10 Must-Read Books for Communication Pros in 2023
New technologies have moved media relations to the forefront of all business communications.
Hundreds of books profess to possess unique knowledge about public relations, but only a handful are current or truly worth exploring. Here’s a list of 10 enlightening books that can help elevate your PR efforts to next-level status in 2023:
- Trust Signals: Brand Building in a Post-Truth World by Scott Baradell
- To Be Honest: Lead with the Power of Truth, Justice and Purpose by Ron Carucci
- Audience-ology: How Moviegoers Shape the Films We Love by Kevin Goetz
- Better Selling Through Storytelling: The Essential Roadmap to Becoming a Revenue Rockstar by John Livesay
- The New Rules of Marketing and PR (8th Edition): How to Use Content Marketing, Podcasting, Social Media, AI, Live Video, and Newsjacking to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott
- Invention in PR by Adam Ritchie
- Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It by Dorie Clark
- Crisis Averted: PR Strategies to Protect Your Reputation and the Bottom Line by Evan Nierman
- Embracing Chaos by Stavros Patagonians
HONORABLE MENTION: 8-Second PR: New Public Relations Crash Course by Liz H Kelly
1. Trust Signals: Brand Building in a Post-Truth World by Scott Baradell
Finally, someone who understands the importance and future of public relations!
Many business executives would describe PR as subordinate to marketing—a tool in the marketer’s toolkit. But in today’s “low-trust” world, Baradell begs to differ. He contends that PR is not only the rightful keeper of corporate identity and brand reputation, but its function should be at the forefront of overall brand communications disseminated to key stakeholders, customers, employees, and the public at large.
The guiding light behind this long overdue paradigm shift is the thing that needs to be at the core of ALL modernized communication efforts: building trust. Traditional practices that worked at the turn of the century are no longer sufficient. To achieve optimum business growth, Baradell says the real game changer is being able to zero in on what he calls five key “trust signals” that connect directly with a target consumer. And who better to identify them than PR pros who continually stay saddled at the intersection of audience engagement and media interactions? (https://book.trustsignals.com)
2,To Be Honest: Lead with the Power of Truth, Justice, and Purpose by Ron Carucci
“Despite the common disconnect between their promises and actions (aka ‘purpose washing’), many companies recognize that by embodying the purpose they claim, despite a lot of hard work, has tremendous upsides. But not all leaders are used to communicating with transparency. Incorporating the principles outlined in my book can help them close the ‘say-do’ gap,” – Author Ron Carucci
If you’re looking to help your C-suite execs bring a new level of honesty to their organization and foster cultures that are inclusive and consistent with their actions, their words need to match their actions. “To Be Honest” provides fundamental PR principles that can help your clients avoid the perils of “purpose-washing” in the media, and earn and keep the trust of key stakeholders for the long haul (not just after the crisis). (www.tobehonest.net)
3, Audience-ology: How Moviegoers Shape the Films We Love by Kevin Goetz
“Audience feedback allows one to understand the strengths of an IP and any potential issues to get in front of or to steer the narrative in publicity and social media campaigns. Ignore the audience at your own peril.” – Author Kevin Goetz
If you love movies, you’ll love this new book by Kevin Goetz — a man who has made a career out of telling powerful Hollywood people what they don’t want to hear!
Whether you work in film or television, “Audience-ology: How Moviegoers Shape the Films We Love,” is a must-read for publicists working in PR and marketing today. It’s relatable, real-life examples offer readers invaluable insights into the audience’s voice as seen through the lens of recruited test screenings. It’s filled with real-life anecdotes, case studies, and surprises that make it an entertaining page-turner on how audience testing can shape and influence necessary changes in communications outreach (https://kevingoetz360.com/audienceology)
4. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
This New York Times bestseller takes a stab at explaining why certain products and ideas go viral.
Author and Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger argues that, contrary to popular belief, advertising isn’t what makes something popular, but rather the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission of ideas. This book provides a set of actionable techniques for helping information spread, perfect for any PR pro hoping their story will catch on.
