The New Frontier for Media Outreach And Public Relations; Interview with Steve Marcinuk, Co-Founder and Head of Operations at Intelligent Relations.
The PR landscape is changing rapidly as technology advances. Generative AI and machine learning tools are becoming increasingly prominent in the industry, however, there’s still a need for human expertise to truly maximize a company’s potential. In this interview with TechBullion, Steve Marcinuk, Co-Founder and Head of Operations at Intelligent Relations, shares an expert insights into; how this concept and these AI tools can streamline some aspects of PR, how automatized processes; like media outreach and coverage monitoring work and how innovative platforms, that combine AI-driven insights with human experience work.
Please tell us more about yourself?
My name is Steve Marcinuk and I am the co-founder and head of operations at Intelligent Relations. As a serial entrepreneur in the technology space, I’m particularly passionate about harnessing emerging innovations to simplify peoples’ lives and enhance human potential.
Could you tell us more about Intelligent Relations and the unique solutions you provided?
Yes, Intelligent Relations is a 100% remote company that has combined the latest AI technology with deep PR industry expertise to democratize access to media coverage. We provide an all-in-one platform that includes AI-powered media monitoring, pitch writing, journalist recommendations, and outreach to help clients manage their PR activities the same way they would manage an email marketing or paid search campaign.
Our proprietary AI technology determines the most relevant journalists to our clients’ industries and offerings before compiling a personalized database of media targets. We also provide automated pitch writing and outreach workflows as well as rich campaign analytics and professional PR support.
What is the global market size of Artificial intelligence in the digital marketing industry and how is AI influencing public relations in particular?
Our primary goal is giving startups and small businesses the capabilities to conduct their own media outreach initiatives. For too long, traditional media coverage has been reserved for companies that can either afford the massive retainers of large PR firms or have the time and resources to do in-house PR.
So, we developed our solutions with the idea of leveling the playing field, just as other popular platforms have done in other areas of marketing. Thanks to MailChimp, for example, anyone can succeed at email marketing. Likewise, Canva gives businesses the tools to create their own graphic designs. Through the Intelligent Relations platform, we aim to empower businesses to establish their own public media presence.
For this reason, we believe the opportunity is bigger than just AI-powered PR. It’s about introducing businesses to a completely new marketing channel by leveraging technology that previously did not exist.
Could you highlight some practical applications and use cases of artificial intelligence in public relations and what impacts they are making?
In order to win media coverage, a small business would need to unearth an intriguing narrative for its industry, create a compelling pitch, find the right journalists who’d be interested in that story, and then send personalized outreach to their selected targets – and all of this, ideally, as quickly as possible (i.e. news moves fast!).
AI can be used to simplify every step of this process. First, AI-powered media monitoring can identify relevant, trending topics much faster than a human being could and detect breaking stories that matter to you in real time. Then, for pitch writing, we’ve analyzed thousands of pitches written by PR experts to create AI text generation models that help non-experts effectively communicate their ideas through automatically drafted pitch writing.
Next, we utilize advanced article and journalist analysis to match original story ideas with the journalists who are most likely to cover them. And our AI doesn’t just recommend journalists based on the sector they usually cover. We also analyze specific details about each journalist’s previous work to produce matches that reflect the journalist’s individual interests and priorities.
As you can see, AI is deeply embedded in each aspect of the PR outreach process, which gives non-experts a major leg up in an unfamiliar field.
What types and trends of AI are used prevalently in the public relations industry, how are they helping public relations professionals, and how can businesses benefit from these?
The reality is that most innovation with AI in the PR industry has been focused on helping PR professionals and in-house communication teams do their jobs more effectively. And that’s a valuable use case with the potential to save a lot of time and make the lives of many PR pros much easier.
What we’re doing, however, is facilitating a paradigm shift by allowing non-experts and smaller PR teams to engage in a smarter, more strategic form of media outreach. We truly believe that our technology possesses the ability to dramatically elevate the marketing efforts of smaller businesses that have traditionally lacked the resources to make PR work for them.
Enlighten us more on the concept of automation in public relations and how automation is influencing the digital transformation age?
The tasks that I described above, like researching journalists and writing pitches, were previously extremely labor intensive and time-consuming. So, bringing major efficiencies to these areas can be a real game-changer for the people responsible for them.
That said, in many aspects of marketing or communications, complete automation really shouldn’t be the end goal. There are certainly key areas like strategy and messaging where you would want meaningful input from a talented member of the team.
So, if you ask most marketing leaders, they’re not looking to fully automate their processes, based on concerns that important messaging decisions and opportunities to connect with their audiences could unknowingly slip through their fingers. But if you ask them about increasing efficiency, reaching more people, and finding new ways to take the pain out of notoriously tedious responsibilities, I’m sure most of them would be very receptive, to say the least.
How is big data enhancing the use of AI in public relations and what benefits is big data analytics bringing to the market?
PR is the perfect industry for the application of some of the latest data technologies because, by definition, all the data you’d want to analyze is public: which stories are trending, how many people are reading them, etc. Thanks to big data, AI can process this information at a much faster rate and separate new and unusual narratives from other, more mundane stories.
Also, big data analytics gives us the ability to understand what’s actually working in terms of media outreach by analyzing everything from email opens to response rates to the characteristics of previously accepted pitches. This ultimately helps us understand which journalists will be most interested in telling specific types of stories.
Are there any potential risks associated with using artificial intelligence and automation in public relations. If so, what are they and how can we mitigate them?
It’s easy to hallucinate bleak predictions about all sorts of things that could go wrong once artificial intelligence becomes an integral part of the communications industry.
But we believe that our technology has the potential to bring far more good than harm to small businesses and journalists alike. Companies that were previously priced out of pitching interesting stories will now be able to reach new audiences. Journalists who are looking for fresh ideas as well as opportunities to connect with insiders from new sectors will now receive more personalized pitches for stories they actually want to tell and fewer poorly targeted “spray and pray” campaigns.
As a result, the audiences who read these stories will be able to better educate themselves about different industries and events. By facilitating more meaningful connections between businesses and journalists, we can help more interesting stories reach their desired audiences.
What are you currently working on and what is next on your roadmap? Do you have any available opportunities for careers, investors, or partnerships at Intelligent Relations?
Our main focus right now is strengthening the core functionality of the platform. That involves improving the depth and reach of our journalist and influencer database, improving our AI writing and personalization, improving our journalist analysis and pitch-matching capabilities, and just making all the essential activities as strong as possible to help our users score more media coverage.
Our team is currently growing, and we have more than 60 people working with us in over a dozen countries. Operations and development are where we have the greatest need. Check out https://intelligentrelations.freshteam.com/jobs to see all the positions.
Do you have more tips to share with our readers today?
Right now, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the technologies that we’re using, but there’s also a lot of hype in some corners of the industry.
With that in mind, I believe that when it comes to AI, fringe novelty use cases will eventually be revealed as the party tricks that they are, and the companies that offer real value to real users will be the ones that grow and thrive. This is just a basic fundamental of business, and that’s why we’re focusing on the fundamentals of building an excellent product for an unserved market.