Like many others, we’ve seen a variety of emails and posts touting the benefits of AI for generating press releases and other PR content. A company promoting its marketing platform that recently sent an email talking about how its AI solution can save you $8,000 a month by generating content for you. And a LinkedIn expert who posted an example of a great article he wrote on cybersecurity, using AI.
Except that the email for the marketing platform contained two typographical/grammatical errors in the first sentence alone - not the best first impression of the quality of their writing expertise. The AI generated article? It wasn’t very good, hard to follow, and in fact the post has since been removed - we are guessing probably because of feedback from others echoing our impression.
At best, AI in its current iteration produces average to mediocre content - the complete opposite of the goal of PR. Public relations is all about making a company stand out, to discover what is newsworthy about its products and its story, and then promoting that to the media and its target audiences. And as with any industry, not all PR professionals or writers are the same, or get the same results. It is the value and expertise each one brings to the table.
If I had a hammer - it wouldn’t make me a journeyman carpenter. Just because you have AI to help generate content doesn’t make you a writer, or that your news release, story pitch or article will stand out to attract the interest of the media. There is more to a press release, for example, than hammering out the words - the actual writing is the final step in a whole process of identifying messaging, target audiences and objectives that AI doesn’t encompass.
AI is not a replacement for the expertise of a PR professional - including their experience in knowing what works and doesn’t work with the media. AI generated content poses a very real risk of an exponential amount of not very good content flooding the news media, with the result of making it even harder for companies to attract the attention of the media.
PR Writing and AI
AI is being touted as a game changer in many industries, including public relations. While we think there are many benefits to PR from AI, writing is most likely not one of them.
Why? For several reasons. Uniqueness (including creating a news hook that makes you stand out from the competition). AI is very good at making you sound like everyone else, but not necessarily in creating the unique angle that will interest the media. The possibility of plagiarism is another example. We’ve tested several tools, and have found the results to be remarkably similar – in fact too similar - to other writing we’ve reviewed. Not good if you are trying to attract positive attention from the media, and a good way to attract unwanted (legal) attention.
We plan to continue to test various AI writing tools in the upcoming months, and share our professional opinions. But the bottom line is – there is no replacement for the “nose for news.” The unique angle that a good journalist or PR professional brings to the table. If you want to fill space with words, perhaps AI is a good tool. But if you want to make yourself stand out to the media and to tell a good news story, AI might not be the best writing tool for you.
Recently, AI has been touted as a tool for PR, including content creation such as press releases. While AI has beneficial uses for PR, content creation isn’t one of them and here’s why.
Because, just like journalism, you need a nose for the news. Or, more simply put, you need to have the instinct (and skills) to move the media and your other target audiences, such as investors and customers, with your writing. This type of storytelling cannot be created with AI; it is a talent.
The same is true with PR agencies. While all agencies say they can write a press release or contributed article, the results can be wildly divergent. We’ve seen this happen time and again. It is not just a matter of “writing” a release; it is a knowledge and understanding of what works (or doesn’t work) with the media, along with the talent, to tell the client’s story. Not all journalists are the same; not all of them have the skills to write for The Wall Street Journal or report for the national TV networks. Similarly, not all PR agencies have the same skill sets to make a news release or article stand out. You may get something that is competently written perhaps; but it might not be what stands out.
AI offers great potential in many situations for PR. However, with press releases, articles and other PR content creation, AI can’t replace humans and the unique “nose for news” that good PR practitioners can bring to the table.
PR Tips During Inflationary Times
There’s no question about it, inflation is hitting businesses of all sizes hard.
In particular, startups, small businesses and venture-backed companies are cutting back on expenses to navigate these fiscally challenging times. Even so, PR still remains one of the least expensive and most cost-effective ways they can promote their business and gain exposure with their various target audiences, from customers to investors.
PR builds brands and increases credibility. It also helps with SEO, by getting your story out on media platforms. We’ve had clients dramatically increase the number of times their company name or product comes up in online searches, simply by engaging in a proactive PR program. And if the investment community is important to you, PR can help you reach that audience too, even prior to launching your product.
