Can AI Match Humans in Emotional Content Marketing?

Can AI match humans in emotional content marketing? Let’s put it this way: it’s complicated. Sometimes, AI and emotional content click. But in other instances, cringeworthy content emerges when you task AI with an emotion-laden assignment.

Simple case in point: Grammarly. It works well…until it doesn’t. An editor friend of mine shared this story about AI’s sometimes cringeworthy approach to emotional topics.

One of her agency’s clients, a human fertility specialist who treats couples who have struggled to conceive a child, needed a post on in-vitro fertilization. Of course, the writer used the word “eggs” quite a bit in the copy.

Grammarly decided the writer used that word too often, in its humble opinion. What did the AI-driven “assistant editor” suggest? Replacing “eggs” with “seeds!” Definitely a tone-deaf option, especially given such a sensitive subject.

My friend, of course, wisely ignored Grammarly’s advice. Certainly, AI has a way to go before it comes even close to capturing the complex nuances of human emotion.

But are there any applications where content marketers can use AI to amp up their production of emotional content marketing pieces? There are indeed – so let’s explore both its possibilities and limitations.

What Are the Latest Developments in AI’s Emotional Capacity?

To say that MIT Sloan is on the leading edge of AI development would be an understatement, particularly as it relates to emotion. They’re the researchers that introduced the world to the possibility of AI’s emotional potential in Rosalind Picard’s 1995 paper, “Affective Computing.”

Since then, MIT and other researchers have developed AI machines that can learn to recognize, simulate, and react to human emotion. Dubbed “Emotion AI,” this technology still does best when it partners with humans to perform marketing tasks.

An Ideal Tool for Testing an Audience’s Reactions to Content

Picard, along with MIT alum Rana el Kaliouby, founded Affectiva, an emotion AI company whose product is also called “Affectiva.” The inventors discovered that Affectiva could capture, identify, and measure the intensity of body language that indicates emotions and do it more accurately and quickly than human observers.

For content marketers, Affectiva is a game-changer for testing an audience’s reactions to a piece of content or a video. If the piece brings out the desired emotion, publish it. If not, back to the drawing board. However, when it comes to creating the kind of nuanced emotional content that drives your audience further along in their buyer’s journey, emotion AI isn’t quite ready for prime time.

Leave Most Content Creation to Humans

Although Affectiva’s creators have high hopes for their product’s evolution into a full-fledged creative, emotions and all, they admit that these hopes lie in the future. So, I wouldn’t advise anyone to replace their human content teams with an AI one. There’s just too much riding on hitting the right emotional pitch.

Here’s why. Emotion carries a lot of purchasing clout. Ask any laundry soap manufacturer. They’re experts in leveraging the shame of stained shirts into piles of cash.

But what about B2B marketing? Surprisingly, research shows that 62 percent of business decision-makers turn to their “gut feelings” when it’s time to decide. No matter what business you’re in, it’s critical to engage your audience’s emotional investment in your content.

But Can AI Actually Create Content?

While AI cannot match humans in creating emotional marketing content, it does have uses that go beyond testing completed work. Although it’s always wise to check AI-generated content for both emotional tone and appropriate word usage, it does have its uses in content creation.

Generating Email Subject Lines and Blog Post Titles

AI’s strength lies in its ability to analyze massive amounts of data and spit out predictions. When you provide an AI-driven content generator with your target keywords, it can create a variety of headlines and subject lines for your teams to edit and test against the others.

Still, never let AI-generated content out of your sight until a human editor ensures that it makes sense to human readers, lest you let a tone-deaf phrase slip out into your published content.

Paid Search Ads and Short Posts

Large companies and news organizations often use AI content generators to create short news stories, social media posts, and paid search ads. For busy enterprise content teams who need to spend more of their time producing long-form content, using AI to write shorter pieces and a human editor to check them can save time and money.

First Drafts from Real-Time Data

Jumping on a trend before your competitors gives your company a distinct edge in getting to the top of search results for that topic. For example, those companies that published the first blog posts about how their product could help customers deal with the coronavirus pandemic positioned themselves as leaders in their industries.

AI can take breaking news or other data arriving in real-time, put it into readable form, and get it into the hands of your content teams quickly, allowing writers, designers, and other creatives to add the emotional touches that pull the audience’s heartstrings.

Creating Outlines and Briefs

Content management teams spend a good amount of time writing briefs and detailed outlines for their writers, designers, and video production personnel to follow. Using an AI-powered content-generating tool, you can save your time by looking online for information about the designated topic and then creating an outline or even a complete brief.

One such tool, MarketMuse, adds ideal KPIs and word counts to the mix, giving writers not only an outline but the goals they need to reach. After publication, if your content analytics show that the post hasn’t generated the KPIs it should, your writers can tweak it to shore up the weaker sections.

Content Recommendations

While you won’t find AI tools capable of the depth of emotion it takes to write an article that brings its readers to tears, it can recommend weepy selections to people who are hopeless romantics, “just the facts” articles for those Mr. Spock types among us, and pieces laced with subtle humor for people who enjoy a laugh or two.

Using an AI-driven tool like Uberflip to make data-based recommendations to your audience gives your blog and email subscribers a personalized experience that will have them believing that your company – even if it’s a global giant – can read their minds.

And when you combine those insights with a robust content automation platform, you can personalize your AI-enhanced content marketing at scale. Though AI can’t yet generate emotions, its personalized insights into those who do will give your audience the pop of emotion that they need to drive them further along in their buyer’s journey.

To take full advantage of AI’s capabilities, you need a central hub – a content management platform that can integrate with all your third-party tools, as well as handle your content management from ideation to publication and beyond.

DivvyHQ’s seamless integration with third-party software allows you to combine your teams’ creative power with AI-generated insights for content that’s second to none. Start your 14-day free trial today!