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I’ve been too busy with clients for any shameless self-promotion lately, so it’s a pleasure to point out the Harvard Business Review just came to the same conclusion I did a number of month ago: There are still things human editors can do automated algorithms cannot.

A recent article by Eli Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble and the President of the Board of MoveOn.org., lists seven things human editors can do better than the software that creates personalized “feeds” based on your previous on-line activity. These include anticipating what will be news tomorrow (vs. what is news today,) judging the social importance of stories vs. what is trendy (Lady Ga-Ga, anyone?) and trust that the news feed will alert you to something you may not have known to ask for, but will be glad you read.

To be fair, the HBR story focuses only on the algorithms that decide what content to send readers, not how the information for them is gathered, verified or written. Those are topics I also covered in “Content Marketing” Where to Place Your Bets”. This ebook lays out the entire “value chain” of content from capturing an event to fact-checking, putting the event in context, adding insight and, oh yeah, making it a pleasure to read.

It also provides handy tips for B2B marketers looking to decide where they should spend their scarce marketing dollars on outside help like me and where they can leave the heavy lifting to customers, bloggers or even software.

The HBR piece is part of a swing of the pendulum away from the idea that fusty, crusty editors and reporters can be completely replaced by low-paid, low-quality writers like those laboring in content farms. Recognizing the threat to its credibility and usefulness, Google recently changed its own ranking mechanism to prevent this dreck from taking over the world.

But enough chest-thumping. It’s good to see my clients (IT vendors) are seeing the need for quality content. Hopefully, we’ll all demand the same thing in the “real” world to help us make the really important decisions about, oh, war, peace, taxes, deficits…

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.

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