August 21, 2019 Richard Jones

How to use AI and ML to improve content marketing

The global content marketing industry is slated to grow by 111 percent, from US$196 billion in 2017 to US$413 billion in 2021. According to a 2019 Clevertouch Marketing report, last year, content marketing topped the list of where companies worldwide would be directing their marketing budget in the coming 12 months, ranking above predictive analytics and AI, among others.

However, 53 percent of marketers in that same report said they don’t know how to measure their content marketing efforts, and 33 percent of marketers struggle with funding their content production. Meanwhile, 60 percent of people surveyed report that brands create irrelevant or poor content.

Within the APAC region alone, content marketing plays an important role. However, despite the increasing importance of content marketing, only 52 percent of APAC businesses had a content plan in place in 2017. 

That’s not that different from two years before, when a Hubspot survey reported that a similar number of businesses – 50 percent – were doing content marketing but had no strategy in place. While 70 percent of APAC businesses felt their content marketing efforts were “limited, basic, or inconsistent,” 56 percent found problems with their content strategy. Content marketers also reported problems with quality (57 percent).

Here’s the thing – that’s not for lack of effort. While ROI and accountability remain the first metric that measures these content marketers’ success, marketers in Asia can lack time and resources to give the content the polish required.

Within APAC, content has to appeal to multiple markets, each with their own nuances and preferred communication styles. Quick turnaround times and limited resources mean that more guess work than necessary can go into crafting content.

Faced with ambiguity, a lack of strategy, diverse markets, and a lack of internal resources, how do we improve results and efficiency right now?

The answer lies not just in tech but in using tech the right way.

Tech – for better or for worse

While creativity certainly still has the most important role to play in content – the trendiest article won’t get read if it’s dry and boring – content marketers have assigned the more mundane and data-based tasks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools. In the right hands, an AI tool can offer strategic insights around audience, topic, and platforms, by drawing on phenomenally large pools of data. This would take mere humans a much longer time to comb through, and of course, human effort is not free from error.

Unfortunately, the burgeoning use of AI in content creation often translates into quantity over quality. Some automated content distribution tools create high-volume, short-form content based on large audience trends and push this out over multiple webpages, emails, and even email signatures while urging users to share it via push notifications.

The aim here is to grow brand by sheer volume, but that can backfire and associate a company with a lot of empty noise. Additionally, how audience-focused are these approaches really? 

What we need in the region today is quality over quantity – content that is relevant to and resonates with the audience. And for this we need AI solutions that can collate multiple data points and analyze them for audience needs and pain points, trending conversations, industry trends, competitor positioning – and even white space and content gaps.   Such insights can be incredibly powerful in the hands of content marketers, who can use these to inform content strategy and implementation. The real value of AI should come from enabling an audience-focused content strategy, not just from adding to the content clutter that’s already out there. 

The best part? These insights build a positive feedback loop. Over time, AI’s predictive capabilities can extract information from data and give insights into the future, projecting what target audiences will be talking about over the next few months. Enter even more targeted content that not only checks the boxes of the latest trends but also helps play a role in tomorrow’s conversations.

And did you know that such an AI and ML solution already exists? 

IMMediate results

IMMediate, IMMedia’s platform for content marketing automation, seeks to automate and streamline the content strategy and development process to yield data-driven and data-supported content that drives results trackable to your company’s goals.

Built on AI and machine learning, the system, given a target audience and subject, can analyze millions of data points faster than a human – from across websites and forums across countries, industry and competitor performance, SEO, and web analytics data – to predict content marketing trends and recommend optimum content, while setting up differentiators to competitor content and uncovering competitor strategies.

Meanwhile, content marketers can focus on putting those data and insights to good use to create empathetic, meaningful content that resonates with the target audience – then continuously optimise content as more and more data comes in on audience engagement and interaction.  

Sounds useful? We’d love to talk more about it. Drop us a line to see first-hand how IMMediate can lend a hand to your content marketing needs.