Generative AI makes founders more interesting to journalists in different ways
The advent of generative artificial intelligence will lead to a tectonic shift in how startups do PR over the next few years.
In July, the Associated Press became the first major news company to sign on with OpenAI, while media layoffs hit record highs.
Gutted newsrooms could shut down one of the biggest engines of startup growth.
While generative AI will expand the capabilities of many publications, it’s also creeping up on news sites in ways we can’t predict when journalists are laid off.
Inevitably, some startups will choose to use AI to churn out thought leadership and PR content.
The problem is that if anyone and everyone can do something, it loses value.
If a founder can ask ChatGPT to make a list of “5 Reasons Why E-Commerce Will Grow in 2023”, then the internet will be even more saturated with this kind of content.
And this content sounds professional, yes, but impersonal, starved of real-life stories and without flair. The good news is that this will actually encourage the development of PR startups.
In-house PR teams will want to elevate their content above the boring noise. PR agencies will try to show startups why they shouldn’t use ChatGPT for their work.
Editors will be clamoring for original articles over regurgitated content. PR and human-written thought leadership will have to be sharply distinguished from unoriginal content by overused artificial intelligence.
Seeing a strong voice of reason or controversy, provocative responses to current events and fast-moving topics is something people are always hungry for.
It is alive, shaped by the world around us and helps us understand it.
Ironically, AI could make PR more responsive, human and relevant. So where are the limits of artificial intelligence – and where will successful PR strategies shine in the age of ChatGPT?
AI currently does not exist. It’s trained on past data sets, but it can’t track today’s news, much less if that news hasn’t been posted online.
I know from my PR work that journalists show increased interest in a business leader when they can speak informedly (and quickly) about current events.
So do readers: 62% of professionals want to see thought leadership on current trends.
But how will generative AI change this scenario?
It is likely that the role of journalists will move away from what is generally achievable with AI – general advice, listicles, etc. – and spend more time writing articles about current events and hard-hitting trends, infused with relevant commentary.
That’s what they’ll want to see more of from founders—commentary on the Senate in the process of passing a new immigration bill and how that will affect tech talent.
A think piece on how startups can use the new TikTok trend to grow. An effective PR strategy will include behavioral change:
Daily media monitoring for current events.
Involve yourself and your company in the latest news.
Be a founder who can provide engaging opinions on selected topics.
Assessing what topics you can talk about outside your field: for example, a fintech founder may seek to become an expert on emerging regulation.
Tie this kind of outreach back to your core mission and messaging.
Besides being on time, the difference between you and ChatGPT is that you have friends. You have your finger on the pulse of specific “offline” circles in a way that is not possible for an AI bot.
Journalists will appreciate that you can bring insights about the word on the street what the sentiment is about X news among your peers.
The conversations you’re having with colleagues about the state of the industry.
Finally, you can also look into the future.
A true industry expert can read what’s happening locally not just online ask peers for opinions on a matter of interest and offer predictions about where the trend is headed.
Be careful to only do so when your margin of error is small.