The term “artificial intelligence” may call to mind more imagery of robots than useful algorithms. Like it or not, artificial intelligence, or AI, has become an integral part of today’s society. While some seasoned professionals are hesitant to fully embrace this entity they don’t have much expertise on, others are heralding AI as the secret to streamlining and perfecting a company’s mission. So where does artificial intelligence fit in with public relations?

For those who are unfamiliar with the all-encompassing term artificial intelligence, it is beneficial to do some reading and brush up on exactly how AI functions. Artificial intelligence can be used to describe many things, from a robot working on an assembly line to the algorithm that decides what to show users on their Facebook feeds.

As it relates to public relations, artificial intelligence can actually be a useful tool when used properly. Here are some basic ways artificial intelligence can complement the public relations industry:

Data Driven Results Matter

If artificial intelligence is useful for a single thing, it’s gathering data. Data is the driving force of any industry. The more information a business has, the more powerful and useful their product or service can be to consumers. Artificial intelligence can ease the strain of gathering and analyzing useful information.

For example, AI already determines what each user is shown in their Facebook or Instagram feed. AI can also be used by a business that is trying to reach those targeted users by assessing audience behavior and engagement. This can eliminate “clutter content” put out by a brand’s marketing or public relations team and instead hone in on what consumers actually want to see.

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A recent article on Ragan summed up the usefulness of artificial intelligence and how it can benefit PR professionals. As public relations firms are increasingly responsible for knowing their audience and increasing its size, AI can cut out a lot of unnecessary steps.

Know What’s Working and What Isn’t

Artificial intelligence can not only determine what users want to see and how many users there actually are, but it can also tell professionals what tactics are working.

Previously, professionals were tasked with tracking metrics and trends manually. Using antiquated systems of spreadsheets or even handwritten notes, audience behavior data is often used to determine what sort of content does well or what media outlet is the most engaging. Now with AI, professionals can have a more clear picture of what is working, all without having to manually track the information.

Of course, artificial intelligence can’t do what public relations pros do: connect on an emotional level with audience members. That “human” element is what will always separate artificial from human. For that reason, a healthy combination of automation to streamline the workflow and human emotion will serve the public relations industry best.

Skeptics of artificial intelligence will worry about reliance on automation, but those who embrace it see the benefits of saving time and energy on menial, yet important, tasks. As artificial intelligence continues to gain traction, it’s an ideal time for those in the public relations industry to start determining how AI can help them in the workplace.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations

Ronn Torossian

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.