Ross Simmonds is the founder & CEO of Foundation, a global marketing agency that provides services to organizations all over the world ranging from some of the fastest-growing startups to global SaaS brands.
Ross was named one of Atlantic Canada's Top 50 CEOs and one of the top marketers in the world by BuzzSumo and SEMRush. He is also a well sought out public speaker, angel investor, and the author of multiple books.
Ross stopped by MarketerHire to talk about AI Marketing, content distribution, and AI video avatars.
Check out his full interview below:
The Age of AI: How to Harness Automated Content at Scale
The age of AI is here and it's changing content creation and marketing faster than ever before. As AI capabilities advance, nearly every aspect of content from writing to graphic design to video production will be transformed.
For marketers, this represents a huge shift. No longer will laborious and manual processes be needed to churn out blogs, social posts, and other materials. AI will deliver more content, faster, at a lower cost.
Forward-thinking brands have already begun experimenting with AI-powered content creation tools like Writesonic, Jasper, and Runway ML to scale their blogs, social media posts, images, videos, and more.
But to capitalize on this transformation, marketers can't just plug and play. Successfully adopting AI requires thoughtfully optimizing processes, governance, workflows and creative oversight. Marketers must recalibrate their strategies around these intelligent tools if they want to compete at the new speed and scale of content production.
In this post, we'll share some tactical tips and real-world examples of how leading marketers are harnessing automated content creation today.
- How AI content tools work to dynamically generate written, visual, video and audio content
- Specific use cases where AI content can save enormous time and money
- The key benefits AI offers in increased volume, personalization and conversion
- Practical steps to test and iteratively adopt AI content across different channels
- How to update workflows to fully support an AI-powered stack
- Methods for maintaining human creativity and oversight as AI scales
- The future vision of AI and humans collaborating to drive marketing performance
Whether you're an enterprise marketer managing a large team or an agile startup acting as a one-person media company, AI promises to transform your content creation process.
Adopting these tools may require updating your tech stack, processes and talent model - but those who embrace this shift early will gain a distinct competitive advantage.
So buckle up, and let's dive into exactly how leading marketers are using AI to conquer owned media, earn audience attention, and deliver highly customized experiences.
The future of marketing content is here!
How AI Tools Enable Content at Scale
AI-powered content creation relies on machine learning algorithms trained on vast datasets of high-quality human-created examples.
By ingesting millions of blog posts, images, videos or audio files, the algorithms learn to mimic human style, grammar, design principles and creative techniques.
Armed with this training, AI tools can then generate completely original content within specified parameters. As the training data continues expanding, the output quality keeps improving.
Today's AI content platforms are highly versatile across modalities:
Tools like Jasper, Quill, and Writesonic can generate blogs, social media posts, emails, web content, whitepapers, case studies and more. Marketers simply provide a headline, topic prompts or existing draft text and the AI will expand on it into cohesive, readable content.
The blog platform Futurism uses AI to create full posts based on story ideas their writers brainstorm. This allows their small team to efficiently cover dozens more topics and significantly increase site traffic.
AI design platforms like Canva, Runway, and Designs.ai can generate stunning, completely original images, graphics, and designs. Some tools allow iterating on prompts for unique variations, exploring millions of permutations.
For example, an athletic apparel brand could prompt the AI to "Create 10 original t-shirt graphics combining nature scenes with abstract shapes for an eco-conscious lifestyle line." The AI returns numerous on-brand, highly customizable designs far faster than human graphic designers could conceive.
Video & Audio Content
AI voice tools like Descript, WellSaidLabs, and VocaliD offer text-to-speech with realistic synthesized voices trained on specific speakers. These can narrate podcasts, explainer videos, Instagram videos and more. The AI voices eliminate the need for professional voice actors.
Platforms like Synthesia, Aisay, and Murf generate custom animated footage and CGI videos from text briefs.
Want an animated brand mascot or spokesperson?
AI can create, iteratively refine and even "voice" the character based entirely on prompts.
As these creation technologies continue advancing, virtually every content medium, format and distribution channel can be automated by AI.
The possibilities are truly endless for marketers to achieve exponential scale.
Key Benefits for Marketers
The speed, personalization and cost efficiencies unlocked by AI create tangible competitive advantages for brands:
Unmatched Volume & Throughput
The raw output velocity of AI tools dwarfs what even the largest human creator teams could produce.
An AI content platform can generate over 100 blog posts per day based on prompts.
A human would struggle to complete one post in that timeframe.
This supercharged scale allows marketers to dominate owned channels as media publishers. Instead of sporadic posts, brands can continually churn out fresh blogs, videos, and social content reliably.
Related to volume, AI enables hyper-personalized content by dynamically inserting customized variables into formats that serve as templates.
An energy company could have the AI generate personalized tips for reducing home energy consumption based on the customer's location, household size and appliance types. In this use case, thousands of customers would be able to receive advice tailored to their specific energy usage.
