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What to expect in communications technology in 2022 (and beyond)

Thanks to the rapid speed of information today, there’s no arguing that technology, big data and AI will continue to play a vital role for communicators, as long as they too evolve to meet the needs of the industry. 

Michael Bade, CTO and co-founder of Truescope, takes a look at what Digital PR and comms practitioners will start to see in their media intelligence platforms in 2022.

Prediction 1: Knowledge graphs will open up powerful new media relationship insights

Media intelligence companies have been using AI in the form of natural language processing (NLP) for a number of years to enrich media content through the extraction of metadata such as sentiment, and the parsing of key people, companies, places, products and facts, adding structure to typically unstructured data.  By loading this data into a relationship first database, such as a knowledge graph, we can connect information to glean new insights. For media, this means identifying entities (such as people, organisations and places) within an article and networking it across any number of data points and forming relationships with those entities to provide a rich and interrogable landscape that would otherwise not be possible.  

The implications of the linking and surfacing of relationship data for marketing and comms practitioners is huge, and includes at a glance:

  • Recommendations of important content, journalists or influencers to an organisation.
  • Identifying the sources via which news spreads most typically.
  • Predictions of crisis comms activities and results based on the reporting and actions of previous crises.
  • The ability to detect major influencers on Twitter and the networks that they influence.
  • Assistance in identifying fake news and the connected networks of individuals and organisations that push a fake news agenda.

Showing similar ambition in this space is the Google Jigsaw supported GDELT Project which has a vision to “construct a catalogue of human societal-scale behaviour and beliefs across all countries of the world, connecting every person, organisation, location, count, theme, news source, and event across the planet into a single massive network”.

Prediction 2: Media intelligence to include more SEO insights features for Digital PR

Digital PR, when done successfully, means gaining favourable, earned media coverage and high quality backlinks online, resulting in higher organic traffic (SEO) and enhancing the visibility of a brand. Digital PR impacts a brand’s reputation by ensuring that customers see quality owned content when they type a brand’s name into a search engine, and it can help generate sales, by educating and converting customers at all stages of the sales funnel. 

Many media intelligence companies are working towards providing a more holistic view of a brand’s digital performance by delivering tools that provide insights into your brand’s, and your competitors’, search “visibility”, including providing you with access to:

  • Discover the keywords that are being utilised most frequently, or differently, across paid, earned, owned and shared media - and use the insight for new content opportunities.
  • Identify relevant journalists and key influencers that are most likely to rank well in search. 
  • Find unlinked brand mentions so you can turn them into links. 
  • Monitor backlinks and earned media links to your site.
  • Reputation management capabilities, showing insights into positive and negative brand mentions in prominent search result.

Prediction 3: Technology and AI to enhance digital content strategies

In recent years AI has shown broad potential in helping to develop and craft a winning content strategy, and has enabled a new technology sector in “content intelligence”. Content intelligence is a technique which leverages software and AI to enhance content efforts, from competitive analysis to content creation. In 2022, we expect to see media intelligence companies step up their efforts in the content intelligence space.

Three key areas where AI can be leveraged to improve digital content efforts are in -

  1. Competitive analysis
  2. Content strategy
  3. Content creation

Competitive analysis

Smart tools can perform content and keyword analysis at scale, and generate a picture of content performance within your industry or media landscape. This includes analysis of historical content (yours and your competitors) that achieved desirable results and looks at gaps in existing brand-owned content.

Content strategy

All comms professionals know that it’s critical to understand your target audience in order to create content that they will engage with. Knowing what content your target audience positively reacts to helps you plan content for the future in a way that yields better results. AI can help to provide data-driven insights to form a cohesive content strategy by analysing your content performance data at scale, comparing that data with other similar websites, and offering suggestions about what topics and keywords perform best and what to write about.

Content creation

One of the best ways to improve your digital content efforts is to build the largest and most authoritative set of relevant content in your industry. To speed up your content creation efforts, new natural language generation (NLG) services such as OpenAI’s GPT-3 can be utilised to help comms and PR practitioners generate new content. Similar to Github Copilot - an AI pair programmer that utilises technology from OpenAI - 2022 could see the development of a “Comms/PR Copilot”, to help produce human-like content at scale. It’s worth noting however, that while GPT-3 or similar technology could be used to ease the content writing process, it won’t necessarily take the writer’s place, since writing often requires a human touch to tell attractive stories that appeal to your target audience.

If the idea of AI powered content creation sounds too good to be true, then it’s definitely worth trying yourself via the OpenAI Playground.

As with all predictions, there may be some new emerging technologies that rapidly arise in innovation and adoption, but one thing is certain for 2022, technological advancements will enable comms practitioners to make better informed decisions.

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