Public relations professionals have always been on the front lines of content creation, especially in a world where the news cycle is faster than ever. Going faster is in our DNA, and there’s a new fast lane thanks to the introduction of generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard. While the technology is clearly not yet at the stage where it can produce client-ready materials with just a few clicks, it certainly can accelerate a range of the tasks that ladder up to media relations and content success. Here are just a few that are breaking out of Firebrand Labs and being sped into practice.
PR pros spend a lot of time researching, reading and establishing an understanding of context. ChatGPT and similar generative AI tools can help public relations professionals by condensing information quickly for research and ongoing learning.
1. Summarize a brand’s web content to educate the PR team on a new brand prospect
PR teams can use generative AI tools to summarize the brand’s web and blog content to find insight into the brand’s history, goals, products, and values. The tools can be used to create a summary report that highlights the key information about the brand, including the brand’s history, mission statement, target audience, products or services, and any unique selling points.
2. Summarize articles to educate the PR team about the client’s industry and competitors
Public relations teams can start by using traditional web search to find a list of articles that cover the client’s industry and competitors. These articles can be from a variety of sources, including news websites, industry publications, and competitor websites. Generative AI tools‘ summarization feature can then be used to create brief overviews of each article. PR pros can simply copy and paste the article’s text into ChatGPT or Bard and ask it to summarize the content, and it will analyze the text and generate a synopsis that captures the key points of the article. These can then be shared with the wider PR team in regular reports.
3. Summarize articles to keep clients apprised of industry news, even help generate media reports
PR pros’ clients also want to know the big news in their industries. And it’s not just the communicators and marketers that hire them — even subject matter experts can still use help staying abreast of all the news in their space. That said, clients don’t necessarily want a list of everything that’s been alerted by the media monitoring service — they want an explanation of the stuff that matters, which takes your team’s expert eye. But it doesn’t have to take forever. Using summarization features, building bespoke media summary reports isn’t very time-consuming at all.
4. Summarize articles to gather research that can inform a planned bylined article
The best writers know that before the writing starts, there’s a lot of reading to do. Good pieces need both well-researched sources and a truly fresh point of view. ChatGPT and Bard’s summarization features can make the process of collecting information go a lot faster and help ensure that an article actually offers a unique perspective and isn’t simply rehashing other people’s insights or opinions.
The energy from a great client catchup or team brainstorm can distract creative people from the administrative side of the meeting. ChatGPT and other generative AI tools can help public relations practitioners maximize the value of meetings by capturing the material that’s most important to keep the project moving.
5. Derive action items from meeting transcriptions
When appropriate, PR pros can record meetings with a tool like Otter or another Zoom transcription tool. By using the phrase “ACTION ITEM!” as a flag for follow-up, ChatGPT and Bard can derive a list of to-dos in just a few seconds.
6. Get help brainstorming ideas and making quick calculations on the fly during meetings
Sometimes ideas you never thought would arise pop out during a good brainstorm, but they need quick verification, clarification or calculation. Questions like, “What’s interesting about Calistoga, California?” or “If 1 in 12 people don’t like carbonation, how many people in California don’t like it?” no longer take multiple Google searches and a calculator.
7. Distill lists of the ideas generated during brainstorming
Just like the “ACTION ITEM!” trick, use a phrase like “GREAT IDEA!” to help ChatGPT or Bard consolidate your “best of the brainstorm” ideas list.
Content pros already are loving the ways that generative AI tools can get things published faster. ChatGPT and other AI tools can also help with content transformation for public relations.
8. Reduce word counts of bios and company descriptions for speaking and award applications
A lot of the work of speaking and award applications is taking a big idea and getting it to fit into a very small box — or at least an economical word count. Generative AI tools may not yet be ready to create a speaker abstract or award entry for you from scratch, but they can reduce your idea that took 200 words to explain down to 85 words for that pesky field in the application.
9. Create quick definitions of key terms within guest articles
When writing bylines, guest editorials or even pitches, foundational concepts or a chronology of events sometimes need to be explained in as few words as possible. Generative AI tools are great for taking a definition or historical information arising from a traditional web search and condensing it further for quick insertion.
10. Summarize existing blog posts to repurpose them for first drafts of media pitches
A brand’s content team worked hard to do the heavy lifting of concepting, researching, writing and publishing great blog posts. There’s often gold in those blogs, but sometimes the most mediagenic stuff isn’t top of mind for sales-oriented marketers. Getting a quick inventory of the content and concepts a brand has to share can be easier by using AI tools to pull out reusable messaging and summarize existing content. From there, a good PR writer can also use the tools for further transformation tasks.
11. Generate alternative email subject lines for media pitches
Once media relations pros have acquired an understanding of the media’s current focus, a client’s competitive landscape, and reusable client messaging, they should have the materials they need to write a great core pitch. It also takes a bit of A/B testing, if you will — different subject lines attract different journalists’ attention. Bard and ChatGPT are pretty good at brainstorming many permutations of a subject line. Even if they aren’t suitable to be used word-for-word, they often furnish some new and often unexpected ideas.
12. Derive pitch ideas from podcast and conference session transcripts
So much work goes into planning presentations, panel events and podcasts — public relations pros should make the most of them, and they shouldn’t leave any great ideas on the cutting room floor. Bard and ChatGPT can help summarize each conversation from subject matter expert appearances so that the PR team can include the best material in their pitches and bylined content placements.
The bots aren’t close to replacing public relations pros just yet, and it’s clear it will be a while before generative AI can furnish the intellect required to deliver on-brand ideas in a dynamic media environment like a human can. But this latest generation of tools is clearly going to unburden humans from much of the heavy lifting required when building great public relations programs. And these are just the first dozen tricks we’ve learned and revealed — stay tuned for more discoveries from Firebrand Labs.
Ian Lipner is a senior communications leader with deep experience in B2B and B2G tech. A SVP at Firebrand, Ian is focused on strategy, messaging and positioning, and media and content strategy.