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How to use AI – for reluctant PR pros

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We’ve all been grappling with the introduction of generative AI. We’ve had tons of conversations and debates about it. Some have embraced it unabashedly, and others have drawn a line in the sand – prohibiting its use. Here’s my take:

1. It can help you write.

Ever stare at that blank screen and flashing curser and wonder what to write? AI can help you get started by sparking ideas. Even if you don’t end up using any content it provides, it can sometimes help to break the writer’s block.

2. It can help you research.

I asked ChatGPT the other day to find me the top 20 journalists covering cyber risk issues in the US. It cranked out a list and descriptors about each. That gave us a great place to start our media relations efforts, and it took five seconds. Look out, Cision.

So, should we have generative AI produce content for clients? That’s where it gets a little sticky. First, based on my use of the technology, the content isn’t that great. It’s obvious. Ask it to reason something, and it will give you a basic five paragraph essay and some obvious conclusions. At least, that’s what it will do today. Fine to use it for ideas and to help organize thoughts, but I would not rely on it too heavily for final content…yet.

If you do use it – for whatever reason – be sure you tell your client you’ve used it. I sent research to a client the other day. The bulk of the research was our own, but at the end we included answers from a few requests in ChatGPT. We framed it as – this is our research and recommendation, and this is what Chat GPT said. It was interesting to show the two side-by-side.

I think of generative AI like a calculator. Sure, you can write out all the numbers you need to crunch and take the time to calculate long form. Or, you can punch the numbers into the calculator and move along the decision process more quickly. Is that cheating? Perhaps, if you are taking the SAT. But, in life, that’s called working smartly.

What would a piece about ChatGPT be without a little ChatGPT content? The above are my quick thoughts, but what does ChatGPT think? I asked it: How should public relations professionals use ChatGPT? Here’s what it said:

“Public relations professionals can utilize ChatGPT in several ways to enhance their work and engage with their target audience effectively. Here are some ways they can use ChatGPT:

  1. Content generation: ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for generating compelling content. PR professionals can use it to brainstorm ideas for press releases, articles, blog posts, social media captions, and more. By interacting with ChatGPT, they can gather inspiration, refine messaging, and ensure their content resonates with the intended audience.
  2. Media monitoring: PR professionals can employ ChatGPT to monitor online discussions and sentiment around their brand or client. They can train the model to recognize specific keywords or phrases and receive real-time updates on relevant conversations. This can help PR teams identify emerging trends, address potential crises, and proactively engage with the public.
  3. Crisis management: In times of crisis, ChatGPT can assist PR professionals in drafting timely and accurate responses. By inputting relevant information about the crisis, PR professionals can leverage ChatGPT’s language generation capabilities to create consistent messaging across various communication channels. This ensures that accurate and appropriate information is disseminated promptly.
  4. Audience engagement: ChatGPT can be deployed to enhance customer interactions and engage with the target audience. PR professionals can train ChatGPT to provide personalized responses to common inquiries, such as FAQs, product information, or event details. This can help streamline customer service efforts, provide quick and accurate information, and improve overall customer satisfaction.
  5. Influencer outreach: When working with influencers or social media personalities, PR professionals can use ChatGPT to draft initial outreach messages or collaboration proposals. By tailoring the message to each influencer’s style and interests, PR professionals can increase the chances of a positive response and establish fruitful partnerships.
  6. Media pitches: ChatGPT can aid PR professionals in crafting compelling media pitches. By providing relevant details about a story or event, PR professionals can use ChatGPT to generate attention-grabbing pitches that effectively communicate the value and newsworthiness of their client’s story.
  7. Language and tone consistency: ChatGPT can serve as a resource for maintaining consistent language and tone across various PR materials. By training the model with brand guidelines and key messaging, PR professionals can ensure that all communication materials align with the desired brand voice.

It’s important to note that while ChatGPT can be a valuable tool, human oversight is crucial. PR professionals should review and validate the output generated by ChatGPT before using it in their communications.”

I am not quite ready to take all ChatGPT’s recommendations just yet. But, it is interesting to note its future potential. We at Stretch PR will be keeping an eye on generative AI technology and its many uses as it continues to evolve. What do you think? Are you embracing it? If so, how? If not, why not?