Getting Ahead with GenAI: Advice for Communications Professionals

If you work in communications, you’ve likely been inundated with news and information about Generative AI (GenAI) tools. Open AI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing, and Google’s Bard have taken the business world by storm, promising a panacea for all mundane computer and content-related tasks.

So, when these tools became available to us late last year, I—immediately excited—became an early adopter, a first mover, because—like all the technologies that came before (hello fax, meet email)—I knew this would change the way we communications professionals work forever. If you’ve toyed with any of these tools even a bit, you may have come to the same contradictory conclusions as me:

  • It’s early days. ⚠️ GenAI is not magic. Sometimes it produces rubbish.
  • GenAI is amazing! 💪 Even with limitations (more on those later) it’s easy to see how these tools will transform how we work.

I recently participated in an O’Dwyer’s PR News Webinar alongside Robert McGrath, global marketing leader at CalypsoAI, and Tony Cheevers, customer success officer at Researchscape International, where we discussed how, when, and why you should use AI in your communications job in a way that is both safe and effective. Read on for my top 9 takeaways.


Just get started. If you haven’t engaged with a GenAI tool yet, it can feel like the twilight zone. It can be daunting to get started. But just do it—it’s not as complicated as it seems.

GenAI is already staring you in the face. GenAI is becoming so democratized, you are probably already using it without realizing it. Everyday platforms that we as marketers and communications professionals use daily—Grammarly, MuckRack, LinkedIn, you name it—have AI built in. Simply knowing that makes it less intimidating to dive in.

Get comfortable with various open platforms. Try the big three at minimum—ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing—to understand the value you can extract from each. And don’t forget to experiment with one of the image creators, like Midjourney and DALL-E. The more you try using each platform, the more you understand its boundaries and capabilities.

Experiment to become proficient in prompt engineering. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different prompts, styles, and techniques of asking the tools for help. Discover what works best for your specific needs and refine your approach accordingly. In doing so, you’ll become more proficient in eliciting responses you want back. For content creation, I like to think of myself as giving guidance to a junior copywriter; what does he/she need as a brief to be successful?

Start using GenAI for low-risk activity. GenAI technology is rapidly evolving, and while it can be a powerful asset, it’s not without limitations. Start with low-risk tasks to get comfortable with the technology. Don’t rely on it to generate 100% accurate or final content, and beware of AI hallucinations. And with open GenAI, understand that the information you put into your prompts becomes part of the system, training the Large Language Model (LLM). Don’t expose private or sensitive information.

Use it as a brainstorm partner or research assistant. GenAI is a powerful tool in helping you research and brainstorm campaign ideas – from byline titles to pithy email pitches. Though, again, proceed with caution—it’s your assistant, not your expert, content creator.

Define your tone and style. If you’re using GenAI to help create content, remember that your brand’s identity is unique. Communicate the tone and style you want in your content in your prompt. GenAI tools can adapt to various writing styles, but they need your guidance to do so accurately.

Review its output carefully. While GenAI can save you time and effort, it’s essential to remember that it’s not infallible. Always review the content generated to ensure accuracy and relevance. Use it but don’t trust it 100%.

Continue to embrace integration. We’ll continue seeing GenAI capabilities integrated into purpose-built tools that we already use. For marketers and communications professionals, this means adapting to the evolving landscape and finding new ways to leverage these technologies.


We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in GenAI’s capabilities. As GenAI tools continue to evolve, now is the time to get comfortable with the tools that will fast become part of our professional lives. We need to embrace it or risk being left behind.



September 18, 2023


By Melissa Mahoney


Media Relations, Professional Development