Dec 19, 2018 / in Comms Best Practices / by Cision Contributor

Artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the way we do business, from physical labor to digital campaigns. Whether you view the shift as positive or disruptive, machines have and will continue to infiltrate organizations worldwide. According to Forbes, 80 percent of companies report having AI in production.

While communications isn’t the first industry you think of when discussing the impact of AI, public relations has been greatly affected by recent developments in technology.

When mapping out an organization’s public relations strategy, the following is typically asked:

“What tools or tactics can I use to get the most out of my efforts?”

“How can I know if my PR is resonating with my target audience?”

The answer to these questions is simple: Allow AI to improve your PR. 

What Are Predictive Analytics?

An article from Forbes states, “With real-time data being used as an asset, professionals in the PR and media industries are able to provide their audience with content they want, rather than content they find annoying. This helps them eliminate time being wasted on content that won't be received well by their audience.”

Real-time data is one way to avoid annoying content, but AI can take it one step further with predictive analytics. SAS defines predictive analytics as, “the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data. The goal is to go beyond knowing what has happened to provide the best assessment of what will happen in the future.” Why wait to find out if your content will be received well by your audience? Know their interests and disinterests before they do.

Improve Your Content Strategy

AI can offer PR pros predictive data which will estimate and identify what types of content will most effectively resonate with media brands and your audience based on previous PR efforts. Data removes the guessing game that goes into creating content, exploring keywords, phrases, imagery and other forms of media. It can also organize information to see what call-to-actions, links and content enticed the most views and clicks and report back, saving teams from wasting time parsing through data and number-crunching.

It’s 2018, the content you’re distributing on behalf of your brand should be personalized and relevant to fit the needs and interests of your audience, and your public relations efforts are no exception. SEMrush, a marketing analytics software company, is one example of a tool that can improve your content strategy by focusing on the effectiveness of keywords and SEO. “The Organic and Advertising reports in SEMrush let you look at how a domain’s keyword rankings perform over time, allowing you to understand more thoroughly how a website is trending in terms of keyword word growth and overall SEO stability.” With tools like SEMrush, public relations professionals have the ability to update and improve their strategy as trends come and go and keywords become outdated.

Identify Your Target Audiences

Why limit yourself to pitching the same media outlets over and over again? Predictive analytics can also identify prospective media brands, customers and opportunities. In a world where technology, social media and data is constantly evolving, so are people and their opinions. Audience data you collected yesterday may not be relevant today. AI can update personas in real-time based on industry trends and current events while also adding new personas to your collection, extending your reach.

One program that helps PR pros monitor the media and anticipate how your brand can be affected by news is the Cision Communications Cloud®. “We’re armed with the data to demonstrate high-performing research reports and what months our coverage spiked,” said Brennan Hoban, Communications Coordinator at the Brookings Institution. With tools like Cision, gone are the days where manually searching for relevant journalists and scanning the news 24/7 are the norm.

Is AI for Everyone?

Like any product or program, AI is an investment. PR teams should revisit their business goals and see if AI is applicable. Even more so, teams should make sure they understand the software to begin with. Now more than ever, data scientists, analysts and IT professionals play important roles in communications teams who base their strategies on data and analytics.

That being said, PR professionals shouldn’t fear AI disruption; they should embrace it. AI can remove menial tasks from one’s to-do list and allow PR teams to focus on creativity and connecting with their target audiences. And, as mentioned above, there are plenty of AI tools businesses can use to stay ahead of the digital curve and get measurable results.

With the ability to “future-proof” your PR strategy and content, investing in AI can dramatically improve the way you interact with media brands and your target audience. Predictive analytics are key to developing a team of next-generation communicators.

About Dianna Albanese

Dianna Albanese is a communications professional at SourceMedia, a B2B publishing, marketing and events agency in New York. She specializes in social media and content marketing. You can find her on Twitter at @dialbanese.

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This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.