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Ganesh Kumar T K
Ganesh Kumar T K

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AI in Content Marketing ?!

We're in a situation where the role of artificial intelligence in content marketing has reached a tipping point. It's more pervasive than most marketers realize. Many tools currently being used employ some aspect of AI, though it's not always acknowledged by software providers.

AI is a vast subject with dozens of branches influencing content marketers. This post examines five of those promising artificial intelligence disciplines to better understand their potential impact. Specifically, we consider the current capabilities of recommendation engines, chatbots, smart automation, image processing, natural processing, and their ability to shape the future of content marketing.

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Recommendation Engines Work Quite Well

If you've ever watched a movie on Netflix, listened to music on Spotify, or shopped on Amazon, you've experienced a recommendation engine hard at work. Likewise, if you've used Curata or in a professional capacity as a content marketer.

simple recommendation engine uses the properties of an item "liked" by a user to determine other potential recommendations. It can also use the likes or dislikes of others to recommend items. A more robust solution relies on machine learning and deep learning to consistently offer the most appropriate recommendations.

Not surprisingly, the success of Amazon's recommendations has led to a number of third parties offering their own recommendation engines for use in eCommerce situationsBibblio is one such solution built specifically for content publishers and is also available as a WordPress plugin.

While related post plugins are nothing new, the application of artificial intelligence puts a whole new spin on things. Unlike simpler plugins, AI-powered ones offer suggestions that are more relevant and personalized and get better the more it's used. Expect to see continued development in the future as more players enter the field to offer improved solutions.

Chatbots Are Everywhere

Chatbots are pervasive; there is no doubt. However, not all are created equal. The best take advantage of natural language processing to engage in rich conversation. Those that don't are severely limited in their interaction which can prove to be a frustrating experience.

Some chatbots are rules-based while others use artificial intelligence to guide the interaction and provide a service. There are all kinds of bots, including those for news, weather, and scheduling.

Chatbots typically integrate with one or platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, etc. For example, Whole Foods has a Facebook Messenger Bot that provides users with cooking inspiration, product information, and recipes. Chatbots don't need to be exceptionally practical to be well-received. Casper, the mattress company, created Insomnobot-3000 to "keep you company when you just can't fall asleep."

Fortunately, content marketers can leave their programming skills at the door thanks to the numerous bot creation platforms available. However, it's important to have a rich content strategy in place ahead of time.

So what does the future hold for chatbots?

Matt Schlicht, founder of Chatbots Magazine, believes chatbots will power conversational commerce, providing greater efficiency of service. He considers this to be a "major paradigm shift in how brands and customers interact" and think it will have a major impact on improving the customer journey.

Smart Automation is Getting Smarter

Automation is nothing new for content marketers. We've been using computers do this for decades. What's different is that AI increases the complexity level of the type of tasks it can automate.

Smart automation incorporates a number of AI disciplines such as knowledge management, machine learning, natural language processing, and automated reasoning.

The Grid is an AI-powered publishing tool that builds websites. No drag and drop design required, you just add the content. Simply give Molly, the Grid's AI designer, feedback and it will keep redesigning the site until you're satisfied, with absolutely no complaints.

More marketers are using marketing automation to run campaigns across multiple channels and nurture customers through the entire buying cycle. It's still not commonplace, but expect to see increased adoption and greater personalization as AI offers more intelligent choices.

Image Processing Reaches a New Level

Did you know Facebook is training AI to answer questions about images, just a like a human? At present, it can only offer curt responses, but they're working on getting more elaborate output.

But what does image recognition have to do with content marketing, you ask? Companies like Clarifai are using artificial intelligence to tackle real-world business issues like:

  • Saving time on organizing and curating media.
  • Surfacing highly relevant content.
  • Using images to return matching content in a visual search.
  • Moderating content to automatically filter anything deemed sensitive.

Currently, work is underway on technology to help marketing research by analyzing the pupils of subjects as they consume different ads or try different products.

In the short term, this will help shorten the development time required to create appropriate user experiences. Perhaps in the future, that technology will immediately adapt to a user's needs, serving appropriate content on the fly.

NLP Has Far-Reaching Implications

For many content marketers, words are the currency by which they live. Consequently, they are most likely to be affected by advancements in natural language processing.

If you've ever had autocorrect fix a typo or read a financial report from Associated Press, you've experienced natural language processing (NLP) hard at work.

Understanding language is understanding thought. Human language can be vague and inconsistent, and it's in this environment that NLP seeks to understand syntax, semantics, and context.

The impact of NLP is far-reaching. Applications like Automated Insights and Narrative Science automatically turn data into compelling narratives without human intervention. Others, like MarketMuse and Acrolinx, use AI to augment a writer's creative output.

But artificial intelligence isn't putting anyone out of work anytime soon. As Portent's Development Architect Matthew Henry explains, "no computer can truly understand natural language like a human being can. Even a ten-year-old child can do better than a computer."

Then what should we expect? Improvements such as:

  • Making your content more readable.
  • Search engines getting better at understanding the content on a page.
  • Improved narratives generated more quickly from data of higher complexity.
  • More rigorous topic models to help writers create better content.

The Future of AI and Content Marketing

We're only just getting started. Dozens of software vendors already provide a myriad of AI-powered solutions that go far beyond traditional tools. Expect to see additional providers enter this burgeoning field. Some will offer dramatic improvements on existing capabilities while others will radically innovate beyond what we can even imagine.

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