As AI solutions not only analyze and understand text, but generate human-sounding text too, there are many use-cases in content creation and marketing.
Let’s start with AI-assisted manual content creation.
A great use of AI in content creation is advanced grammar checking. Since I am Swedish, English is my second language. While Microsoft Word or Apple Pages have built-in spell checkers with grammar control, they aren’t best-in-class and I could do with some more help.
A great use of AI in content creation is advanced grammar checking
I have thus used a stand-alone grammar checker for years. It is called Grammarly and uses machine learning to improve its grammar checking over time. In fact, this area is so hot that they raised over $100 million USD in venture capital in 2017 to improve their product even further.
Grammarly is an AI-based natural language processing tool (NLP) that processes and analyses the copy you have written and recommends improvements.
Another interesting area is natural language generation (NLG).
NLG tools doesn’t read and analyze your content, they write it.
NLG tools doesn’t read and analyze your content, they write it. While it may sound like science fiction, already several tools can do this.
One of them is Wordsmith from Automated Insights. Their tool converts structured data (say, information in an Excel spreadsheet or a database) into natural language text. They claim to generate 1.5 billion pieces of narrative content each year for customers like Microsoft, Cisco, the Associated Press, Yahoo, PwC, and more.
Wordsmith can be used to write product descriptions in e-commerce, property listings for real estate agencies, stock market portfolio descriptions in the financial industry, and similar documents for practically any other industry. It can also be used to generate data-driven and highly personalized email copy. In effect, Wordsmith can generate unique copy from the inputted data.
Think robot journalism here.
If you are an e-commerce company and want to upload 1250 product descriptions to your web shop, you can feed the raw product data from an Excel spreadsheet into Wordsmith.
The software will then auto-generate 1250 engaging product descriptions in a matter of seconds. The Wordsmith team has extended the usability of their writing robot with an API (an application programming interface), thus enabling external software solutions to integrate with it to produce fully automated text generation solutions for your company’s needs.
Narrative Science is a similar company, with an NLG product called Quill. It too transforms raw structured data into natural language narratives using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Their NLG engine is designed to produce human-like, intuitive language.
It automatically utilizes variable word choice, understands when it’s best to combine sentences, and identifies the appropriate pronoun usage, verb tense, and grammar to produce fluid, conversational language that is easily consumable. This is how Aimee Rowland, Director of Product Marketing at Narrative Science, explains their product:
Our technology not only utilizes NLG to generate natural language explanations, but it also utilizes a range of analytical, reasoning, and learning capabilities to identify the most interesting and important insights, all with domain-specific knowledge so that it understands the context behind the data.
Their technology highlights the most interesting and important facts from data, providing relevant insights for each intended audience. It does this by performing context-aware analysis focused on the core of what needs to be communicated.
After all, it is not only about generating text, it is also important that it covers the right information.
Both Automated Insights and Narrative Science offer report generators that turn Google Analytics web usage data into insightful narrative reports. This can be a great aid to marketers who need to write management reports.
The news media is also turning to AI and NLG for automatic generation of articles. The Washington Post, for example, uses their own in-house AI robot for article creation. It is called Heliograph and is said to have produced 850 articles in the last year, including many relating to sports.
It is not only about generating text, it is also important that it covers the right information.
Many local newspapers, even relatively small ones, already use robot journalism to turn numeric data into articles. Short articles on local sports results are prime examples here, as are weather reports, traffic information, and police blotters.
Now, content marketing and content production can be automated at scale. Don’t see it as a replacement of your copywriter, but an opportunity to automate parts of the content production efforts, in particular areas where massive amounts of data just couldn’t be converted into natural language text due to the time and cost required.
Now, content marketing and content production can be automated at scale.
Add to this the possibilities for hyper-personalization, where each customer gets different content based on the data you have on them.
Other interesting tools include ArticleForge, Articoolo and AI-Writer. With these, you simply type a phrase in an edit field—for example, “car insurance”. The tools then harvest the internet for relevant information, and return an auto-generated article on that topic, of your desired word length.
At least one of these tools can even auto-generate hundreds of different variations in one go, enabling you to publish many similar articles that use completely different text. While the results may vary with different tools, they are getting better each day and can act as a quick-start that you refine further.
Beware of copyright infringements, though, if you use phrases from other people’s websites.
Did you know AI tools can auto-generate videos?
Did you know AI tools can auto-generate videos? They can, at least semi-automatically.
I’ve used Lumen5 for a while and I find it simple to use. This innovative tool aims to automate the process of creating short videos, in particular for promoting blog posts on social media using video clips of a minute or two.
Feed it with the URL of the blog post, and it finds what it thinks is the most relevant captions to use as headings. It then lay out the headings on scenes (similar to PowerPoint pages) and uses AI to find free images and video clips on the Internet that relate to the keywords in the selected headings.
At the end, it adds animated scene transitions, allows you to select music, and exports a video into standard file formats. You can transform text into video in minutes, even if you do some manual editing of the preselected options. This is pretty amazing and a clear sign of where we are heading.
I can’t wait to see what tools like this can do in five or ten years.