Home > PR > PR software vendors are starting to talk security in generative AI pitches [PR Tech Sum No. 46]

PR software vendors are starting to talk security in generative AI pitches [PR Tech Sum No. 46]

Summary of PR tech news from the last 60 days: Meltwater, PRophet and Muck Rack have new AI features; Notified updates IR platform; Meltwater acquisition by a private fund to proceed; PR tech mentions, new PR stats and content picks.

While I normally publish one of these every month, I skipped the July edition to take a little break. This means my last summary of PR tech news was in early June – and in the eight weeks since there’s been a number of announcements from the solution provider community.

In combing through them all, I had an observation: their talk around generative AI has turned to security.

It makes sense. Once the initial shock of ChatGPT wore off in PR community, some of the more nefarious use cases came to light:

  • Generative AI could be used to pump out false information;
  • Legal issues about training data and copyrights emerged; and
  • Generative AI sometimes just “hallucinates” – it make up answers.

The PR software community has taken note and they are responding. Here are a few examples I spotted in putting this post together:

  • Notified. “Notified offers generative AI capabilities using OpenAI via Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. Through our private cloud tenant, we ensure that all non-public information used during the drafting process is kept secure.” (Source)
  • Muck Rack. “None of the data you submit will be used to train ChatGPT’s models. Plus, unlike other generative AI tools where you need to register with an email and phone number, we anonymize all data we pass to OpenAI, providing an additional level of privacy.” (Source)
  • Cision. “Cison released a code of ethics including “Privacy protection and security of client information.” (Source)

I haven’t seen any announcements from Cison about generative AI, but perhaps they are trying to get ahead of ethical issues. A code of ethics isn’t a bad idea.

And now onward with this month’s PR tech sum.

1. Meltwater rolls out AI assistance, integrates DALL-E

Meltwater had two announcements related to its generative AI initiatives.

First is the new “PR Assistant” which will allow “PR professionals to draft press releases and personalize pitches.” In some respects, this is a step closer to the company’s public goal of making a Siri-like experience for public relations – which it publicized about 18 months ago.

The second is an enhancement to its AI Writing Assistant, first unveiled a couple of months ago.  That assistant helps to write social media content but now includes an integration to DALL-E. This enables “users to complement posts with royalty-free images generated directly in the Meltwater app.”

This is the first time I’ve seen a PR software company introduce generative AI focused on creative content, like images.

DALL-E is developed by OpenAI, which also makes the popular ChatGPT tool. Meltwater’s generative AI capabilities are built on OpenAI technology, though the company has made it’s own investments in AI.

Separately, the company also announced a ChatGPT plugin for Owler. Owler collects business information like revenue, competitors and headcount and was acquired by Meltwater in June of 2021 for $25.5 million.

In the announcement, Meltwater says sales teams can use the plugins to find “insights and sales triggers to prospect for new leads, personalized outbound emails, streamline prep for sales meetings, and stay up to date with the latest news and insights for customer engagement.”

2. PRophet generative AI personalizes multiple pitches 

PRophet announced two new features based on its generative AI capabilities (Taylor).

First the “multi-pitch generator” enables PR pros to create “personalized pitches for up to 25 reporters in under three minutes.” You can instruct the AI to make your customized pitches pithy or “elaborative” as you might need. The feature also lets you choose the tone of voice such as professional, friendly, bold, persuasive, and technical, among other options.

The multi-pitch generator is only available for enterprise customers (see pricing).

The second feature is a “biography generator.” It will create an executive biography based on a LinkedIn profile. This is available to all customers.

These features add to the list of AI use cases in PR software. I took a close look at PRophet back in March and wrote up my observations in this product briefing.

PRophet is part of a portfolio of products grouped together under a “cloud marketing” division managed by Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW).

3. Muck Rack’s AI wants you to write shorter pitches

A few months back Muck Rack added generative AI to write press releases (PressPal.ai). This month it’s adding a feature that will summarize those press releases into a pitch. Those pitches are limited to 200 words or less.

There’s ample evidence, including the company’s own survey of journalists to suggest reporters do prefer pithy pitches. However, as an PR professional of 20+ years, the notion that an AI will decide the length of my pitch chafes me a bit.

I pushed back to that effect and in response, a Muck Rack representative wrote:

“This tool helps PR pros make their first draft of a pitch, and we’re using this as an opportunity to encourage being more concise in accordance with journalists’ preferences. PR pros are still able to edit the pitch to be of any length before sending. We agree there are cases that call for longer pitches and think it’s essential for PR pros to edit/write the final draft of a pitch.”

Fair enough.

The announcement noted “PressPal is free to all Muck Rack customers. Any PR professional can try it by signing up for a free account by visiting PressPal.ai.”

4. Notified enhances investor relations platform

Notified said it has “made significant investments” in its investor relations event technology and services team. The company says the investments are in response to record use of its platform for facilitating earnings calls, investor days and related investor relations events.

Among the enhancements, the company says it added are:

  • Cloud resources that scale automatically to meet variable usage demand;
  • Improvements to the user interface for call management;
  • Streamlined the management of the question queue;
  • Single sign-on across various IR products; and
  • Secure speaker access links that make joining easier.

It’s worth pointing out to readers here that the IR platform and PR platform are two separate products. I wrote a product briefing on the Notified PR platform in 2020 – and an update in March of 2023.

