How AI is helping agencies train the next generation

Generative AI is proving to be a valuable tool for educating young PR pros.

AI as a training tool

By now you’ve almost certainly heard that AI is coming to take your job. While we can debate that all day long, some clever PR professionals are finding ways to use ChatGPT and other generative AI programs to uplift those in the field just learning the craft.

That’s right, they’re using AI to make people more employable and effective, not to take work away.

“These services help younger folks that are entering the space more immediately understand how to do something, and to do work at a level at which, when I started, I wasn’t able to,” Chris Harihar, a partner at B2B tech agency Crenshaw Communications, told PR Daily.

Harihar said he didn’t go to school for communications, so no one ever taught him the basics of the field, like how to write a press release. Today, generative AI can spin up sterling examples of not just press releases, but specific kinds of press releases. In a blink, you can have a new CEO announcement or a layoff notice to study.



“As an account coordinator, account executive, an up-and-coming PR person, you have this tool that gives you so much more insight into this job and gives you templates, material that you can consider, and helps with writing in ways that … you (don’t) have to bother your supervisors,” Harihar explained.

Grace Williams, senior vice president at BLASTmedia, a SaaS media relations agency, also sees the potential in generative AI for helping new professionals come up to speed in a variety of ways, including simply coming to understand the industries they serve.

“It’s really hard for someone that’s been in the workforce for two years, knowing what questions to ask a chief product officer, they just have no idea,” Williams told PR Daily. “They don’t know what they don’t know.”

But generative AI can act as a souped-up version of steroids for these new professionals, a safe place for them to ask the questions they may be afraid to ask out loud, like, what is a chief product officer? What even is a SaaS product? Generative AI can explain quickly, clearly and without judgement. Even for more experienced practitioners, AI can generate questions that can help them identify their blind spots and learn what they might not think to ask.

Williams is also a fan of using ChatGPT to help refine pitches. For instance, if a new professional offers up a too-long pitch, in the old days, the more experienced professional would need to take time to edit that pitch down by hand.

“I can even say, hey, actually, as a training tip, that needs to be under 200 words. Put it in ChatGPT and cut this down in shorter words, and it’ll do it for me having to go through, redline it, take my time and do it,” Williams explained.

Both Harihar and Williams stressed the importance of training your staff on responsible use of AI, however. Neither would ever send unedited documents to clients, and both have clear conversations with those clients about how the tools will be used in any work sent to them.

“We don’t write anything verbatim from any generative AI product, we have, we’re obviously gonna fact check every single source, or make sure for anything in there that we’re finding a source for everything,” Williams explained.

Of course, ChatGPT is ultimately a tool, not a teacher. It can’t replace strong mentorship and building positive relationships with budding professionals. But it can help educate and train new workers on the basics without distracting more senior members from their tasks — if it’s used in a spirit of learning and not merely taking the work the robot gives you as your own.

But the possibilities for upskilling workers with an AI assist has Harihar optimistic about a future where new practitioners come up to speed faster than ever before.

“I think we’re gonna see entry level PR free people move up the ladder more quickly, because they’re gonna have a better tool that they can use to have a sounding board.”

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Topics: PR


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