicensed content in training data. 

Additionally, disclosure about when AI is used is real a concern in our industry.  Disclosure is important for protecting human-made assets, so when a piece of content that was not created by AI is released, the creator receives due credit for their work. With some AI applications in PR, however, disclosure may not be necessary. For example, there is no need to disclose that an email was spell-checked with AI before sending it. If a PR pro is using AI as a tool to help generate ideas or content, but is also putting in ample work to ensure the generated content is accurate and reflects the correct voice of the client, then AI use may not need to be disclosed. 

 

Ways to use it: 

Seventy-four percent of PR pros involved in Muckrack’s report revealed that AI has increased the quality of their work. Eighty-nine percent say AI has increased their productivity and speed. Common applications in PR include research, strategy and planning, and management tasks. AI can be a source of creative inspiration for tasks such as creating pitches or writing social copy. AI can make PR processes more efficient; for example, AI can help with finding the right journalists, writing press releases, and generating images to accompany content. 

It’s important to remember that AI relies on the data that it’s fed but does not understand nuances or differences in tonality, humor, or cultural context. Therefore, it cannot be completely relied on. Involvement from a PR pro is still necessary in most applications of the technology. 

 

Tools we love: 

At Breakaway, we love using AI to help with idea generation, streamlining research efforts and ensuring quality. Here are some of our favorite AI tools: 

  1. Grammarly: AI-powered writing assistant that ensures all content is clear and error-free. It’s essential for crafting press releases, pitches, and social media posts that are accurate and resonate with your audience.
  2. Canva: Uses AI to simplify the design process, making it easier to create graphics for social media, presentations, and marketing materials.
  3. Otter.AI: AI-powered automated free transcription with automated summary, highlights, and full audio transcripts.
  4. CapCut: AI-driven video editing tool that enables PR agencies to create high-quality video content with ease. Great for creating social content, like Reels. 
  5. MuckRack: Muckrack recently introduced a new application, PressPal.ai, which uses AI to help generate press releases and pitches, and then find relevant journalists based on the results. 

 

We’re still treading carefully when it comes to using AI in PR. Over the next several years we can likely expect more policy and standardization around using the technology. Until then, we look forward to watching, and utilizing, all of the creative and innovative ways AI applications evolve. And let us know if there are any AI-powered tools you’re using that are a must-have for PR success!