If you are new to the world of public relations, diving into the deep end and getting your feet wet as a consultant at a startup can be scary. But even if you are an old hand at it, staying up to date with the changing world of public relations is essential. As things change and evolve, making sure that your strategies and practices get the most bang for your buck can be a challenge for everyone. Reading some books about PR can help you find your footing or soar to greater heights depending on your needs.
Some of the best books about PR are real eye-openers to how the industry works, the absolute fundamentals of the industry as well as the constantly evolving tactics. The following books about PR, although only the tip of the subject’s iceberg, are a must-read for those keen to find out what the industry entails or those wishing to brush up on their skills.
Here are 7 books about PR to pick up at your local bookstore or online now.
- A Modern Guide to Public Relations: Unveiling the Mystery of PR: Including: Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media & PR Best Practices
- Cases in Public Relations Management: The Rise of Social Media and Activism
- Strategic Planning for Public Relations
- Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
- The Strategic Storyteller: Content Marketing in the Age of the Educated Consumer
- Several People Are Typing: A Novel
- The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations
A Modern Guide to Public Relations: Unveiling the Mystery of PR: Including: Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media & PR Best Practices by Amy Rosenberg
Amy Rosenberg’s book is one of the best books about PR and a must-read for all those taking their first steps into the world of public relations. But, it’s not just for new PR recruits. Ranking at number 18 on Amazon for its genre, it blends conventional PR methodology with the essentials of modern-day approaches that even the most experienced professional will find helpful.
A Modern Guide to Public Relations walks us through a general overview of the industry, the techniques and tools every PR professional requires in their arsenal and looks at the new world of digital media. By covering topics such as pitching to various media from TV, print, radio and digital, including podcasts, this guide breaks down the steps required to connect with any audience through all types of mediums.
With information on how to get the most out of social media, using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and how to create impactful blog posts, Rosenberg explains how reaching customers organically, giving them valuable content and fostering real connections is a game-changer in the PR world.
Cases in Public Relations Management: The Rise of Social Media and Activism by Patricia Swann
Focusing more on the ever-changing PR landscape, Patricia Swann demonstrates why even professionals at the top of their game must learn to adapt and embrace the rise of social media.
Cases in Public Relations Management is one of those books about public relations which looks at how today’s “woke” generation relies on the internet for information and guidance. Swann examines how data breaches can happen easily, even when information is securely stored in a vault, causing a deluge of problems for even the most respected brands.
As cancel culture takes hold, a business can easily find themselves called out for a mistake, ruining their reputation in the process or even “cancelled” altogether. Swann looks at how this can have massive repercussions for your business and sales of products or services as online activism grows.
This book works as a textbook for those studying PR, but it also brings valuable insights into managing a communication crisis and dealing with an issue online by looking at case studies of some of the world’s leading brands, such as Starbucks and United Airlines.
Strategic Planning for Public Relations by Ronald D Smith
Pulling together the building blocks for a PR campaign can be challenging, so having a very comprehensive guidebook such as Strategic Planning for Public Relations is a great starting point.
With a lot of actionable tips that are useful to any media practitioner, Ronald D Smith delivers a step by step guide to managing a campaign. He talks about the basics, such as analysing the company and how the public perceives it, auditing its brand identity and curating its story. With these foundations in place, he directs you to learn about your target audience and the opinion leaders and influencers in your space.
Smith helps you start developing a PR plan by identifying objectives, using various strategies, including proactive activities to promote the brand’s launch and reactive actions for bad publicity and crisis management. He talks about the different appeal strategies to employ by using ethos(generating credibility through spokespersons), pathos(Emotional appeal) and logos(logic) while looking at ways to communicate with media channels such as news blogs, newspapers, TV and radio and how to budget a campaign.
The final stage he endorses is evaluating your media campaign and using the information gleaned to align your next campaign more effectively towards your audience, considering brand personality and the types of appeals that work.
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
Among all the books about public relations, this gem of a book has over 1,106 reviews and a 4.5-star rating-you can’t go wrong with it. Ranking at number 10 in Blogging & Blogs, 12 in Public Relations, and 19 in Media & Communications Industry, Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me, I’m Lying is a fun and informative book that takes a sarcastic and witty look at working in the PR industry.
Essentially an expose about the media industry and the massive conglomerates who hold power, it is still an excellent resource for those who want to improve their PR activities.
Giving an insight into the workings of the industry lets non-specialists and those new to the industry take a peek behind the curtain and learn from the tactics and the mistakes made in the sector. It also brings some light relief and laughter to those who have been PR professionals for some time.
The Strategic Storyteller: Content Marketing in the Age of the Educated Consumer by Alexander Jutkowitz
Part of being a PR professional is telling stories, and those who are most successful in the field are essentially expert storytellers. As the lines between PR and content marketing become increasingly blurry, Alexander Jutkowitz shows how big-name brands use storytelling in their strategies and campaigns.
In The Strategic Storyteller, we see the digital era’s impact on PR and why it is essential for those wishing to work in this sector to embrace the art of telling a story if they want to engage with their target audience.
Several People Are Typing: A Novel by Calvin Kasulke
If you liked The Office (and who didn’t?), you will enjoy this book.
Several People Are Typing is a tale of an employee in a PR firm whose soul has been uploaded to his company’s Slack channels, and he finds himself detached from his physical body. While his colleagues are firefighting PR emergencies and disasters, the protagonist, Gerald, struggles to find a way back to his body and life.
Compared to the rest of the books about PR listed above, this is a funny and light-hearted read that has received rave reviews from The New Yorker, Nylon and other respected lists.
The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations by Larry Tye
No list of PR books would be complete without a nod to the father of the industry. Larry Tye’s biography of Edward L Bernays shows how he kickstarted the PR industry and looks at how the game has changed over the years.
While our lives are now very different, PR still plays a significant part in it, and the fundamentals remain even though the sector has evolved. This is one of the best books about PR which takes a fascinating look at the craft down the years while paying homage to the great Bernays.
As with many industries, the PR one is rapidly changing. It is an art and a science at the same time, and finding the best books about PR to guide you through the ever-changing landscape can be a challenge.
These books about public relations touch upon some of the key PR fundamentals, the transformation and evolution of the PR industry, and the notable case studies as the industry continues to evolve. It is by no means an exhaustive list of PR books, but these PR books will help you to explore the changing social and digital aspects of the industry or, at the very least, make you laugh.
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