Summary of PR tech news from the last 30 days: PRophet offers a white-label option for PR agencies; Meltwater joins the generative AI race; mentions and new PR statistics
Just 28% of 1,034 PR professionals surveyed by Muck Rack in March and April 2023 say they are using generative AI (gAI).
Another 33% say they “plan to explore it” although the timeline for such exploration was not clear in the survey results. That cohort certainly shouldn’t be counted as among those who are using AI, although it has been.
Finally, about 40% either have no plans to use it, or simply aren’t sure.
Of those that are using it (that 28%, presumably) – how is it being used?
The survey found:
- 57% are crafting pitches;
- 48% are writing copy for social media;
- 48% are writing press releases;
- 44% are using it for research; and
- 25% say they are using it for strategy and planning.
How does PR’s use of gAI compare to marketing?
The results present a stark contrast to the number of marketers that are using AI.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) say they are using gAI, according, to a survey of 1,000 B2B and B2C marketing professionals in March by Botco.AI.
How is it being used?
“Two-thirds of those surveyed say they use it for brainstorming sessions, first drafts and outlines,” wrote Martech of the survey. “Nearly half (49%) say they rely on AI to produce final content.”
Among the top five uses are:
- 69% use it for image creation;
- 58% use it to generate text;
- 50% use it for voice and audio purposes;
- 37% use it in chatbots; and
- 36% are using it for coding.
PR has a reputation for being notoriously slow to adopt technology – so if you want an easy way to get ahead of your peers – try experimenting with this stuff a little bit.
And now onward with this month’s PR tech sum
1. PRophet offers a white-label option for PR agencies
PR tech startup PRophet announced a white-labeling option for PR agencies called “Powered by PRophet.” The company’s platform uses two different AI tools. One AI tool surfaces relevant media contacts based on your pitch or press release – and strives to predict how it will be received. The other is a generative AI tool called “Taylor”, which itself is a white label of ChatGPT.
As stated by the press release:
“Customers can now customize the PRophet platform to their own specifications and go to market with a unique and differentiated agency-branded platform that combines their own unique value proposition alongside the powerful capabilities of PRophet’s predictive and generative AI capabilities.”
In the same announcement, PRophet also said it had partnered with LexisNexis for access to the 200,000 news sources the company monitors. Many incumbent vendors in PR tech partner with LexisNexis for news monitoring, but PRophet will use it to help PR pros find media contacts and “predict journalist interest and sentiment” in your pitches.
PRophet is owned by Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW) which has several martech tools in beyond just those for PR.
Aaron Kwittken, founder and CEO of PRophet and CEO of Stagwell Marketing Cloud’s Comms Tech Unit gave me a tour of the product previously which I wrote up here: This AI is ‘Taylor’ Made for Media Relations; PRophet Adds Generative AI to PR Software
2. Meltwater joins the generative AI race
Meltwater has rolled out a new feature called AI Writing Assistant, which it says will help “customers to work more efficiently and overcome writer’s block.” Like other vendors that have already released features or products, the Meltwater gAI feature is based on OpenAI technology, which is the company behind ChatGPT.
One of the benefits of having gAI embedded in a tool you already use is that it eliminates the need to copy and paste required with ChatGPT. It’ll be interesting to see if the value proposition remains when Google and Microsoft embed gAI into their word-processing software.
Meltwater is a little slower to get into the generative AI race than its peers. As I wrote this time last month, Notified, Muck Rack, and PRophet both offer gAI based on OpenAI technology. Meanwhile, Propel and Agility PR Solutions have propriety generative AI options.
Whose first probably isn’t going to matter much in six months and in my observation, Meltwater tends to slow and deliberate about the features it brings to market. For example, it never jumped on the earned media attribution bandwagon, because it didn’t see a clear path to sales. So, you can be sure, Meltwater thinks gAI is going to be a money maker.
To be sure, generative AI aside, the company has been invested in AI for a while as I’ve noted before many times. To that end, the company also announced two other AI related features, which I believe are proprietary.
- Discovery AI-Based Insight Assistant. Uses AI to analyze user-generated content to highlight “changes, shifts, and trends in online conversations that teams may have otherwise missed.”
- Video Analysis. Monitors “video content on social platforms” to identify “logos, celebrities, scenes and objects.” For example, if your logo appears on a news site without text – this would identify it.
In the press release, the company said there’s more to come:
“In the coming months, the company will release additional generative AI-powered enhancements that will provide value for Meltwater customers in numerous ways – from simplifying complicated Boolean search set-up, to generating concise content summaries and automating tags for news and social content.”
