How is the future of the PR industry going to change? How much press work can AI already do and can it be used in F&B PR?
Digitalisation and the constant growth of technology influence many professional fields. And topics like Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI), which were previously only associated with the tech or automotive sectors, are becoming important for more areas. The PR industry, including food&beverage, lifestyle and travel PR, is not exempt from this. The question arises in which areas computer systems already support PR consultants. And will AI take over whole parts of press work in the future? Like text development for newsletters or websites, advertorials or press releases?
What is AI?
AI (artificial intelligence) aims to transfer human learning and thinking unto a computer system. Machines learn to imitate human intelligence and to approach the most important functions of the brain. Anyone who believes that this topic is still in the early stages of development is wrong. The term artificial intelligence was invented by American scientists in 1927 during the work with programs that could write texts or play chess.
In which areas is AI used?
Artificial intelligence has been around for a long time. What can AI already do today? And what use does it have for press and public relations work? Especially in the context of marketing concepts and strategic consulting for food PR, wine PR or travel PR? Computer systems produce more and more short texts such as content or product descriptions without support. In sports journalism or weather reporting AI already writes many texts automatically. And computer systems are already able to formulate texts from a data set. AI-based rule systems even adjust the tonality for target groups. Will computer systems take over certain areas from PR consultants and journalists in the future? And will AI automatically write more complex texts such as press releases in the future?
Forecasts for the future of PR
This is the subject of a study carried out in early 2020. They asked 415 specialists and executives from the PR industry about the fields of activity in which AI could become most successful in the future.
1. Media monitoring: 45 percent
Half of those surveyed believe that AI will take over the monitoring of media and social media channels in the future. Artificial intelligence thus provides PR consultants with a strategic basis: AI tracks, for example, mentions of brands or hashtags in the context of an influencer cooperation or social media content. In the future, AI will also be able to determine industry trends through social listening. Computer systems also monitor reports from the competition and develop competitor analyses based on these. A practical feature for us as a PR agency for food, wine and lifestyle.
2. Keywording of content: 41 percent
41 percent of those surveyed can imagine AI-based tools that analyze images and texts and automatically enrich them with metadata. Artificial intelligence thus manages to place certain topics in the media in a targeted manner. AI can also filter journalists who are interested in a press release. Blogger or influencer marketing will work in a similar way in the future: a software compares data volumes of social media users and multipliers with the regular customer data of a brand and evaluates them. In this way, AI creates a basis for cooperation with a high degree of credibility. And that,among other things, is important for the success of marketing campaigns.
3. Success control of PR measures: 40 percent
As a third trend, 40 percent of those surveyed state that measuring the success of PR measures is a key factor. According to the PR-Trendmonitor – Krisen-PR, Frustpotenziale und Content Marketing, the fact that successes are not measurable is the second biggest reason for frustration in press offices and PR agencies. It is all the more important that AI supports PR consultants in communication controlling. For this reason, artificial intelligence is important for strategic alignment and development. Other areas in which AI will be used in PR in the future, according to experts, are:
- Monitoring of images: 37 percent
- Content production and development: 15 percent
- Target group evaluation and definition: 14 percent
- Reputation Management: Four percent
- Press relations: One percent
Will AI write press releases soon?
Although AI can provide significant support in parts of the PR industry, complex and research-intensive work in F&B PR requires the natural intelligence of humans. And not only that: emotional intelligence is especially important in order to create sophisticated texts. Skills like empathy and humor are important for building customer loyalty. This enables PR consultants to make contacts at press or blogger events or stay in touch with important multipliers in the form of editorial visits. AI does not achieve all this yet and probably never will.
Conclusion: Artificial Intelligence in PR
In summary, AI has been able to mimic those areas that have measurable data sets so far. It is not expected that AI will replace human work in food PR in the future – and that is a good thing. The development of press releases aimed at specific target groups, emotional storytelling, editorial visits, press office and the like are simply dependent on human intelligence. However, PR consultants should not close their minds to technological developments, but use these opportunities to support their work. If they do not do this, the competition will do it and overtake them in a rush.
As PR professionals, we recommend to regularly look into digital innovations in order to offer customized concepts for social media strategies, influencer marketing and content development. By participating in webinars or workshops, we keep up to date with the latest developments in classic PR and digital PR in the F&B industry.