Putting the Public Back in Public Relations
How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR
by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge
Published by FT Press
Reviewed by Katie Delahaye Paine
I'm a big believer in the "Meant To Be" factor, a.k.a. synchronicity, and the law of getting what you need when you need it. If ever an industry needed a book, it's the public relations industry, and it's this book. (See The Paine of Measurement, also in this issue.) Read more about the book at Brian Solis' PR 2.0 blog.
Solis and Breakenridge begin by laying out all the problems with PR in the new age of social media, and they explain why the old rules no longer work. They make some great arguments as to why the reputation of PR is in serious trouble and why there's some question as to whether it will survive as a profession at all.
But beyond that gloom and doom is where Putting the Public Back in Public Relations really shines. It's the GPS that PR people need to guide them out of the weeds and wilderness.
This book tells you how to build relationships, not just accumulate eyeballs. It talks about how to do blogging right and how to "release" news into this new environment. It covers video news releases, corporate blogging, and how to participate in social networks.
Best of all, it provides some great "rules for engagement" for the PR people who are confused by all this new media. These rules will be invaluable to anyone trying to navigate their way through the social media maze. They include:
- How to target people in social media,
- Rules for breaking news,
- 10 principles for ethical contact, and
- 9 rules of engagement.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am quoted in the chapter on measurement. I strongly agree with Solis and Breakenridge's recommendations on how to measure social media, and I can't help but congratulate them for devoting 20 pages to metrics. It's good that they also get into the whole web analytics discussion. Knowledge of this tricky field is a requirement for PR people in the new world, but too often overlooked or avoided.
So, for anyone just taking the plunge into the world of the social web and PR, this is the lifesaver you need to survive.