AI in content marketing is fast changing the playbook for B2B organizations.
How? It's able to solve, at scale, some of the top challenges B2B content marketers face.
According to Content Marketing Institute, 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing. But just 17% say they’re extremely or very successful in their efforts.
What's more, top obstacles to content marketing success come from some oh-so-familiar sources:
A full 60% of B2B marketers polled say lack of an effective content strategy is holding them back. More than 50% say not devoting enough time to content marketing is part of the problem. And 45% cite content creation challenges.
In other words:
B2B content marketers really struggle to build effective content strategies, then executing them.
These two areas, content strategy and content development, are also where AI is changing the game.
Artificial Intelligence for Content Strategy
We like the definition of AI given by Paul Roetzer, founder of the Marketing AI Institute:
"Ask 10 different experts to define AI, and you’ll likely get 10 different definitions. My favorite, in part because of its simplicity, is from Demis Hassibis, Co-Founder and CEO of Google DeepMind. Hassibis defines AI as, 'the science of making machines smart.' These machines, in turn, enhance human knowledge and capabilities."
AI uses machine intelligence to sift through vast amounts of data. It can do this much faster and better than humans. And, as a result, it surfaces insights humans don't see.
For content strategy, AI can use performance data to identify ways to improve content. It can also use this data to help identify what content works best.
AI-powered tools exist that use sophisticated machine-assisted capabilities to “score” your content. Then, they offer recommendations on how to improve your content score. The result? You make strategic decisions based on real data, not gut instinct.
This is largely because of two types of AI technologies:
Natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation (NLG). You don’t need to deeply understand the tech to understand that NLP “reads” content and NLG “writes” content. It’s the AI tech used on your Gmail app to “read” an email, then suggest (“write”) a response.
The technology can’t write an entire blog post for you from scratch. But, in the right system, it can be powerful enough to analyze your content marketing efforts, then provide you with recommendations on how to improve them. This is all based on large amounts of historical data, which AI ingests and uses to surface insights.
When AI gets it right, you have unique insights that are only possible with this technology. Humans can’t duplicate the power of AI because they don’t have the time and resources to assess all this data at scale. Even if they did, they wouldn’t always find the right insights from all this information or offer recommendations consistently.
This is one big reason AI is poised to transform B2B content strategy:
It finally offers the promise of being able to determine what content works and what will work in the future—at scale. Compare this to the old “humans-only” approach.
Changes to strategy are often based on hunches or assumptions of what works and what doesn't. In some cases, strategy is based on an individual's past experience. In others, it’s based on looking at performance data.
These approaches can produce good results. But they're hard to replicate and scale. They’re only as good as the person performing the strategic analysis. The more people you add to the strategy process, the more you muddy the waters. The more you raise the chance someone will make a mistake or color the discussion with inexact reasoning or analysis.
On the other hand, AI can offer standardized strategic insights across your organization. It can give you a common interpretation of a dataset that inventive, creative humans can then use to generate new ideas.
It’s human and machine working together, each doing what they’re best at: humans, the creative; machines, the analytical.
Artificial Intelligence for Content Development
Artificial intelligence isn’t just changing how content strategy is formulated. It’s also enhancing how humans create blog content and write other types of content.
B2B marketers really struggle in this area. It’s one of the top questions we get all the time:
How do you create enough high-quality content at scale to drive success?
Well, artificial intelligence can’t sit down and write a blog post for you. The technology is just not there yet.
But AI can dramatically enhance your content quality at scale, which frees your team up to create more content.
Think about it:
If you spend a ton of time getting content up to quality, you're neglecting content frequency.
If you spend a lot of time publishing tons of content, you're probably neglecting quality.
The end result is the same:
You don't get the traffic and leads you want because you don't publish high-quality content often enough.
Yet AI platforms like Acrolinx exist that help human writers edit, correct, and improve content quality across an organization. These platforms plug into your favorite word processing tool, then “read” your content using the NLP mentioned above. As you write, the AI will make suggestions on how to improve your work. These improvement suggestions come from your organization: you teach the system your preferred words, tone, phrases, and style. Once the machine has learned, it then uses this information to instruct writers.
The result? All content produced is uniformly high-quality and on-brand, no matter how big the company. This holds true for blogging and other content, like ebooks, whitepapers or reports. When you use AI for quality control, you free up resources. These resources can then be used to scale content production and promotion.
Both are critical to ensure your high-quality content generates enough traffic and leads.
This is the second big way in which AI is transforming B2B content marketing. It’s powering the ability to increase content quality at scale, which in turn frees up writers to write more.
In other words:
Human plus AI equals a win-win.
Learn How Top Businesses Do Content Development
Acrolinx just conducted a survey of 250+ content professionals from around the world to better understand their content creation practices, goals, and challenges. Download the report below to get recommendations for what every content professional should be doing in their content operations.
Cynthia Spiers is Head of Global Content and Digital Marketing at Acrolinx, the AI platform for enterprise content creation.