Public Relations

PR for AI Companies: A Comprehensive Guide

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While artificial intelligence (AI) is no newcomer to the technology world, the rise in popularity of new consumer-facing AI offerings such as ChatGPT and Google Bard have made expectations for fast, efficient and personalized digital experiences a critical business priority.

In every industry—from financial services to manufacturing, logistics, retail, healthcare and energy—organizations are looking to AI as a way to do more with less, and engage their customers in ways they haven’t been able to before. And at the same time, companies that focus entirely on AI are both evolving their offerings and creating entirely new ones in order to enable other organizations to capitalize on the technology. 

This begs the question: With so much noise around AI, how do companies break through and set themselves apart? 

It’s one thing for a company to communicate that they’re using AI, or offering AI-powered services, on their own channels. But it’s far more powerful to have a third party, such as a journalist, share that message. Not only does it validate the story through the lens of a credible source, but also distributes it to a much broader audience than the company can on its own. 

For these reasons and more, PR has become an essential part of companies’ AI strategies. 

What Makes PR Crucial for AI Enterprises?

Channel V Media has been attracting widespread attention for companies’ AI successes long before the technology was a mainstream topic. Take our work with Albert in 2016, for example, to introduce a new category for AI in the marketing space, generate interest among major brands, and ensure that the company had significant visibility by the time its competitors emerged with similar capabilities.

This same level of market education, category creation, and public visibility is still necessary for companies that want to be known for their AI work today—and PR is still a crucial tool to get there. 

And, as AI continues to become a part of nearly every company’s business strategy, it’s more important than ever to be able to showcase how your work is different—and the best option—in the eyes of prospective buyers.

Whether your company is built on AI from the ground up or introducing AI capabilities for the first time, here are the ways to get your story into the press.

PR Tactics for AI Companies

AI companies can benefit from many of the same PR tactics as general B2B and consumer companies. Each of the following tacts should be tailored, however, around the company’s AI offerings and its unique business goals. 

Press Releases

Announcing the launch of a new AI company, product or service via press release is a way of distributing the news to the media and key stakeholders on a broad scale. In addition to publishing the press release through a wire service, PR teams can distribute it individually to select reporters to provide additional context on the news. Compared to a standalone pitch, press releases typically cover a larger amount of information about a news item—which is important when AI companies are looking to differentiate themselves from similar-sounding offerings.

Customer Success Stories

Especially with topics that can be as nuanced as AI, showing a company’s work through tangible, real-life examples is a valuable way to communicate their work. Because these stories come from the POV of the customers themselves, they can also provide a higher level of validation for a company’s work than the company can do alone. In the case of our client Albert, for example, Channel V Media placed a story about how Harley Davidson leveraged Albert’s artificial intelligence capabilities to increase its New York sales leads by 2,930% in Harvard Business Review. Following the story, Albert saw an influx of 400 inbound leads in a single day. 

Bylined Articles

Bylined (or contributed) articles are another way for companies to educate the market on complex AI topics, and demonstrate thought leadership. Rather than talking about their own products or services, bylined articles focus more on topics that are important to the wider industry and should be thought provoking, demonstrate a high level of expertise into the subject matter, and can even present controversial opinions at times. 

Media Interviews

Scheduling 1:1 media interviews with journalists is a valuable way for AI companies to not only talk about their news, future plans and more, but to build relationships with reporters who regularly cover happenings in the AI space. These interviews can also be a time to showcase product demos and answer common questions about the news that can’t be communicated as easily through a press release. Just remember: Knowing which AI journalists and media outlets to reach out to, and why they will be interested in your company/product/service, is a critical first step. 

Newsjacking

With so much happening in the world of AI, there are endless opportunities for AI companies to share their unique POV on trending topics—both on AI as a whole, and within their respective industries. Newsjacking is a great way for AI companies to be in the news during times when they don’t have their own news, and without having to write a press release or pitch to the media. For more tips and tricks on how to make the most out of newsjacking, see our complete service page here.

