Will AI Change the Face of Content Marketing?

Kyle Austin is the Founder & Managing Partner at BMV.

For many, artificial intelligence (AI) may elicit a slightly creepy connotation, especially with some recent developments. Fear of computers taking over swept the internet the last few weeks after one of Facebook’s AI engines created its own language that humans can’t understand. This unnerving discovery has begged one question: Will artificial intelligence technology replace the need for human brain power?

The question is being asked within marketing departments as well. In July, our neighborhood content marketing giant HubSpot added fuel to the debate when it acquired Kemvi, a startup that is using AI to help sales and marketing teams. Its technology and algorithms sort through content in real time to understand what pieces of content should be placed in front of the right leads.

Is this acquisition emblematic of what’s in store for content marketing’s future in the age of AI? Let’s take a look at some ways that content marketing could change by using computers to perceive real-time marketing environments — and take actions on their own:

Algorithms Automating Bottom of the Funnel Content

From Apple’s Siri to Amazon’s Alexa, one major breakthrough in AI has been its ability to understand speech and execute commands accordingly. This ability of machines to take over once manual processes is a true AI innovation.

The most manual aspect of content marketing today is content generation, and robots may be close to holding their own bylines. According to Gartner, 20% of business content will be generated by machines by next year. Content such as press releases, legal documents and white papers are examples of automated content contenders. However, it doesn’t end there: AI is now writing breaking news summaries on the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post’s website, along with award-worthy Japanese novels.

However, as Slate notes on the latter “accomplishment,” this is more of an illustration of the limitations of robot writing. Computers are much better than humans at organizing things in successful ways: They can analyze and organize copy they are fed and then compare with previous great works to create a finished story that is well-received.

When it comes to actually brainstorming and seeding the initial creative ideas, however, they’re not as great. What does this mean for marketers when it comes to content production? AI technology should be a huge asset in the future when it comes to leveraging and reusing existing content (in slightly new ways) to ensure it drives more leads.

As this type of middle and bottom of the funnel content is automated, marketers should be freed up to develop the next truly great piece of creative content for their brands.

Real-Time Robot Conversations

The Washington Post’s use of AI for editorial is a great illustration of AI’s potential for creating dynamic, branded content that can change in real time to hit the right folks with the right message at the right time.

The evolution of content’s use — from funneling leads to deeper level content to producing real-time, top-level content is nicely illustrated locally by Drift. The company, which was founded by former HubSpot executive David Cancel, connects your business with the best inbound leads in real time — almost like a virtual AI content assistant for your website.

If HubSpot was content marketing 1.0, Drift may be an example of content marketing 2.0 when it comes to converting inbound marketing leads to sales. As marketing continues the decade-long transition from business-pushed, one-way messaging to open dialogue between the seller and the buyer, AI technology will take us to the next level.

Real-time conversation will be supported on both ends of the sale, and content marketing will slowly morph into a blend of customer service that is able to pull information from instant customer feedback or questions to deliver real-time responses and results.

Bots Know Benchmarks

Another problem with content marketing today is the gray area: We struggle to understand how many leads content is driving, its direct impact on SEO, and how to measure the impact of increased brand awareness at the top of the funnel. AI could be a boost in this department.

Some of the human struggles with content marketing measurement stem from not having access to the right data. However, there is also the problem of having too much data (clicks, shares, average time spent on content) and not being able to glean what it all means. Unlike humans who often get overwhelmed with too much data, AI algorithms get smarter with more data.

As data is fed into AI algorithms, future content marketing stacks will be able to alert marketers of meaningful actions that may have been glossed over in the past. As robots spot these outlying content engagements or actions, marketers will be able to adjust their strategy as well as their expectations. Furthermore, content marketing campaigns will be able to be structured in a way to meet overarching businesses’ KPIs and personalized sales structures.

Therefore, while it’s still unlikely that AI will result in robots taking over the world anytime soon — despite the recent headlines — the latest technology craze should benefit content marketers and overall sales efficiency in the long term.  

Thumbnail image courtesy of Unsplash.