“Content is king, but marketing is queen and runs the household” -Gary Vaynerchuk
‘Content marketing’ is one of the most frequently used terms in digital parlance today, and for good reasons. Any content, regardless of how well written it is, doesn’t make the cut anymore if it is not interspersed with the intent of targeted marketing. The subtlety of content marketing in piquing the interest levels of potential consumers is a no-brainer and when done right, the union of content and marketing can do wonders for any brand.
In a nutshell, content marketing is a well-calibrated technique leveraged to distribute insightful, actionable content in order to garner the attention of your target group in way that makes them do something about it (like signing up for a newsletter, filling up a form, or buying a product/service). An interesting dimension to content marketing has been the introduction of AI (Artificial Intelligence), which is being increasingly explored as the next big phenomenon.
The concept of machines making our lives simpler is not something that’s new. There is considerable evidence that suggests the idea of making intelligent artificial entities date back to the early 14th century. From calculators to computers, everything has essentially been designed to amplify our comfort.
However, are we also ready to let AI do the ‘thinking’ and ‘creating’ for us? Will it be able to churn out actionable content with the right doses of creativity?
Whether AI is a slow-growing bed of roses or a fungus for content marketers remains to be seen. What we do know that it is already impacting the realm of content marketing in more ways than one. Let’s explore examine what AI can and can’t do for brands.
Big Fat Positive #1: Auto-generated Content
According to Gartner, nearly 20% of all business-oriented content will be generated by machines by 2018. An increasing number of industries are already leveraging AI to constantly churn out optimised content since it saves them time and money. When you consider the sheer speed of churning content and ad optimisation that is accomplished by AI, there is no reason to not to be flabbergasted by its potential.
Big Fat Positive #2: The Social Media Game
AI is creating quite a buzz in the social media industry already. Facebook and Instagram are betting big on it. They are known to change algorithms regularly to get all the relevant information right on top of our timelines and feed.
With additional features of sentiment analysis and voice/image recognition, AI wins hands down at improving user experience exponentially. Your content can easily benefit by reaching its target audience, drilling down to specific individuals. This potentially means higher leads, conversions and more sales.
Big Fat Positive #3: An Advertising Campaign That Never Misses the Bull’s Eye
Marketers are euphoric about the potential of AI because they now have the ability to track consumer behaviour and change their campaigns in real-time in case something isn’t working out. AI leverages algorithms and massive chunks of data to develop targeted ads based on demography, thereby boosting CTRs. Critical details like user preferences and behavioural patterns are at their disposal and this information helps them craft their next marketing move with ease and efficiency.
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, almost until you consider these shortcomings.
The Impending Doom #1: Creatively Challenged
One thing you cannot and should not expect from AI is creativity. AI, after all, is ‘artificial’ intelligence. The creator’s creation can never mimic him/her to perfection and the same holds true for AI as well. While a robot can indeed up with optimised curated content and distribute it at the speed of thought, does it really understand the difference between ‘trashy’ and ‘classy’? Is it sagacious enough to sort out ‘good’ and ‘bad’ content? The answer is, not yet.
The Impending Doom #2: Perspective Paralysis
This adds another crutch to AI. While AI can work on data and information with unmatched accuracy, you cannot expect it to add the element of emotional depth in your content marketing campaigns. The only thing AI can do for you is process information and help you work around it without offering any perspective.
The Impending Doom #3: Authenticity Dilemma
While AI does help with fulfilling a brand’s need for engaging in an immediate conversation with their clients, it is worth noting that ‘human’ interaction is far more genuine and can never be replaced by a robot. One of the reasons why so many chatbots have failed to create a lasting impression on our mind is because of their inability to encapsulate and accommodate the emotional unpredictability of the people they talk to.
So, what does AI mean in the context of content marketing? Will AI take over the reins of content marketing from human content marketers and editors? The way things are going, the answer is a blend of yes and no. While AI has the capability to generate automated content and curate it, it lacks the emotional and creative depth required in almost all content marketing campaigns.
Bringing It Together
The ‘human’ workforce behind content marketing can breathe a sigh of relief that the burden of automating tasks will finally be taken off from their creative shoulders. At best, the efficiency, intelligence and speed of AI could supplement the creative, intuitive inputs of human strategists to produce automated, optimised content while minimising human intervention at the nascent stages.
That said, AI cannot be the heart and soul of content marketing and is unlikely to replace humans, at least in the foreseeable future. It is probable that humans will be steering the ship of content marketing while getting AI on board from time to time to pivot when required. To know what will happen a few years from now, we can only wait and watch!