The role of PR agencies and the work of communications professionals is constantly evolving. Business leaders are more savvy about PR, and the content explosion has enabled businesses to communicate more directly with their customers. With summer reading season (finally!) upon us, here we recap our favorite reads on the ins and outs of the profession. While there are many books about PR, these are the ones we think have the potential to alter the way you might think about the biz.
Trust Me, PR is Dead, by Robert Phillips (2015). PR insiders will be familiar with Phillips’ exit from the world’s largest PR firm. What might not be as clear, from the book’s title, is that Phillips advocates for communications leaders who have greater insight and decision-making power regarding business itself, not just communications. This book is the result of Phillips’ break from the PR establishment, and while it won’t give away salacious details about a large agency’s inner workings, there’s just enough to keep things interesting. Read an excerpt here.
Leave Your Mark, by Aliza Licht (2015). If salacious inner details (of The Devil Wears Prada ilk) are what you’re looking for, Licht’s book will do the trick, while offering chatty, practical tips on forging a successful career in PR. The Donna Karan communications executive, perhaps best known for her Twitter handle DKNY PR GIRL (@dkny), is heavy on social media advice, which is not a bad thing in today’s constantly changing universe. For a taste, check out Licht’s TED talk here.
Epic Content Marketing, by Joe Pulizzi (2013). The rise of original content has taken the PR world by storm, causing shifts in the way brands and organizations think about their public facing communications campaigns. Pulizzi, of the Content Marketing Institute, offers straightforward, no-gimmicks advice on creating stellar content for your company or brand. In an industry where “spin” and less-than-sincere messages sometimes rule, these tips are most welcome. Find a sneak peek here.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip and Dan Heath (2007). We go back eight years to this title that pays homage to another fave, Malcolm Gladwell (whose Tipping Point gets credit for the term “stickiness,” according to the Heaths). What’s PR without a good idea to start with? Made to Stick looks at why some ideas last, and others don’t. Cracking the question of why some ideas catch on and others don’t is the essential question in PR.
Pitch Perfect: How to Say it Right the First Time, Every Time, by Bill McGowan (2014). With endorsements from the likes of Sheryl Sandberg, McGowan’s book is particularly geared toward entrepreneurs and business owners. A two-time Emmy award-winning journalist, McGowan parlays his experience into coaching some of the world’s most successful business leaders. Read a helpful review and summary here.