AI and Content Marketing: A View from the Trenches

If you’ve been reading other posts on this website or following trends for improving your digital marketing, you realize the intense impact of content marketing on your success. Creating valuable content on a consistent basis not only offers a significant improvement on your SEO (search engine optimization) to help prospective customers find you online, but it’s also key to building a positive brand image that works in tandem with your content to turn prospective buyers into customers. If you’ve used content marketing, however, you also know that creating fresh, valuable content every day is a huge strain on your resources. Combining AI and content marketing helps lessen this burden without damaging your marketing efforts when done right.

content marketingContent marketing in the age of ChatGPT represents a significant evolution in the way businesses and brands engage with their audiences. Running a successful campaign combining AI and content marketing isn’t as simple as entering a prompt into ChatGPT (or another AI-powered program) or Dall-E (the image creation arm of Open AI), as you can see in the image above created by Dall-E. While the image is a good representation of content marketing, the words included are a jumble of nonsense, various languages, and weird symbols. Hence, combining AI and content marketing isn’t a solution to your content marketing needs, but it can help support your content marketing efforts in a number of ways. Below, we discuss how combining AI and content marketing can ease your burden and create content that resonates with your target market.

Combining AI and content marketing to support your goals

Enhanced content creation

One of the most obvious roles for AI in content marketing is in creating content. For the average business, every day you need a blog post (or at least a few times a week) to improve SEO, a post on one or more social platforms (more if you use Twitter – now X), an email message to subscribers, and maybe a few SMS (short message service) texts. Creating this content isn’t a simple task. According to Marketing Profs, the average marketer spends up to eight hours creating a single piece of content. Of course, that’s a lot of variability in that estimate. For instance, a simple post on X with a limit of 280 words doesn’t take too long, while writing a 2000+ word blog post might take two hours or more, depending on the amount of research needed to support the post. Creating images and video content is even more time-consuming and requires special skills.

Using AI and content marketing together can vastly reduce the amount of time and effort needed to satisfy your daily content needs. The benefits of this collaboration include”

  1. Efficiency and speed: AI can generate high-quality content quickly, allowing marketers to produce more content in less time. While image and video options for creating AI content still need a lot of work, the future of these options is bright. Meanwhile, marketing automation platforms have embraced AI, and by linking your website content to them, you can produce social media posts with a click, saving you time and ensuring you have a stream of content.
  2. Scalability: It enables the creation of a large volume of personalized content with fewer human resources so you can leverage your employees to produce more content or engage in high-level planning activities rather than writing content.
  3. Consistency: AI ensures a consistent tone and style across all content pieces, maintaining brand voice and quality. This consistency goes a long way toward creating a loyal following.

Personalization and engagement

One of the benefits of content consistency is engagement, which translates into higher revenue. In fact, studies show that customer engagement yields 23% higher revenue than customers not fully engaged with the brand. Not only do you capture a higher share of wallet from engaged customers, they stay loyal to your brand longer, which explains why engagement is so important.

On social media, better engagement also translates into a greater reach for your messaging without any additional cost, as you can see below. By reaching more users, you start building a positive brand image that results in higher sales when these users become customers.

roi of social media

Personalization and engagement work hand in hand. When visitors and users feel the content is relevant to them; fits their lifestyle and values, they’re more likely to engage with the brand and make purchase decisions based on the content.

AI-powered content not only enhances personalization but also helps brands understand their followers, visitors, customers, and prospects by analyzing the way these individuals interact with the brand. Hence, AI helps build personas and then helps personalize the brand’s interactions with them, resulting in 40% higher revenue than brands that don’t employ personalization or do it poorly, according to McKinsey.

A final factor in engagement is superior customer service, where the speed, thoroughness, and courtesy involved in resolving customer issues and questions are paramount for success. Companies improve their customer service by using AI-powered chatbots that serve customer needs 24/7.

SEO and content optimization

The internet is often the first choice of users when they want to discover new products or find buying options among known brands, with 87% of consumers choosing this option. And, faced with a large number of links in response to their queries, consumers customarily choose from those on the first page, especially those in the first three positions. Thus, rank in search results greatly impacts the success of your brand. SEO involves a series of tactics designed to improve your rank so more users find you, visit your online or physical store, and learn more about your offerings.

