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Can AI Write a Press Release? How to Make a Rough Draft Better ‘in Sometime’

Published on January 8, 2024

A press release doesn’t write itself, but AI can follow the format.

For a business owner or marketing officer short of time or resources, artificial intelligence can recognize and follow common writing styles to speed the process of preparing the news announcement.

It’s simple enough to ask a chatbot to write a press release. The large language models used in tools such as ChatGPT are warehouses of PR text; later versions such as GPT-4 store images as well. But while these examples provide a recipe, an AI press release writer needs to gather the right ingredients. It’s not enough to simply type or say, “Write a press release.” Neither the details nor the overall purpose will be obvious.

Composing with a chatbot, then, is not so different from collaborating with a public relations writer yet often not as simple. A generative AI composer starts from a blank slate, then makes broad assumptions or recalls whatever is cribbed away in its account history.

One note of caution: Chatbots don’t have a strong nondisclosure agreement. Business users consent to letting a chatbot retain client marketing strategies in memory to use anywhere. The alternative is to change their “training” settings to clear their history of past sessions from memory. In that case, users will need to restate their instructions in detail every time, down to the fine points of brand style, to restate what the bot forgot.

Before engaging either a writer or a chatbot, the facts and objectives for content need to be assembled. Employing generative AI is one waya to nail down these essentials. An An AI first draft may be a useful stalking horse—a starting point from which a writer can innovate.

Here are the steps to follow in using AI to produce a press release that will get results.

Let the AI Tool Do the Work

Generative AI can get a project started simply by showing the form it’s likely to take. So, start by spelling out the job at hand. Chatbots play many roles, so assign it yours—and let it identify what the job requires.

You are a public relations writer for a commercial real estate developer. Write a press release to announce an upcoming ceremony marking the groundbreaking for an office renovation in Chicago. What would you need to write a press release?

In this case, we’re asking Microsoft Bing Copilot. Its GPT-4 language model predicts that we’ll need “a catchy and informative title” for our release, as well as the date and location, quotes, background and contact information. However, even our short note is enough to develop a sample announcement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

**Groundbreaking Ceremony for Office Renovation in Chicago**

CHICAGO, IL – [Insert Date] – [Your Company Name], a leading commercial real estate developer, is excited to announce a groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation of a significant office space located in the heart of Chicago.

The ceremony will take place at [Location] on [Date] at [Time]. This renovation project aims to modernize the office space while preserving its historical charm. The renovated office will feature state-of-the-art facilities and sustainable design elements.

“[Insert Quote],” said [Name, Title] of [Your Company Name].

[Your Company Name] has a strong track record of developing high-quality commercial properties in Chicago and is committed to contributing to the city’s economic growth.

For more information about the groundbreaking ceremony or the renovation project, please contact [Your Name, Your Contact Information].

About [Your Company Name]

[Insert 2-3 sentences about your company and its mission]

Give Press Release a Premise

Chatbots have been described as “tireless but not very smart.” Already, this bot is making us work. One important factor has been left unsaid: Who gets the release, and why? The recipient groups would show who will find value in the offer.

A news release gives journalists and influencers information to spread the news, either as written or as a starting point. Even a wire service defines its news media audience by geography, industry, topic or demographics. A chatbot assignment can include direction on style and purpose, including brand style and tone.

Let’s continue our chat session:

Apex Commercial Real Estate hopes to interest Chicago broadcast media in attending the event and North American commercial real estate reporters and architecture critics to write about the development. The ACRE release should follow the Associated Press style. Please revise your draft release and propose a title.

In truth, a chatbot isn’t necessarily tireless either, as we learned with Sydney. (Call it what you want to; that was Microsoft’s name before reporters started messing with Syd.) Developers limits the number of replies and many of the rabbit holes a chatbot might fall into. If a free service often gives a response like this, consider it a pause to gather up more information:

Sorry, I can’t access your webpage at the moment. Try again in sometime.

Identify Public Relations Key Points

When Sydney returns from its cyberbreak, we should have not only the groundbreaking time, date and place, but also some prospective speakers to draw media interest.

The alderman, mayor and governor are scheduled to attend. The value-add remodeling is a former hospital that will have wet lab space for life science research.

Curiously, the governor does not impress the chatbot. Bing chat was trained in 2021, which gives it a blind spot for current events. Sydney spits out the same bland headline and lede. But our description of the project is enough to generate a quote.

This renovation project aims to transform a former hospital into a state-of-the-art wet lab space for life science research, contributing to the city’s burgeoning life sciences sector.

“We are thrilled to breathe new life into this historic building and provide a space for innovation and discovery,” said [Name, Title] of Apex Commercial Real Estate.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be attended by the alderman, mayor, and governor, underscoring the significance of this project to the local community.

Boilerplate: All About That Base

Fortunately, many chatbots are finally set up at least to follow the online links they’re given. The About section of a corporate website is a source of pre-approved background material.

A competitor’s press release might also provide a pattern, although the marketer must scrub the results of protected, off-message or simply inaccurate text. At this point, chat instructions should address not only who should be quoted but also the intended message.

Recast this release with a title that would interest the audience. Lead with the governor’s appearance. Here is an example showing his role at a recent event. Draft a quote for the president of the company showing their interest in economic development. Here is more information about the company.

The announcement should include up to 100 words of essential information about the company or brand—a reusable “boilerplate” to bolt onto each news release, along with a website address. Don’t forget to include contact details for media.

The final draft of this press notice is yours to write. Generative AI has produced an announcement much like competitor posts that flood media mailboxes daily.

To heighten its impact, think about event planning details that set this news apart and how they tie to corporate purpose. Injecting those points into the narrative and quotes will produce text that is more distinctive and true to the brand.

A chatbot collaboration will result in a more complete release that draws more focused media interest. With less left to chance, the chances improve for both press pick-up and follow-on inquiries.

In filling the shell of an AI press release, business owners may find gaps in their overall marketing message. If a clear statement of value is not available to inform the chatbot, the message may not be clear to customers as well. That’s another chat assignment to try again in sometime.

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