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Melissa Fach

AI and Content Marketing: Threat or Opportunity?

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Melissa Fach
AI and Content Marketing

AI marketing tools are here, and many are afraid of what that means for their future. Certain tasks will be taken over, but that doesn't mean that humans will lose their position — humans need to adapt their skillsets and utilize the time-saving features AI can provide, from AI-generated content to AI content analysis.

Last week, the SEMrushchat community and guest Mark Traphagan discussed AI and content marketing. One big theme I noticed in this chat, some people have AI and machine learning confused; it is essential to know the difference, so you know which tools to invest in. And on that note, we would love to know your experiences using different tools that utilize AI or machine learning — what has worked, what hasn't, and what you recommend to fellow marketers.

Below you will see great insights on the opportunities AI can bring, use cases for content marketers, skills needed to manage AI, how to get started, and what our community hopes AI-generated content can help them with in the future. There is a lot to learn from the tweets below, so check them out. 


AI in content marketing: threat or opportunity? Why do you think so?

Bill Slawski — "AI in content marketing can make suggestions based upon connecting ideas & concepts & Data that haven't been brought together before. There is potentially a lot of value in that."

Remco Tensen — "To quote 'Do androids dream of electric sheep?': "If something looks real enough, do people still care that it's fake?" 

Annette Sugden — "I think some people look at AI and Machine Learning as all sci-fi scary, take writing jobs, etc. But that's not how to use it. It's a tool in our arsenals & I'm excited to learn more. Of course, we all must adapt & do if we have anything to do w/SEO."

Laura Monroe — "It's a reality that is coming, but I think the biggest threat is to consumer trust in content created by AI. Am I speaking to/ reading something genuine by a real human? Video will be even more important."

GreenRope — "It's only a threat if you don't make it into an opportunity. If you're not willing to find ways to disrupt your own business process, others will. Adapt or fall behind."

Simon Cox — "Both. The threat to people who don't have time to write content for their site as competition will overtake them. Using AI, you can potentially craft a lot more content done properly. Humans are not thick, though*; they can spot artificial content easily. *exceptions"

Matt Keleher  — "Challenges: Tomorrow's AI-written articles may make perfect sense and be (mostly) accurate, but artificially generated content can be a little 'dry'. It would likely still need a touch of human creativity to captivate readers with humor and emotion."

Gene Petrov — "I like to look for the positive in emerging tech. So I see great potential in AI. I've tested a couple of AI content writing services. They aren't quite there yet, but the future looks bright, IMHO. I'm curious to see what other applications it can have too!"


What are the use cases for AI in content marketing that every marketer can leverage right now?

Maddie Clark — "Can improve UX by changing content to conform to the user's exact search query in real-time. It increases personalization in ad copy without creating an ad group for every single search. I don't think it's perfect for every vertical, though, including mine."

Dean Brady — "It's important to clarify that "AI" isn't something out there on its own ready to tackle SEO. Tools need to be built, and how/who builds them makes a difference. And it isn't ML."

Bill Slawski — "There are some interesting APIs available for content marketers to use such as the Cloud Natural Language API https://t.co/EqIVVVi4gs and the Cloud Vision API https://t.co/q8ffa2Riy8"

Marianne Sweeny — "Automagically making connections between semantically related content items."

Thumbprint — "Email Marketers can leverage AI-powered marketing tools to optimize the subject lines, body copy, and formatting of their campaign-based emails as well as determine the best days and times to send nurture emails to their top prospects and customers."

Adam Reaney — "Trend analysis. Quickly and accurately (to a point) identifying similar semantic trends that can be used to quickly generate content and 'ride the crest of the wave'. To be most effective, though, it needs a competent & efficient content creation team behind it."

Remco Tensen — "think talking tech we need to separate machine learning from AI. They're not the same thing. But that's just me being nitpicky. Turbo slang wins, of course."


