About 4,000 miles from Connect PR’s Wolverhampton headquarters, words are being sewn together to create today’s news articles.
But this is not being done by human hands. This is content creation of tomorrow using computers capable of taking masses of information, facts and figures to create legible articles – entirely without intervention.
It might sound like science fiction, but over in Chicago the trained computers of the Narrative Science company are churning out stories every 30 seconds. It could be a report on a basketball match derived from comments on Twitter, or a quarterly company report crafted from sales figures.
The resulting copy won’t win a Pulitzer Prize – not just yet at least – but you would struggle to know that it’s been written by a robot. It’s coherent.
In a world of rampant content creation, it could be a huge development. Kristian Hammond, the co-founder of Narrative Science, reckons that in 15 years 90 per cent of all news will be penned by a computer.
This robo-content, when it enters the mainstream, will add to the ever-increasing muddle of content being churned out for blogs and websites. As more and more content is produced, by professional and amateurs alike (and machines), the fight is intensifying to be heard over the background noise. So much of what is being published in blogs and on website is at best bland and at worst sleep-inducing.
But businesses that ignore content creation do so at their peril. Producing regular, engaging copy is the best way to climb the Google rankings, engage with customers and be considered an industry leader. In fact, a survey carried out by a US internet marketing company discovered that almost two-thirds of customers wanted to be able to view content from their favourite brands, and almost half confirmed they did read such blogs.
By following some simple steps, businesses can make sure their content shouts above the humdrum. Content should be relevant and interesting to prospective customers and it shouldn’t be littered with sales talk. And one more essential – it must be pushed on social media, as there is little point if nobody reads it.
There may come a day when a MacBook Air can produce tailored blogs that sparkle – but until then, it’s down to business bosses to make sure they are not left behind.
Sean Wozencroft is a PR executive at Top 150 agency, Connect PR.