Oh, those pesky keywords. For communicators who would rather write sentences than algorithms, finding the phrases that will viralize your posts seems like a New York Times word game gone wrong.

Good news! You don’t have to wake up at four a.m. weighing the merits of  “member satisfaction” versus “satisfying member customers.” AI, your new marketing assistant, is happy to help.

My post last week summarized highlights of an Association 4.0 podcast featuring Jane Pearson, .orgSource, Vice President Marketing and Communications Services and Amy Williams, President and CEO Brand Health Media. Jane and Amy shared insights about the opportunities and challenges of integrating AI into marketing programs.

Exploring AI’s potential is a little like navigating the Amazon in a dugout canoe. It’s rich in excitement and discovery but laced with more than a dash of danger. And there is so much new scenery to absorb and understand. I wasn’t able to cover Jane and Amy’s conversation in one post, so I’m taking up the thread again here.

If AI could only help me with one thing, search engine optimization or SEO, would be at the top of my list. The process of seeding communications to put them in the right hands is tedious and slightly opaque. Yet, if you are a wizard with keywords, your audience will hear you.

Up Your SEO Advantage

“Ranking high in the search process can be a significant challenge,” Amy advised. “There’s a lot of news right now about people using AI to achieve better results. I definitely see AI playing a role in that space. It’s a phenomenon that every marketer should be watching.”

AI tools can automate many of the SEO activities that were once outside the realm of more casual users. These are a few of its talents and tricks for putting your words at the top of the queue:

AI tools can automate many SEO activities.
  • Keyword research—Find relevant keywords and track their performance over time.
  • Content optimization—Assess keyword density, title tag length (The length of the title that is displayed in search engine results.), and meta descriptions (Html summaries of page contents.)
  • Backlink analysis—Identify high-quality links to other websites that increase your site’s authority and its position in the search. You can also identify links that may be harming your results.   
  • Continuous improvement—Once you’ve established SEO practices and procedures, AI tools can help you keep your site optimized for peak performance.

ChatGPT and Bard, its Google counterpart, can explain the ins and outs of SEO and generate a list of plausible keywords. But to seamlessly perform all the functions listed above you’ll need a suite of AI tools. Here’s a list of providers courtesy of Bard.

Most of these companies allow you to try their products on for size free of charge.

Supercharge SWOT Analytics

“There are so many marketing tasks where AI can take up the drudgery and open space for more creative pursuits. One that comes immediately to mind is the SWOT analysis,” Jane said. “Marketers can spend hours gathering research that AI could help you organize and summarize in minutes.”

A SWOT analysis is a task AI could help you launch.

I experimented with both Bard and ChatGPT using this prompt: Provide a SWOT analysis of a company called .orgSource. In less than a minute, I had a list of strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. Granted, without any information beyond what it could find in its electronic domain, the results were basic. But they were an impressive starting point.

Both bots produced similar output; ChatGPT offered more information, however, Bard was the most accurate. When I asked Bard what data would be needed to produce a comprehensive analysis, it responded like this:

  • Your website. Your website is a great source of information about your company, including its products or services, its mission and vision, and its history. I would read through your website carefully and take notes on the information I find. (Reading and note taking??)
  • Your financial statements. Your financial statements can provide insights into your company’s financial health, such as its revenue, expenses, and profits.
  • Customer surveys. Customer surveys can give you valuable insights into your customers’ thoughts and feelings about your company. I would look for surveys that have been conducted recently and that have a large sample size.
  • Industry reports. Industry reports can provide you with insights into your industry, such as the latest trends, the competitive landscape, and the regulatory environment. I would look for industry reports that are up-to-date and that are from reputable sources.
  • Social media. Social media can be a great way to gather information about your company’s reputation and how your customers perceive your brand. I would look at your company’s social media accounts and see what people are saying about your products or services.
  • Your competitors. It is important to know your competitors and what they are doing. I would research your competitors’ websites, financial statements, and social media accounts to see how they are positioned in the market.
  • I would also ask you questions about your company and its industry. I would ask you about your products or services, your target market, your competitive landscape, and your goals for the future.

If you were to feed Bard all of that data, you would probably have the foundation for a decent analysis. To clue Bard in, you can upload documents to the cloud and include the links in your prompt. After Bard responds, the files can be deleted.

I tried uploading a financial statement. The responses to the few questions that I asked were nonsense. In one conversation, Bard told me that we could meet in person or on Zoom to discuss my questions. That’s a reminder to proceed with caution. The bots are subject to unexpected flights of fancy. Let me know if you experiment and learn more about AI’s predictive powers.

Measure Results

“Marketers are always looking to measure their skills. Assessing results and productivity is another area where AI could help us,” Jane observed. “Eventually I believe that organizations will be building their own AI tools.

“I can imagine creating a report that would wrap all the data from web analytics, social media, e-mail campaigns, member acquisition, and ROI into one package. Then, all you need to do is put a bow on the good news and show your boss he made the right decision hiring you.

“ChatGPT and Bard can’t sing your professional praises yet. But as no-code programming becomes even easier, customized analytics are certain to be just over the horizon.”

“The opportunities seem endless,” Amy agreed. “On the other hand, I worry about the dangers of such a powerful tool in the wrong hands. But I also believe that marketing teams should embrace AI and discover new ways to use it to improve our profession.

“The next generation will lead the way. AI will be part of their early work experience. I recently heard a story about a high school student who used ChatGPT to write an essay. Instead of criticizing him for not doing the work, his teacher praised his innovative approach.

“Our professions will look very different 10 years from now. I can’t imagine what will be keeping us up at night. But I can guarantee it won’t be keywords.”