Everyone is afraid AI will replace people. What AI skills do content marketers need to develop to always be in demand?

D2 Creative — "People will always be needed to help control and optimize AI. Computers can't register emotion or social norms in a given culture."

David Cohen — "Well, not fearing that AI will "replace people" and having a logical understanding of the role AI plays in marketing programs and processes that are human-led would be a start to staying in demand."

Laura Monroe — "Emotional Intelligence. Human Empathy. Being able to predict human behavior comes with a deep curiosity of humans and how brands and content relate to them and their values- is AI relies only on uninformed human behavior - it will miss the mark." 

Maddie Clark — "Data storytelling. Maybe machines will do the research entirely one day, but a human is still needed to explain to stakeholders what the findings mean and help veer them towards the right content strategy plan for their users."

Alexis Katherine — "It's good to know the tools, but staying in-demand will be about staying AHEAD of AI. AI can learn and adapt, but it doesn't know where your industry is headed or what new pain points are around the corner for your audience."Youness Bermime — "It is going to take a lot of time for AI to understand human emotion. Make that part of your marketing technique with some creative work, and you'll be untouchable for quite a few years."


How can one get started with AI-powered content marketing?

Mark Traphagen — "Study what the search engines are doing. Google & Bing are major pioneers in AI research and implementation."

Diana Richardson — "Concentrate on ONE area where AI could be beneficial:

  • Solving a problem
  • Time efficiency
  • Deep-dive into data
  • Optimization opportunities
  • Personalization

Then research and vet the right tool or platform to solve that problem."

Alexis Huddart — "Think of tools that can do a task, like transpose text into voice & how they are tweaked to each input/output of #content types. Tools you can do batch with like some Adword tools, not full AI, though."

Dean Brady — "Make sure you are awesome at human-powered content marketing first. My clubs aren't why I suck at Golf."

Alexis Katherine — "How to get started with AI is the wrong question. The tool should never be the focus. Invest in improving the content strategy, execution, etc., and just don't be afraid of AI tools that can help along the way."


What manual processes in content marketing would you want to be fully replaced by AI?

Mark Traphagen — "The automation of content sharing. Machines are better at knowing the what/where/when of sharing your content"

Gilmedia — "The design, dimension, and massaging the content for various platforms. This process is time-consuming, an AI that automates this could be a great asset. The real marketers can then focus on crafting the right message."

Bill Slawski — "I've seen suggestions that AI can be used to study a corpus such as Google Scholar, and provide new ideas for technologies and answers to questions that haven't been addressed yet. That sounds interesting. Not recommending full replacement of anything by AI."

Danielle Bullen Love — "If only AI could upload posts into the CMS..."

Don Dingee — "I do a lot of work on the IoT. AI sifts through tons of data and finds exceptions a human needs to get involved with. For content, the idea is to find what works for specific audiences. Platform-aware content analytics should be a big area."

Ben Austin — "A/B Testing!"

Amar — "We are already using scheduled posts in Social networking using AI. Apart from that, we would like to know what the visitors to the site are exactly looking for based on user behavior so that we can plan the content strategy accordingly."

Wondering what kind of tools Amar is talking about? Here is an article with a list of AI & machine learning tools to check out. 


AI content could improve the quality of life for most marketers. From AI content creation process improvements to leveraging AI content analysis for data reviews, time could be well spent by marketers on other projects than spending it on more mundane aspects of the job.

Recently, the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) was introduced as the newest iteration in machine learning. The GPT-3 contains 175 billion parameters and looks for patterns in data to determine intent and more. Its capabilities include composing music, autocompleting content, creating code based on text descriptions, and many other impressive feats.

What ways do you think AI content could change the future, and how is machine learning helping us now? Let us know in the comments!

Melissa Fach
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US Personality of the Year 2017 Winner and die-hard Star Wars fan. Herder of cats. Non-cook. Find me on Twitter @SEOaware.
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