There are fundamentals of PR that don’t change. However, the rapid pace of social media has altered how individuals and companies communicate, manage their reputations and build their brand both on and offline.
Books and blogs are a great resource for keeping up-to-date with the latest trends, while also gaining more understanding and the skills needed to be a PR pro. Next week, we will discuss the best blogs for staying up-to-speed with the fast-paced communications world. But this week, we’re going traditional by revealing the top books that every PR agency should have on its shelves.
1. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, by David Meerman Scott, 2015
Now in its fifth edition, this is the go-to book for marketing and PR professionals looking to get up-to-speed in the digital age. Using case studies and real-life examples, David Meerman Scott explores the latest best practices that lead to marketing success. The book is divided into three sections – first looking at how the internet has changed the rules of marketing and PR, then discussing how various social media tools can support marketing and PR and finally, how to use those tools to communicate with buyers, raise visibility, and increase sales.
This is a great resource to have at your disposal and you can dip in and dip out of chapters as you please.
2. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley, 2014
PR and marketing are driven by content – making good writing skills essential.
Marketing guru Ann Handley provides advice and how-to steps on improving writing skills to generate engaging content that resonates with readers. The book covers grammar, business writing, story and publishing rules and content tools for marketers.
Everybody Writes has dozens of useful tips on how to produce great written content – a must for anyone who writes or edits.
3. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, 2007
If you work in PR, you want your ideas to make an impact and take flight. This book continues the idea of stickiness that Malcolm Gladwell discussed in the book The Tipping Point and looks at how quickly ideas can catch on and spread. Using real life examples in each chapter, it shows what can be achieved with sticky messaging.
Made to Stick highlights how important storytelling is in good communications and how to create a long-lasting memorable narrative.
Definitely worth a read.
4. PRE-SUASION: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, by Robert Cialdini 2016
This is the long-awaited sequel to the ground-breaking book Influence, by social psychologist Robert Cialdini. In Pre-suasion, Cialdini examines effective persuasion and the role timing plays in delivering a convincing message. The book also offers more techniques and tips that readers should use if they want to master the art of winning people over.
A new classic and a must-read.
5. Social Media: Marketing Strategies for Rapid Growth Using: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube by John Williams, 2016
Social media platforms are changing and evolving so rapidly that most books written on the subject date very quickly. This book focuses on how to connect directly with customers across six major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest (notably, no Snapchat). It looks at the demographics of each social media platform and how to use this to your advantage.
A very handy guide for digital marketing.
6. The Art of Crisis Leadership: Save Time, Money, Customers and Ultimately, Your Career, by Rob Weinhold 2016
In today’s world, the question isn’t if a crisis will happen, it’s when. Crisis management veteran, Rob Weinhold, details how to prepare for, navigate and recover from crises using real-life examples of people and companies that lived through them.
There are some great stories and insights in this book – definitely one to have on your shelf.
7. Public Relations, by Edward L. Bernays, 2013
The latest book by the man considered to be the father of public relations. Bernays has combined crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, to explain how PR impacts public opinion.
This book explains the underlying principles of PR, looking at the history of public relations and how it has it has permeated modern life.
A worthwhile read.
8. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, 1998
No top PR book list would be complete without the so-called public relations bible. Published in 1937, this book has sold 30 million copies to date. It provides tips on handling people, winning friends, bringing people to your way of thinking and being a great leader. As Carnegie states in the book: success is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people."
It’s a classic and an enjoyable read.