3. AI can do the grunt work, so you do the great work
The content-creation AI that’s used in newsrooms and on content teams today can make data readable, can add English syntax to columns of numbers, can autopublish fact-based stories about the Rio Olympics, can even report on election results. In other words, AI takes over the grunt work. And scales it.
The Washington Post’s artificial intelligence system, Heliograf, created more than 500 articles in November 2016, mostly about the US Presidential election. The next step, according to reporting by Wired, is for “Heliograf to keep the data in both machine- and human-written stories up-to-date. For instance, if someone shares a Tuesday story on Thursday, and the facts change in the meantime, Heliograf will automatically update the story with the most recent facts.”
What AI can’t do yet — and I’d venture to say it never will — is the in-depth reporting, the human-interest stories, the underlying connection, the nuance and the creativity. AI can’t plan an editorial calendar and interview customers for case studies. AI can’t build relationships with influencers or host a webinar that anyone would want to listen to.
“Modern buyers have a general lack of trust,” said Brian Carroll, CEO of markempa, a consulting firm that specializes in empathy-based marketing, in an email interview. “They are time constrained, too busy to think and don’t want to be sold. So what do buyers do with our content and marketing messages? They simply ignore them. You can’t automate trust. Building trust takes time.”
A big part of the reading, viewing, or listening experience is the connection we feel with the human who created the content — the trust and rapport that’s built when that person provides us with information we need or value. If the content marketing we’re producing doesn’t have any personality to it, and if our consumers struggle to imagine that there’s a human being behind what we produce, we’re probably doing it wrong.
“AI and tools can’t replace our intuition either,” Carroll says. “But technology can help us have time to make choices and spend more time doing things that build trust. That might be opening Outlook and sending a personal message. Or picking up the phone talk to your potential customers. It is critical to know what customers want to serve them better.”
What this means for content marketers
Maximize your human skills, including learning how to talk to people, how to negotiate, how to manage change, how to manage people, how to plan complex projects, how to envision and communicate project requirements. Perhaps most importantly, learn how to effectively execute AI solutions and analyze the output. In other words, you’ve got to have both people skills and robot skills.