In the last three or four years there has been a rush amongst many PR consultancies to appoint a head of social media or to build a digital team. If there was a right time to do this (and I doubt it), that time has certainly passed.
Digital PR skills can’t be siloed. It’s unacceptable for someone who claims to have expertise in PR not to understand the implications of digital channels and the near universal access to on-line media.
Even the terms ‘mainstream’ or ‘conventional’ media have little currency. The Guardian is mainstream and yet open journalism is now at the heart of its strategy. How many titles exist solely in a world where dead wood and ink are the only route to readership?
A specialist digital PR team is a cop out which allows people to believe that there are core skills that don’t include an understanding of blogs, social networks, the value of links, PR led SEO, and analytics. If you still have a digital team get them to train the rest of your people and then merge their activities. You won’t be asking people to cross the line. There is no line.