by Nazarene Harris & Andrew Kasper - Aug. 31, 2023 -
When ChatGPT started gaining popularity earlier this year we found ourselves grappling with a mix of emotions. The possibility of AI replicating human-crafted content and outperforming us in professional settings lingered. It didn’t help that the media ran numerous stories, from university students using AI to pass their classes to couples using AI to write their wedding vows (yes, seriously). In fact, according to a 2020 World Economic Forum report, AI is expected to create 97 million new jobs across 26 countries by 2025.
“Forward-thinking media companies are already unleashing the full potential of AI in their workflows. PR agencies and in-house departments should do the same, to take advantage of AI's capabilities such as content generation, process optimization and editing." - Gary Grossman, Senior VP, Global Lead of Edelman AI Center of Excellence
As they say – keep your enemies close, so we started to do some digging on AI. If you’ve done the same, you probably know ChatGPT isn’t the only bot with a virtual ink quill at the ready. From Grammarly GO to Rytr to WriteSonic, knowing where to start can seem overwhelming, but with a little research, you can turn foe into friend and find a great writing tool to support your PR and marketing needs. Follow these three steps to jumpstart your journey with AI.
Step One: Play
Shift your mindset to trial and error, one of the most powerful processes for humans to solve problems, and in this case for robots too. Instead of viewing research on AI as another task on your to-do list, think of it as an exciting journey into the unknown. Start with a free platform, like Grammarly GO, ChatGPT or Copy.ai, so you aren’t investing in anything you’re not completely sure of yet. Then spend a few hours playing with and testing the different features. Taking the extra time to try out multiple platforms will pay off in the long run by helping you find the best fit possible.
Step Two: Generate
When using any AI platform, it's important to consider how much direction and support your content needs. In other words, do you want the end result to be AI-led – a blog or radio script in full detail; or AI-assisted – a general outline or topic ideas? How much of the final product do you want to feel casual, sleek and catchy or formal in tone?
According to AI researcher and associate director of the Future of Marketing Institute, Martin Waxman, Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) is currently the only kind of AI available to the masses, and unbeknownst to many of us, is what we’ve all been using for at least a decade to perform single tasks like plugging an address into GPS or asking Alexa to play our favorite song.
When it comes to creating content, ANI pulls from all and any data available on the internet and makes a prediction based on those findings. In other words, AI is following your lead and learning while you learn. Identifying the right “asks” ahead of time will help AI generate content that hits your target from the start.
Some common directions for AI include the actions: write, brainstorm, produce, list, describe, create. For example, “List current health and safety topics.” Once you’ve got a good foundation, refine your work further with prompts like edit, expand, combine, or elaborate, such as, “Edit the list of current health and safety topics to those in in early childhood.”
And remember, don’t box yourself in to a single prompt. Try combing a few to create specific requests and gain more detailed responses. Check out the example below:
Step Three: Edit
AI results are impressive but far from flawless. It’s important to note that while AI’s content is generated by pulling from what’s available on the web, this data may very well be outdated. So even though one study found that by 2035 AI will have increased workforce productivity by 40 percent, don’t let the advantages of AI have you copying and pasting in a haste.
Likewise, because AI collects from all data and can’t yet differentiate a credible source, there is the possibility that what AI generates is inaccurate, biased, and even offensive. For instance, an AI op-ed about the passions of innovators could very well be based on both a scholarly research article and a young adult romance novel. (Click here to read how companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft found themselves in recent PR pickles for relying too heavily on their AI-generated content.)
While a busy PR professional might be tempted to simply copy and paste content produced by AI, doing so could prove costly to a firm, causing it to lose credibility, respect and eventually, clients. By investing the time to edit your results and thinking of AI as a PR tool you can build from rather than a proxy to lean on, your content will be all the better for it.
As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, our way of thinking about AI must evolve too. This kind of technology can offer time-saving efforts on projects and create articulate, compelling stories. However, clients will always trust that your knowledge can best assist their marketing needs, particularly with your newfound AI expertise. With the above guidance in mind, you’ll be like C-3PO and R2-D2 - tackling marketing and PR challenges for decades to come.
*Still thinking about AI's romantic side? Read that wedding vow article from CNN, here.