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Sitting In My Seat: Can AI Truly Replace My Role in Public Relations?

Asif Upadhye

Over the past 5 years, I’ve witnessed several phases of evolution in the PR space, including the firsthand transformative power of AI tools and what it means for the role of a PR professional.

And the question on nearly everyone’s mind - What jobs will AI replace a few years from now? By sheer observation alone, you would know that tasks such as data analysis, media monitoring, translation, content creation, and gauging audience responses which were traditionally done manually, can now be automated by AI.

Nope PR Jobs will not go!

But there is a catch! When it comes to data analysis, leveraging machine learning algorithms helps PR professionals extract valuable insights from complex datasets, enabling them to make data-driven decisions with greater precision. With AI taking up voluminous tasks, PR teams are empowered to identify emerging trends, optimize campaigns, and enhance brand reputation. The same however cannot be said for content creation. 

Approximately, 61% of marketers believe that AI will never be able to create quality content, the way that humans do. 

The debate sprung up with the rise of AI-based content generation tools transforming the way PR agencies create and distribute content. Natural language processing algorithms enable the automation of routine content creation tasks, such as drafting press releases, blog posts, and social media updates. This not only saves time but also ensures consistency in messaging. From a broader perspective, this creates scope for PR professionals to focus on crafting compelling narratives and storytelling to ‘add a human touch’ to AI-generated content.

The advancement of AI has given rise to the fear that robots will, one day, take over our jobs, but I believe there are certain skills that just cannot be replaced.

People want to be heard and feel heard. Understanding audience sentiment and responding promptly is crucial in PR. AI-powered sentiment analysis tools can efficiently analyse social media mentions, news articles, and customer feedback, providing real-time insights into public perception. This is a classic example of AI acting as an aid, allowing PR professionals to gauge public sentiment accurately, tailor their strategies, and engage with audiences effectively. 

Instead of replacing humans, AI acts as a force multiplier, augmenting their capabilities and enhancing overall efficiency

Data risks with AI 

The use of data and rather misuse also present numerous risks for brands. As Cathy O'Neil puts it, a lot of AI is built using possibly problematic mathematical tools that share three key features: they are opaque, unregulated, and difficult to contest. They are also scalable, thereby amplifying any inherent biases to affect increasingly larger populations.

Whether we like it or not, AI’s got plenty of skin in the game, with 44% of organizations currently working to embed AI into current applications and processes. 

PR pros need to keep pace with AI 

If you ask me, keeping up with the pace requires PR professionals to think on their feet and focus on constantly upskilling and reskilling. Your aim should be to remain relevant in the evolving industry landscape, on any given day. 

AI is here to stay, so whether it’s about adapting to new responsibilities, collaborating with AI tools for media monitoring and data-driven decision-making and proactively managing a brand’s reputation, it’s high time we leveraged technology as a competitive advantage, rather than a handicap.

As we speak, AI is changing the corporate communications landscape. Work itself will evolve, becoming more technology-driven, digital-first and inclusive. In a nutshell, believe that making a meaningful impact in the PR industry requires not just riding the wave of AI, but also knowing what it takes to keep your head above water. Nope! AI won’t eat up all our jobs. But hopefully, makes us stronger, more creative and possibly, more human.

Asif Upadhye, Director, SPRD | Stories.PR.Digital

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