Six books to read to improve your PR skills

Whether you’re already working in PR, or are hoping to break into the industry soon, one of the most important things you can do to build your knowledge is to read.

Reading not only helps you to learn about a specific topic but, believe it or not, it also helps to improve your writing skills which are so important when working in PR. Whether it’s novels, newspapers or magazines, reading shows you how writing should be done and exposes you to different styles and forms of writing, which you can pick up in your own.

But, if you fancy doing some industry-specific reading to brush up on your PR knowledge, here are six PR-related books to get stuck into.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger

This New York Times bestseller delves deep into the reasons why certain products and ideas become popular. Why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumours more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?

Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions and has concluded that the answer is actually social influence. In this book, he reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission and discovers how you can adopt six basic principles to make your product or idea catch on.

Everybody Writes – Ann Handley

Ann Handley argues that, in the digital age, we are all writers. If you have a website then you are a publisher, if you are on social media then you are in marketing, and this means we are all relying on words to carry our marketing messages.

This book will give you guidance and insight into the process of content creation, production and publishing, with how-to advice designed to get results. Applicable to all channels, whether it’s web pages, blogs, emails or social media, this practical approach to creating compelling and competent content is a great read for anyone wanting to build their PR skills.

The PR Masterclass – Alex Singleton

Written by former newspaper, magazine and digital journalist, Alex Singleton, this book reveals the secrets of effective PR and teaches the reader how to implement a practical, reliable and successful media strategy – one that delivers the greatest results.

Now a successful PR trainer and consultant, Singleton will help you discover how to develop and pitch effective newsworthy material, regardless of your budget and company size.

Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator – Ryan Holiday

Written as an attempt to explain how the media really works, this book reveals how ‘media manipulators’ like Ryan Holiday, control blogs in a world where blogs control and distort the news. 

In today’s culture, blogs like BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post drive the media agenda and ‘manipulators’ wield the levers to shape everything you read, see and hear – online and offline.

Stating that he’s ‘tired’ of a world where blogs take indirect bribes, marketers help write the news, reckless journalists spread lies, and no one is accountable for any of it, Holiday provides an eye-opening account of what it’s really like to work in the world of the media.

Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age – Gini Dietrich

Most PR guides tell you how to ‘spin’ your message, but top PR thought leader and blogger, Gini Dietrich, believes that people are sick of that. In this book, she teaches the reader how to communicate honestly, responsibly, openly, and authentically.

No matter what sector you work in, Spin Sucks will help you to share your story more powerfully, create fresh and honest content that’s compelling to both humans and Google, and keep others from stealing your great content.

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Whilst not being directly PR-related, this book will provide you with insights and advice that can be applied to both your personal and professional life. It offers practical advice and techniques on how to get out of a mental rut and make life more rewarding.

Aiming to turn your relationships around and improve your interactions with everyone, How to Win Friends and Influence People will teach you how to: increase your popularity, become a better speaker, and persuade people to follow your way of thinking – all things that can easily be applied to a career in the PR industry.

If you’re a bit of a book worm, then why not share your thoughts on these books with our Liquid Book Club? We’d love to hear from you!

Leah Benthin, Junior account executive