Content marketing is not easy. It requires a strategic mind, writing ability, and SEO knowledge.
It also helps if you can synthesize complex ideas into interesting posts, write quickly, and re-write even quicker. Given the challenges, it’s no surprise that marketers are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) powered content marketing tools as a way to improve their writing and output cadence.
The companies making these AI-powered tools have not harnessed some sort of ultra-intelligent supercomputer.
They are simply applying machine learning to the realm of content, meaning they use algorithms and models to perform tasks in a way that doesn’t require constant human input.
While some people worry about whether Artificial Intelligence will soon make content marketers obsolete, at the current moment, AI actually offers a lot of help to content marketers. When used wisely, AI-powered content marketing tools can elevate a post from good to great, especially when it comes to SEO-optimization.
The Top 5 Content Marketing Tools Using AI and Machine Learning
From helping with SEO to improving grammar, here are some of the top AI-powered tools that the modern content marketer uses to succeed.
Clearscope is an SEO and content optimization tool based around keyword research. Users search a keyword, at which point AI runs analysis on that keyword to pull together useful data. These data points include how many times a term or phrase is mentioned in Google’s top ten search results. This information helps a content marketer figure out whether to write a post based on a certain keyword and how many times they should use that word in their article.
This is AI at its finest — performing pattern recognition quickly and effectively.
Clearscope also allows you to copy entire posts into its system. It then analyzes the content and gives it a grade based on how well it compares to top ranking posts. To do this, it analyzes the text in terms of what keywords were used and how often they were used.
This tool is great in that it lets you know the exact words you need to add to give your post a good chance at ranking highly in the SERPs.
That said, Clearscope still has a lot of room for improvement.
For example, it’s not great at suggesting improvements for content that isn’t explicitly focused on targeting high volume keywords. For instance, lots of thought leadership content might be written without a clear keyword in mind, but these posts are more about having a strong point of view and generating a conversation online.
When fed content without clear SEO targets, Clearscope tends to give it a “bad” grade — and it will often suggest keywords that seem totally out of left field.
Another issue is that when there is not a lot of comparable content for the AI to search through, the tool is not as helpful. Hopefully, these features will improve as the product matures.
Grammarly is a tool that checks your grammar and spelling in real-time, offering helpful suggestions on the fly. It’s like a traditional spell checker on steroids, as it works across multiple browsers and inside of tools like Salesforce, Slack, G-suite, and Asana.
It also has plugins for every major browser, and the Google Chrome plugin alone has over 10 million downloads.
The impressive part of Grammarly’s AI algorithm is that it’s able to offer context-specific suggestions, including style-based suggestions. This means Grammarly doesn’t just check if individual words are spelled right, or if phrases are grammatically sound.
Grammarly also takes in the broader meaning of the piece in order to figure out whether a phrase makes sense or not, and its suggestions are usually wildly accurate. That sort of technology could not have been easy to develop…
Grammarly is a slick app, but it’s not flawless. It has what can only be described as a deep love for hyphenation.
The algorithm often insists on the insertion of a hyphen even when it’s actually a judgment call as to whether one is needed. Also, style is subjective, so it can be frustrating when Grammarly suggests changes that change your voice and don’t sound in-line with your writing style.
Those nitpickings aside, Grammarly is a fantastic tool that should only improve as machine learning gets better. Constant improvement is the whole point of ML, right?
Yoast is another tool that helps optimize content so that it has the best possible chance of achieving a high ranking in the SERPs.
It basically functions as if Clearscope was a WordPress plugin. It analyzes text and provides feedback about ways you can make your content more SEO-friendly. Yoast offers a range of categories for you to keep track of as you write, such as whether you use the keyword in enough headers, and whether a keyphrase appears in the first paragraph of your post.
But where it really gets interesting is in the way it helps with a more technical aspect of SEO called schema markup. Schema markup is the process of inserting code on your site that helps search engines learn more about different aspects of your content. It helps search engines pull relevant data into their results, such as star ratings and pricing.
Yoast uses AI and machine learning to tackle the problem of schema markups automatically, saving content marketers a ton of time in the process. As they say on their blog, “You might even think we don’t have certain features because there’s no setting for it. While in fact we just take care of things for you.”
That’s another key element of AI marketing tools. They often do the work you don’t initially think is even possible!
If there’s one feature Yoast can stand to improve it’s their “readability analysis” tool. This is a function that analyzes your writing and determines how easy it is to read. While this is good in theory, in practice it falls short. It seems to mostly suggest that every sentence be shorter.
Keeping things tight is good, but there just seems to be less thought put into this tool than the rest of the Yoast product.
Drift, Intercom, and AI Marketing Chatbot Tools
Chatbots are mostly known for providing customer support, but they can easily become major elements of your marketing campaign as well.
Imagine you land on a site with an intention to learn more about a product, but you aren’t sure where to start. You might click around until you find something interesting — which could either:
- Work great
- Be highly inefficient.
AI marketing chatbots from companies such as Drift and Intercom can be set up to help engage visitors in a way that makes the whole process much easier. In that scenario, when you landed on the site, a bot can instantly digest your demographic data, firmographic data, and contextual data.
Based on that information, it can use its AI and natural language processing tools to engage you in relevant conversations, eventually culminating in a content recommendation highly tailored to your needs.
Chatbots already recommend articles, and they are only getting more precise at choosing the content a user wants to read and is most likely to convert from.
Is AI the Future of Content Marketing?
In February of 2019, the AI research group OpenAI released a program called GPT2. It showcased AI’s ability to write in convincingly human language. The AI could answer certain prompts in ways that were virtually indistinguishable from if real people had answered them.
It caused a major splash, especially amongst content marketers.
- Did this spell the end of the entire profession?
- Would AI soon be conceiving, writing, and digital marketing all the content on the internet?
While no one can say for sure, it does not appear that a full-on AI takeover is happening anytime soon. GPT2 is effective when given a narrow task with specific parameters, but it is not yet capable of being creative. And creativity is the key to content marketing — copy that is original, thought-provoking, and helpful will always be in style.
Rather than fearing the AI advances, we’d all be better off embracing them. There are few more potent combos than that of AI plus a talented human.
For example, when the computer program Deep Blue first beat a human chess player in 1997, human chess knowledge was not rendered obsolete. For the next 20 years, a human player being assisted by a machine was able to beat any machine playing unaided.
We could be in a similar sweet spot with content marketing for a long time — humans coupled with AI-driven optimization will be an unstoppable content marketing duo, and the combo of the two will be more effective than either would be on their own.