How AI Can Help Solve the Content Crisis
At a time where what brands say to customers matters more than ever, marketers are less equipped to get it right. They’re expected to stand out from the competition, generate positive ROI, communicate in their brand voice, speak to millions of people in many different languages, and segment into targeted slivers by channel, all without upsetting anyone. The explosion of available marketing channels and the breakneck pace of posting fresh content is leaving marketing departments depleted. A recent survey of enterprise marketers found that 82 percent are struggling to create high-quality branded content.
Copywriters in particular are quite simply overwhelmed. Of those surveyed, 36 percent of marketers don’t have enough writers on staff, 37 percent don’t have enough funds, and 37 percent don’t have enough time to properly invest in content creation.
These are the people talking to your customers. Overworked. Underfunded. Drowning. The obvious answer is to hire more copywriters—an entire army of them—to keep up with the content demand. But we’ve reached a tipping point where that approach is no longer sustainable. This, then, is the content crisis: where supply can never hope to catch up to demand.
How is a brand supposed to speak to its customers in a way that’s scalable? The good news is that a new tool is emerging to help meet the insatiable demand for great content: AI-powered copywriting.
So wait...we should let a robot do the writing?
The skepticism is understandable, given some of the widely publicized pitfalls we’ve seen with AI. But there has been a massive evolution in the space over the past few years, and it is now entirely possible to have brand copy that’s generated from a machine that sounds human, in a company’s own brand voice, and that performs better than human-written copy.
With this new opportunity, marketers now have three options for feeding the content beast:
The Traditional Human Approach
Brands can keep hiring more and more copywriters to meet demand, hope that all of them are 100 percent great at it, and trust their gut feelings to speak to customers in the best possible way. What if two different copywriters have different gut feelings about the right thing to say? Then their managers get to use their gut to break the tie! Hopefully everyone is taking probiotics.
The Traditional Human Approach, Plus A/B Testing
Undeniably fancier, this approach means having already exhausted copywriters do double the work so that a brand can learn more about what its customers want to hear. In terms of results, it’s a definite improvement, which is why it’s been a best practice in the marketing industry for the better part of the past decade.
This is the future of marketing. With the click of a button, a brand can get 10 variants of copy, enabling it to do advanced multivariate testing without making its team work 10 times as hard. (Don’t worry: A human being still approves everything before it goes out.) The machine learns with every send or post, and customers get the copy that resonates best with them every time. The writers still have jobs, but now they can breathe a little easier.
AI-powered copywriting sounds like a complicated thing (and under the hood, it is), but is it worth it? For some of the world’s biggest brands, such as eBay, Domino’s, and Groupon, the answer has been a resounding yes. Some brands have seen a 35 percent email open rate increase. So if you’re wondering if it makes more money: yes, more opens and more clicks equal more revenue.
But let’s go beyond just revenue for a moment: what about the overall health of a brand? We live in a time where brands can get “canceled” for saying the wrong thing, and social media can take a simple misstep and carry it like wildfire. We’ve all heard these stories. That’s why brand consistency is so important. Relying on the gut instincts of individuals who have their own feelings and agendas with something as important as a brand’s voice is daunting. What are the odds that the 23-year-old in charge of posting to a brand’s social media is going to express its brand voice in the exact same way that the 42-year-old in charge of its Google AdWords does?
What AI can do is make sure that no matter what copy goes out, it’s consistent with a brand’s voice. And by pairing human oversight with machine learning, marketers can establish a system of checks and balances that helps keep a brand voice safe, ensuring that no one person or machine is going to say something that will subject it to widespread ridicule. At a time where our personal health is at the forefront, we absolutely must be thinking about our brand health as well.
AI is a powerful tool that doesn’t just boost your ROI or reduce stress for your team; it can actually be pivotal to protecting a brand’s reputation. Marketers who welcome this technology will be better prepared for whatever comes next in the future.
Parry Malm is the cofounder and CEO of Phrasee, which empowers brands with the most advanced AI-powered copywriting technology. He has been working with brands to optimize marketing results for almost 20 years. Malm is an expert on digital marketing and combines this expertise with a track record in computer science, statistics, and commercializing artificial intelligence.