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Editor's note: This post originally appeared on the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute's blog. Check out more posts like it here.

Marketing automation platforms have transformed the industry over the last decade, making marketers more efficient, productive and successful. But, the great irony of marketing automation is that it’s largely still manual.

Consider how much time your marketing team spends on repetitive and administrative tasks, such as drafting social media updates, writing data-driven blog posts, personalizing emails and website copy, A/B testing landing pages, building lead nurturing workflows, developing advertising copy, managing paid media spend, conducting keyword research, finding insights in analytics and recommending strategies (to name a few).

Now, what if we told you every one of those tasks, and many more, could be done more efficiently using artificial intelligence technology that’s available today? The challenge is that the solutions mostly exist in stand-alone AI tools, rather than as native elements of the major marketing automation platforms.

While we expect marketing automation companies to rapidly develop and integrate AI capabilities in the months and years ahead (through both acquisitions and internal R&D), for now, marketers need to piece together AI-powered products and integrate them into their core marketing technology stack.

Following are 11 common marketing tasks that can be more intelligently automated right now using AI technology. Many of the companies we include are still early in their product and market development, so use this list as a starting point for your AI research, not as a de facto buyer’s guide.

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We’re in the thick of a new year, and like many professionals, marketers are searching for the next top trends to drive results in 2017. 

This and every year, we search for ways to break through the clutter to ensure our content reaches the right audience at the right time. But with the number of bloggers projected to hit more than 31 million by 2020 in the U.S., it’s our duty to seek out and test the hottest trends to make our content stand apart from the rest. 

According to a 2016 study by Content Marketing Institute, B2C marketers ranked the following as top content priorities:

  • 73% indicate that they want to create more engaging content.
  • 55% want to create more visual content.
  • 44% say that better repurposing content is a must.

Luckily, there’s a surefire strategy that satisfies the needs listed above: visual content marketing. Let’s face the facts that our audience craves visuals: The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and we read only 28% of written content. 

Are you still contemplating how you’ll incorporate visual content marketing into your 2017 strategy? Check out the list below for three ways to rely on visuals this year to drive results.

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As content marketing continues to evolve, businesses across the globe have adopted it at a rapid pace. And that’s not stopping in 2017.

So what’s predicted to become of content marketing this year? To help cut through the clutter, I've compiled influencer trends from top shared posts based on BuzzSumo data from the past year.

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The proliferation of marketing channels, apps, mobile devices, social networks and content has given consumers more choices and greater control, while increasing complexity for marketers.

We want to help simplify and optimize the marketing planning process for your business.

Use the following marketing game plan model, as featured in Chapter 10 of The Marketing Performance Blueprint, to build core strength, spur growth through existing assets, connect actions to outcomes and allocate resources based on performance. There are three phases—evaluate, establish and execute (e3)—made up of 15 steps.

Most organizations and enterprises should complete these steps at least annually to guide long-term planning. For small businesses, start-ups and short-term goals, we'd recommend following our hackathon model to identify quick wins and accelerate success. 

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute (MAII), a new community for modern marketers created and powered by PR 20/20. 

Gartner predicts that a full 20 percent of business content will be written by machines starting in 2018. This is a startling claim. The analyst firm says: “Business content, such as shareholder reports, legal documents, market reports, press releases, articles and white papers, are all candidates for automated writing tools.”

Will artificial intelligence automate content creation? It’s a legitimate question. If Gartner is talking about the issue, it’s worth considering. Artificial intelligence technologies are advancing rapidly, to the point where the Associated Press now has machines writing full earnings reports. Marketers rely on content more than ever as a linchpin of their strategies. What if the creation of content was suddenly the responsibility of a machine, not a marketer?

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The following is a guest post from Bill Widmer (@TheBillWidmer). Widmer is a content marketing expert and freelance writer. He’s also the author of The Proven 7-Step Method to Landing Guest Posts, a free step-by-step guide to help business owners get guest post spots on top sites.

Content marketing isn’t a sprint—it’s a marathon. You can’t expect to release a few good pieces and see immediate results. Even if you do consistently release a piece a month, a piece a week or even a piece a day, results aren’t guaranteed.

Why?

Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? Why are you writing? If you’re just putting content out there for the sake of putting it out there, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see a high level of success.

I don’t mean “why” in some ethereal sense of doing a greater good (although I will talk about that), but why in a sense of strategic goals and purpose.

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Clean Up Your Business' Online Presence

Posted by Tracy Lewis on November 22, 2016

My favorite local hangout is a restaurant less than five minutes from my house. The large food portions, reasonable prices and friendly staff keep my husband and me returning. But, they weren’t always right down the street. Before moving to their current location, they were 10 minutes up the road.

When they announced the opening of the new, larger space, most established customers followed them eagerly. But would new customers be able to find this hidden gem?

That depends on where they are looking.

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Developing a credible, consistent presence on social media may seem like a daunting task for small or mid-sized businesses. But, with a strategic approach, the time spent is well worth it.

Social media is a communication cornerstone for more than one generation. In fact, research shows that there are nearly 3.4 billion Internet users worldwide. Of those, 2.3 billion have social media accounts. 

Still worried your audiences aren’t there? Think again. The likelihood that your audiences are on social media has never been higher. In fact, users 65 years and older made up the fastest-growing age range in 2015, followed by 18-29-year-olds.

This guide explains how small businesses can—and should—take advantage of the opportunities that social media has to offer to help grow and enhance their business. 

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The following is a guest post from Michael Peggs. Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships in the United States and Asia. He is also a contributor to The Huffington Post, FastCompany and Business Insider as well as and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy Podcast You University. You can connect with Michael (@MichaelPeggs) on Twitter. 

Generating traffic to your website requires going beyond the page, so to speak. It’s great that you used proper H1 headers, implemented powerful keywords, and sprinkled in a few internal links. But if you want to take your brand’s exposure up a notch, you must focus on building an effective off-page SEO strategy. If done correctly, your website will start earning backlinks on its own, improving your search engine rank and overall SEO. Plus, I think we would all like to work smarter instead of harder, right? Here are 3 link-building strategies to get you started.

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published on the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, a new community for modern marketers created and powered by PR 20/20. 

In April 2015 I launched an internal initiative at PR 20/20 named Project Copyscale designed to answer one seemingly straightforward question, can we automate content creation through artificial intelligence (AI)? More specifically, can we use machines to write blog posts?

Like most organizations, we were struggling to create content at scale, while maintaining quality.

I had just returned from SXSW in Austin where I heard the managing editor of the Associated Press and the CEO of Automated Insights discuss how the AP had used Automated Insights technology to shift earnings reports to 100 percent machine written.

I had spent the better part of three years theorizing and building software that would use AI to automate marketing strategy. So I knew theoretically what was possible, but I had no idea if the technology truly existed to transform our agency, the marketing industry and the business world at large.

What we’ve learned since that time has altered my view of what’s possible today, and in the near future. We’re still experimenting with developing AI software, but I’ve shifted our focus to something we’re more uniquely qualified to do—tell the story of AI from a marketing perspective.

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