FIR Interview: Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist, Edelman

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The race to take advantage of new ways that consumers read, watch and listen to content – and how marketers want to sponsor those initiatives – has led a giant public relations agency to name a senior executive to a new, content-centric post.

That’s how The New York Times reported on the appointment of Steve Rubel as Chief Content Strategist at Edelman, the global PR firm, in February.

In his new role, Rubel – previously the PR firm’s Executive Vice President of Global Strategy and Insights – is responsible for creating and cultivating best practices in content strategy from inside and outside the firm and for piloting new and innovative programs such as media partnerships that blend paid, earned and owned disciplines.

In this FIR Interview – the fourth time since 2005 that we’ve had the pleasure of talking to Steve on FIR – co-hosts Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation with him in which he explains his thinking on a media ecosystem that, he says, is in a constant state of flux. He considers the evidence for, and pointers to, a rapidly-evolving communication landscape where content isn’t the only king.

“As more brands ramp up their efforts to become storytellers in their own right, some are choosing to bypass certain agencies in favour of working directly with media owners,” he says. He believes this presents significant challenges and opportunities for PR firms as media firms move to disintermediate parts of the agency ecosystem – all in a quest for survival.

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About our Conversation Partner

Steve RubelSteve Rubel is Chief Content Strategist at Edelman, based in New York City. Since joining Edelman in 2006, Rubel has driven the firm’s thinking on the future of media and how content is produced, distributed, consumed and monetized across four screens.

Rubel works with teams across the network to help clients better understand and take advantage of the changes occurring in media consumption habits. He has provided strategic counsel to clients such as Adobe, Starbucks, Samsung, GE and many others. This work includes developing new approaches for partnerships between clients and media outlets.

Rubel is an industry thought leader on media trends, and has been a monthly columnist in Advertising Age since 2006. He has published two Clip Reports, which provide a look at the future of media. Rubel frequently speaks at conferences on media trends and has also been named to several prestigious lists, including PRWeek’s 40 Under 40. He was an early blogger on LinkedIn as part of their INfluencer Program and currently has more than 78,000 followers on Twitter.

Prior to joining Edelman, Rubel worked for 15 years in a variety of marketing communications positions in corporate, non-profit and small/mid-sized PR firms, including CooperKatz where he was an early pioneer in using social media in client programs. Before becoming an EVP in 2011, he served in a similar capacity in the firm’s Digital practice for five years.

Connect with Steve on Twitter: @steverubel.

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This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information: www.ragan.com.

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(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)

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About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.