It is a big subject for quite a lot of us. Automation is coming.
The thought of automating Public Relations is crossed between a joke, a possibility and a certain fearful prospect for most practitioners.
Long in the tooth consultants and senior practitioners are well aware of the range and creative capabilities needed in PR practice day-to-day.
They have the creative and professional capability in campaigns and issues management as well as an ability to bring calm and insights to top managers and interest groups such as journalists.
“You can’t automate it! It's creative!” They cry.
A majority of respondents to the 2015 CIPR survey (76%) revealed that they spend some or most of their time working on media relations. Also, digital knowledge and skills were the weakest competencies among survey respondents – particularly among in-house and senior practitioners.
The reality is, advertising, SEO and social media marketing agencies are combining their ‘paid for’ strengths in with the ‘earned’ capabilities traditionally considered the unique domain of the PR sector. Progressively, more technologies are usurping press relations activities. As we will see, a lot of press relations is being usurped by computers.
US economist Tyler Cowen puts it, machines aren’t only replacing human brawn - as they become more advanced, they’re increasingly replacing human brains. Or to put it another way: if the most precarious place to be working in the British economy in the 1970s and 80s was as a blue collar worker in a factory, today it’s the kind of white collar job occupied by the middle classes.
This is not all. Some social media activities can be automated and are strangely programmable and are not a long-term saviour for the PR profession.
Here we aim to introduce readers to a wide range of capabilities that are wholly or in part automated or automatable.
They go far beyond Facebook, G+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Search Engine Optimisation.
Automated PR is very close. Lots of people use some of its advantages already. The new users of these capabilities are emerging and are by-passing existing practitioners and agencies.
Automation creeps up on us.
It begins with a capability to assemble resources. It structures or re-structures the resources and then produces the result all without human hand.
I don’t claim that all PR is to be fully automated any time soon. But it is here that I begin to explore the many intrusions now taking over which, in time, will progressively automate most of the practices we now undertake and more.
The machines are far too clever to be left out!
For those who hang their hat on the uniquely creative nature of PR will be disappointed to discover that, progressively, technologies are beginning to automate many of the most creative of aspects of modern civilisation. PR will not be exempt.
Perhaps, over the next few days we can look further and see what is really happening. But here is a taster.