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The most useful AI tools to improve productivity in PR

Another day, more news about AI! This week, we asked PRs to list the tools that help improve their productivity.

GPT plugins

Will Cooke, head of strategy and creative at PR firm M&C Saatchi Talk: “GPT plugins are helping everyone speed up some of those manual tasks that drain the day - everything from summarising text, to excel formulas, to formatting. The real step change has come as we’ve developed a sandboxed GPT style platform across our group, which means we can now use data in a secure environment, and move at real speed with AI adoption and innovation.

“Of which, we’re also really excited about the prospect of ‘synthetic user data’, the ability to research and test ideas with AI personas. The results we’re seeing in research are stunningly accurate and it could be a real game changer for the comms industry to embrace research at a whole new level. “

Microsoft’s AI assistant, Copilot

Sarah Woodhouse, director at agency AMBITIOUS PR: “At the time of writing, the impending release of Microsoft’s AI assistant, Copilot, looks like it could make major waves. Everything we’ve seen so far, pre-launch and the things we’ve heard from those who’ve been able to access closed betas and testing, tells us that it really could be a productivity game-changer.

 “AI tools up to this point have been somewhat specialised. Not everyone would have found organisational use in the likes of Stable Diffusion. But Microsoft Copilot could be the one that unifies a lot of disparate opinions around how it can be rolled out as a productivity tool. 

 “Wrapping it around 365 is really the stand-out here. Building that AI functionality into the tools and apps pretty much every business uses every day. That’s going to give businesses and teams the ability to add automation to tasks that are time-heavy but non-profitable - things like summarising and drafting meeting notes after a teams call, arranging and organising data in Excel and getting presentation decks together.” 

Chat GPT

Tom Houghton, senior news and content manager and AI lead at content agency No Brainer: “We're committed to embracing cutting-edge technology to enhance our services, but like the rest of the world, it’s been tricky keeping up with 2023’s explosion in generative AI tools. We’ve been busy testing and researching since the moment we realised how revolutionary they’re going to be for PR. 

“Unsurprisingly, ChatGPT’s numerous iterations have emerged as the most versatile writing tool, particularly for things like bolstering ideation, writer’s block and understanding complex topics. Used in the correct way, the competition just doesn’t stack up.”

Midjourney

Tom Houghton: “Midjourney has also been a fun tool which has garnered some great PR success, although the number of ‘AI thinks…’ campaigns around (including ours!) suggests what appears to be its greatest use may have an expiry date. Elsewhere, we’re actively researching exciting apps such as Fireflies, PressPal, AskAI and more.”  

“Of course, the use of AI is nothing new to us - and we’ve been using tools built with or incorporating it for years - think SEMrush, Canva, Buzzsumo, Cision, Brandwatch, Otter, Grammarly etc - to enhance our work, not replace it.  

“We value AI’s potential, but our unwavering commitment to the human touch ensures that it enhances our capabilities whilst never compromising what we do.” 

Propel

Matthew Denby, account manager, CCgroup: “Effective media pitching is an essential skill for any successful PR person to develop. But it relies on having accurate media data and intelligence to hand to avoid it becoming a time drain.

“Propel has become an invaluable AI-based tool in improving our productivity and success with the media. It has helped us automate the time-hungry aspects of pitching, ensuring we use up-to-date information on individual journalists and publications. It also automates follow-ups, negating the need to invest hours and hours of billable time on countless single-send emails. It also has valuable measurement functionality, providing intelligence that helps us evaluate our own effectiveness and become progressively smarter and more personalised in our approach to individual journalists. All this combines to deliver better results for our clients in less time.”

Chat-GPT4, Claude and Otter

Rebecca Morgan, AI task force lead at PR and marketing agency Pinstone: “Whilst there are many AI tools available, Chat-GPT 4, Claude, and Otter stand out for us as an agency. We are using Chat-GPT 4 to support with the generation of commodity content such as blogs and for ideation, whereas we find Claude really helpful for digesting a report, or another lengthy piece as it can handle many more words at once. Otter excels in audio transcription, alleviating the often laborious and manual task of writing up interview notes.”

Integrating GPT with both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets

Paul Stollery, co-founder and creative director at PR agency Hard Numbers: “Spreadsheets are the very DNA of a modern business. Excel, Google Sheets - these have supercharged productivity across multiple sectors including PR. You can now integrate GPT with both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. The addition of these tools has made spreadsheets, well, intelligent.

“How can this be used in an innovative PR agency? You could analyse a year’s worth of coverage and see how much of it was driven by your campaigns. You could analyse articles written by journalists to see whether they’re likely to write about certain releases. If you have a content calendar and populate it with posts for LinkedIn, GPT could give you a first draft of the corresponding posts for Twitter.

“Humans are, however, needed more than ever. GPT’s integration into the humble spreadsheet allows you to analyse data and produce content at scale. A review process led by a real life human is absolutely essential.”

Copy.ai

Erin Lovett senior account director at PR agency Missive: “Copy.ai has been a game changer for me and the team at Missive; it’s halved the time it takes to produce bespoke content calendars. It has a library of tried-and-tested prompts, eliminating the trial and error of getting the results you need from other large language models, but also enables users to write their own if preferred - helpful if you need to create a plan in a certain structure or format.

“The best thing about the tool is a feature called Infobase, which enables you to store information about brands that can be referenced in content plans. You can upload anything, from brand guidelines to company facts and figures, to improve the quality and relevance of content plans. Importantly, the platform has SOC 2 Type II certification, so you can rest assured that any confidential information uploaded is protected.

Copy.ai (like all generative AI at the moment) does lack contextual understanding, and therefore can’t be used to replace the manual work that goes into producing a considered and comprehensive content calendar, but it’s a brilliant place to start.”

My top 10 tools

Shalon Kerr, founder of healthcare PR firm, PR-it: “ChatGPT saves me an average of 10-15 hours weekly and a whopping 20 hours per PR campaign. It's like a brilliant intern, helping fine-tune copy, brainstorm ideas, and draft materials. Bard is my go-to for research, but it sometimes hallucinates facts, so I always request sources. For in-depth reports and technical papers that Bard references, I feed them to Petal.ai and let its ChatGPT-powered chatbot pinpoint the exact pages I need for fact-checking. I'm also a fan of Petal for navigating through lengthy papers (so much more efficient than the traditional Ctrl+F), and it's fantastic for analysis, data summarization, and generating citations. I also recommend SurferSEO, Canva Magic Studio for editing and resizing (image generation is so-so; MidJourney is the best), DeepL for translations, and text-to-video editors such as Veed, Taleblocks, and Pictory.”

Andrew Bruce Smith, founder of AI, PR and marketing agency Escherman: "To enhance PR productivity through AI, several tools stand out. For generating and refining text, ChatGPT with GPT3.5 or GPT4 is ideal for content under 8,000 words, whilst Anthropic's Claude 2 is suited for more extensive text summarisation and content generation. When crafting visual content for PR campaigns, Microsoft Bing Image Creator or ChatGPT with DALL·E 3 can assist in creating engaging imagery. For analysing visual content, Google Bard or ChatGPT with GPT-4V lead the pack. For access to up to date source material, consider Microsoft Bing Perplexity AI. For in-depth data analysis of PR campaigns, ChatGPT with the Advanced Data Analysis plug-in is a top pick. When dealing with sensitive PR topics, turning to open-source models like LLaMa 2 via LM Studio ensures confidentiality."

There are further discussions about AI and its impact of PR working here:

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