Steve Rubel’s 3 Tips on Tweaking Content Strategy

Edelman on Wednesday named Steve Rubel chief content strategist, a newly created position.

Rubel, who was previously executive VP of global insights and strategy, will be responsible for creating best practices in content strategy for Edelman’s clients, which range from Adobe to GE Corp. to Starbucks, as well for internal purposes at the global agency.

A big believer in the “every company is a media company” mantra, Rubel says the PR pros need to change their communications mindset in order to capitalize on a media landscape that’s been upended by the Web and social channels. They also need to adopt a media-buying discipline.

“What’s happening is that content is becoming a new discipline within advertising, sponsored content or ‘native advertising,’ as some call it,” Rubel says. "That’s where you either create , or co-create with media companies, and pay for it to be" on channels targeting your respective audience(s).

He spoke with PR News about three ways that PR departments can sharpen their content-marketing strategy.

> Real-time newsroom mentality. It’s important to be fluid and operating in real-time and being able to turn on a dime. If content is the engine of PR it can’t just be a separate division, it needs to be integrated.

> You need a “content” versus a “message” mentality. Your starting point is great content and your challenge is to make the message become part of that, rather than start with a message, and do spin, and have content be a part of that. You ask, ‘What’s it in for the reader/consumer,’ rather than, ‘What’s the message that I can across?’ It’s a different mindset. That needs be the point of view for the content; otherwise it’s not going to work.

> Use data and the numbers to tell the story. Let those areas reveal market needs and measure your performance. Don’t be afraid to conduct  two-week tests to get an initial reaction to the content. Try something for two weeks in a limited way and if it works, great, you can build from it, whereas if it doesn’t, you get out.

Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1