woman in a yellow sweater thinking about hiring an AI PR firm

AI is the next revolution in business, no doubt about it. Like any other tool, there are upsides and downsides to using AI. Like every other industry, PR has been impacted by AI. How AI is changing PR continues to be ongoing, and before hiring a PR agency with AI, there are important considerations. Before we dive into this, let’s look at the difference between an AI PR firm and a PR firm for AI companies.

Is an AI PR Firm the Same as a PR Firm for AI Companies?

A PR firm for AI companies has PR experience with AI companies. For AI companies looking to hire a PR agency, look for a PR agency with either direct AI PR experience or experience in emerging industries, especially regulated industries, as AI will most definitely become regulated at some point.

An AI PR firm may be a PR company using AI as part of their research or outreach. For example, our Fingerprint PR Strategy uses AI to identify and synthesize media opportunities against key topics and competitors. This allows us to contextualize our PR strategies faster and with deeper insight. We also use AI to organize our internal workflows, and like many others, we use AI to brainstorm topics for content. We do not yet use AI for outreach — it’s not because that doesn’t exist, but because we feel relationships with media are better suited to human contact. Does all this make us an AI PR firm? I guess. We don’t really identify ourselves by the tools we use, but are we AI savvy as much as we are digitally savvy? Absolutely. I think it’s incumbent on us as communicators to understand these trends.

Is Every Digital PR Firm Now an AI PR Firm?

I imagine almost every PR agency uses AI for some PR tasks. AI presents great opportunities for digital PR agencies to present more cohesive strategies and save time on day-to-day tasks. For agencies that place programmatic ads or even social media ads, AI can be a huge timesaver in identifying placement strategies and even copywriting.

What to Ask About a PR Agency Who Uses AI

Privacy and Security for PR AI

Currently, most PR agencies use the free or upgraded version of ChatGPT pretty regularly. Both Google and Microsoft are developing their own internal platform versions. For the paid version of Microsoft’s Co-Pilot, a “private” AI browser keeps data secure; this is not true of most unpaid versions. In the paid version of Microsoft Co-pilot, the questions are not added to a large and public Large Language Model (LLM), and the answers are not pulled from the web.

AI Sourcing and Why You Should Care

From a PR perspective, it’s incredibly important to understand where and how your PR agency uses AI. There are many reasons for this. For one, if your PR agency uses a free version of AI, it may be feeding UP to the web, which means it can easily be incorporated into “public” large language models and possibly accessible on browser searches. So, even if your PR agency isn’t technically an AI PR firm, they are using AI and it matters to you how it’s used.

It’s deceiving because we know better than to put private information on the web, but AI sites give us the impression that we’re working in a closed garden, while nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s say your PR agency is using the free version of ChatGPT to write a press release, and it is really important to keep quiet until release. If the PR agency used proprietary information, formulas, or data to ask ChatGPT to craft that press release, it could no longer be protected or private. The reverse is also true. Let’s say your PR agency uses ChatGPT to ghostwrite an important speech. You must take extra steps to ensure the facts are correct and that none of your speech has been plagiarized; the same is true for contributions.

Does Your PR Agency Understand AI?

It’s also really important to understand whether your agency understands the opportunities and limitations of AI. For example, the program we used to determine strategy has some idiosyncrasies that need to be acknowledged with the data. The same goes for a tool like Grammarly—it has its uses, but is it perfect? No, but then again, neither are people.

Special Note For Regulated Industries

Industries like finance and banking are slow walking adoption into the age of AI. That’s understandable, given the amount of private data they handle and the considerable regulations they operate under. It’s unclear when or how regulations about AI and it’s data sources will happen or what they will entire. Until there are more clear rules about where and when AI can be applied and attributed, it’s no wonder that industries like banking and healthcare should be wary. Emerging industries should understand how AI is used in-house, with contractors and agencies.

Hiring an agency that knows how to secure tech PR and one who knows how to use tech FOR PR are two different things. One might include the other – or not. Just be sure you follow PR agency hiring best practices, ask great questions, and know what to expect when you hire an AI PR agency.