Self-driving cars, drones, and unmanned toll booths are all commonplace features of the transportation industry today, while these technologies were little more than a futuristic fantasy just decades ago. It’s not just transportation that’s seeing an automated takeover, either; nearly every industry is seeing huge transformations as robotic technologies become more affordable, readily available, and functional. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to assume that just about any working professional might reasonably be replaced by a robot upon his or her retirement, or perhaps even sooner. In the realm of content marketing, automation has often been discussed and attempted, but it has yet to stick. Is digital marketing one of the few industries that might survive a robot uprising? If so, why is it so different from other professions that can easily be taken over by our android brethren? Let’s dive in to a look at how robots have influenced the job market and whether they will eventually work their way into content marketing.
Robots in the Workforce
There are many jobs that involve a few specialized, repetitive tasks, which is exactly the type of work that robots excel at. It’s for this reason that factories have been largely automated, fast food restaurants have reduced the need for human workers, and reservation systems have largely migrated to computers. In addition, robots can do some jobs that are higher-risk for human workers, which is why there has been increased military investment in drones and other unmanned vehicles. Robots have even been designed to disarm bombs, perform construction jobs, and serve as security guards. From an employer perspective, robots also come with many advantages. A robot doesn’t need health insurance, a paycheck, or motivational incentives, nor will a robot ever be involved in a workplace dispute or file a worker’s compensation claim. But can robots be creative? Can they write content that will engage, inform, and inspire?
Robots already write content, and you might not even realize just how much of it you’ve read. Many major newspapers and magazine publications have downsized their staff significantly, but manage to churn out the same level of content, because computers can easily produce sports reports, corporate earnings reports, and the occasional front-page headline piece. Bots are very effective for many types of journalistic writing, because they output succinct yet intelligible reports based on the input of raw data. They also never suffer from the tragedies of writer’s block or burnout, so they are a logical choice for news publications that often repeat the same type of content but with updated facts and figures. As the technology continues to improve, it’s easier to customize for higher-level writing that might require more personality or voice, so the penetration of bot-produced content may only increase as the journalism industry scrambles to stay relevant with dwindling resources. Though the next logical step may appear to be bot-generated SEO content, it may not be quite so easy for robots to take over the industry—at least not yet.
Job Security in SEO
It’s difficult to make an argument that SEO is impossible to automate, because new software and technologies are available all the time. With the current technology available, however, there has not been a successful attempt to automate the industry with bot-generated content and data analysis. That’s because search engine optimization takes time, and at no point in an SEO campaign will it feel right to switch to autopilot. A big misconception with SEO is that the process is smooth and predictable after a strong initial effort, but the opposite actually tends to be true. A typical SEO campaign may see a big boost in search rank and site views initially, but keeping the numbers up requires creativity, insight, and flexibility.
SEO is both an art and a science, dedicated to understanding and predicting specific human behaviors. Unfortunately for aspiring robotic SEO writers, human behavior can be difficult to predict, because humans can be fairly erratic and illogical—2 traits unfamiliar to robot kind. What works to get an SEO campaign off the ground may not continue to engage consumers in the long run, and predicting the changes in consumer tastes and interests is not always easy. As people in the SEO industry, we can gauge emotional responses from readers who comment on blog posts or interact on social media, using these reactions to guide future content strategies. This improvisational response is a challenge for a programmed, automated content system. Sure, there are automated content tools that can help with the grunt work of analyzing ad performance data and generating keywords, but these tools cannot fine tune and adapt a strategy in the way that a dedicated account manager can. For now, there is no set-it-and-forget-it solution for content marketing, and the human element remains essential.
To get to know the human talent behind strong SEO writing, reach out to Pennington Creative. Our team can help you create a powerful brand message for your business with blog posts, newsletters, graphic design, downloadable content, and much more.