How Generative AI will Disrupt PR and Media

OpenAI just took another huge leap in content creation with the ability to create videos from text prompts. This is going to dramatically and quickly disrupt the world for content creators, publicists and journalists –  but not in the way you might suspect.

A few years ago, I wrote an article for Forbes that predicted AI wouldn’t replace PR. Generative AI will definitely streamline content creation and steal jobs from creators, but there isn’t enough quality data for AI to create an actual media strategy from scratch. Without quality data, AI doesn’t have the information to create a timely strategy. In the case with news, most data would become outdated with each passing news cycle.

Machine learning is great for analyzing data and predicting behaviors on the macro level, but creating a business or media strategy for most industries requires an intimate knowledge of processes, history, trends and emerging technologies that can expand market share. Machine learning needs that valuable component that is missing in PR and news.

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Important News Elements for Media Coverage

How far will you go for love? Would you peel an orange for your spouse or girlfriend if she asked you for an orange? The Wall Street Journal explores that question today and it provides several PR lessons for brands trying to get media coverage.

I’m rarely a fan of tying news stories to monthly awareness campaigns because those marketing calendars rarely align with editorial calendars. But Valentine’s Day is one of those holiday exceptions. If your service or product has a connection to love, it can be rocket fuel when tied to Valentine’s Day.

I’ll go on a limb now and predict this WSJ story will go viral by the end of the week. Here’s why:

*The story is unique.
*It provides fun conversation.
*You likely haven’t heard this story before.
*It’s tied to love, and Valentine’s Day is Wednesday.

Emerging Trend with Influential News Organizations

This article supports an emerging trend I am seeing with the influential news organizations, including the NY Times, Washington Post and WSJ. Their reporters are integrating TikTok and Instagram elements to support their stories. In many cases, the social media content isn’t even timely but the content gives the reporter the timely element needed to sell it to his/her editors. Adding social media content to your pitch can help with the reporter’s sell to his editors.

One more important observation.

Editors and Reporters are Measured by their Story Reach

When I was a new Executive Producer with NBC in New York, I knew I had one year to prove my value or I would be pushed out the door. Today, a reporter’s reach is evaluated just as much as his editors.

Here’s proof. A few years ago I worked with Rep. Norma Torres and we got her editorial placed in the Washington Post. The opinion editor emailed me a few days later and asked if I could encourage her to share her editorial on Twitter. He was candid, “I’m not seeing traction with her story.”

And that brings up the final point. If your idea doesn’t have broad appeal or potential for virality, your campaign is at another disadvantage. Find ways to implement or sell that virality in your story.

If you apply these approaches to your next publicity, you will have a better chance for coverage. If you need help finding timely elements or angles, reach out to us here and we can schedule a strategy call. #alwaysfreshpr

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. This was the third year in a row that Finance Monthly recognized our firm. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with Entrepreneur, CNBC and Forbes. City & State Magazine named him to their 2024 Political PR Power List in New York.

How the Wrong Media Strategy can Hurt your Business

Selecting the right PR agency can have a long-term positive or adverse impact on your business, so it’s important to do your due diligence. The wrong media strategy can easily set your organization back by 6 months to a year. And here’s how.

The news cycle always puts an emphasis on “new.” If your agency spends 6 months drowning in a narrative that doesn’t get traction, you lost that timely element. This will put your next agency at a disadvantage.

We experienced this with a campaign we ran for a wearable device. The client’s previous PR agency failed to get them coverage at CES. This made our campaign’s more difficult since every reporter asked what was new from the previous year. Despite the obstacles, MACIAS PR still succeeded in getting them on the NBC Today Show, as well with others. (Click here to see that case study)

So how do you identify the best publicist for your business? Here are some common mistakes I’ve seen over the years as both an Executive Producer with NBC and owner of an agency.

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How to Leverage Current News Cycle for Publicity

Are you a nutritionist or health brand looking for more exposure? The WSJ has a great story today that will help any lifestyle or health brand leverage the news cycle for coverage.

Even if your brand is not listed in this article, a story like this provides new opportunities to position a nutritionist, dietitian and weight loss brand into the news cycle. Sure, most consumers know ultra processed foods can lead to obesity, weight gain and other health conditions. But the real PR insight from a story like this comes from calling out popular food brands and providing detailed insight on what is wrong or right with the food. The WSJ reporter did a great job of doing this. (That’s what got my attention. I saw my son’s favorite Ritz crackers in the photo).

So how do you sell your health brand to reporters, producers or editors with a story like this?

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Case Study – Media Campaign for Nutrition App

When MACIAS PR started working with Lifesum in the summer of 2019, the nutrition app was nowhere on the national radar. Their US office in Los Angeles had only 3 people – and no one was in PR or marketing. 

This lean US operation enabled us to run as a PR firm, especially as their leadership team in Sweden gave us the green light to pursue creative ideas.

Our first media placement for the nutrition app was on Channel 11 in New York City. The TV segment compared the price and offerings of Lifesum versus their bigger, more expensive competitors. It was an objective look at what the various health apps offer and which provided the best value. Lifesum scored at the top of this analysis. Our TV segment also featured a Lifesum user who talked about how she lost weight and got healthier with the app.

Bringing more exposure to this story, MACIAS PR worked to get this story syndicated with the Tribune network. It’s an insider strategy we used based on our founder’s experience with the NBC, ABC and CBS affiliate feeds. The TV segment introduced Lifesum to a national audience.

