The basics of AI-powered PR

Robots aren't pitching stories just yet. But programmatic PR can provide a direct path to your audience, says Peter Brand, founder and CEO of Insight Media Labs.

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Getty Images

One of the most exciting comms trends is the development of programmatic public relations; the bright light ushering in a new era of highly targeted communications for PR teams.

Robots won’t be pitching stories just yet. But by leveraging data and technology, programmatic PR provides a direct path to reach, educate and influence anyone you desire.

Programmatic PR platform targets and delivers content to the audience you are trying to reach, whether your story is covered or not. In today’s world of fewer staff reporters and declining media influence, it provides a critical tool to convey messaging that is impactful and measurable.

The mechanics of programmatic PR are similar to that of digital advertising. In fact, it uses first and third-party data, artificial intelligence, and other advertising tech. And as the desired audience interacts with your content, additional data is collected and tagged for future distribution.

As a result, with each campaign your algorithmic newswire learns more, delivers more precise results and provides valuable analytics for your communications teams.

Data sources include sales and marketing personas; website traffic and contact data; "lookalike" audiences that match characteristics of previous successful targets; and geo-fenced audiences at events or trade shows.

Delivery may be the most powerful aspect of programmatic PR. Content is delivered to the audience where they consume information on social networks, key publisher sites, and apps, alongside related articles, content from Google searches, or other locations where those communities gather.

Let’s say, for example, you wanted to reach journalists, analysts and a B2B audience at your industry trade show. The on-site audience can be geo-fenced to receive your news during the event. Readers of the leading industry publications could be included as well as all of the media attending the event. And your news can be delivered in a range of ways to user devices — via keyword searches, alongside competitor’s content, in apps including popular social media platforms, and on third-party websites.

While public relations has long used paid approaches to reach news organizations (press release wires) and social influencers, programmatic PR provides direct-to-audience delivery of your public relations content, ensuring relevant reach regardless of which reporters or influencers engage with your news.

Because there are fewer publications and journalists out there, many good stories are untold or under told. Programmatic PR provides a way of reaching your audience even when a story doesn’t achieve desired earned coverage with your targeted media.

Peter Brand is founder and CEO of Insight Media Labs and can be reached at

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