steve rubel If you're a small business owner or marketer trying to learn more about inbound marketing , you should be reading Steve Rubel's blog . Steve, who is SVP and Director of Insights at Edelman Digital , writes about public relations, blogging and new media. Earlier this week he answered a few questions for the HubSpot Inbound Marketing blog.

Q: You work at one of the world's top public relations firms . Large corporations pay top-dollar to get your advice. Why do you share so much of your knowledge on Twitter , FriendFeed and your blog ?

A: My mom is the most giving person I know. She instilled a practice of generosity in me that has become a lifelong habit. I enjoy giving and do so without any hopes of getting anything back. So that's the way I have always engaged online as well as off.

The "Edelman Way" is to share IP. If you look at the big pieces of research we put out, like the Trust Barometer or Good Purpose , or our global network of bloggers I think you will agree that sharing is in our culture. And it's been invaluable for building our business. That's one reason why I was so attracted to the firm.

Still, if you look at what I wrote on my blog three years ago and compare it today I think you would find subtle differences. When I was with a small firm there was less to be concerned about vis-a-vis the competition. So today, while I share lots of links and insights, I keep some of the best stuff - the actionable insights - for our clients and teams. I am choosy.

Q: Why are you active on so many different platforms? Why not just pick one -- maybe your blog, maybe Twitter -- and only publish there?

A: There are times I want to just go with one. However, I find that you need to be everywhere your audience is. It's critical to be a good "home team" and also good "road team." The web is constantly changing and I don't want to get stuck with one channel that might not be around in a few years.

Today at least, my blog is where I have home field advantage. I can more easily guide the conversation there. I also benefit from SEO. Twitter, Friendfeed and Facebook all are other ballparks where I equally need to be visible and engaged to help market the agency. We will see where this all goes! Who knows, maybe in a few years it will all be in one place.

Q: Knowledge sharing and inbound marketing may work for some technology-focused businesses, but what about businesses in more traditional industries? Do these approaches to marketing work for everybody?

A: Knowledge sharing is a classic PR strategy (we call it thought leadership). It has worked for decades. And it will continue to be pervasive as long as there are communities that have coalesced around a given niche.


Q: Business advocates of blogs and social media marketing are often stymied by skeptical superiors. What's the best way to advocate for new marketing practices in your company?

A: The easiest way to get people on board is to show them that meaningful conversations are taking place without them and, perhaps, with their competition.

Q: What's your favorite example of a small- or medium-sized business using social media or blogs to build a business? Why?

A: You mean other than Hubspot? Darn, that was my example.

Mint.com has done an amazing job. What I like about their blog is that they are not talking about themselves. Rather, they are pointing to interesting financial articles that offer advice/insights - something many people are looking for now. Rex Hammock has also done a great job building visibility for his company, Hammock Publishing .


Q: What advice do you have for small businesses that are getting started with a blog and social media? What do they need to do in order to be successful?

A: The best advice I can offer is to be curious and to constantly add value.


Q: Putting aside Edleman and HubSpot blogs (of course!), what are your five favorite blogs?

A: You can find a list here .


Q: What's the most popular blog post you've ever written?

A: Oddly enough, my ongoing series on "hacks" has been incredibly popular. Although, it's not exactly strategic for our business! This post , according to Yahoo Site Explorer, has nearly 2,000 links pointing to it.

Q: What's your favorite blog post that you've ever written? Why?

A: This one . It got people talking and pulled in over 1,000 links. And, it turns out, I was right. :-)


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Originally published Apr 7, 2009 8:26:00 AM, updated June 10 2021

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