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5. Meltwater acquisition by a private fund on track to close

Meltwater (Oslo Børs: MWTR) has published a flurry of announcements suggesting its acquisition by MW Investment is set to proceed.

The last day of trading will reportedly be August 4, 2023. The Oslo Stock Exchange will impose a trading suspension on August 7, 2023. The deal is expected to close on August 9, 2023.

Meltwater announced a “review of strategic alternatives” in September of 2022.  That phrase is often financial code suggesting a company is for sale.

In January 2023, they announced the proposed acquisition. It’s making its way through regulatory hurdles since then.

The initial acquisition announcement touted a 36% premium on the current trading price. My back-of-the-napkin math (which is definitely not financial advice) suggests the deal is worth roughly $550 million.

6. PR tech mentions:

  • Planning news. Onclusive partnered with the Associated Press to provide PR customers with access to its AP planner. Users can “search for events and announcements over the next 12 months across 150 categories of data. The company also announced it has added Threads to Digimind, a social listening tool it acquired in July 2022.
  • One new product for Cision. Cison launched a new monitoring tool it’s calling CisionOne. The tool uses proprietary AI to monitor brand risk and narratives. In 2024, Cision says it will add a new metric it calls “stance.” Stance is an “alternative to traditional sentiment analysis.” The product is only available in the UK presently.
  • Large language deals. Innodata (NASDAQ:INOD), the parent company of Agility PR Solutions, said it closed a deal “with one of the five largest technology companies in the world for training the customer’s AI large language models (LLMs).” This is an interesting twist since Agility says its generative AI tool, “PR CoPilot” is native – not a white label integration.
  • Notifiedfiled a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for Smart Press Release Solutions. This filing comes on the heels of Notified’s recently deployed GlobeNewswire “AI Press Release Generator” and demonstrates the company’s commitment to the use of this emerging technology for public relations.” It’ll be interesting to see if such a patent is granted. In my observation, Notified is just one of several companies using white-label generative AI technology from the same provider (OpenAI) to generate press releases.
  • Marketplace of pitches. Synapse aims to be a “marketplace” for PR pros pitching reporters. According to PRWeek UK (reg. req.), “Journalists can filter the kind of pitches they receive from PR professionals by topic and format – for example, whether the pitch is for print or online. They are also able to flag pitches that are irrelevant to them.” Meanwhile “PR professionals can use the information to decide which journalists can see their pitches…The PRs will be able to see data on how many journalists have accepted, viewed, hidden or flagged their pitches, which can be relayed to clients.”
  • Reporting threads. Muck Rack says it added Threads to its journalist profiles.

7. New PR statistics from comms tech providers

  • Multimedia drives 6x press release engagement. Data from announcements sent out over PR Newswire “shows that press releases that include multimedia elements get up to six times more engagement than press releases with text alone.” Source: 2023 State of the Media Report by Cision. Years ago I worked for Vocus, which then owned PRWeb, and the PRWeb product manager (who is now a CEO) ran a study finding readers spent about 30 seconds longer with press releases that included multi-media.
  • AI misinformation. 67% “of business decision makers worry about their company falling victim to fake news/misinformation,” according to a survey by the research firm Danebury and was commissioned by Vuelio.
  • PR pitches and reporters’ response rates. In Q2 2023, journalists opened an average of 49% of the pitches they received and responded to an average of 3%. Source: Propel Q3 2023 Media Barometer by Propel.
  • PR pros using AI. About 68% of PR pros surveyed by Prowly said they are currently using AI in their day-to-day work. The top use cases include idea generation (78%) content creation (72%) and research (53%). Source: The State of PR Technology 2023 Report by Prowly.

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8. People on the move

  • Muck Rack appointed Lisa Landa as its first Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). She’s held several senior marketing positions at tech companies including Monotype, Arbor Networks, RSA Security and DynaTrace – and started her career as a PR account executive for Hill & Knowlton.
  • Staffbase appointed Jerilan Greeneto its board of directors. She is the founder of New Capacity Partners LLC, a leadership strategy and communications firm and previously served as the Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer for Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM). She’s also held leadership roles at Edelman, Burson-Marsteller and Deloitte.

9. Content picks

'A shitty pitch is a shitty pitch regardless of if it was written by a human or by a machine plus a human.' ~ Aaron Kwittken Click To Tweet
  • Bad pitches. “A shitty pitch is a shitty pitch regardless of if it was written by a human or by a machine plus a human. Reporters don’t care how a pitch was written or who wrote it. They just want a relevant and compelling story idea and don’t want to be spammed with generic pitches that have no news value,” says Aaron Kwittken in a Q&A with PRovoke.
  • Reliable sources. “With channels such as Qwoted, Substack, Muck Rack, HARO, Twitter and Slack for media outlets, it’s easier than ever for reporters to request expert sources and for PR pros to respond and pitch emerging platforms,” says Kerry Anne Watson in guest post for O’Dwyer’s.

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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.

Do you need help with B2B tech marketing and PR? I’m a seasoned consultant that can both bring big ideas and execute them; I’d be glad to speak with you about your needs. Here are some useful links: aboutservices and contact. Or just reply to this message if you are a subscriber and received this post by email.

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Image credit: DALL-E, “robots wearing police uniforms in the style of van Ghoh

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