At BYPR, we work extensively with startups and small businesses, with several budget-friendly flat rate packages tailored with them in mind, including a free initial consultation. If you would like to schedule a free consultation on how PR might help your business grow during these challenging times, feel free to contact us here.
BYPR Founder Belinda Young to Present “Building an Effective PR Strategy” at TiE Seattle Entrepreneur Institute
Belinda Young, founder of BYPR, will present “Building an Effective PR Strategy” at the TiE Seattle Entrepreneur Institute on Wednesday, June 22.
This online presentation is the fourth in a series of webinars presented by TiE Seattle, the Seattle chapter of the world’s largest entrepreneur organization, to help aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs understand the fundamentals of building and launching a startup.
“Building and Effective PR Strategy” will cover the basics entrepreneurs and startups need to know about PR, from developing a compelling PR strategy to selecting a PR firm appropriate to their sector. The session also includes a fireside chat with Taylor Soper, managing editor of Geekwire, who will discuss what kind of news stories captures its attention.
The Contributed Article
Contributed articles – articles that carry the name of someone from an organization as the author - are a great way for entrepreneurs, startups and SMBs to promote their businesses and establish themselves as leading experts, as well as provide collateral material in the form of an article reprint that can be used in the sales process.
BYPR has a long track record of helping companies of all sizes – especially entrepreneurs, startups and SMBs – get contributed articles placed in top industry and trade media as well as business journals and publications. Here are a few tips and insights into the process:
The Power of the Press Release
If you’re an entrepreneur, SMB or startup, a press release can especially be a powerful tool. When written and implemented correctly, a great press release (or press release program) can propel a company to the local, regional or national spotlight, at a relatively low cost.
However, not all press releases are the same and you shouldn’t use a one-size fits all approach. The writer’s experience, knowledge and intuition for what will resonate with the media all play an important part.
Before you even start a press release, here are some important questions to consider:
Although it is almost the end of the year, there is still time to think about public relations for your 2019 Q1 tradeshows and events, such as CES which begins in less than a month.
CES is one of the largest tradeshows in the country and is home to more than 4,500 exhibitors showcasing the latest and greatest consumer technologies from 3D printers, AR/VR and gaming to drones and self-driving technology. It can be overwhelming to say the least, especially for startups and entrepreneurs. For them, PR and media outreach are often left until just days before the show or event (if they even think of it at all). Many of these events are also great opportunities to obtain media coverage, so not starting your PR outreach soon enough can result in missed media opportunities. However, there is still time to utilize these PR tips to make the most of your presence at CES and other Q1 shows and events:
Fall PR Planning Tips
Fall is just around the corner and for many businesses, it is a time for planning and moving forward and PR is one of the most cost-effective tools you can use to help promote your business. Even if you do not have a big budget; there is a lot you can do with the smallest of financial outlays utilizing PR.
Here are just a few tips to consider:
Like many entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups, your time may be short to implement these on your own. Hiring someone fulltime or hiring a traditional agency (which can often cost thousands, if not tens of thousands, a month, depending on your industry and focus) is not in the reach for many. There are boutique agencies and solo practitioners that can offer you advice at startup budgets and you can often get much more senior level professionals by going this route. However, even with this don’t simply go for the cheapest price. Look for an agency or professional with a repeatable track record on getting things done.
One News Story Makes All The Difference
Does public relations affect the bottom line for entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups? At BYPR, the answering is a resounding “Yes!”
Such is the story conveyed to us from a Symantec VP, who spoke at a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) event we organized. He started with Symantec in the very early days and shared with the audience how it was touch and go with the company regarding its survival. Until one story – and just one story – turned things around. They never looked back.
This has happened first hand with our clients – 10,000 plus downloads from a single Wall Street Journal story, exhibitors at the Seattle Home Show who run out of the literature they brought for the entire nine day run, after a story we placed in the local media included them and the list goes on. One good story really makes all the difference.
What are the keys to success? Work with focused PR counsel – larger agencies in spite of their self-promotion are not necessarily the key for entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups. We’ve had clients who are actively solicited by larger agencies for their accounts, simply because the results we have produced make them think they have much larger budgets than they actually have.
PR is one of the best tools entrepreneurs, SMBs and startups can use to create visibility for their companies. It only takes one news story to make all the difference!