- Garland Harwood, cofounder, Confidant
- Michael Kaye, head of brand marketing and communications, OkCupid and Archer
- Kelly Byrd Marín, senior director of product marketing, Notified
Generative AI will become a game-changer across myriad industries, if it hasn’t already. Public relations is – and will be – such a sector, too. And while many communicators are excited about the possibilities, many of those same folks are hesitant to use AI tools to their full potential.
During this recent webinar, hosted by Notified, in partnership with PRWeek, Michael Kaye of OkCupid and Archer, Notified’s Kelly Byrd Marín and Confidant’s Garland Harwood each focus on one foundational PR task and get the ball rolling so that you can discover how AI can truly take your effectiveness to new levels.
Supercharging written content
According to a recent Notified/PRWeek survey of in-house and agency leaders, nearly three-fifths of respondents (61%) placed content creation among their top four activities for which AI would be most useful.
And while many are already using AI to some degree to help with articles, blog posts, emails, press releases and social media posts, the majority aren't devoting enough time and effort into learning how to develop relevant skills to get the most out of generative AI tools. This is a huge missed opportunity, expresses Harwood.
“AI can help us identify patterns and correlations that we might not be able to see on our own,” he explains.
To Harwood, one of AI’s biggest contributions is inspiration. It can jumpstart ideation, brainstorming and divergent thinking.
For the most part, “it is not going to generate anything close to finished work, but it can take you to different places” he adds. For example, AI can provide stylistic variations on a paragraph, make jargon more accessible and create conversational social posts, impactful analogies and FAQs.
“The more specific you are [with a prompt], the better the content you'll get back,” Harwood suggests.
However, it is critical for PR pros “to make sure that you're not losing the message, that you aren't getting off course from the style that your executive expects,” he continues.
Above all, PR pros should be buoyed by this reality that Harwood stresses: “AI cannot replace human intuition and the wisdom that we have from doing this job.”
(clockwise from top): Kaye, Marin and Harwood
Creating better visual content
Nearly half of the Notified/PRWeek survey respondents (49%) stipulate that the creation of visual material can actually be done notably better with AI than without it.Kaye can easily access numerous examples to illustrate this belief. He shares numerous noteworthy brands that are experimenting with AI for visual content.
The Coca-Cola “Create Real Magic” contest offered digital creators the opportunity to generate images with creative assets from the Coca-Cola archives and display their AI-generated work in London and New York. Beauty brand Sephora has used AI for color and fragrance IQs and virtual makeovers. For Maybelline, a popular video creator produced surreal videos of eyelashes over a London Tube train and a 3-D mascara wand that went viral.
These examples “spark so many different creative ideas on how we can use that internally at our own brands,” says Kaye. Moreover, they should underscore to all communicators the visual possibilities AI can bring to the table.
His advice to PR pros: Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s important to “learn to use these tools efficiently and to our own benefit,” adds Kaye, and to not be afraid to try something new or even old.
“We don't always have to reinvent the wheel,” he notes, “but we do have to create campaigns that are ownable to our brands. AI will help a lot of us with that.”
Writing effective prompts
As generative AI has become more and more prevalent in PR, the word “prompt” has increasingly become part of the industry’s daily lexicon.
As such, it might not be surprising that more than half of the Notified/PRWeek survey respondents (55%) said the ability to write in-depth prompts is a skill that PR pros will need to master. However, only 16% are currently devoting much time and effort into developing and improving their abilities to write effective AI prompts.
To access the most relevant information, it’s important to “be hyper specific when you're writing your prompts about what types of results you're really seeking the tool to give you,” counsels Marin. “A helpful framework for this is to go back to the absolute foundation of communications and storytelling, which is the who, what, where, when, why and how.”
For example, she offers these tips for an effective prompt using the 5 W’s:
“Write five draft media pitch emails to send to writers at top technology publications about a software launch by Notified for PR professionals, organize each email to include a subject line, recipients, personalized greetings, two paragraphs of one to two sentences of relevant and intriguing copy and an enticing closing with signature from the Notified communications team.”
When writing prompts, think of AI as the “intern who knows nothing about PR, how things need to be formatted, what the typical processes are, where the recent examples are, what are some of your recent top coverages, etc.” continues Marin.
While the specificity helps direct AI to generate better results, “AI cannot add the humanity or cultural context that all of us can,” she concludes. It’s still up to the PR pros to “make sure the content is accurate, is in the right voice, is sticking to the messaging and is engaging for your audiences. After all, you know the audience better than anyone.”
Click here to watch the webcast, AI-Powered PR: How AI Can Make Your Job Easier, on demand.
Be on the lookout for the Notified/PRWeek survey that was referenced multiple times above. It will deploy by mid-October.