Defining PR: Top Tips, AI Tools and Takeaways

I enjoyed participating in the Defining PR roundtable on Twitter Spaces recently, which was organized and led by Stephen Karaolis, founder of Pear The Agency and AI startup PR Labs (more on this below).

It was a great panel and very lively conversation about the changes rocking the industry, and the growing role of AI. The roundtable included others in tech and B2B PR (my kind of people!) representing agency and client-side views.

This was my first time on Spaces (it took me a while to figure out how to just raise my hand). Although it was sometimes hard to get a word in, all had the chance to contribute. I was impressed with the insight, tools and tips shared, especially about AI.

Panelists (in addition to Stephen and me)

Innovation Imperative

We started out by discussing  the growing number of activities PR agencies and teams  support.  These can include SEO, video production, paid media, influencer relations, social media, and all kinds of content development. 

One or two from the client side expressed frustration with agencies, saying they need to mix up tactics and be more innovative. The agency folks brought up annoying little things like actually getting paid for the non-core-PR work we do.  It is great to go forth and innovate but how do you navigate the tricky world of budgets, client politics, and expectations about PR’s proper “lane”? 

We agreed it is important to have guardrails such as scopes of work and KPIs.  Defining processes can help, plus having a client side champion who can assist in navigating the internal politics.

Know who your champion is, make sure they get what you do. Make sure they understand how you’re driving value.

Sam Pereira

The Changing Nature of Media Demands New Approaches

We discussed the evolving, increasingly fragmented media landscape. To keep pace and continue to be effective, PR must update its media tactics.

Yuri pointed out that there are entirely new categories of media, such as podcasts.  Specialty blogs may reach a small but targeted and valued audience.  They have different publishing schedules and news appetites than established and more well-known media brands. Podcasts can explode into a full-fledged media property. To interest them, it helps if your spokesperson is well-known, with a strong personal brand.

Followings attract other followings. It requires a lot of owned media efforts.

Steve Karaolis

If it is Broke, Agency and Client Teams Must Fix It!

Ironically, this brought us back to the first topic.  Namely, that you can’t look at “traditional PR” in isolation – it is part of an x-legged stool.

E.g. media will not take you seriously if your website is a mess, or the brand has a paltry following on social media, and owned content is junky.  Up-and-coming podcasts, and other kinds of media prefer well-known names, and those with big followings as guests to help drive their own growth.

What people really forget is that building personal brands is a PR function –
if you’re not doing that, things just aren’t going to happen.

Sam Pereira

Top AI Use Cases and Tools

You can’t discuss innovation in PR without acknowledging the growing role of AI. We discussed the many use cases that ChatGPT and other solutions can support.

Steve pointed out AI can help drive awareness and visibility. E.g. if you’re trying to build an executive’s personal brand, you can easily use ChatGPT to develop a video script, blog content, and tweets. “It’s the perfect complement here,” Steve said.

AI is the hack, but it’s tough because it’s new and not necessarily the most baked

Steve Karaolis

What other tools does Steve use? He said he has been tinkering with Anthropic’s and Google’s Bard, in addition to his own tool (PR Labs).

Liliana uses AI to generate text, landing pages, decks, presentations and social media ads. She moderates a Subreddit called ChatGPT Pro and has posted about resources for advanced prompt engineering and AI tools.

It is essential to understand how the language processing happens to give the right commands, because the output depends on the input.

Liliana Pertenava

Yuri said ChatGPT is a like a quick intern that is well-versed in English, without the greatest writing style. It helps solve that “blank page curse” and you can use it as an editor. ChatGPT can help create contributed content and byline ideas. He also has used it to find media targets and write a bio (but said that you should always double check for accuracy).

Steve likes to use ChatGPT in the first and last 10% of a project.

Candice encourages her team members to learn as much as they can about ChatGPT. It can help if you have writer’s block. When she used recently to generate a video script, it told her what sources it pulled from.

Sam has been using for years. She prefers Bard for research. Sam also likes:

  • Otter (transcribes meetings)
  • Gong (generative AI for revenue teams)
  • Tango (creates “how to” guides)
  • (documents processes)

Steve has been on the Otter train too, and mentioned Duet, a writing tool for Google Workspace. He also uses AI to clean up client head shots.

Liliana thinks ChatGPT is “over pumped” now and likes:

Steve encouraged everyone to Check out PR labs (currently free), which is connected to a reporter database. You can chat with it too. The articles train the LLM and inform prompt generation, helping the user to craft pitches that are likely to appeal to the reporter.

ChatGPT Power Tips and More

We covered many more topics than can be covered in a blog wrap – e.g. on prompt engineering, avoiding ChatGPT pitfalls, and on what the technology means for the future of PR.

I encourage you to check out the recording for more great info on AI and PR.

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