Author: Rich Leigh
Genre: Non-fiction > Business
Publisher: Kogan Page
Publication date: 3 April 2017
Length: 224 pages
Available from: Amazon
Myths of PR: All Publicity is Good Publicity and Other Popular Misconceptions uses popular myths about the theory and practice of public relations as a vehicle for helping startup owners, brand marketers, communications practitioners and students to distinguish between fads and tried-and-tested PR practice. Its purpose is to shatter widespread misconceptions about PR, and grant readers insights into why these myths have endured in spite of clearly demonstrable evidence to the contrary.
By exploring topics that readers will relate to (though many might frequently misunderstand), Myths of PR will shed new light on essential PR methodology. From the assumption that PR is a never-ending party, propagated by the way the industry is shown in the media and entertainment, to more potentially damaging misconceptions such as the often-repeated ‘all publicity is good publicity’, it is an engaging, anecdotal read that offers authentic insights into the reality of PR practice from one of the brightest and most exciting young communication experts in the UK.
This is a book I wish I’d read twenty-odd years ago. Before stumbling into a job at a PR agency without a clue what PR meant or entailed. Before spending subsequent years working in PR still without a firm grasp of the theory and practice of public relations. Definitely before starting my own business, which required once again plunging into the mire.
And truthfully, PR has seemed like a mire to me. Powerful when done right, for sure, but tricky to navigate – because I lacked the concrete understanding of the basis of good PR that this book endeavours to create.
I say ‘good PR’, because I think what Myths of PR establishes is how best-practice PR works. Myth #1, for example, is that ‘PR is all spin, smokescreens and lies’. For good PR practitioners, this is a myth. But the author didn’t convince me that it’s a myth entirely; he can’t, because I’ve had enough experience of poor PR (from both sides of the fence) to know that some ‘professionals’ lie. A lot.
But that doesn’t meant the entire PR industry should be judged by the dubious morals of some in their midst, and a book like this is a solid effort to lift the image of PR itself, and to show clearly that it entails logic, hard work and a great deal of savvy.
The book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn how to do PR effectively. It intelligently challenges commonly held assumptions (Think all publicity is good publicity? Think again), and unmasks the ‘invisible’ PR person as someone who’s not living a glamorous life after all, but is actually more talented than you may realise. I especially like how the book respects traditional values and ways of working and takes a common-sense approach to how PR works in the fast-moving digital climate, which can give any business owner hope that the future may not be merely a succession of paid-for Facebook ads.
Overall, this is a well-structured, engaging and easy-to-read book that makes the subject of PR accessible and interesting. Was I convinced on every point? Not quite. But the book certainly gave me plenty to think about, and it made me better value PR in the marketing mix.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.