September 30, 2011 / by Chris Pilbeam

A writer we’ve all read at one point in our lives, as children or parents, Dr. Seuss, once said, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

While simple, this quote rings true in all fields of life. Reading and learning is one of the simplest and best ways to grow as a practitioner in any field – especially as a PR Pro. With ever evolving ways to engage and attract target audiences, there too are new books outlining best practices and how-to tips.

Here are our picks for 10 books a PR pro shouldn’t live without:

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott: This book is a great tool for someone new to the game, who needs to learn more about social media, PR and basic principles.

The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media by Paul Gillin: Rich with anecdotal evidence, this book provides reasons why a PR pro should consider the importance of blogging as a way support PR messaging on the web. This book focuses mainly on case studies, interviews, and personal insight which makes it an easy and informative read.

The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue by Shana Kabani: A number one seller under both the “Public Relations” and “Internet Marketing” categories on Amazon, Kabani touches on how to stay relevant and generate results from social media efforts.

Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John Stauber: A read, that isn’t for everyone. Stauber touches on how information is used and, by some, manipulated in PR. This book provides a look from the other side of the fence, from someone who doesn’t necessarily believe that PR is pure. That’s why it is a good read for someone who wants to grow and learn as a PR pro – you have to be able to understand why people who disagree feel the way they do so you can develop your techniques in relation.

The PR Styleguide: Formats for Public Relations Practice by Barbara Diggs-Brown: Easily used as a concise handbook for anyone looking to write for PR. Styled much like a text book, it gives a break down on the best and most widely used tactics in the world of PR writing which gives any person new to the field a great sounding board to develop further abilities.

UnMarketing:  Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. By Scott Stratten: Not only is this book an intriguing look at do’s and don’ts of PR and marketing, it is written in an engaging and entertaining way. This is something to pull out when you find yourself at a loss for what to write next – Stratten’s engaging dialogue and innovative advice and wording is a great way to jump start any writing block.

Bulletproof News Releases: Help at Last for the Publicity Deficient by Kay Borden:. An interesting look at what makes a good news release, Borden includes a great amount of information, including quotes from over 100 different editors saying exactly what they like when it comes to a news release.

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, EBooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman: This book is a great guide for anyone creating content. It not only gives ample advice about creating different types of content – from video to post to comment – it also catalogues the entire process, from creation to publication, in an interesting way.

The Associated Press Stylebook: For anyone who writes press release content and the like, the AP Stylebook is a must have.

Webster’s New World Thesaurus: Flavor and style is something that should always be taken into consideration when writing whether it’s a comment on a social networking site, a blog post or a press release. A thesaurus is a great tool to use to find great (excellent, wonderful, incredible, lovely) words to spice up anything you write, and Webster’s New World Thesaurus is a useful tool to that end.

There are an innumerable amount of books available to enrich and improve the practices of a PR pro, all with merits and faults. These are our top picks, but we’d love to hear yours as well! Please share which books you think are helpful for those in the PR and marketing field in a comment!

Image by ben.gallagher, Creative Commons

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