Artificial Intelligence provides many opportunities for content marketing and digital marketing in general, as well as some risks. There’s no doubt that AI has changed a variety of industries already, and it’s still evolving. Let’s take a look at AI tools for marketing, opportunities they present, and what AI means for content marketing overall.
What Does AI Mean for Content Marketing
Already dozens, even hundreds, of AI tools exist to simplify, streamline, and optimize almost every activity in the content marketing process. But what does this mean for content marketers and businesses that rely on it? First, let’s define what we mean by content marketing and AI.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating helpful, targeted content that interests and engages users, and moves them down the buyer’s journey towards a purchase. Content marketing differs significantly from traditional marketing. While traditional marketing puts promotional messages in front of consumers, hoping they’ll be intrigued, content marketing puts informative, helpful content in front of consumers at key points in the buyer’s journey; usually, at the information-gathering and decision-making stages. Since content marketing focuses on a potential customer’s existing interests, it generally produces higher conversion rates and fewer costs.
What are AI Programs?
By now, most of us have probably heard about AI programs like Chat GPT or DALL-E for images. But what actually is an AI program? And how does it work?
As you might expect, the way ChatGPT and other AI programs work is pretty complex. In simple terms, AI programs were trained on enormous amounts of content across the internet to “learn” how words, concepts, shapes, colors and more relate to each other and go together. For text-based information, the AI program analyzes which words are likely to follow which, how these words change with the context, where anomalies exist, and what these mean. With this information, the program can then produce relevant information when given a prompt.
How AI is Changing Content Marketing
AI presents numerous opportunities to save time, improve productivity, and improve business’s overall digital marketing strategy. Though the potential of AI tools is vast, so far we’ve seen AI marketing tools that mainly fall into the following categories:
From blog posts to landing pages, emails, social media posts, images, videos and more, numerous AI tools exist to produce and optimize content and copy. Some of these are designed specifically for the purpose of producing or proofing content, while others are generalist tools that can easily fulfill this purpose, such as the well-known Chat GPT.
Chatbots powered by AI can answer customers’ questions and concerns better than ever before. This has the power to free many businesses and workers from tedious questions, and give them more time and energy to assist customers with more complex issues.
AI tools that monitor user behavior can determine which content customers enjoy and respond to, when to send emails and what the subject lines should be, which social media posts perform best and when to post them, and much more. This helps marketers create better content, and can also improve the customer experience overall.
AI programs working with web crawlers make it possible to know more about your competitors’ marketing efforts and strategies, faster and more efficiently. These “competitive intelligence” programs can help fine-tune your strategy, capitalize on competitors’ weaknesses, and identify trends and opportunities.
These are fairly broad categories, and many tools exist with a wide array of capabilities. Though it’s tempting to hand over numerous content marketing tasks to an AI assistant, it’s important to be aware of AI’s weaknesses.
What Problems Can AI Bring to Content Marketing?
AI programs currently have a few significant weaknesses. Content marketers must be aware of these weaknesses before using AI in their strategies.
Predictable, Not Original
AI develops text and images by recognizing patterns in existing text and images. This means AI programs excel in creating content that is generally easy to understand and read, but struggle to create content that sounds original. Though AI programs are evolving to create more sophisticated and complex content, the predictability of the content is one way that AI-checker tools are able to detect whether or not a text is AI-generated.
AI programs have a strange habit of simply creating facts and falsehoods, and using them with authority. This raises questions about accuracy and reliability, which are important for creating quality content and also for SEO. Though these problems have improved, when using AI to generate content, it’s important to review and double-check the information provided, and make sure it’s accurate. Releasing AI-generated content without review may worsen existing problems with the spreading of false information.
No New Information
AI programs can synthesize and restructure information, but they can’t produce new ideas or information they haven’t already analyzed. This means, any information produced by AI has already been produced somewhere else. Relying completely on AI for content creation is likely to weaken your overall content marketing strategy, since it won’t provide anything novel. This is especially true for content marketing opportunities, where the existing information available is weak and cursory, and more detailed content informed by an expert could win top spots in search results.
The use and evolution of AI has already raised questions about plagiarism. The content these programs analyzed was created by individuals—AI learned from the hundreds of petabytes of data containing blog posts, pictures, videos, forums, magazines, and much, much more, all created by millions of humans. The millions of individuals who, collectively, create content for the internet could not consent to having their contributions used this way. The websites that host this information didn’t consent, either. Some have asked whether the use of this content in the development of AI was legal or ethical, and whether its continued use should be allowed. This conversation is ongoing, and it’s important for businesses using AI programs to stay up-to-date.
What Are The Best Ways to Use AI in Content Marketing?
Though AI programs clearly have some caveats, they also have many strengths. AI programs are able to generate information, analyze data, and produce basic content at incredible speed. This means there are a few tasks, in particular, that AI excels at, and that content marketers can benefit from.
Already, many marketers are using AI simply for brainstorming. A survey by Hubspot found that 33% of marketers were using AI tools to generate ideas. This might seem strange considering the previous point that AI can’t actually generate new ideas. However, it can make connections and generate information without mental blocks, which can be extremely helpful for marketers who are out of ideas.
Finding the right keywords, figuring out the best time to send an email, A/B testing landing pages, or analyzing a competitor’s strategy takes hours of time. This type of analysis can be ideal for AI programs. These programs can capture huge amounts of information in short amounts of time, and distill the information into the insights that you need.
Though entrusting an entire piece of content to an AI program might not be ideal, AI can provide a great starting point. You might ask for an blog post outline to show how your content might be organized, or use AI to mock up or get started on a promotional video.
AI programs can be great for generating content that is short and snappy, like social media posts, email introductions, blog post titles, or page headings. Many programs will provide a list of any of these things, and you can choose the best among them.
Though AI might not be ideal for answering every customer query, it can certainly field basic questions and direct customers to the right place. Some programs can even take this basic Q&A a step further, and direct leads to the content that is most likely to generate a conversion.
The Future of AI and Content Marketing
Many people have understandable concerns about AI in general, and many businesses and marketers have concerns about AI in content marketing. Some worry that the remarkable speed with which AI can produce content will create a deluge of poorly-written, poorly-researched content. Others worry that automating and optimizing content with AI will exploit users, or make things like social media even more addictive than they already are. Concerns also exist about the spread of false information, and AI’s ability to spread misinformation faster than any person or group could. All of these are legitimate concerns which are contingent on the responsible use and regulation of AI.
However, AI also provides many opportunities to improve content marketing. Used responsibility, AI can make it easier to produce high-quality content by providing outlines and basic writing assistance. Optimization can also help users find what they’re looking for, and view content that is interesting and helpful for them. AI has the potential to eliminate many tedious tasks and allow humans to spend more time on complex tasks, or even just enjoy more free time. Though the future of AI is still uncertain, there are many positive routes ahead that can benefit marketers, workers, and consumers in general.