Public Relations is a profession that involves a lot of writing and reading. As professionals we spend a lot of time reading articles and pieces of news floating around on the Internet. However, a lot of us do not make reading Public Relations books a priority. The first month of my first job was a period of intensive training and one of the things we were taught was the importance of reading marketing and/or Public Relations books. Not only did we read public relations books, we also studied them. Book reviews were presented in slides to our seniors and we were questioned and graded on the presentations. That was the time when I realised that reading is one of the most important diet a communications professional should take. I have listed down a few books I have read and strongly recommend for Public Relations professionals.
This was the first marketing book I ever read and it is the same book that was used as an assignment in my first job. Businessworld comes out with a new edition of ‘The Marketing Whitebook’ every year that focuses on different aspects of marketing and business. I have read the ‘2010-2011’ edition that explained the consumption patterns of the diverse Indian market. The consumers are divided into different SECs – A, B, C and so forth on the basis of their geography, backgrounds, needs and affordability. The book is currently running in its 11th edition.
As most of you reading this blog would know, this book is authored by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg. In her book Lean In, Sandberg encourages women to take a seat at the table. She focuses on various aspects of working women like salary gaps, women’s behaviour at workplace, competition, work life balance and others. There are a lot of takeaways from the book; some for male professionals as well. One of the best examples that comes to my mind is – in her book she asserts the ‘need to ask’. Sandberg stresses that one must ask for their needs; if something doesn’t exist already, it does not mean that it is a bad idea. It is important for professionals to advocate for themselves.
This is one of the books that I have recently read and reviewed. In his book Seth Godin stresses how authenticity is the best marketing of all. He points out that no marketer is a liar and every marketer is a storyteller. He explains successful marketing in five steps and elaborates why those steps work the way they do. The steps covered by him in the book are:
- Step 1: Their (the audience) worldview and frames got there before you did
- Step 2: People only notice the new and then make a guess
- Step 3: First impressions start the story
- Step 4: Great marketers tell stories we believe
- Step 5: Marketers with authenticity thrive
I have to admit that this book by Rolf Dobelli is not the kind of book that I would pick up from the store myself for the purpose of learning. I was gifted this book by a client and I am glad that I made the effort to read it. This book is an eye-opener when it comes to human reasoning. It contains a list of cognitive biases and simple errors that we make in our day to day thinking. These errors are explained by way of simple anecdotes and practical examples that expose us to our flawed thinking habits.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is authored by Gary Vaynerchuk. This book is a must-read for PR professionals today because it answers several questions that one faces while formulating effective content strategy on social media. The Book covers all big and small social media platforms used by marketers today – namely Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumbler, Pinterest, Vine and Snapchat. He has covered most of these platforms in detail by giving examples on what is a right and what is a wrong way of communicating on a respective platform. He has also (by way of examples) pointed out the difference of communicating the same message on two different social media channels.
If you know of other public relations books that students or professionals of PR must read, comment below!
– Radhika Nandwani
Radhika is the Corporate Communications Advisor at Dell’s Performance Analytics Group. She started her career in 2011, with one of the leading public relations firms of India – MSLGROUP, specialising in technology brands. The campaigns executed by her while at MSL, have won several public relations industry awards including SABRE and PR Week Asia. In her last role, she was the founding team member and the marketing communications manager at SCoRe. Radhika is an English graduate and holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She loves reading and is passionate about gender equality, food and Bollywood. She can be reached at @RadhikaNandwani on Twitter and here on LinkedIn.