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Creativity is at the heart of content marketing, but creative content marketing is no longer exclusively the domain of humans. Recently, IBM’s Watson proved that artificial intelligence is every bit as capable of storytelling.

In what may be a first in human-robot collaboration, Watson helped write the script for a Lexus car ad. The commercial’s director, Kevin Macdonald, was quoted by IBM as saying, “The charmingly simplistic way the AI wrote the story was both fascinating in its interpretation of human emotion, and yet still unexpected enough to give the film a clearly nonhuman edge.”

For the average marketing budget, this kind of artificial intelligence content marketing project is likely just a dream. But we’ve already seen artificial intelligence influence the world of content marketing in many other ways. As marketers ponder the future of content marketing, we expect to see many new interesting AI-driven applications.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

The term artificial intelligence dates back to the 1950s, when a Dartmouth professor expressed the idea of intelligent machines. While the field is not new, it has seen a resurgence in recent decades with the advent of greater computing power and big data.

One dictionary definition of AI is “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers.” With AI, machines learn from data and perform tasks that previously required human intelligence.

Well-known examples of artificial intelligence in daily life include digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, Google’s voice search, recommendation engines used by streaming services like Netflix and Pandora, and smart cars like Tesla.

Personalize Content With Predictive Analytics

As brands strive to deliver more personalized content, they’re using behavior-based data to understand their customers. Because artificial intelligence can efficiently process and analyze large amounts of data, it can make predictions based on historic patterns.

In content marketing, predictive analytics can extract valuable insights through data mining, modeling, and machine learning, and then deliver highly targeted and personalized content. Predictive content also enables marketing teams to improve their ROI with more efficient campaign designs.

Create High-Quality Content

Content creation is a subjective affair, for the most part. Artificial intelligence content marketing may not yet be about robots writing blog posts, but it can certainly provide a more objective “eye” to the ideation process.

For example, an AI algorithm could scour the internet for popular content, “listen” on social media, and track other online conversations to identify emerging trends and trending topics. That means no more guesswork for content strategists.

Engage With Customers

Chatbots are taking over online interaction with customers. In content marketing, chatbots will increasingly become an important part of the customer journey. They provide scalable, one-on-one interaction. As the technology improves, chatbots will be able to maintain a smooth conversation flow based on context.

As customers move down the sales funnel, their content needs change. The integration of chatbots into content marketing will help serve the most appropriate content to customers based on their journeys.

Put Your Email on Steroids

According to a study by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 93 percent of B2B marketers used email to distribute content for content marketing purposes. That makes email the main distribution channel, just slightly ahead of social media (92 percent).

Additionally, 74 percent of respondents found email the most-effective distribution format. In fact, email “won” by a landslide. The next two most-effective channels (blogs and social media) were only ranked as effective by 45 percent and 40 percent of respondents, respectively.

Where does AI come in, considering that most successful brands already automate their email campaigns? It goes back to the hyper-personalization discussed earlier. AI allows brands to send emails based on the email open history of each individual, improving conversion rates.

Optimize Content Creation

As your content marketing program matures, the sheer amount of assets in your resource library and your channels becomes overwhelming to track and manage. With AI, this process becomes easy.

AI-driven platforms mine the content for you, sorting, filtering, and organizing it regardless of what channel the content lives in. One highly useful application of this capability is influencer marketing, particularly since much of influencer content appears outside of your brand’s channels.

Proceed Thoughtfully

The future of artificial intelligence content marketing is exciting. But like any technology, AI has drawbacks. Algorithms can be wrong. Data is not always clean. Machine learning can be biased. Not everyone loves chatbots. The list goes on.

Ultimately, brands need to take a thoughtful approach to integrating AI into their content marketing. Artificial intelligence may have been decades in the making, but we’re still only seeing the early wave of its application in content marketing. As the technology evolves, brands’ strategies will evolve as well.