“The future isn’t human or artificial intelligence; it’s human plus artificial intelligence,” insists Anirudh Singla, co-founder and CEO of Pepper Content. The content management specialist believes that the rapid advance of generative AI will help businesses such as his, rather than replace them.
Founded six years ago, Pepper Content connects businesses in need of content with experienced and expert creators that are able to help them develop it. Working with around 150,000 creators, it has helped more than 2,500 businesses develop content, including blue-chip clients such as Amazon, Google and Adobe.
Importantly, Pepper Content identifies the leading voices in any given content segment so that clients are working with creators who have genuine expertise in what they’re writing about. The company already uses AI to support creators – its technology is based on the increasingly ubiquitous OpenAI GPT-3 – but also offers a range of tools to help marketers identify what content they need and to analyse the impact of the final output.
The next stage in the development of the fast-growing business is the roll-out of what Singla describes as the first end-to-end content marketing platform. “This is category creation,” he claims. “We believe that every company is now a content company, but if that’s the case, every company needs an efficient way to scale up their content creation.”
Pepper Content’s big idea is that just as customer relationship management (CRM) platforms have become a must-have for businesses seeking to professionalise their interactions with customers, so content management platforms will become vital to the growing number of businesses intent on driving sales and engagement through content.
Effectively, the goal is to industrialise content creation. Businesses that once employed a handful of writers to create small numbers of content are now seeking to generate thousands or hundreds of thousands of outputs, Singla explains. To operate at that scale requires new technology as well as human interaction.
To that end, Pepper Content’s platform seeks to automate and centralise much of the work around content creation. It will undertake keyword research, identify expert creators, manage the creation process, and employ data analytics tools to assess how the final piece lands. That insight can then feed back into the next content creation process. “Every piece you publish should be more intelligent than the last one,” argues Singla.
His pitch, in other words, is that the platform will manage content at every step of the way – something that generative AI can’t match. “The platform enables building an SEO content strategy, content operations, content analytics, and distribution,” Singla argues. “It solves three main objectives that most marketers struggle with when it comes to content: growing organic traffic, scaling content efficiently, and providing content return on investment.”
By building generative AI into the middle of the platform, at the point where the creator is tasked with writing the content, Pepper Content is acknowledging the disruptive power of this new technology. But Singla is convinced that the additional value the platform’s tools provide on top of that technology will be a unique selling point for the platform.
One advantage the company has is that it has been able to build the solution on the basis of feedback from its existing clients, with more than 200 CMOs and marketing leaders having provided feedback on what they would want from such a platform.
Singla is also excited about the potential to expand on the initial offer. The platform will initially generate traditional written content, but new functionality offering multi-media content is imminent – the ability to generate video, for example, should be available within months.
The company is convinced that an end-to-end content solution of this type, which incorporates generative AI rather than seeking to compete with it, will be attractive to customers – particularly to enterprises looking to scale up their content creation quickly. “The future of content marketing is all about the right technology, people, and processes.” insists Rishabh Shekhar, Pepper Content’s co-founder and COO. “This is a way for marketers to work far more efficiently.”
For their part, content creators will also hope the company’s diagnosis proves right, amid predictions that the creator economy will simply be replaced by generative AI solutions. It has to be acknowledged that the jury remains out on that one.