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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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I spent the first six years of my marketing agency career chasing hourly quotas instead of results. Our goal was to bill a minimum of five hours per day. 

Yes, we cared if the client was happy and successful, but the fundamental economic driving force behind the firm's existence, and my career potential, was the billable hour.

I discovered early on that the billable-hour model was a flawed, archaic, agency-centric system that wrongly tied agency performance to outputs, not outcomes. 

In 2004, four years into my career, I became highly motivated to build a more efficient and profitable solution that shifted the focus to client needs and goals. 

The idea was centered on making services tangible with clearly defined costs, features and benefits, almost like buying a product off a retail shelf or signing up for a software service.

My theory was that if clients understood exactly what they were getting, and agreed ahead of time what it was worth, then we could remove the mystery from the equation and focus on delivering value and results. 

The problem was that the billable-hour model was the only one I had ever known. How would I build an entirely new financial model and productize a service business?

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“SEO is no longer just about 200 ranking factors," according to Gianluca Fiorelli, SEO and web marketing consultant. “SEO is about making our websites become the sources Google cannot help but use for answering queries.”

How do we, as content marketers, focus on making our websites these undeniable sources for answers? First, we need to understand how Google operates in 2016, and where Google is headed. From Penguin to Possum, in what direction is Google heading now?

Continue reading for an update on Google’s current state, why SEO is important and how marketers can tailor SEO strategies for a sustainably high-ranking future.

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The following is a guest post from Shane Barker. Shane is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities. You can connect with Shane (@Shane_Barker) on Twitter. 

From digital marketers to top brands, everyone is making the most of influencer marketing. You see dozens of articles talking about its effectiveness and tips on how to implement it. But, why is there such hype about influencer marketing?

Several studies have revealed that there’s a good reason why so many marketers and brands are flocking to influencers. Read on to find out more about how influencer marketing impacts all aspects of your performance.

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Seth Godin would argue that content marketing is the “only marketing left.” Michael Brenner said, “It is the hottest trend in marketing because it is the biggest gap between what buyers want and brands produce.”

What’s more, over the years, the practice has more than proven its value. Don’t believe me? According to Demand Metric: “Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.”

So why might CMOs still undervalue the potential impact of content efforts? 

If your team isn’t tying content production to bottom-line outcomes, then leadership likely isn’t making the connection either. The best content programs are performance-driven; they connect tactics to organizational end goals. 

But, to develop a truly performance-driven content approach, your team must first understand what metrics will matter to your top executives.

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