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PR Tips – Avoid the Sales Pitch with Reporters

As an entrepreneur, it’s in our nature to always be selling. But when it comes to speaking with reporters, you don’t want to turn your interview into a sales pitch. That’s one of the quickest ways to get your story killed.

Here’s why. Experienced journalists are trained to hear a sales pitch or commercial. They know their job is not to sell products but to sell stories to their editors. If you have a product or service, reporters want to hear the story behind it.

I wrote a story that goes more in-depth on this approach for Entrepreneur Magazine. You can read that article here. If you’re short on time, here’s a summary of how you can better close the “sales” interview with the journalist.

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Branding Advice – What Not to Do with your Brand

Most of us have similar thoughts on Musk renaming Twitter to X: It’s a self-inflicted mortal wound that tosses a globally recognized name and verb (tweet) out the window. There’s absolutely no long-term value in altering a name, logo and trademark that nearly everyone with a smartphone recognizes. It’s a short-sighted move and a lesson in what not to do with your brand.

Luckily you can’t destroy your brand like Twitter if you’re a startup. That’s because no one has heard of your company. But, there are missteps that can make your branding path more difficult. Over the years, I’ve heard many CEOs, entrepreneurs and CMOs turn down media opportunities because they thought the news organization was too small. In some cases, they criticized the news website design.

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Case Study: How We Helped a Client Increase Brand Awareness by 400%

Many potential clients assume MACIAS PR only works with large health care brands. Yes, we have run media and branding campaigns for large tech and health care companies, but we’ve also launched publicity campaigns for boot-strapped startups.

Find Your Trainer is a mobile app that matches consumers with physical trainers. The boot-strapped startup was only 5-months old when MACIAS PR launched their publicity campaign.

Goal: To increase app downloads and bookings for their physical trainers during the holiday shopping season. We positioned Find Your Trainer as a unique start-up that was reinventing the fitness industry – just as Uber and Seamless had reinvented their industries. 

Challenges: Find Your Trainer had no media coverage or messaging in place when MACIAS PR took over their publicity campaign. Our team had to identify editorial angles to pitch to the media with little help from the founder. In addition, the mobile app was only in NYC, limiting our media exposure to primarily one media market. MACIAS PR had less than a month to identify the message and get the timely story out to consumers.

Strategy: Position the mobile app as a great gift idea for couples. Messaging: Here’s a gift to help your out-of-shape partner lose weight. We also highlighted how this mobile app enabled consumers to try out the best gyms without pricy membership plans. The founder also gave fitness advice to targeted health sites.

Results: This publicity campaign succeeded with local and national media, securing media coverage with targeted TV, newspapers, magazines and influential lifestyle websites. The founder of Find Your Trainer told a reporter  in January that he saw a 400-percent increase in sign-ups from December to January, largely based on our organic media coverage.

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Will AI Replace Publicists? A Closer Look at What the Data Says

Nearly 3 years ago, I wrote an article for Forbes that predicted the future of PR and AI.

We’re still in agreement today that AI will make life easier for publicists. Machine learning will continue to help content creators and publicists develop content faster. But at the root of my Forbes article was a bold prediction that AI won’t replace publicists over the next 10 years.

Here’s why I still stand by that prediction three years after making it.

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Client Case Study: Health Care Services

A health care services consulting firm approached MACIAS PR a few months after they launched their startup. The founder wanted help elevating her brand and introducing her services to social workers and new clients.

Our team developed and executed this publicity campaign from conception to execution. We identified story angles of interest; positioned the CEO as a leading health care expert; coordinated interviews; prepped the founder for all media interviews; and identified reporter and targeted media outlets.

Goal: To increase brand awareness and generate revenue around the company’s health care services.

Challenges: The health care startup was only a few months old with a founder who was focused on building her company. The CEO had no experience dealing with the media, coming from the health care sector.

Strategy: Position the CEO with the media as the health care expert on everything related to Medicaid and Medicare.

Tactics:

  1. Identify solid news angles that resulted in coverage.
  2. Position CEO as strategic thought leader in health care.
  3. Identify key media contacts at relevant publications.
  4. Pitch stories that were timely, newsworthy, and of interest to the targeted audience.
  5. Follow up with reporters, answer their questions, and continue to push relevant new topics for coverage.
  6. Track coverage and measure results

Media Results

This PR campaign resulted in local and national media coverage, including stories with The New York Times, US News & World Report, Forbes, New York Post, WABC, WNBC, WCBS and PIX 11 TV in New York. This coverage helped generate growth and services expansion within the first 6 months of working together. 

A few months into the campaign, MACIAS PR created a mobile app for the company – The Medicaid app. This new digital tool created a new pipeline for potential clients. MACIAS PR conceptualized the mobile app and created the content that helped families and patients navigate through the complicated government services.

The Medicaid App also enabled us to position the health care services as a tech player, which generated additional media exposure.

Key Takeaways:

  • Securing stories in the media is an effective way to increase brand awareness and generate positive buzz around a product or service.
  • To be successful, PR campaigns should be well-planned and executed, with a focus on targeting the right media outlets and pitching stories that are timely, newsworthy, and of interest to the target audience.
  • Following up with media contacts and tracking coverage is essential to ensure that a PR campaign is successful.

You can see more of the media coverage below. Click here if you’d like to get a PR estimate, or contact us to schedule a call.