Three News Stories (and One Crazy Twitter Thread) PR Pros Need to Read Before Implementing an AI-Driven Media Relations Strategy

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By: Catherine Bormann

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaping the future of newsrooms. If you haven’t started to think about how this will affect your media relations strategy moving forward, now is the time. It’s estimated that 50% of newsrooms are utilizing generative AI tools, and PR professionals will be left behind if they don’t adapt their media relations strategies to this new reality. Here are three compelling news stories and one mind-boggling Twitter thread that PR professionals should read before crafting an AI-driven media relations strategy.

Half of Newsrooms Use AI

50% of newsrooms are now using Generative AI tools, according to a WAN-IFRA recent global survey. 70% of news professionals said they expect Generative AI tools to be helpful for their journalists and newsrooms. Only 2% said they see no value in these tools in the short term. Unsurprisingly, 85% of survey respondents sighted inaccuracy of information and quality of content as the number one concern. The primary use case for AI tools (like ChatGPT) include the capability to digest and condense information, simplified research, search, text correction and improving workflows.

Adapting our media relations strategies is no longer a choice; it’s a necessity. PR professionals must understand newsroom AI algorithms that play a pivotal role in content selection and tailor their pitches accordingly. 

AI News Anchors Hit the Airways

This is not fake news: your news anchor or weather person could be replaced with AI. Odisha Television Limited (OTV) introduced India’s first AI news anchor. According to Business Standard, “Lisa utilizes the power of AI and machine learning algorithms to deliver news, combining technology with journalism.”

What does this mean for PR professionals? We must navigate the uncharted territory of pitching stories to AI news anchors and editors. Moving forward, media strategies will need to include concise, data-driven pitches that optimize AI algorithms. 

AI-Generated HARO Responses

Ready for your mind to be blown? Journalists are receiving AI-generated pitches. In a recent tweet, freelance writer Tianna Faye revealed, “I had a ‘therapist’ reach out for a story (with actual quotes). Turns out they are literally AI-generated, don’t exist IRL, and they’ve been quoted in major pubs before.”

AI will not replace expert commentary. Journalists remain a critical part of the media landscape. Brands need to go back to the basics and double down on relationship building. According to Pitchcraft founder Kelsey Ogletree, PR pros need to “prioritize relationships over transactions.” Ogletree, who specializes in connecting PR with editors and freelance writers believes “Building up a positive relationship with freelance writers and showing you, as an expert, or your client, are committed to providing accurate information as an expert source, will lead to them turning to you more frequently — for a variety of outlets.”

Freelancers Say They’re Quitting To Become ChatGPT Whisperers

In a drastic turn of events, freelancers are now becoming ‘prompt engineers.’ According to Vice, “The title describes people who are skilled at selecting the right phrasing so that AI tools generate the most accurate and relevant responses. The trend has caused some to believe that prompt engineers will soon be more in demand than traditional writers.”

As writers shift their careers to adapt to AI, our pool of media contacts keeps dwindling. It’s important to check in with your media contacts and provide value and support beyond your day-to-day pitching. Engaging with these hybrid roles demands a deep understanding of both freelancer etiquette and AI-driven processes. 

AI is shaping newsrooms and challenging our tried and true media tactics. PR professionals need to rethink strategies to thrive in this AI-driven landscape or they will be left in the dust. Want to learn more about AI in PR? Check out our latest POV, The Future is Here: The Rise of ChatGPT and Generative AI.