An expert in a digital haystack. How can you tell if someone really is a digital PR expert… well it is hard because Digital PR can cover so much. Do you want an “expert” most skilled at influencing discussion in online forums, relations with bloggers, relations with social network influencers: key twitterers, facebook group admins etc? Do you want someone best at traditional online PR and relations with major online portals?
Maybe what you want is actually someone who is great at making a video go viral, but then do you want someone who can write the most comprehensive strategy for that, full of the latest techniques, or someone with great relationships on the ground to do the work quickest?
And we haven’t considered content. If your “expert” can’t come up with ideas for great PRable digital apps, games, videos, downloads, and at least manage their creation, then what good are they in the age when content is king?
Perhaps most important of all, is your expert any good at leading a team, getting work done to deadline, going the extra yard, being ingenuous to make a problematic campaign work, managing or relating with a client, presenting ideas.
It seems to me you most often get four categories of digital PR expert that aren’t exactly the full package:
1) Passionate Jargon Talker: Great at talking the theory of digital PR and great at bamboozling the client into submission, but not necessarily sure how to do any of what they just said… but they’ve said it before and by lord they’ll say it again!
2) Backstairs Geek: Immersed in the digital world but not to be shown to the outside world at all costs, and wont ever pick up the phone
3) Already the Master: “I’m a digital PR guru because I’m on facebook and can search on twitter” (normally fresh out of university)
4) Throw Money At It: The digital PR who is normally a little lazy that thinks the answer for every scenario is to do paid for placements
So your ideal digital PR expert would be able to instead talk the talk, walk the walk, look presentable and can ideally do everything in paragraphs 1,2,3… and be a reasonable human being at the same time…and someone you can trust with your business.
But there is a way that you wouldn’t have to be so multiskilled:
a) have a team with so many specialist “experts” in they can make up the whole in bit parts – but that’s one big old team, or
b) do nothing more than be born with an amazing palate, put on a wacky shirt, and become a Ben & Jerry’s flavour guru.
Yes two men really do have the job of going around the world tasting flavours to go into Ben & Jerry’s ice-creams . What else do they have to do? Nothing!….