Six books every public relations professional should read

I love to read- I always have. When I was a kid, I read so much my teachers actually asked me stop reading. This of course led me to my love of writing, which led me to my love of public relations, which led me here. But getting to why you are here, if you love reading like I do, here are six books that every public relations professional should take a look at:

  • “The Associated Press Stylebook” By: The Associated Press and Norm Goldstein – I’m going to sound like my old journalism teacher for a second and say that the Associated Press Stylebook is the book to go to when it comes to grammar, spelling and any other questions you may have about laying out a press release for a media company or client. It’s organized, written by a reputable news cooperative and serves as an approachable reference manual that all media publishers acknowledge as a legitimate source for proper grammar and style. It’s not exactly a book you read word for word, though, so keep this one at your office desk for when you need it.
  • “Confessions of a Public Speaker” By: Scott Berkun – If you are looking for a public speaking how-to that doesn’t tell you to “just imagine everyone is in their underwear”, this is probably the book for you. Berkun is straightforward, gives a unique perspective on how to talk to an audience, is hilarious and definitely knows the difference between a lectern and a podium. Public speaking is a necessary skill in any field, but I think especially so in public relations. After reading this book, I think you’ll at least be able to help any clients that need a few pointers on giving a speech.
  • “The Disney Way” By: Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson – When it comes to public relations, it’s not just about getting the information out there; it’s about leaving an impression, preferably a positive one. According to Capodagli and Jackson, Disney’s credo of “dream, believe, dare and do” is the way that people can leave that good impression. They not only cite from Disney’s level of customer service and innovation, but other corporations that followed in its footsteps, such as The Cheesecake Factory, The Four Seasons Hotel, Men’s Warehouse and many others. If you are looking for a certain magic in how you work with your publics, this might be the book for you.
  • “Crystallizing Public Opinion” By: Edward Bernays – If we are talking about public relations books, we have to talk about the father of public relations himself. “Crystallizing Public Opinion” is where it all began folks and this book is cited as the first official public relations manual ever written. If you can look past some of the dated examples, the core advice is still strong and resonates with the honesty and integrity that should come with the ideal public relations specialist. At the very least, after having read this book, you will be able to hold your own in any public relations history conversation.
  • “The News Rules of Marketing and PR” By: David Meerman Scott – If history isn’t your cup of tea, maybe you’ll be more interested in this number. “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” was just written in 2013 and holds extensive accounts on how to manage social media, viral marketing, and how to help companies find niche markets to pedal their products in the digital age. It highlights the utilization of new technology to deliver a higher quality of product and content rather than utilizing technology to create a flashier and overall more vapid quality of work.
  • “How to Win Friends and Influence People” By: Dale Carnegie – While doing research for this blog, I kept coming across this book, so I gave it a read, and let me tell you, they were right to mention this book to public relations professionals. Carnegie gives some very practical advice on how to win over people, some of which seems obvious, yet are so rarely seen in a world inundated with people wanting to get out their message. It looks at the philosophy of happiness, grace, the art of listening and how to admit when you are wrong. It’s definitely a book to look at if you are hoping to attract not only clients, but friends and allies as well.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kelly Armstrong

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