Home > PR > Vendors are starting to show new use cases for AI in PR [PR tech sum no. 49]

Vendors are starting to show new use cases for AI in PR [PR tech sum no. 49]

Propel releases AI-based “media war room”; Muck Rack has AI recommending reporters to PR; PRophet partners to bring influencer marketing and media alerts; Did you know Gartner has a Market Guide for Employee Communications?

Generative AI may get all the attention these days, but it’s not the only “kind” of AI. There are a lot of different uses for AI that have been around a lot longer too.

One of the oldest uses, and perhaps most valuable uses, is in media monitoring. Much of this is based on natural language processing or NLP, that’s been employed, with varying degrees of accuracy, for many years.

So, as I was pouring over the news from the vendors in our space this month, it was nice to see a couple of use cases that were focused on other aspects of AI.

Onward with this month’s PR Tech Sum.

1. AI hunts bias in a new “media war room” by Israeli startup Propel  

Propel, an Israeli startup that’s building out an all-in-one PR platform, has packaged its software into an offering it’s calling the “Media War Room” that leverages AI for managing crisis communications.

According to the announcement, the Media War Room “uses the company’s proprietary AI to enable these communicators to quickly understand the media landscape, create accurate responses, and come up with a strategy that keeps their organizations ahead of the headlines and in control of the narrative.”

The company says it offers “real-time bias monitoring” that provides a “snapshot of biased vs. non-biased press” alongside other analytics. The tool can also be used to produce AI-generated content including emails and tweets to refute misinformation.

“Time is of the essence when a crisis occurs, be it a war, a catastrophic event at a factory, or a security leak,” according to the news release. “Beyond mitigating the physical or cyber damage, there is also a fight to ensure that an organization’s reputational damage is mitigated.”

Propel, which is headquartered in Tel Aviv said its technology is currently being used by elements of the Israeli government and NGOs in its armed conflict with Hamas.

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2. Muck Rack AI recommends reporters to PR 

Muck Rack says a proprietary AI will now create a curated list of recommended journalists based on your existing media list. A blog post published online said its platform will “generate a tailored list of recommended journalists wherever you’re adding contacts. Muck Rack will provide five contact suggestions when you opt for the Recommended Journalists feature.”

The company also has “integrated background filters to fine-tune results, and as the tool learns your preferences, it will further optimize its suggestions to ensure the most relevant journalists are surfaced.”

How accurate is it? “Overall, 36% of journalists that we recommend to our users end up being added to media lists, which has amounted to 40,000 additions.” That’s basically adding about one-third more possible relevant contacts to your list.

Muck Rack has always taken a different approach to compiling media lists. As I noted in a product briefing back in 2020, the product workflow is designed to begin list building with searches for recent coverage on a topic.

This sharp contrast to the way many traditional media databases work: where some underpaid non-native-English speaking person living off-shore has designated a reporter to a beat, like “tech” which is too broad to be meaningful and leads to a deluge of PR spam for reporters.

The company also rolled out coverage spikes. “Muck Rack detects an increased article volume in an automated coverage report so your team can investigate and take necessary action if needed,” according to the announcement.

Other tools have offered coverage spikes for years. One catch among some of the incumbents is that some vendors will charge additional fees for coverage spikes over a certain threshold. The classic example of this is an airline that has an untimely delay with a plane and passengers stuck on the tarmac – and mentions on social media and news explodes.

These do take up processing and storage powers, so some vendors slap on additional costs. So, when PR is in the worst possible situation – and surprises them with an unexpectedly high invoice.

3. PRophet partners up to expand capabilities

PRophet a startup-ish PR platform has expanded its capability largely through partnerships. It’s added influencer marketing, media monitoring and press release distribution capabilities through partnerships. The company has also developed a PR sandbox of sorts using AI to test messages and content performance before sending or publishing them.

  • Influencer marketing capabilities are “powered by Koalifyed, an influencer discovery and campaign management platform.” It “combines generative AI, data analytics, and monitoring technology to create personalized influencer marketing programs by identifying, contracting, and collaborating with macro and micro-influencers”;
  • Media alerts are offered through a partnership with PeakMetrics. This provides “the ability to create personalized alerts across a diversity of media channels from within the PRophet platform”;
  • Press release distribution is possible through a partnership with EZ Newswire.; and finally,
  • PR sandbox – called PRophet Earn – adds to existing predictive capabilities PRophet already offers.  It “uses a combination of AI, language processing and machine learning to generate, analyze and test new content – from pitches to social posts, blogs and biographies – to predict earned media interest, reach and sentiment.

PRophet is part of a larger company called Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), which also owns Koalifyed. Both products are organized under a “Comms Tech Unit,” which is led by PRophet founder Aaron Kwittken.

I took a close look at PRophet back in March of this year and wrote up a briefing – have a look if it sounds interesting: This AI is ‘Taylor’ made for media relations; prophet adds generative AI to PR software.

