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Editor's Note: The following excerpt originally appeared in Content Marketing Fast Forward. See the full article here

Despite advances in marketing automation, much of the technology marketers rely on to plan, execute, and evaluate content marketing campaigns is elementary. But artificial intelligence (AI) possesses the power to change everything. Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines smarter, which in turn augments human knowledge and capabilities.

While traditional marketing technology is built on algorithms in which humans code sets of instructions that tell machines what to do, with AI the machine creates its own algorithms, determines new paths and unlocks unlimited potential to advance marketing and business.

It may seem like a futuristic concept, but AI-powered technologies are already being used today by companies like Amazon, Salesforce, and HubSpot to improve marketing and sales. In the process, AI will change how brands organize their content marketing.

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Goal-oriented marketers aim to produce top-notch results that prove their efforts are worth it. Take content creation: We want to produce the most effective assets, reach the right audiences, and in turn, gain more website visitors, obtain leads and boost our site’s rank. 

But, while a good content asset is useful, what if you aren’t reaching the right audiences? Or, what if you aren’t reaching any audience at all, and your time is wasted on stale or unusable content?

As a simple example, take into account the amount of time it takes to produce a blog post. According to HubSpot, about 30% of marketers spend two to three hours writing blog posts. Now, multiply that by the two, three or four posts you’re producing in a week, and suddenly, you’ve devoted almost an entire workday to blog production, just to have no one read your efforts.

This is where maximum content distribution comes into play. Read below to learn several different promotion strategies, along with ideas to maximize your content’s ROI across three different types of audiences.

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The following is a guest post by John Hall. John Hall
 (@johnhall) is the CEO of  Influence & Co. , a keynote speaker, and the author of " Top of Mind ." You can book John to speak  here .


If I asked you to close your eyes and picture the two people you trust most in the whole world, who would you see? I see my wife and my mother. Years of offering wise counsel, challenging me to grow, and teaching me something new have fostered an incredible bond of trust and respect between us.

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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 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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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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Content Marketing World or as others may know it, #CMWorld, is an incredible event for marketers, journalists and techies from across the globe to gather and share niche content knowledge. As the largest content marketing event around, the opportunities to learn trade tricks, network with leading influencers and fuel creativity are endless. 

This year, the PR 20/20 team sent four employees, including myself, to the local conference to mingle with the best and brightest in content marketing. From September 6 – 9, we attended roughly 35 sessions total, including our CEO, Paul Roetzer’s session, alongside more than 4,000 pros.

Did you miss the event this year? Not to worry. Our PR 20/20 attendees including director of marketing, Taylor Radey (‪@TaylorLauren‪), consultant, Megan Wolk (‪@megan_wolk‪), associate consultant, Shannen Laur (‪@slaur9‪) and myself (@AllisonKurz) recapped a few of our favorite sessions (and actionable takeaways) below. And if you were there, tell us about your top sessions and speakers in the comments!

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No one ever said becoming a great writer would be easy. Luckily, there are some simple ways you can sharpen your skills with minimal effort. 

Learning how to write well is important no matter your industry. Written communication is often the first touch point in many relationships. Whether you're drafting a blog post, social media message or email, your writing will influence how others view you. 

To be an effective communicator, you must concisely explain the value you’re offering in the first few sentences. Your writing should also be free of typos and grammatical errors, even if it’s just an email.

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The following is a guest post from Matt Banner. Matt is a seasoned blogger and entrepreneur, with a decade of experience in the online world of blogging, SEO, and marketing. You can find him online @BlastYourBlog.

While some people like to interchange the two terms, link building and content marketing are very different from one another. That being said, both are aimed at providing value to the reader, and in that way they compliment each other in a number of ways.

Below, we’ll look at these two terms and how they fit together, plus an infographic packed with all the latest link building strategies.

Content Marketing & Link Building: Two Peas in a Pod

When you boil it down, link building can result in epic content and content marketing can help you build links. But, on their own, they are very different approaches with varying goals. Even so, they can work together.

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