Content marketing delivers outstanding engagement, but it’s expensive to produce and distribute. Most challenging of all is scaling distribution of targeted content. Artificial intelligence (AI) can improve the return on investment by automating and scaling up content campaigns.

Advertisers know that in today’s information-overloaded environment, content marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach consumers. To produce a constant stream of quality content, some advertisers have created in-house content studios. Others turn to independent content creators or, sometimes, assign internal editors to manage a roster of freelancers.

The most effective media companies are driving audience for their advertisers with integrated sponsored content or content campaigns. To accommodate their client brands’ demand for content marketing, many publishers operate as micro agencies, working directly with the brands to create custom programs.

Yet for brands and publishers alike, the need to distribute this material at scale is challenging.

- These four areas are commonly challenging:
- Identifying the right content to fulfil brand goals
- Finding the best content for a particular distribution platform
- Achieving enough reach to fulfil campaign goals
- Achieving ROI

Artificial intelligence provides the missing link, enabling publishers and brands to focus on creating quality content and connecting it to the right audience at scale.

How AI drives ROI

Some brands and publishers fall into the trap of creating more and more pieces of content to fulfil their goals without regard for return on investment. But content must be engaging; it’s not simply about producing a lot of it that creates good traffic.

Meanwhile, it’s not content at scale but audience at scale that drives ROI.

The key is focusing on reaching enough people with the right content, rather than continually spitting out pieces that you hope will be of interest. This is a superhuman task; luckily, it’s one that can be handled by artificial intelligence.

Steps to reaching audience at scale

The best content can fall short if it’s not seen. The first step in reaching a targeted audience at scale is identifying your marketing goals. These are often referral traffic, purchase consideration or awareness.

Next, use data to determine the content itself and create content that’s in line with audience engagement patterns. Audience engagement data will show you which high-interest topics and content your target audience responds best to.

Build audience segments for targeting based on behavioural patterns, recency patterns, demographics, interests and custom data.

Target, test and optimise content delivery according to your marketing objectives, taking into consideration the social platform and time of day for distribution by analysing previous and current engagement with existing content marketing.

Optimise headlines and social copy. A/B testing for headlines and social copy is important, but you also need to track engagement and continually optimise in close to real time throughout the content campaign, because engagement patterns can change throughout the day and over longer time periods.

The AI boost

Artificial intelligence can play a role in each of these steps except for content creation itself. AI analysis can reveal insights into content performance that will inform the direction of your content strategy so that you concentrate your efforts on types that are likely to be most engaging.

Social media are now the most important platforms for distribution of a publisher’s own sites. Artificial intelligence can identify the social platforms and audiences that will provide the best reach and engagement based on previous content performance. It can also determine times of day and days of the week when the target audience is most likely to engage with the content--all while optimising to the marketer’s objective and scaling with automation.

Art and science

Content creation is an art. Content distribution needs science. For brands and publishers to continue to create high-quality content, they need to be able to offload some of the analysis, publishing and optimisation to artificial intelligence. With AI to augment human cognitive cycles, quality content reaches the right audiences on the best platforms at the optimal times. AI can power content marketing at a high return on investment by connecting content with audiences at scale.

 

By Chris Hart, CEO at True Anthem


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