Essential Skills for Content Marketers in the Age of AI: What You Should Know?
Hear ye, hear ye, the great disruptor is upon us!
It would be safe to say that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as one of the most unsettling technologies of the 21st century, so far. Although AI has been around for a while, models like ChatGPT have instilled a sense of impending doom in every mind.
A study showed that 71.2% of people believe AI can outperform humans at their jobs.
Being afraid of AI is equivalent to being afraid of computers when it came out in the 1960s. This is unfamiliar territory and will surely affect jobs, but it can also democratize certain processes and make them more accessible to a broader audience. Nowhere is this more relevant than for content marketing.
While many in the marketing industry believe that their jobs are at risk, over 60% of marketers are already using AI in their marketing activities. This number jumps to 90% across 35 countries when it comes to automation of consumer interactions. We’ve been using AI tools in marketing for a while now. It’s just the shiny new AI tool that is making everyone jittery - which will pass. If you still have doubts, remember that nobody uses long reams of paper for data entry anymore.
What are the implications for marketers?
The good news for content marketers is that your customer is not AI, but human. Even with the advent of AI chatbots, 86% of consumers stated that it was important to contact a real person when communicating with a business. A validation that humans will always be around. Rather, consumers want a refinement in their customer experience (CX), with 73% believing that AI has the potential to impact their CX - To affect, not eradicate.
These tools, beyond ChatGPT, have the potential to simplify your marketing workflow. AI-powered models can analyze vast amounts of data in a matter of moments, including consumer behavior, interests, preferences, and consumption patterns – something that takes marketers much longer to process. Marketers must see this as a means to swift and personalized content development, leaving you with happier clients.
So what content marketing skills do you need?
Marketers are not known for the data or tools they bring. They’re known for their insights.
AI tools can digest terabytes of data, but that still lands up on the desk of a human to infer a strategy and make high-level decisions. About 42% of people believe this, even in a scenario where AI took over all marketing operations. And as the digital paradigm shifts, people need to adapt and develop certain skills:
Creative thinking – AI can generate content quickly and efficiently, but it still lacks the creativity that arises from human ingenuity. AI is built on data gleaned from the internet and does not create anything that can be considered truly "original." It hasn’t reached the level of human thought yet, with the generic style of content eventually becoming evident. However, content marketers could still leverage AI data to develop unique ideas and fresh perspectives that can set their campaigns apart. Maybe use it as a thought starter, as shown below.
If you’re a startup trying to develop content topics, campaigns, and strategies, you will need a creative process behind it.
AI thought leader, Nina Schick, told Yahoo Finance that she believed by 2025 we might reach 90% of online content generated by AI.
This would still require a creative mind to judge what content is effective before publishing.
Qualitative research – AI tools can dump either raw or processed data on you. It becomes your task to identify the accuracy of the given data and what might be relevant to you. Many data points provided by these AI tools can be inaccurate and lead to broken links (as even experienced by this writer). AI is also prone to “hallucinations” where it can completely fabricate information.
This raises the question of whether you can safely use the data and statistics from AI generators for your content - a risk to your brand’s integrity. The relevancy of research provided is another concern, as it becomes yesterday’s news. Businesses and marketers must take on the responsibility of creating unique data points and insights for themselves, often found in offline consumer research. Building an ecosystem for the same could become a key differentiator - You might want to start polishing up your soft skills.
Understanding AI – One of the biggest reasons why marketers don’t use AI tools is a lack of understanding – almost 42%. A high cost of implementation is stated as the second reason, at around 23%. Both of these are intricately linked to each other, as a lack of know-how can prevent access to cheaper and more efficient options.
Any business or content marketing job must involve knowledge of AI and its adaptations, to stay competitive. You need to get a grasp of AI to decide which tools might be ideal for your business. This includes learning how the algorithms work, the inherent biases, the predictable nature of these answers, and their levels of accuracy. This would also require understanding the different applications of AI tech and a method to test them out for your own content ecosystem.
Content creation – If we are to believe that AI tools have leveled the playing field, businesses and marketers must learn the intricacies of content creation. With tighter deadlines, content marketers will need to step in and handle content creation responsibilities, including translations, web development, A/B testing, and deriving analytics for their content.
This could involve multiple formats such as video, audio, interactive and immersive content. With 91% of consumers wanting to see more online videos from brands, you’ll have to add content creation as a tag to your content marketing job. Leveraging AI tools for creation, and deciding the ideal route forward on individual content, can become a transformative process for a business.
Ethics – In an open AI world with no guardrails, marketeers and founders will need to create their own AI principles. This will be required to build internal processes and avoid misuse of AI tools.
Using AI in content marketing, you’ll want to create content that is relevant, informative, and personalized to individual consumers. However in a survey conducted in the US, 84% of people were somewhat concerned about the safety and privacy of their online data. As AI tools digitally scrape the globe for content, this can throw up various challenges for marketers who will need to weigh the privacy concerns of their consumers and ensure that their campaigns are not crossing certain lines.
Analytical thinking and Metric-driven mindset – AI tools can process large amounts of data and spit out graphs, trends, and data-points in seconds. We still need a human to put this in context, understand the biases of the input data and then make the relevant business decision.
It comes down to your critical judgment on which tool works for your given situation or whether you require human intervention in any particular task. These are key decisions that demand strategic thinking from you, albeit based on the statistics and data available. Data science might also play a role in the optimal utilization of AI tools going forward.
Collaboration and Adaptability – Nobody foresaw the speed at which AI tools would become a part of the popular discourse. It only makes sense for us to prepare for any coming changes, especially with whispers of quantum computing getting louder.
We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of AI tools, and with various iterations and adaptations in the pipeline, the AI market is expected to reach $2 trillion by 2030. Marketers and startups must learn to adapt and keep up with the latest trends. This will require keeping your ear to the ground and working closely with data scientists, developers, and other professionals within the AI realm.
Some of the use-cases of AI tools within content marketing:
Image and Video generation
Sales, Chatbots and Customer Service
SEO and Social Media Marketing
Personalized Email Marketing
Data and Customer Segmentation
Surveying Niche Audiences
Analyzing Social Behavior
Finding and Filling Content Gaps
Don’t fight AI
Although it can be unsettling to witness such a significant moment of change, the benefits and use-cases of AI within the marketing industry are growing by the day. Every single company has started exploring methods of changing their systems. It all depends on how you change along with them.
Do you agree with our list of the new skillsets required? Feel we’ve missed out on anything? Write to us and let us know your thoughts.
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