Top PR Books

Public Relations specialists spend much of their time reading and researching market trends to stay current and relevant in their field. While cutting-edge and novel PR tactics are developed every day, there are some essential principles of effective public relations that every professional must know.

Here are some of the best and most frequently referenced PR books in the industry today:

How to Win Friends and Influence People

By Dale Carnegie

This book is a classic for anyone in sales, marketing, public relations, or any other career path with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Carnegie taught classes on effective persuasion and sales techniques that apply to everyday relationships with friends, coworkers, and even family. His simplistic writing style and personal anecdotes make this book easy to read, yet full of practical information.

Growth Hacker Marketing – A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising

By Ryan Holiday

While Carnegie’s book teaches traditional principles of human behavior and persuasion, Ryan Holiday focuses on new methods to apply these principles in a digital age. It covers in detail case studies of today’s largest technology brands, and how they use public relations tactics to reach widespread media attention. This book follows another marketing guru, Eric Reis’ Lean Startup methodology by providing measurable and adaptable methods to PR campaigns.

Crystallizing Public Opinion

By Edward L. Bernays

Both of these books, written by the “father of Public Relations,” uncover how traditional public relations tactics have been used by government and major corporate entities to sway public opinion, and why these tactics work. Bernays was a student of psychology, under the guidance of his uncle Sigmund Freud. He applied his knowledge of psychologically influenced behaviors and explains how PR plays an important role in shaping public opinion.

Guerrilla P.R. 2.0

By Michael Levine

Both of Levine’s Guerrilla Marketing and Guerrilla P.R. books have been best sellers for professional reading. This book includes digital public relations tactics and principles, which can apply to major corporations and startups alike. Levine believes that with “guerrilla marketing” tactics put into place, small businesses can achieve the same results as a much larger competitor without going over budget hiring a publicist.

Masters of Disaster: The Ten Commandments of Damage Control

by Christopher Lehane

A part of any public relations campaign is crisis communications and crisis planning. All companies are at risk of facing public scrutiny or internal crises. Lehane explains the ten principles every company should follow when dealing with a crisis and explains how to create an action plan if a crisis were to occur. He also presents case studies of famous corporate crises and how companies either failed or succeeded in managing in the face of disaster.

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