Awards

Awards are an opportunity to tell the world that your company is the best at what it does. There are many different ways for AI companies to communicate their offerings through award wins, whether it’s by focusing on a specific AI project they completed for a client, or garnering attention for the launch of a new AI product or service. Winning an award can also turn into an opportunity to make additional noise through a press release or media pitching announcing the win. 

Analyst Relations

The further that companies get into their AI work, the more common it is to find that there is not yet a specific category or place in the market for what they’re doing. For example, AI-powered marketing, data management, demand forecasting, and advanced fraud detection are some of the more common AI use cases and applications on the market today—but your company may be doing something new entirely. In addition to PR tactics such as press releases and media relations, analyst relations can be beneficial to AI companies that are looking to carve a new niche in the market. Oftentimes, analysts are some of the first to call out new trends and use cases in the industries that they cover, so having your company’s work on their radar is a valuable way to get to market before competitors. 

Crafting a PR Strategy for AI Companies

As is the case with every PR program, it’s important for AI companies to create a bespoke plan for how each of the PR tactics they engage in will drive their overall strategy—which should be a direct reflection of their business goals. 

Here are a few steps to consider when doing so. 

Identify Target Audience

The increasing variety of AI capabilities available in today’s market means that every AI company, along with every company that is using AI in any way, shape, or form, needs to reach a specific target audience that their offerings will resonate with. Having a story written in a consumer-facing outlet about how your company is using AI for data management in manufacturing, will not attract the right (if any) customers. Having an idea of who your company needs to get in front of through PR will help inform the rest of AI companies’ PR strategies.

Set Clear Objectives and Goals

As always, PR goals should directly influence a company’s larger business goals. These can vary from company to company, but in the AI space, typically include things like:

  • Drive overall brand awareness
  • Create visibility for executives as AI thought leaders
  • Launch an AI company/service/product/initiative into the market 
  • Validate existing AI offerings 
  • Increase leads for a specific AI product/service/offering
  • Shift market perception of company as a ___ company, to an AI-centric company

Establish Key Messages

In PR, key messages are a means of clearly defining a company’s proposition value and ability to connect with the target audience that is most essential. When boiled down, an effective PR message is how a company is presented to an external audience. These key messages should be reflected in all of companies’ PR results—either directly or indirectly. And with careful crafting, these messages should drive the market behaviors that AI companies need to be successful. 

Build Relationships with Journalists and Media Outlets

Building lasting media relationships is at the heart of every PR strategy—and PR for AI companies is no different. Once companies have determined which reporters and outlets are the best fit for their news, their PR strategies should incorporate a mix of tactics that enable them to connect with those journalists on a regular basis. There’s a distinct difference between interacting with journalists and building meaningful relationships with them, though. The best way to do that is to know who is relevant to you, and what topics are important to them.

Write Compelling Content

Working with a PR team that has experience in the AI space is a good way for companies to ensure that they stand out from the crowd. Especially when it comes to drafting PR content such as press releases, pitches and contributed articles, working with an AI PR agency can provide a valuable third-party perspective on how your company’s work compares to what is happening in the larger AI industry, and what messages need to be communicated in PR content to make it compelling and unique. 

Pitching Stories and Expert Commentary

PR strategies for AI companies should include a plan for pitching a regular cadence of stories, press releases and expert commentary to the media in order to stay top of mind in a crowded space. Nearly every new product, customer story, client win and expert viewpoint can be transformed into a newsworthy story with the right approach. Keeping tabs on breaking news items and major industry conversations can often create the ‘why now’ moment that AI companies need to connect what they are doing to the larger market.

In Conclusion 

PR for AI companies isn’t altogether different from PR for any other company. What makes it unique at this point in time is the growing need for AI companies to break through an increasing amount of noise about AI and its capabilities, which are evolving by the day. 

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