By Kaley Pigman
Brands are under pressure to crank out massive amounts of personalized content, and AI-generated writing might just be the solution.
When you see brands posting hundreds of blogs and articles each week, it’s safe to assume some of them are not written by a human, but by an artificial intelligence software or a natural language generation tool (NLG). Before you ask, no, this one isn’t. But would you even be able to tell the difference between an AI-written blog and one that a content creator agonized over? And should I be worried about my job?
Who Needs This Much Content?
To make the most of social media and search engine algorithms, brands may feel pressure to produce content on an impossible scale. Especially on social media, more frequent posting improves your chances of being organically recommended to users’ feeds.
The competition goes beyond algorithms and social media. Brands need to build their online presence to legitimize themselves in the eyes of potential customers. In this framework, having a massive library proving your industry knowledge is the ultimate marketing tool.
However, this content needs to be consistent and engaging to readers. To achieve both of these goals, content has to be created at a near-constant rate, and it needs to be relatable to everyone in your target audience, which is unattainable for a typical copywriter. If all of this work falls on only human content writers, brands won’t be able to produce high-quality blogs and articles with the frequency needed to keep up with the Joneses of the marketing world. This is where AI and natural language generators fit into the equation.
AI For Content Marketing
Obviously, one of the major draws of AI is the ability to pump out content at a fast pace, but the capabilities of AI content creation go beyond speed. AI can also deliver personalized content to each user on your website based on their behavioral data.
Personalization is a powerful but time-consuming marketing strategy, especially on a large scale. To combat the huge task of individualizing content, some marketers turn to AI to do it for them. Using machine learning, one AI can quickly analyze user behavior, optimize the content each user sees, and even generate language that would be most persuasive for each user. With this much power behind the technology, it’s no wonder that 56% of all AI use in marketing is for personalization.
Natural Language Generators
With iPhone’s predictive text and Gmail’s smart compose, you probably use a natural language generator every single day. Both of these features use machine learning algorithms to suggest words or phrases based on past messages and context. While most of us just use it to quickly finish a sentence, very similar technology can be harnessed by marketers to produce content at a much faster pace than normal.
NLGs work best when a large amount of data needs to be condensed into a readable report or blog. For example, an NLG could consume a massive spreadsheet of data and spin it into an analytical narrative. This takes out the work of reading and analyzing data, allowing writers to jump straight into editing the tone and style of a report.
In the case of less formal writing, like blogs and opinion pieces, NLGs require a bit more prompting. In this case, you provide the AI with your data and other resources to teach it about the topic you want to cover. From there, the AI suggests a few options for the next line of text, and the content writer chooses the most appropriate option. In a sense, the AI does the majority of the “thinking” and a content writer acts as somewhat of an editor.
And it works — well. Using this technology, the Washington Post was able to publish 850 AI-written articles in 2016 alone. From high school sports coverage to investment tips to the health benefits of walking, NLGs have been used on a wide variety of topics to create simple but readable content for thousands of brands.
So in short, no, content writers, bloggers, and copywriters aren’t going anywhere, but our roles may change. While AIs can provide the jumping-off point for a piece of content, it will still require a great deal of editing and a human touch to make AI-generated writing both original and enjoyable to read.
Still, NLGs have the potential to change content marketing by exponentially increasing the volume of content that can be created each month. Even the most seasoned content writers can’t research and write blog posts en masse in less than one day, which is where AI can step in to get the ball rolling.