It’s time for marketers to take AI content marketing seriously.
Like any new technology, AI for content marketing has gone through several iterations in its public perception.
It’s hard to separate buzz and hype from reality.
Here’s what’s going on:
Dozens of copycat AI writing tools have hit the market since the release of GPT-3, a machine learning model developed by OpenAI.
Not all of these tools are worth using.
But as more companies start to incorporate AI into their content marketing workflows and as the technology continues to improve, the true promise of the technology is emerging.
AI is no longer just hype.
Despite early fears of losing work as a result of AI technology, it’s becoming clear that marketers who learn to use AI will be more valuable than ever.
AI is evolving into an essential piece of the content marketing puzzle by allowing teams to publish better, more creative content—and to do so faster than ever.
One quick note: AI for content marketing is a bit different from AI for copywriting. You’l see why.
Defining AI Content Marketing
AI content marketing refers to the use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing tools to support the goals of traditional content marketing.
With AI content marketing, it’s faster and cheaper to build an engaged audience by creating useful, valuable content.
So far, the widest application of artificial intelligence content creation has been written content.
But AI is fast encroaching into the full spectrum of content marketing, including video, audio, and images.
The current explosion in AI content writing tools kicked off with OpenAI’s beta release of their GPT-3 API in June 2020. Since then, dozens of AI-supported content writing tools have entered the scene.
These tools help you do everything from research to outlines to overcoming writer’s block.
AI image generation kicked off in earnest in September 2022, when Open AI released the beta of DALL·E to the public. DALL·E uses a simple text input to create an entirely unique image in seconds.
DALL·E has quickly spawned a nascent AI art and design industry with the ability to support content marketing efforts faster and more creatively than ever.
In September 2022, Meta released Make-A-Video, a system that outputs short videos from simple text inputs.
Other tools, like Synthesia, generate realistic AI avatars to present your text-based content via video.
Audio generation is another frontier for artificial intelligence. The latest AI tools can be trained on thousands of hours of audio and will come up with a model for realistically reproducing anyone’s voice, as Podcast.ai did with an entirely fake podcast of Joe Rogan interviewing Steve Jobs.
AI content marketing already encompasses all of these tools as content marketing teams look for ways to make faster, better, cheaper, more creative content.
And it will only grow from here.
Building an AI content marketing workflow
As a content marketer, here’s a simple roadmap to benefit from AI:
First, you use AI to generate briefs, outlines, and even entire first drafts.
Then, you add a human voice to the outline or first draft, speeding up the process while maintaining a high-level of quality.
Finally, you optimize the article with AI-based tools.
A typical content marketing project might flow like this:
- Find topics that resonate with your audience
- Validate the potential of those topics to drive traffic
- Brainstorm headlines
- Outline the article
- Write the article
- Optimize the article
- Create custom images
- Create accompanying media to promote the content
- Publish + promote
AI content marketers bring together multiple AI tools to improve each part of this process.
Here’s how it might work to create content using AI:
- Use AI tools for topic generation
- Get AI-powered personalized keyword difficulty scores
- Use AI to generate multiple headline options
- Use AI to outline the article and create content briefs
- Write the article. Use AI to break through writer’s block
- Optimize the article using NLP-equipped SEO software
- Create unique images with DALL·E
- Use AI tools to produce video and audio versions of the same content
- Publish + promote all media types
When AI tools are added to the traditional content marketing process, they can dramatically shorten production time.
MarketMuse, an AI content planning and optimization tool, estimates their software saves 11 hours off of each piece of content produced.
AI content marketing tools
The easiest place to get started with AI content marketing is with a general-purpose AI writing tool like Jasper or Copy.ai.
General-purpose AI writing tools can handle a substantial part of the heavy lifting involved in creating content, including ideating, headlines, outlines, AI-produced rough drafts, and breaking through writer’s block.
Because all of these AI content creation tools are built on the back of GPT-3, their capabilities are often similar, though some are more polished than others.
However, some are fine-tuned for a specific audience. For example, ClosersCopy is focused on sales and marketing copy. Lex.page is focused on helping writers break through writer’s block.
More advanced tools like MarketMuse include AI-powered personalized keyword difficulty scores, AI content briefs, and AI-generated content metrics like content score, topical authority, and user intent.
MarketMuse can also help you optimize your content before publishing based on an NLP analysis of competing content.
The next frontier for AI writing tools is the ability to write full, polished articles without human involvement. One tool that aims to do this is Content at Scale, which uses a complex system of three AI engines and two NLP and semantic analysis algorithms.
With image, audio, and video AI tools, the landscape gets a little more experimental. Some content marketers use tools like DALL·E as well as AI-generated video and audio.
However, these spaces need more room to mature before they’re incorporated into most AI content marketing stacks.
How AI can help with SEO
Every SEO campaign starts with a strategy. AI tools like WriterZen and MarketMuse help at this stage by analyzing what competitors are doing and building out topical maps.
Analyzing specific keywords also gets easier with AI using MarketMuse’s personalized keyword difficulty score.
Rather than a traditional keyword difficulty score, which includes no context, personalized keyword difficulty scores take into account the topical authority of your website for a given keyword.
Once each keyword is selected and vetted, you can have AI generate an outline based on your keyword. You can let AI write a few paragraphs under each heading in order to get a rough first draft for human writers to work from.
Tools like SurferSEO and MarketMuse can analyze the final product using NLP, ensuring you cover every part of the topic that competitors cover.
Once you’ve published your article, use a tool like LinkWhisper to find internal linking opportunities throughout your site.
One blind spot with most “AI for SEO” tools is the concept of information gain. Google increasingly values bringing new information to the search results.
Make sure you’re adding new and unique insights to your articles rather than letting AI run the show by rehashing other articles on the same topic.
Examples of AI content marketing
A few examples of companies using AI content marketing out in the wild:
- AI-powered content briefs to increase content production: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) increased traffic 203% using MarketMuse’s AI-driven content briefs (case study)
- AI-generated outlines and full first drafts: SEO agency uSERP uses Copy.ai to save thousands of dollars a week on content production.
- AI data insights: Stick Shift Driving School increased organic by 72% with AI content marketing. The company used Market Muse’s AI-powered data insights to understand the possible ROI on updating each piece of existing content, and to get personalized recommendations for creating new content (case study)
Creating better content—and scaling it
If you’re a content marketer who’s new to AI, it’s time to future-proof your career by experimenting.
Grab a free trial of one of the many AI tools out there. Test them. Get to know their capabilities.
Figure out how AI fits best into your content marketing workflow.
Start small. Using AI for outlines or content briefs is a good starting point.
Build up a set of tools you’re comfortable with. Use them to slowly ramp up the speed of your content production, and the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
When used properly, AI has the potential to remove or help you with the most arduous parts of content marketing—the brainstorming, the writer’s block, the keyword research and competitive analysis.
And to let you focus instead on creating better content and scaling it.