19 November 2015

From my PR blog: You're an expert. Cool.

Hello all my lovely people.

The other day when I read this Globe and Mail article about how Canadians cook, this exchange leapt out at me:

Calder: Cookbooks, at least in the English tradition, usually came from someone who’d been cooking a long time, so now we get chef cookbooks but you also get a bunch of cookbooks from 22-year-old bloggers, who... 
Hunter: Know nothing. 
Calder: Quite frankly, what’s the palate? Do they know how to write a recipe? Now that every blogger’s got a book I think, where’s the authority? I think we’re missing a sense of authority right now because everybody’s an expert. Everyone’s a photographer, everyone’s a writer, everyone’s a curator.
There's more than an ounce of truth in those words, if my inbox is indication.  It got me thinking of about how it seems everyone is trying to position themselves as an expert, regardless of their actual knowledge or skill.

Every day I receive pitches from publishers, PRs, and marketers telling me about their latest cookery expert, nutrition expert, lifestyle expert, agriculture expert and other experts related (and some not related) to the food industry.  I also get messages directly from unknown experts trying to convince me I should write or tweet about them, let them write for me or recommend them for media interviews, panels and other brand-building exercises.

Unfortunately, many aren't experts.  Yes, they've mastered free, low-barrier publishing and sharing platforms, amassed followers and have a self-published book on Amazon, but these points don't really mean much if these "experts" don't have the chops.  It's as if they bank on being the smartest person in the room when they don't know whom else is here.  It's really as if they're looking for a shortcut to the twinkly rooms of legitimacy and celebrity where champagne flows freely and life is just one big, never ending party with Idris Elba as the DJ.

I jotted some thoughts on my PR blog about what I see as the cult of expertism.  It may help to explain why influencers--including the media--ignore many pitches about experts.

I'm a quill for hire!

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