Wondering where to start with AI at your media company? Here are 4 key steps to take.

By: David Arkin
September 13, 2023
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If you asked me to rank the biggest media trends of the year so far, my list would look something like this:

1. AI
2. AI
3. AI

Each week, more AI tools seem to pop up in the market and the questions on what to use, how to use them and when you should start, are weighing heavily on many.

You likely have been using forms of AI for years but the opportunities — and the speed at which the solutions are flying at media companies — is what’s creating so much conversation. Of course, we have seen unfortunate uses of AI where checks and balances were not in place and the end results were bad. But this is a unique opportunity that with the right standards and processes in place, can mean very positive things for your media company.

But like many, you may be wondering where do I start and should I focus on this right now?

Yes, you should, but with clear processes, guidelines and some caution. I’m seeing a lot of individuals at media companies experimenting with AI right now, which is great, but it’s time to start deciding as an organization what portions of AI will be part of your standard operating procedures and workflows. Learn from those who have interest with AI — in and outside of your newsroom — and use experimentation to see what makes most sense for you.

Here are four ways to start:

1. Play around: Discovering what AI can do is a good place to start. That discovery often opens up all sorts of ideas of what you potentially can do with the tools. This is particularly useful for staff who are either uneasy with AI or don’t understand how the tools work. Doing this in a group setting can be very powerful.

2. Create standards: Having bullet points around what you will do, what you won’t do, or what you may want to test out before you decide you will or won’t, is a solid idea. Basically, a guiding principles document that lays out ethical, copyright and newsroom standards. This guide we created could help you get started.

3. The low-hanging fruit: Not everything with AI has to involve a vendor or involve the entire newsroom. We’re working with clients who are eying specific AI uses for different products. For example, one client has decided they will utilize AI to help with all of their lifestyle and things to do-oriented social media posts and web headlines in September and if that works well, they’ll expand the use. Another client is using an AI tool to take notes during planning meetings and create meeting agendas. Another is going through all of their static pages (about us, advertise with us) and using AI to update those pages. And another is looking into how AI can help update their evergreen content.

4. Make a list and go: One client has organized all of the things they think AI can do for them (from content to branded content to sales) and over several weeks is asking leaders in each area to experiment with specific AI tasks. The goal is for everyone to come back with what they’ve learned so the organization can ensure there is consistency with AI in certain areas.

AI can be confusing and complicated. We’d love to help your media company navigate it all with experimentation and plans that ensure you’re at the forefront of this change. Get in touch with me.

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