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As technology continues to advance, there's no denying that artificial intelligence (AI) is going to — and has already started to — change content marketing. But can computers really replace writers?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way since Alan Turing first posed the question “Can machines think?” in 1950.
Hitting closer to home, machine learning algorithms can allow businesses to make sense of overwhelming amounts of data and deliver content marketing at scale. But is it any good?
Let's take a look and see if AI is ready to give content creators a run for their money.
What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
First, let's explore what AI is.
You most likely have your own idea of what AI is. To many, AI is code that can think for itself. It's a program that you can hold a conversation with, that can have its own ideas, and can otherwise mimic our intelligence, if not surpass it. Sounds about right?
Almost, but not entirely. AI just isn’t that smart. That level of AI is known as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and it's debatable if it will ever exist, let alone when.
Instead, modern AI is more akin to a program that can make decisions and spot patterns. And in some cases — like with AI blog content — it can even create new designs based on patterns that it's learned. The only problem is that those patterns often lack the human touch.
One popular adage about AI is “everything easy is hard, and everything hard is easy.” Completing complex equations in the blink of an eye? Easy. Looking at a picture and telling you if it’s a mouse or a dog? Hard (until very recently). A lot of the things that humans do are still outside of AI’s grasp.
So, where does that leave AI in the content marketing landscape?
The present: AI in content marketing today
It may come as a surprise, but AI is currently playing a fairly substantial role in content marketing and is poised to play an even bigger part as the years go on.
Here's a quick look at the impact AI is currently having on blog content.
One of the most interesting use cases for AI is in content creation. As mentioned, AI isn't only good at identifying patterns, but once it's had enough exposure to a subset of patterns, it can start to create its own.
This is how AI content creation works. Over the years, researchers and developers have been feeding AI systems hundreds upon thousands of articles, blogs, books, and more. And every year, the AI gets a little bit better at recreating this content.
Unfortunately (but expectedly), AI blog content isn't quite up to scratch. Despite years of learning, it can still be said that AI offers more 'filler' than 'killer'. It can give you 500 words on a topic, but you shouldn't expect a thoughtful, opinionated piece. It is content, but it's not much more than that.
Here's a popular example of text generated by GPT-3 — the most advanced AI blog creator to date:
It is a curious fact that the last remaining form of social life in which the people of London are still interested is Twitter. I was struck with this curious fact when I went on one of my periodical holidays to the sea-side, and found the whole place twittering like a starling-cage. I called it an anomaly, and it is.
It's impressively legible. But getting the AI's copy to make sense and reach a cogent point would likely take as much work as it would write the paragraph from scratch. For that, you’ll need an insightful creative mind.
Instead, AI is best left to simpler tasks that can assist the process. Think content ideation, keyword research, or improving the tone of voice and readability as you write. We only have to look as far as tools such as Grammarly to see how AI can be easily weaved into content marketing (without losing out on quality).
Another powerful application of AI in blog content is personalisation. Because AI is so good at interpreting vast quantities of data, it can learn about your users/readers and tailor small aspects of a piece of content to "match" them.
For instance, imagine if your website's homepage was able to display only the content that speaks most to a customer's needs. Or an email newsletter that serves up personalised content to each user based on their consumption habits from previous sends.
AI isn't creating any content, but it's targeting it more strategically; personalised content that serves the user with the right content, at the right time.
It's not uncommon to find a business, in any sector, that has more data than it knows what to do with. And while this might sound like a good thing, it can often equate to lost potential revenue and extra overheads tied to storing this data.
With AI, marketers can better organise and utilise this data, activating it and putting it to good use. For example, AI-enhanced audience research was used to find and better understand 850,000 individuals with the aim of developing a new television show — the insights were then used to guide character development at the writing stage. Without AI, a mammoth task. With AI, less so.
What will AI be able to do in the future?
Now that we've covered how AI is being used today, let's take a look at how it might be used in the future. Here are our top predictions for AI blog content.
1. Identify content opportunities
First, it's anticipated that AI will be very useful in identifying content opportunities. AI is doing this already, and doing it well — but by looking retrospectively. In the future, by aggregating large amounts of data, AI will be able to identify trends as they're happening, not after.
This will give marketers and businesses the jump, allowing them to create products and content that immediately match their customers' expectations. It will still take creatives to fulfil these opportunities, but the research required in spotting them will be handed off to AI.
2. Automate content updates
Another important feature that AI blog content can provide is the ability to automate content updates. Blog content is an excellent investment largely because it becomes more valuable over time.
However, it also becomes less accurate. Stats go out of date, cultural references stop making sense, and certain points are no longer relevant to the reader. Going back and updating this is currently done manually by writers and editors. But with AI, this could be done automatically all of the time, keeping pieces relevant for longer.
3. Write compelling blog content that can resonate with a target audience...
...just kidding! This won't happen. Or at least, it won't happen until AGI (not AI) is achieved.
That's because AI in its current form can only take things it's read and rearrange them in a new order. It can't create something new, form its own opinion, or connect empathetically with a target audience. Unless you're looking for blog fodder, it's best to avoid handing over the reins to AI when it comes to writing. Instead, AI can be used to help create content outlines, pull together keywords, and so on.
It'll be a great time-saving tool for writers and editors to use, and will also allow writers to create even better content (which we're here for!)
Get in touch with expert writers, editors, and marketers today
AI blog content might not be ready for the big leagues just yet, but Scribly has the expertise (and human touch) you bring your next content marketing campaign to life.
There are times when fully outsourcing your content creation to an expert just makes sense from an ROI standpoint, and if you’re there, we’d be happy to help.
Reach out to our team today and see how we can give your content the boost it needs.