Similarly, AI can tweak content tone, complexity, imagery and other variables to finely tune messaging for different personas and buyer stages. The end result connects far better than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Given the exponential increase in output paired with reduced human creator costs, AI content creation has far superior economics. Marketers can reallocate budgets away from manually developing owned media content to other priorities.
Over time as content becomes a revenue driver through lead gen or advertising, AI provides a much higher return on investment.
Creator salaries or overhead costs are minimal compared to an in-house or agency team required to produce the same volume.
In summary, leveraging scale, personalization and cost benefits unlocks game-changing competitive advantages for brands adopting AI content creation.
Tactical Tips for Implementation
Successfully rolling out an AI content strategy requires thoughtful planning and governance.
Below are key practical steps:
Start Small, Iterate Quickly
When first testing AI content, focus on a single channel versus attempting to replace all human creation. Identify 3-5 use cases where AI could clearly augment or automate workflow bottlenecks.
Measure beyond vanity metrics to analyze true conversion impact across funnel stages from new visitors to sales. If the AI content falls short, tweak prompts and parameters until it matches or exceeds human creative performance.
Building trust with small wins paves the way for iteratively expanding AI’s footprint across blog, social, visuals, video and other owned properties.
Update Workflows Around AI
Fully benefiting from automated creation requires structuring workflows to leverage AI’s unique capabilities.
Whether implementing for a small startup or a large enterprise, document detailed processes for:
- Briefing AI tools with guidelines, prompts and content/style parameters
- Tagging and organizing raw AI outputs in central repositories
- Reviewing AI content for quality control and edits by subject experts
- Distributing finalized assets across channels through marketing automation
Figure out how AI fits within your existing content architecture - and adapt infrastructure if needed to take advantage of it.
Maintain Strong Creative Oversight
Although AI handles the heavy lifting of initial content ideation and draft creation, ongoing human guidance is still critical for quality and strategic alignment.
Creative leads should provide prompt crafting guardrails and tone feedback in reviews/ They need to include relevant subject matter, data and provide context for AI output and continually monitor performance.
Treat your AI tool as a production partner rather than a fully autonomous creator.
The brands that have the most marketing success implement a collaborative hybrid model that strikes the right balance between human and artificial creativity. Neither role is fully replaced but rather both roles work together to optimize output.
Blending AI and Human Creativity
When introduced properly, AI and human creators form a dream team driving outsized marketing results.
AI Provides Scale, Personalization and Speed
The raw horsepower of AI content creation handles immense volumes across formats and channels. Its ability to dynamically personalize messaging and assets at an individual level was unfathomable just years ago.
Now, it ideates, writes, designs, animates and renders orders of magnitude faster than human creators work.
These strengths that augment output, customization and rapid iteration fuel quantifiable wins - more owned media properties, higher conversion rates, bigger audiences.
Humans Provide Quality, Strategy and Judgment
Yet for all its brute force generation power, AI still requires careful human guidance.
People must craft the prompts that frame the creative direction.
Subject matter experts need to review outputs, tweaking conceptual elements and fixing subtleties like tone, syntax or character.
And human strategic thinking is crucial for ensuring all machine-made content ladders up to business goals, meshes with broader marketing narratives and resonates with each intended audience.
Finding the Optimal Balance
Leading brands shoot for the best of both worlds in an AI and human partnership model.
The sweet spot balance depends on your content goals:
- Highly personalized but formulaic assets like regionalized social ads and localized landing pages flourish with more AI autonomy.
- Mass reach content like blogs demand detailed human oversight for quality and original perspectives.
- Experimental formats like interactive video or AR (augmented reality) environments warrant extensive upfront collaboration.
As tools continue evolving, finding the right equilibrium based on use case is key to maximizing both creative expression and performance.
But one thing is certain - neither humans nor AI alone can match the potential of their powers combined.
Implementing AI for marketing content creation may seem daunting. But as this post outlined, brands across sectors have already begun reaping major benefits.
The key is approaching AI content as an evolution requiring thoughtful change management, not just plug-and-play automation.
With careful workflow planning, governance and creative collaboration between algorithms and people, AI can unlock game-changing scale.
Let’s recap below some critical recommendations for spearheading your AI content strategy:
- Audit existing content workflows to identify optimization and automation opportunities
- Kickstart AI adoption through small, measured experiments focused on ROI
- Develop comprehensive processes for briefing AI tools, managing outputs, and oversight
- Continually provide creative guardrails through prompt crafting and guidance
- Ensure your martech stack integrates smoothly with AI functionalities
- Find the right balance between AI scale and human judgment tailored to each use case
The brands that invest now in understanding AI’s possibilities, iteratively testing applications and optimizing their strategies around automation will build an unassailable competitive edge.
Owning the future of exponentially scalable, personalized content starts with embracing creativity’s new artificial intelligence partners today.
But don’t forget that your role in guiding that process is as crucial as ever. As they saw, work smarter, not harder.