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The New PR: An Insider's Guide to Changing the Face of Public Relations Paperback – June 6, 2007
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Hall covers the entire spectrum of PR in today's world. He gets into how its changed, what works, what doesn't work, and how the new media (not just the internet, but social networking sites like myspace and such) affect your PR efforts. It's also wryly written - he has an excellent sense of humor, and keeps things moving.
The one caveat I will mention to readers of this review is if you are totally new to PR, this is not a newbie "how to" book - it's not going to walk you through writing that first press release, for example. It's still infinitely useful (and understandable) to a complete newbie (it's just a great PR and marketing book), but it's not intended to be a step-by-step guide.
My favorite aspect of the book was what the author called his "Insider PR Tips." There were eight of them interspersed through the 7 chapters of the book:
1. Never buy lunch for a journalist
2. A question of ethics
3. Association membership
4. Basic Web site design principles
5. Product placement
6. Trade show PR
7. How not to irritate journalists
8. Putting on the right look
One of the main points of the book was that the career field of public relations has a poor reputation in the public's eye much like the legal profession. The author indicated he wished "his profession" could pick itself up and fix its tarnished reputation. And he discussed ways it could do so. But in the end he acknowledged that more respectability could be a long time a coming.
I kept hearing from the author that public relations is a profession. I don't share that view. I consider it an expertise, and nothing more. I consider PR experts as being similar to nonprofit fundraisers and advertising executives. Some people are good at it. And some aren't. Some people are ethical doing it. And some aren't. And this was another topic covered within this book.
The other major topic covered by this book concerned how PR experts have to change their practices and their tactics now that the Internet plays such an important role in society. It used to be that PR experts only had to be masters at getting stories of note into the hands of the press and media. But today the press and media can be circumvented through a PR expert's use of the Internet (Web sites, blogs, and email). And a PR expert today has to watch out what is being said in blogs and try to figure out how to minimize "negative press" being distributed by blogs over which they have little or no control.
I would have liked the book better if the author had not tried to prop PR up to profession status. And I would have liked it better if the book had been more focused on either (1) how PR experts can improve their field's public image, or (2) the problems PR experts are facing because of the impact the Internet has imposed on their field. All in all, a good book. I'm glad I took the time to read it. 4 stars!