I get it. Summer reading lists should be fun – packed with spy thrillers or the latest science fiction best seller. I’m usually reading something from Stephen King to keep me awake on hot summer nights.
But in my PR and communication consulting life, I’ve learned how important it is to read a few works from the great minds of those who pour their blood, sweat and tears into creating a solid book that helps advance this industry. And, you know the old adage: read three books on a specific topic and you’ll know more than 70 percent of your peers. At least I think that’s the old adage.
Here are three recent finds that any communication pro (or novice) should add to his/her summer reading list:
Written by Dana Dobson, an award-winning PR consultant, coach and speaker, this book quickly covers the tools you’ll need to manage a publicity and media relations program. Dobson dives into the details designed to help any organization develop its own “publicity opportunity radar” so it's ready to leap at the right time. She also helps readers understand the media mindset so journalists will begin to turn to you for help with stories. And, of course, she includes tips on how to communicate better by developing a deeper understanding into human behavior – how an audience makes its buying decisions, for example.
Published in April 2017, author Rich Leigh takes a look at some of the myths, misconceptions and craziness that has surrounded the field of PR for decades. The book essentially debunks many of the popular myths about the theory and practice of public relations to help startup owners, brand marketers, communications practitioners and students distinguish between fads and tested PR strategy. As one reviewer said, “At a time when 'fake news' is a common term it's no wonder there's a lack of trust in PR. Rich Leigh is restoring the faith at a crucial time. It's an essential guide for practitioners, an inspiring read for PR hopefuls and an open door for anyone interested in 21st century PR. Let's bury the myths and enjoy the most exciting time in history for communications.”
The writer in me can’t recommend a summer reading list about PR and communication without including at least one great book on writing. While not new (it was published in 2014) author and digital marketing pioneer Ann Handley provides her expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation. In addition, she shares wisdom on production and publishing, including how-to advice to help content creators get the desired results. The book is loaded with suggestions that any writer can put into action if the goal is to improve either long- or short-form writing. And, the tips and strategies she shares apply across digital channels, websites, email, and traditional print materials any organization might need.
If you have other great communication books to recommend, please share them in the comments section. Happy summer reading!