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Back when the earth was young and so was I, feedback on my writing came from a grizzled, chain-smoking editor throwing a story back at me and growling “What the hell does this mean? Clean it up.”

Now that I’m doing content marketing for clients, the feedback is a pop-up suggesting I tweak the title or juice up the metadescription. Or at least that’s how it works in Hubspot (screen show below,) an integrated marketing platform I’m considering for my clients who are using blogs to generate prospects. Among a lot of other features, it continually scans the Web for what content is getting the most hits, and suggests improvements with the the click of an “optimize” button.

It’s clearly a new world when the software we use to create content automatically and dynamically tells us what our readers want. Or, rather, tries to tell us what readers want. Algorithms and click-through patterns only identify what readers choose from what’s offered them. Vendors still need a savvy “marketing journalist” to look at what content is currently being offered, see what’s missing and draw prospects to the site with a brilliant piece the readers didn’t know they wanted.

(For an obvious comparison, look at Apple with the iPod and iPhone. There were plenty of MP3 players and smartphones before Apple entered the market, but Steve Jobs and his team brilliantly saw what customers needed but couldn’t describe — until they saw it.)

All this means that, in addition to strong processes and capable content management tools, a content marketing strategy requires two kinds of skills:

“Analog” skills such as a gut understanding of what makes a good story, and a “feel” for good writing, design and presentation, along with

“Digital” skills to analyze the flood of data about who is reading and sharing your content on Web sites, blogs and social media, and to tweak your offerings to maximize their interest and draw prospects.

The best content marketing will result when the creative and analytical sides work closely together, and when each side knows when to back off the let the other’s superior insights win the day. Just how that will work is anyone’s guess – but if you have experience doing it in the B2B world (especially using HubSpot) I’d love to hear, and share, your insights.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Filed under: Content Marketing

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