Earlier this year, Muck Rack released its 2024 State of AI in PR report, which showcased how artificial intelligence tools, like ChatGPT, are impacting the field of public relations and the potential benefits and consequences of its use.

This report updates and expands on Muck Rack’s State of AI in PR 2023 survey. Insights were gathered from about 1,000 public relations professionals in November and December 2023 to unlock how AI is evolving in our field.

According to Muck Rack, “The goal of the survey was to deliver insights to the PR industry to help improve the workflow of public relations professionals, particularly around the rapidly expanding field of generative artificial intelligence.”

Let’s get into the key findings.

AI use has exploded this year

Yes, well, of course! 2023 was defined as the year of AI experimentation. For the first time, consumers and professionals had firsthand access to interact with large language models and other AI-driven applications.

As illustrated in the survey, 28% of PR pros reported that they already used generative AI in March 2023, but that number shot up to 64% in December.

I have to say that I am not surprised by the increase for the reasons I mentioned above, but I am curious to see if this number will eventually level out or keep steadily increasing over the next six months.

Brands and agencies differ on expectations for AI disclosure

The rise of AI has led to discrepancies between agencies and brands regarding how to disclose its use. The majority of brands think we should disclose when AI is used, while only about 19% of agencies meet that standard. As our industry evolves, we will likely see disclosure policies implemented and a more streamlined approach to sharing AI use in our work.

While 50% of agencies currently do not have an AI policy in place, companies are starting to consider where AI use will be celebrated and where it will be less encouraged. In September 2023, Treble published our guidelines for working with generative AI, including accuracy, privacy and humanity.

Policies can take any form, and though it is not a “one size fits all” approach, these conversations about ethics and transparency need to happen to foster trust between brands and agencies.

AI improves the quality and efficiency of work

Most PR pros report an increase in the quality of their work and report completing projects more quickly using AI. 74% of respondents say they feel AI has improved the quality of their work, and 89% of respondents said AI helps them complete their projects somewhat or much more quickly.

Tools like ChatGPT provide good first drafts but won’t bring human emotion and creativity to the output. If you’ve experimented with GenAI, you are not ignorant that you can easily spot the synthetic tone and content. That being said, our work as PR professionals is still vital.

As we continue to evolve in the PR industry, creating awareness and building credibility while maintaining a creative environment and embracing AI tools that enhance our work is essential.