I know it’s cliche to talk about the weather, but can we rejoice at how warm it’s gotten? The temperatures here in Chicago jumped 20 degrees overnight, which is all too welcome after this neverending winter. Pretty soon, it’ll be time to spend every free evening sipping cocktails by the pool.

So, instead of reading this edition of The Content Marketing Weekly inside at your desk, grab your phone or tablet and head to a nice bench in the sunshine. You’ll find the concept of reading content on a mobile device quite relevant this week.

Marketing in the Age of Alexa

I don’t have Alexa, but whenever I shop on Amazon’s app, I see little notes telling me I can order products just by talking to this feminine AI assistant.

Alexa, order me the maximum amount of Goldfish crackers.

 

In a few short years, we’ll all be living in a world where we let AI assistants organize every aspect of our daily lives – not unlike the short story at the beginning of this article from Harvard Business Review. And as HBR suggests, these assistants can and will be great marketing tools – even for B2B companies. After all, it’s not unfathomable to think AI assistants will make their way into the business environment, with Siri, Alexa or Bixby in every cubicle and executive office.

With their ability to “learn” needs and preferences,  AI assistants may be used in lots of business decisions in the near future, from finding cheaper paper to major software purchases. As such, marketers need to start asking themselves a very important question: When the time of AI assistants comes, how will we use these platforms to further our marketing goals?

Check out all of HBR’s thoughts on AI assistants and marketing here.

First Batch of Google Mobile-First Indexing Notifications Goes Out Today

Have you seen the following message in your website’s Google Search Console?

Mobile-first indexing enabled for http://yourwebsite.com/

This means that you may see more traffic in your logs from Googlebot Smartphone. You may also see that snippets in Google Search results are now generated from the mobile version of your content.

If so, congratulations! You’re one of the first to have your website enabled for mobile-first indexing. Hopefully you’ve audited everything to make sure you’re ready.

According to a report from Search Engine Land, these notices first started arriving at the end of April – nearly two years after Google first announced the idea of mobile-indexing in November 2016. Now that it’s finally here, it’s really important to make sure your site is mobile-optimized.

Need some help? See what we have to say about mobile-first indexing, and check out our four tips for creating mobile-ready content.

Read the full article from Search Engine Land here.

How to Create Pillar Content Google Will Love

Speaking of Google, the Content Marketing Institute has a great long-form article on creating pillar pages. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, think of a pillar page as a Wikipedia article. It’s a single spot on your website that contains a high-level overview of everything concerning a particular topic. Pillar pages also link to other pieces of content where readers can learn about a specific subsection of the topic in depth.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re creating a pillar page on chicken pot pie (food is always a good topic). This page would include an ingredients list (along with other information), and users could click through each piece to learn more. The linked chicken page, for example, would talk about different ways to prepare chicken specifically for pot pie, when to cook the chicken in relation to the other ingredients, the difference in flavor between grass-fed and corn-fed chickens and anything else that has to do with fowls and pot pie.

Hungry for more? Make yourself a pot pie and read the full piece here.

7 Ways Protections for Online Content are Being Eroded

If you’re up to date on internet news, you may have heard the term FOSTA crop up during the past month or two. FOSTA, the Fighting Online Sex Trafficking Act, could have some pretty bad implications for businesses that utilize guest blogging and user-generated content.

Writing for Marketing Land, Wesley Young of the Local Search Association noted that while FOSTA’s primary target is illegal activity conducted online, it also sets a precedent that could make publishers (i.e., companies) responsible for posts created by other people. Although Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 protects publishers from the consequences of others’ content, FOSTA alters the law in a way that successfully shut down the classified ads website Backpage.com. The goal of the alteration was to target online sex trafficking.

Sounds like a good idea, but Young says the concept could be taken further to make publishers responsible for all of the content on their websites. In essence, your business could be held liable for any information published on your blog or social media pages, even if that information came from another party.

Curious about the seven implications Young identifies? Check out the full piece here.

Done? Don’t worry, I won’t tell your boss if you spend an extra few minutes outside.

What content marketing news have you come across this week?

Autumn Green is a Brafton writer living in Chicago. She thought she wanted to be an artist growing up, but her time in college taught her that writing is much more fun. On the weekends, you can find her browsing museums or buying cookbooks.