Keywords (actually key phrases that get longer as more users choose voice search) determine when you show up in search results. Thus, if a user queries for the best dishwashers, the search engine delivers a ranked list of links related to dishwashers rather than appliances in general or other types of products. Keyword marketing involves finding the right keywords, ones your target market likely uses when searching for products like the ones you offer and optimizing content for those keywords.

AI can help with this optimization in several ways:

  1. Content analysis: Tools like ChatGPT can analyze content performance to suggest improvements for better engagement and SEO outcomes.
  2. Trend identification: AI can identify emerging trends and topics based on current queries to offer suggestions that help brands find new keywords that resonate with their target market. Your content stays ahead of the curve and attracts more clicks by latching on to these trends.

Content distribution

Most brands distribute content through a variety of channels. Posting content at the optimal time on an optimal schedule improves performance. Below, you can see the best posting schedule for each social media platform for 2024.

best posting schedule
Image courtesy of Hootsuite

AI platforms like ChatGPT can help automate distribution by scheduling and distributing content across various platforms, ensuring optimal timing and reach. Many automation tools like Hootsuite offer this AI to help you get the most from their platforms.

Most companies use a variety of different content distribution channels to reach the entire target market and to increase the frequency with which that market is exposed to their content. AI supports the creation of content tailored for different platforms (blogs, social media, email, etc.), enhancing overall reach and impact.

Ethical considerations

When using AI to create content, there’s always the concern that content created by these tools is inaccurate, violates copyright rules, or fails to offer a balanced treatment of your topic. That means AI tools can offer a first draft of content but require extensive effort to create a finished product suitable for publication. For instance, this content started from a prompt on ChatGPT, which cut down the amount of time needed to create this piece by about half. It also introduced some aspects of the topic I might not have considered initially.

From an SEO standpoint, the original content generated by the AI failed in several respects:

  • It contained no backlinks. From an SEO standpoint, backlinks to high authority websites show the value of your content as well-researched.
  • It didn’t optimize my keyword with a sufficient number and placement of the keyword.
  • It contained no images.
  • It failed to capture my voice.
  • It didn’t thoroughly explain some aspects important to this topic.
  • It reflects duplicate content.
  • The word count was below what is commonly found in content that ranks well.

At some point, Google may decrease the rank for content created by AI or penalize the website if it finds extensive use of AI to generate content. This hurts firms that don’t adopt ethical AI use rules when creating content. Take my advice and use AI ethically, or face a massive effort to fix problems after the fact if Google assesses penalties.

Future trends in AI and content marketing

Obviously, now that the door is open for using AI and content marketing to reach your goals, the stampede to build new AI tools that help businesses create more types of content faster and more effectively will change the face of AI in the future. Here are a few areas to keep your eye on when you consider future marketing strategies that take advantage of AI and content marketing.

Voice and visual content

As AI technology advances, the integration of voice and visual content creation will make huge strides. Currently, a few companies offer video and image content generated through AI, but they’re not very good. For instance, Canva can take text-based content and generate video content that mirrors it. Although the output isn’t great and still requires a lot of editing, this type of tool reduces the time necessary to create content and removes much of the learning curve needed to create content.

Enhanced interactivity

Future content marketing strategies will likely incorporate more interactive and immersive experiences powered by AI to build enhanced engagement with prospective buyers.

Real-time personalization

Personalization is a big factor in driving online sales or influencing offline buying behavior. Crafting personalized customer journeys currently relies on identifying performance after the fact when it might not be as effective as knowing what is the logical next step in a customer’s journey in real time. A dysfunctional customer journey results in delayed purchase intentions or may send a customer to a competitor.

For larger purchases, like that depicted below, you have a chance to recover if you don’t create the best initial customer journey because the buying process commonly involves multiple encounters. You can use knowledge about customer preferences identified during the first interaction to build a better response to a second or subsequent interaction. However, many purchase decisions are made based on a single encounter. Plus, an evaluation of the suitability of a brand is often formed during the first encounter. By using real-time data to build a better customer journey within the first interaction, your brand improves brand attitudes and influences future purchase intentions.

dysfunctional customer journeyConclusion

ChatGPT and similar AI tools have already transformed content marketing by enhancing efficiency, personalization, and engagement while also presenting new opportunities and challenges. Marketers who leverage these technologies effectively and adapt to future changes are better positioned to connect with their audiences and achieve their goals, leaving competitors in the dust.

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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.