Five PR books for your Christmas stocking

As we edge a little closer to the festive season, many of us will take this time away from the office to relax and read – some will take this as an opportunity to sharpen their PR skills in advance of the new year ahead.

There is a plethora of PR books out there and a wealth of great titles to choose from. To narrow the field, we’ve isolated those that we think are the ones that could – perhaps should – be on your Christmas list.

1. Confessions of an Advertising Man – David Ogilvy

There are many similarities between the world of PR and that of advertising, and having both an awareness and appreciation that the way one complements the other and vice-versa can only be beneficial. David Ogilvy, who headed up one of the world’s most successful advertising agencies, shares his insights into what makes for effective copy and the importance of a strong headline – a critical element of all press releases (and the reason why many fail to grab the attention of editors).


“Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy”


2. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell

Despite being published in 2000, Gladwell’s seminal book is as relevant today as it was when the The New Yorker writer penned it. The Tipping Point describes the ways in which ideas, behaviours and messages spread via key influencer groups – the understanding of which lies at the core of all PR and marketing communications.


3. Propaganda – Edward Bernays

For anyone who has studied with the CIPR, Bernays will be all too familiar. AKA ‘the father of PR’, the theories propagated by Bernays transformed the way in which media and political campaigns were run. Propaganda stated that to influence behaviour the focus needs to be on the wants rather than needs of the audience – to speak to their ‘desires’ which will in turn guide their choices. Although written in 1928, Propaganda’s suggestion that politics needs to adopt a business-like approach could help explain Trump’s ability to win his place in the Whitehouse.


4. Contagious: Why Things Catch On – Jonah Berger

Where Gladwell left off in The Tipping Point, Berger takes up the baton and applies scientific analysis of what makes ideas catch on, why is it that people talk more about certain products and ideas more than others, and what makes online content go viral. Drawing on 15 years of research into the phenomena of social influence, Contagious highlights how some brands have successfully mastered the art of creating PR and marketing campaigns that become ‘contagious’.


5. The Art of Social Media – Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick

PR people are generally terrible at social media – no really, they are (except for us of course!). Few really understand it and of those who do, even fewer ever get it right. This where ex-Google bod Kawasaki’s book helps – packed with useful hints and tips on how to run better social media campaigns.