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Why Content Marketers Should Embrace Artificial Intelligence

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When the Associated Press uses artificial intelligence to automatically write thousands of earnings reports per month, content marketers start to pay attention.  

Paul Roetzer (@PaulRoetzer), founder of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, was no different. After hearing the story of the AP’s AI experiments, Roetzer started to assess how artificial intelligence could be used in operations at PR 20/20, his inbound marketing agency. In an article published by Chief Content Officer magazine, Roetzer explains:

“In spring 2015 I launched an internal initiative named Project Copyscale to determine whether it was possible to automate content creation with artificial intelligence. Specifically, I wanted to figure out, could we use machines to write blog posts at scale?”

The AP used a tool called Wordsmith by Automated Insights to automatically turn company earnings data into 100% machine-written narratives. Automated Insights uses an artificial intelligence technology, natural language generation (NLG), to create these narratives at scale. The AP went from writing 300 earnings reports per quarter to generating 3,000 using the power of AI.

Roetzer explains:

“At its core, AI is powered by data and algorithms that enable machines to learn and evolve on their own. In traditional software, humans write algorithms or sets of instructions that tell a machine what to do. For example, in marketing automation software, a marketer may instruct the machine to send a three-part email campaign once someone downloads an e-book. In isolation, this is a relatively simple task for a human to plan and perform.”

Using AI in content marketing, it turns out that data-driven content can be created at scale, a development which has immense implications for content marketers.

Why Content Marketers Need to Understand Artificial Intelligence

The first reaction many content marketers have about AI is:

It won’t replace human writers or the work that they do.

That is quite true. There will always be demand for rich, relevant and creative content, much of it produced by humans. But when it comes to data-driven content, machines (powered by systems like Automated Insights) output the same result at scale and in less time.

This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it frees up marketers to do even more high-value content creation, promotion and enhancement tasks that machines can’t do.

As Roetzer points out in the article:

“Consider how much time your team spends discovering keywords; planning blog post topics; writing, optimizing, personalizing, and automating content; testing landing pages; scheduling social shares; reviewing analytics; and defining content strategies.

Now imagine if a machine performed the majority of those activities and a marketer’s primary role was to enhance rather than create. Machines are not going to replace content marketers in the near term, but artificial intelligence is accelerating us toward a more intelligently automated future.” 

Roetzer provides a concrete example of how AI has enabled his agency to do more at scale:

“My agency, PR 20/20, has implemented NLG to produce Google Analytics reports (reducing analysis and production time by more than 80%), and has begun building pilot programs to automate data-driven premium content.”

Far from replacing content creators, artificial intelligence augments their activities. It also performs certain tasks very well that humans weren’t really that great at in the first place. Consider, says Roetzer: 

“What if there are 10,000 e-book downloads, across five personas, originating from multiple channels (social, paid, organic, direct) that require personalized emails and website experiences based on user history? No human brain is wired to solve that challenge and no existing software is optimized to visualize all the possibilities. This is where AI excels. It takes specific and complex data-driven problems, then devises and executes solutions." 

In Roetzer’s analysis, content marketers should embrace AI, not dismiss its potential. AI technologies aren’t coming for their jobs. They’re making the role of content marketing more powerful, delivering unprecedented opportunities to drive results by telling stories better and at scale: 

“Think about all the data flooding in from social media, CRM, sales, advertising, remarketing, e-commerce, and mobile. Every source offers valuable information, but humans have a finite ability to process that data, build intelligent strategies, create content at scale, and achieve performance potential. Artificial intelligence, in contrast, has an infinite ability to discover insights, deliver predictions, make strategic recommendations, and create content better, faster, and cheaper.” 

Read Roetzer’s full article to learn what steps content marketers can take to start using AI and solutions to consider. 

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