6 Must-Read Books for Public Relations People

In public relations its necessary to master the basics and keep up with emerging trends.  Perhaps that is why there are so many books written on the topic.  Do an amazon search for public relations and over 150,000 titles pop up.  However, every once in a while there is a book that is recommended in organizations, on forums, in the classroom, and within professional networks over and over again.  When that happens you should check it out, whether you’re still in school or a seasoned veteran.  Here are 6 books (in no particular order) that you shouldn’t miss.

Impact – Ken McArthur  – “Some people spread a simple message that is so compelling that their voice is not solo for long. People rally around their message and spread it like wildfire.” This one is all about how to make an impact in a crowded marketplace.  The book is very easy to follow with step-by-step that are by bill counter lists and bullet points, but with relevant stories thrown into the mix as well.  With an emphasis on online marketing the book is more practical than conceptual…which is why it’s on our list.

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie  – “This grandfather of all people-skills books was first published in 1937. It was an overnight hit, eventually selling 15 million copies.” This one is a classic and it’s been called the PR person’s bible by more than a few.  The techniques and strategies presented in the book are just as relevant today as they were more than 70 years ago.  Stop what you are doing right now and go read it.

Can We Do That?! – Peter Shankman  – “What would you do to get your business noticed?” A funny, insightful look at some of the more ridiculous PR campaigns of the past and why they worked or didn’t.  If you are looking for a How-to book, move on – it’s not this one.  But the book is entertaining to read and can motivate you to get creative and develop inspired ideas of your own.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR – David Meerman Scott  – “This excellent look at the basics of new-millennial marketing should find use in the hands of any serious PR professional making the transition.”Out with the old, in with the new.  New Rules focuses on how PR has changed with the advent of online marketing, blogging and social media.  It’s a great overview of new terms and strategies that will bring everyone up to speed in terms of PR online.

Writing Effective News Releases – Catherine McIntyre  – “Would you like to have your business featured in hundreds of newspapers and magazines, and on radio and television stations around the country?” Catherine McIntyre provides practical advice and step-by-step guides to writing releases that will get you placed.  There are also plenty of real examples to learn from – all in all a must read guide.

Guerrilla PR – Michael Levine  – “The manifesto for waging a street-smart publicity campaign with no- or low-cost strategies from one of Hollywood’s most successful publicists. “ This one is an oldie, but goodie.  It covers all the basics (except Internet – which wasn’t a factor when the book was written in 1993).  The conversational style and logical organization make it a great reference, but the witty advice and real-life examples and stories is what makes this a must read.

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