Tag Archives: Judy Smith

12 Books to Read to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2015

I recently attended a PRSA Detroit event where Jason Vines (former automotive communications professional for Ford, Chrysler, Nissan and Compuware) spoke about his new book, What Did Jesus Drive? Crisis PR in Cars, Computers and Christianity.

Jason Vines

Vines gave a great presentation and I ended up purchasing the book for myself. It also got me thinking – what other great public relations books am I missing out on?

Book clubs are always popular, even Mark Zuckerberg has started his own book club on Facebook and has already covered The End of Power by Moisés Naím, The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker and Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh. This inspired me to create my own 2015 public relations reading list and these books made the top of my list:

1. What Did Jesus Drive? Crisis PR in Cars, Computers and Christianity by Jason Vines

I’ve already started this one since I have a signed copy from the PRSA event – I hope to pass it around the office once I’ve finished.

What Did Jesus Drive2. Reputation Rules: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset  by Daniel Diermeier

In this business, reputation is everything. Many of the public relations programs we develop focus on building a company’s reputation. As we’ve all seen, one small event can bring a reputation down. Reputation Rules shares a number of recent case studies on how to weather the storm.

reputation rules

3. Rogue Elephants: One PR Girl’s Fight Through the Human Jungle by Jane Hunt

I love reading or hearing PR war stories from veteran practitioners and this book by Jane Hunt is just that. There are so many practitioners who get into PR from other industries and it just shows how PR is necessary in so many different industries and jobs.

Rogue Elephants4. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

I had the opportunity to hear Sandberg speak at an Adcraft event a while back and have heard amazing things about this book.

Lean In

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and in 2010 she gave an inspiring presentation at a TED conference encouraging women to take a seat at the table which she explores further in this book.

5. Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media by Aliza Licht

I have been waiting for Aliza’s book to come out for a while now and can’t wait to read it now that it’s here. I teach a fashion public relations class at The Art Institute of Michigan and I love showing Aliza’s videos to my students. Aliza has done a great job using social media to boost Donna Karan’s profile and her behind-the-scenes stories make this one a must-read.

Leave Your Mark6. This is How You Pitch: How to Kick Ass In Your First Years of PR by Ed Zitron

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a detailed guide on what to do when you start your first job in PR? Well Ed Zitron offers just that in his guide to pitching. If your career goal is to become the next Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, then this book will be a real eye opener into the real world of public relations.

This is How You Pitch7. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Raise your hand if you could use a writing refresher course. As PR pros, we write for a living and if you’ve ever stared at your computer screen drawing a blank about how to make the next B2B press release sound fun and exciting or how to spice up your client’s LinkedIn page then this is the book for you.

EveryBody Writes8. American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce Hoffman

It’s hard to work in public relations in Detroit and not have some experience in the automotive industry whether it is for an automaker or for a supplier. I thought this book would be a great read from the perspective of the former Ford beat reporter from the Detroit News and for any PR pro working in the automotive industry.

american icon9. The Media Training Bible: 101 Things You Absolutely, Positively Need to Know Before Your Next Interview by Brad Phillips

As a veteran PR person, most of this is probably a refresher for you, but for someone new to the industry this book is literally the PR person’s bible. This would also be a great resource for clients who are new to the PR world and media interviews.

The Media Training Bible

10. The Social Media Strategist: Build a Successful Program from the Inside Out by Christopher Barger

I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to see Christopher Barger and his team in action during my time working with OnStar. When I returned a few years later to work with the Chevrolet social media team I was able to see how the programs and policies they built turned into cutting-edge strategies. While social media is constantly changing, building a successful social program for a large company is no small feat and this book provides a great road map on where to start.

The social media strategist11. The Art of Perception: Memoirs of a Life in PR by Robert Leaf

Like I mentioned before, I am a sucker for good PR war stories and Robert Leaf delivers in his memoirs. From the man who led the PR industry for nearly 50 years, the lessons Leaf shares in his book are still relevant today.

The Art of Perception12. Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets by Judy Smith

If you’re a fan of ABC’s Scandal, then why not take crisis advice from the real-life Olivia Pope, Judy Smith? Smith has been a “fixer” for clients such as Monica Lewinsky, NFL quarterback Michael Vick, Enron, Kobe Bryant and more. She also served as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H. W. Bush. Suffice it to say this woman knows a crisis.

good self bad self

I’m looking forward to diving into these books in 2015. If you’ve read any of these books, I would love to hear your opinions. What public relations books are on your 2015 reading list?

Elizabeth Robbins-Sabourin is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5029 or sabourin@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter @DetroitDuchess.