When it comes to a core pillar of PR work – building out media strategy for pitching stories and news – the conventional and the analog dominate workflows.
Aside from tools like a rolodexes, faxes, and landlines, little has changed in decades about how comms professionals go about their media engagement. Who to target, where and how are questions largely addressed through a mix of gut instinct and professional experience – with little rooted in concrete data or analysis. We don’t really know who will say yes to a story idea, and so the almighty list is king. The bigger the list the better, because while we might not want to admit it (or say so to our clients), it’s then chiefly a numbers game – the more shots we take, the more we’re likely to bag a few.
There’s a better way to get narrative into the marketplace.
Our jobs have the potential to be drastically and dramatically improved by embracing new technology – chiefly artificial intelligence (AI). This technology has the potential to overhaul our workflows, remaining how we navigate an ever more competitive and transactional news environment. It’s no longer enough to know who the media are – we need quick and thorough analysis of what they’re covering, how (in terms of sentiment), and why – so that we can tailor our outreach and our clients’ expectations accordingly. That’s why I built PRophet, an AI-driven, SaaS platform designed by and for PR people.
In this next major moment for folks in our industry, a tool like PRophet uses AI – specifically a proprietary combination of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) to analyze past reporter behavior and predict future reporting potential. By doing this background work before going to market with a pitch, teams can intelligently develop strategies around news and emerging issues or threats, bolstered by irrefutable data. The difference is creating concrete media targets, rather than throw-spaghetti-at-the-wall lists.
As creativity and data join forces, AI will increasingly have an influence on how we engage journalists and emerging new media going forward. Our professional know-how and carefully honed instincts will continue to be invaluable, but we’ll be able to back up what we’re pretty sure we know with data and analysis that’s harder to dispute. Openness to new technologies such as AI will be key to navigating PR’s rapidly evolving role in an integrated world – ensuring we have the know-how to give our clients the soundest counsel and drive real results.