5.Better Selling Through Storytelling: The Essential Roadmap to Becoming a Revenue Rockstar by John Livesay
“As a television publicist, you have to pitch “stories” about what makes a great segment every day. The publicist who tells the best story gets the booking! Better Selling Through Storytelling is a business tool that not only helps tells you a great story, but gives you a methodology to make you a blackbelt in storytelling.” – John Livesay, sales keynote speaker ( aka The Pitch Whisperer)
Do you struggle with coming up with an elevator pitch for your clients—or the media? Have no fear! Better Selling Through Storytelling by John Livesay (aka “The Pitch Whisperer”) offers a highly effective and unique approach to empowering people to relay their ideas to clients, media, executives, and beyond. We packed it with great tools, tactics, and advice on pitching techniques and approaches that can be used by publicists and media trainers… and even in your personal life. (www.johnlivesay.com)
6. The New Rules of Marketing and PR (8th Edition): How to Use Content Marketing, Podcasting, Social Media, AI, Live Video, and Newsjacking to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott
Our digital world creates a whole new set of rules for professional communicators.
In this book, David Meerman Scott shows you how to leverage the potential of online communication, including how to use it to speak directly with customers or clients and build long-lasting relationships with those who make your company work.
7. Invention in PR by Adam Ritchie
Invention in PR teaches PR pros how to come up with product or service ideas before marketing and advertising even dream of them. In this book, communications pioneer Adam Ritchie identifies and equips practitioners with an aptitude for innovations that do not rely on others to determine, develop, and package a company’s products and services. The author’s passionate recounting of award-winning campaigns provides real-life examples of how to incorporate invention from the beginning of the PR process all the way through to the end. The provocative takeaways provide actionable tips sure to inspire new pathways to success.
8. Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It by Dorie Clark
A guide to becoming a recognized expert in your field.
Too many people believe that if they keep their heads down and work hard, they (or their clients) will be lauded as experts on the merits of their work. But that’s simply not true anymore. To make a name for yourself or one of your clients, you have to capitalize on the unique perspectives brought to the table and the knowledge that will inspire others to listen and take action.
Dorie Clark, who is considered one of the top business thinkers in the world, offers vivid examples and insightful interviews with fellow thought leaders Seth Godin, Robert Cialdini, and more. Readers ultimately walk away with an understanding of not only how to. self-promote but how to develop a big idea, leverage existing affiliations, and build a community along the way.
9. Crisis Averted: PR Strategies to Protect Your Reputation and the Bottom Line by Evan Nierman
Can you spot the inevitable threat that could bankrupt your business? • Have you adopted the two core practices that will make your social media bulletproof? • Are you willing to act today to guarantee success tomorrow?
When Facing a Crisis HOW SHOULD YOU RESPOND? If you want to protect the things that matter most in your life, then Crisis Averted was written for YOU. Nierman’s answers to these key questions in his book could mean the difference between surviving or thriving.
10, Embracing Chaos by Stavros Patagonians
Embracing Chaos is about the value of communication and true leadership. It is about why humanity needs more empathy and compassion. The book describes the new normal due to the pandemic. It is a call for more empathy and compassion in the world and about the different crises during the last decade: the financial crisis, the identity crisis, the migration crisis, the Brexit crisis, the COVID19 crisis, and the climate crisis. We live on the edge, from crisis to crisis, and one of the main things we can do is become more resilient and respect our planet.
HONORABLE MENTION: 8-Second PR: New Public Relations Crash Course by Liz H Kelly
This article was written and published for the Television Publicity Executives Committee (TPEC) membership newsletter. TPEC is a non-profit industry trade organization for senior-level publicity executives who represent original, prime-time television programing and serves as a forum for the discussion of publicity-related matters common to entertainment executives. Learn more about TPEC at www.tpec.tv.
I’m so grateful to be included. Thanks for your kind words, Cynthia!