Aug 18, 2022 - Economy

Pitching with Artificial intelligence

Illustration of a typewriter typing binary code on a sheet of paper.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

As public relations evolve, so do the tools we use.

Why it matters: Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the public relations game — and saving time — by examining crisis statements, pitches and press releases for specific keywords to better predict how they will land.

  • “The goal is to replace guessing with knowing, or replace gut instinct with data,” PRophet CEO and founder Aaron Kwittken told Axios.

How it works: Axios got a first look at the latest version of PRophet, an AI-driven platform that scans press materials for keywords that match the recent coverage of active reporters — those who publish at least once a week — and ranks the match based on sentiment and outlet reach.

  • Pressfriendly offers a similar service for startups by using AI to review beat reporters' past coverage and open rates. This intel helps identify the best send times and will increase the likelihood of pickup, explains CEO and founder Joel Andren.

State of play: This technology could save publicists a lot of time — and it's an investment 70% of chief communication officers are willing to make, Edelman found.

  • Publicists "aren’t reading as much as they used to," Kwittken says. "They don't even pick up the phone and pitch anymore. They're blindly sending out emails in a way that's very spammy. PRophet uses technology to bring the art and the relationship back."

Zoom out: AI tools like this have worked for other industries, according to Kwittken.

  • “If book publishers and film production companies can run the scripts through AI to determine future commercial viability based on past success, why can't we run stories that reporters have written through the same kind of machine learning and better predict who we should be pitching?”

Yes, but: While these tools can help publicists properly identify a small group of interested reporters, it's on the PR pro to build the relationship.

The bottom line: AI technology can't replace publicists, but it can sharpen a pitch, clearly define the targets and most importantly, free up the professionals to do meaningful work.

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