The company also published a comprehensive piece on it’s use of AI in the last month: How Meltwater Uses AI.
3. PR tech mentions
- Media list building with AI. Propel wrote a post showcasing how you can build a media list with its generative AI tool Amiga. “I simply enter my pitch or press release into the prompt section of the media list builder, and within a few seconds I can have a list of 10, 50, or even 75 journalists.”
- Prezly adds click reports. Email pitches sent through Prezly include reports detailing opens, clicks, replies, and undeliverable rates among other statistics. However, this report “didn’t specify which links were being clicked and didn’t count the links included in the email text.” So, the company rolled out a new “click report” feature that shows users a “more in-depth reporting on which links in your sent campaign are performing best, and who exactly is clicking on them.”
- Internal comms. Staffbase, which provides an internal comms platform published release notes detailing product enhancements for Q2 2023. Among them are email personalization, chatbot reactions and enhancements to the “news channel” for internal comms.
- Investor relations platform plans to add generative AI. Q4, Inc. says it plans to add generative AI features that are “purpose built for Investor Relations.” In a press release the company said it “will introduce a conversational co-pilot to search, navigate, and summarize all workflows and data in an IR program including a CRM, engagement data and ownership information.” The company also launched a rebrand and named Tim Stahl as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). He joins from a B2B payments platform where he was the senior executive in charge of sales.
- Layoffs at internal comms platform. Poppulo “laid off 80 employees at the end of April, including 20 workers in Colorado,” according to the Denver Post. The article reports that “the layoffs caught the internet’s attention when former employee Chris Callahan took his frustrations to LinkedIn this week. He criticized leadership’s response in the aftermath of the layoffs in a post that’s since received thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.”
- New online PR academy. Amsterdam-based pr.co, which develops online newsrooms has launched an online PR academy for startups and small businesses dubbed the Pioneer Academy. In a statement the company said, “Pioneer Academy offers practical video courses covering various branches of PR, developed with PR experts with strong track records at startups.” The online learning platform was originally a standalone company which pr.co acquired in February of 2023.
- Brandwatch renews with Twitter. Three paragraphs into this press release, Cision announced Brandwatch renewed its partnership with Twitter. Brandwatch is owned by Cision and the renewal probably maintains it access to its infamous firehose of Twitter data.
- Meltwater points to the economy for slowing growth. Meltwater reported revenue grew 2% year-over-year (YoY) in the first quarter of 2023 to $111 million. Losses recorded to net profit were $12.5 million, down from $14.2 million reported in the same quarter last year, according to Yahoo Finance. In it’s Q1 2023 Financial Report, the company said total annual recurring revenue (ARR) “was $459.2m, up 7% year-over-year (YoY). This compares to 13% growth of total ARR in Q1 2022. Slowdown in topline growth reflects external macroeconomic pressures and uncertainty in the global markets, as well as ongoing pressures with FX rates.”
4. New PR statistics
Below are some PR statistics I’ve seen stemming from the PR tech vendor community this month.
- Top challenges facing PR. A survey of 1,034 PR pros by Muck Rack found the top three challenges facing PR pros are getting responses from journalists (53%), having enough resources (48%) and demonstrating value to stakeholders (40%).
- Top challenges facing journalism. A survey of 3,100 journalists by Cision found the top three challenges facing journalism are maintaining credibility (27%), lack of staffing (20%) and declining advertising (20%). When asked what was your biggest challenge as a journalist – the top three were keeping up (38%), balanced reporting (22%) and battling misinformation (13%).
- Press release volume growing. GlobeNewswire said it has seen a 16% increase in press releases distributed by clients over the last two years. GlobeNewswire is owned by Notified.
- PR is getting a bigger role in paid media. “PR pros are increasingly more involved in paid-media tactics than they were three years ago – including social media advertising (60%), sponsored content (40%), native advertising (29%) and sponsored podcasts (25%), according to a PR Week survey sponsored by Notified.
5. Content picks
Below are some blog posts and articles stemming from the PR tech vendor community that you might find interesting.
- ROI (99%), inflation (98%) and pressure for profit (97%) are among the 33 comms issues keeping CMOs and brand managers up at night writes the Bulldog Reporter.
- Here are the top 5 most-clicked press release headlines in May according to Beyond Bylines, a long-time blog by PR Newswire (and Cision).
- “When the world is drowning in content, trust, reputation and high-quality information is paramount,” according to Signal AI.
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Have an interesting announcement from a PR technology vendor?
Here’s the updated list of PR technology companies I’m watching and here’s how to get on my radar.
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