4. Gartner releases a Market Guide for Employee Communications

Employee communications platform Poppulo published a press release stating that it was named in a “Market Guide” by Gartner. I had no idea such a thing existed, but Poppulo has paid for reprint rights to download the report, so I did.

The first “finding” in the report? “Corporate communications, marketing communications and HR leaders use employee communications applications (ECAs) to inform the workforce about business activities, cultural topics, operational needs and job-related priorities.”

So I flipped to the end to see the “representative list of vendors” and it has FirstUp and Staffbase in there too.  Yet it also has companies like Zoom and Meta, which do provide some tools to communicate and are not, in my view, employee communications platforms.

The full report makes several recommendations, including, “Reduce technology overlaps to improve employee experience and measurement efforts by prioritizing multichannel integration and specialized ECA capabilities that address high-impact business scenarios.”

“Market Guides” are typically emerging markets for technology that Gartner doesn’t think are large enough to merit its infamous “Magic Quadrant” report – but there’s enough traction they want to start keeping tabs on it.

While I don’t think Gartner has the expertise or influence in comms that it might in other markets, if you are in the market for an internal comms platform, it can’t hurt to download the report and have a look.

5. PR tech mentions

  • Meltwater releases “winter” updates. Winter may not officially begin until the 21st day of December, but that didn’t stop Meltwater from publishing a press release announcing its “Winter Product Release” updates. The release pitches eight bullet point changes including the “Discovery Explainer” which “analyzes trends and shifts that users need to know about and leverages the power of generative AI to generate a human-like text explanation to provide context in seconds.”
  • CisionOne launches in the US. Cision says it rolled out a tool in the US called CisionOne. The company says the new platform is built on “proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) models” however, it did not use the word “generative” in its descriptions. When the company announced CisonOne in the UK, it referred to it as a “media monitoring” product but in the US launch, it called it a “fully integrated media monitoring and outreach.” The release was big on adjectives and light on details, so my suggestion to customers is to check with your AE and see if this is a re-platform and if Cision is planning a sunset.
  • NewsWhip struck a partnership with LinkedIn that will allow its users to see the “most-viewed company page posts on LinkedIn,” PR Week reported.
  • Virtual learning for virtual reality. The School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon has launched a new online master’s program that will train students to use new technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality for marketing, advertising and other kinds of communication in a year. Classwork includes specialized training in topics like user design and creating immersive platforms, as well as courses on ethics, psychology and research skills. The school’s Oregon Reality Lab offered a hands-on space to experiment with the new tools.

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Credit: University of Oregon

6. PR tech people on the move

  • Truescope named Jim Collishaw as vice president of Government Sales. He joins from Quorum and previously worked for a division of LexisNexis that makes a media monitoring tool and Vocus.

7. PR tech company earnings

  • Agility parent Innodata reports Q4 earnings. The parent company of Agility PR Solutions had a solid third quarter. Innodata said sales grew 20% year-over-year to $22.2 million and net income came in at one penny per share – compared to a net loss of $3.3 million over the same period last year. CEO Jack Abuhoff was optimistic about the development of proprietary generative AI and said unnamed tech customers will lead to “potentially reaching a $23 to $25 million run rate at the end of” 2024. Its subsidiary Agility PR Solutions is the only PR tech company I’m aware of that has developed its own generative AI.

8. PR statistics from comms tech providers

  • Much to learn about AI, does PR have. Just 12% of survey respondents say they were “very knowledgeable” about AI and its capacity to support PR. The survey was conducted by PR Week and sponsored by Notified.
  • PR measurement. On average, PR pros track eight metrics, the most common of which is counting placements, according to a survey by Muck Rack. Roughly half of respondents (47%) say they spend at least 25% of their time on PR measurement, the survey found.

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9. Content picks

  • Is the Generative AI bubble about to burst? Signal AI says online conversations about generative AI has slowed and “been accompanied by a change in tone.”
  • Journalist discovers media database. “It’s here that the futility of using tools like Mynewsdesk made itself really clear. PRs representing those 46 companies and organizations had tried to email me 301 times using the Mynewsdesk service. One company alone sent me 45 separate emails,” writes Chris Stokel-Walker in Fast Company[Note: If a carpenter bangs crooked nails, which is at fault: the hammer or the carpenter?]

Have an announcement from a PR tech 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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Need an extra pair of B2B marketing and PR hands?

Hire a B2B marketing and PR consultant who can think strategically and execute effectively. Contact me at frank-at-swordandthescript-dot-com for an introductory call. Here are some useful links: about | services.

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AI Use Cases in PR Software: Executives from Solutions Providers Describe How AI is being Used

Image via DALLE, “a painting of a war room with 5 big monitors screens with colors on them and reporters and robots working in the style of van Ghoh

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