Content marketing and AI: The future is now

by | Jun 27, 2017 | Analysis, Public Relations

When you think of artificial intelligence (AI), you may picture a scene out of Blade Runner: a robot doing your chores and self-driving cars zipping around. But artificial intelligence is a much broader concept than what’s depicted in pop culture. The technology can include any form of machine learning from basic task completion to complex mathematical algorithms. While it may seem like these advances are far off in a Jetsons’ world, in reality, many industries have already adopted AI as a way to get work done more efficiently and effectively.

Content marketing has yet to fully embrace AI’s potential, but we’re poised to see a major shift sooner than you may think. In fact, Gartner predicts, “by 2018, 20% of all business content will be authored by machines.” AI is set to completely transform the content generation process by assisting publishers in developing quality articles at scale. If marketers can learn to adapt to its nuances, AI can create content that stands out from the clutter without disrupting the user experience.

Why marketers have been resistant

Content creation is generally understood to have a backbone in journalism with storytelling at its core. The idea of replacing anecdotes and emotion from a real live person with a robot might not sit well with some, but it may be as simple as adjusting your mindset. If you think about content as a marketing tactic, it’s easier to separate out the human component. Each article should have a specific end goal that drives action and achieves a desired ROI instead of being created simply to amuse and entertain.

Computers are still far from producing riveting Op/Ed pieces, but shift the paradigm and you’ll quickly begin to see how AI can assist you as a creator. There are articles created specifically for SEO to drive traffic, and user generated content pieces that scrape information into useful roundups. Keep the creative writing parts of the equation with the humans on your team, and let AI produce content that communicates effectively and at scale.

Natural language generation

Natural language generation (NLG) is the name given to artificial intelligence capable of producing coherent text. It isn’t the most elegant or poetic prose you’ve ever read, but it will flow logically and present a compelling argument to the reader. A human sets the parameters, but once a template and some general rules are established, programs like Wordsmith can spit out any number of bilingual pieces following an outline. The technology is already being used by news organizations for sports updates and stock reports. In fact, Curata claims you’ve probably read a piece authored by a computer without even knowing it.

How to take advantage

We’re in the age of information overload, and it’s estimated that 90% of content today is ineffective. “Content intelligence” uses big data to  make sure the chances of converting on everything we produce are much greater. We rely on computers in most of our daily work routines, so rather than resisting this next phase of computer assistance, think of all the ways it can support you with menial tasks for analytics and research. Focus on your core competencies like storytelling, and let the bots and programs fill in the holes.

Beyond article production, intelligent content is also being used in customer service chat widgets and to display relevant articles and posts using predictive behavior on websites and social media. It’s what’s at the heart of the Facebook and Instagram algorithm. You can use this same type of predictive intelligence to design smart landing pages that show the right customers the information they want based on past browsing history. When used effectively, AI unlocks the ability to create targeted, personalized promotions and offers.

To take it a step further, supporting technologies like affiliate marketing and content delivery platforms can optimize this “intelligent content” and ensure the right products and brands get to the right audience in a timely, unobtrusive manner. You’ll have peace of mind knowing the content is tailored to your reader’s preferences and interests. It’s the solution to the age-old question of what should we share and when, making it a win-win for both companies and consumers.

Hanna Fritzinger
Hanna Fritzinger is Head of Marketing at VigLink..


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