Top 9 Public Relations Books to Read Immediately


When was the last time you read a public relations book?

Marketing is constantly evolving, making those textbooks you studied in college outdated and irrelevant. If you want your business to succeed, you need to stay up to date with the latest trends.

The only way you will see your strategies become successful is by understanding the dynamic marketing landscape.

Public relations books are one of the best ways to get to grips with the inner workings of this exciting industry.

They teach you about the fundamentals of public relations and offer insights into future trends. They also provide real-world examples that you can use to improve your skills and deal with any situation confidently.

Here we investigate some of the most influential public relations books available and how they can help your marketing strategy.

Let’s get started.

Wall of post-its: What are you reading now?

Key Takeaways

  1. Public relations books provide a great way to understand the dynamic marketing landscape and the inner workings of the public relations industry.
  2. Telling a story effectively is a key skill for any professional in marketing, as it allows them to draw in their audience’s attention and convert leads.
  3. Ryan Holiday’s book “Trust Me, I’m Lying” reveals the truth behind marketing manipulation and the toxic economics of marketing and journalism.
  4. A Modern Guide to Public Relations by Amy Rosenberg provides a comprehensive guide to flourishing in marketing, offering first-hand accounts of the industry and tips for working with influencers and media platforms.
  5. Strategic Planning for Public Relations by Ronald D. Smith provides a guide to creating and managing an effective PR campaign, including steps for auditing a brand’s identity, identifying objectives, and dealing with bad publicity.
Hand-drawn illustration: Storytelling rules world

9 Best Public Relations Books

There are loads of fantastic books available that teach you about good PR and how to maintain it.

Some explain the basics to new marketers, helping them understand the industry. Others focus on more complex matters, allowing seasoned pros to up their game.

Here are nine incredible books that’ll change how you see PR forever and guide your brand’s marketing and media buying strategy to success.

1. The Strategic Storyteller by Alexander Jutkowitz

One of the most effective skills for any professional in marketing is the ability to tell a story. It allows you to draw in your audience’s attention, using your tone and words as a tool to convert leads.

Alexander Jutkowitz breaks this concept down in his public relations book, explaining how to utilise storytelling to your advantage.

Rather than offering general ideas, this marketing pioneer looks at the biggest brands and how stories impact their strategies.

These invaluable lessons also highlight the importance of this skill in our digital era for engaging with your audience.

Between these pages, you’ll learn how to let your creativity guide you and distribute your message online effectively.

2. Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday

Have you ever wondered how a business comes from the fringes to become a viral sensation overnight?

Ryan Holiday’s book answers this question, revealing the shocking truth behind marketing manipulation and how rumours travel.

This public relations book has become somewhat of a cult classic as it predicts the recent scourge of fake news.

It explains how information is traded to become headlines and uncovers the toxic economics of marketing and journalism.

After years of experience, Holiday pulls back the curtain, allowing the public to see the inner workings of this industry.

You’ll find out how to spot fake news and ways you can use the system to improve your company’s PR.

3. A Modern Guide to Public Relations by Amy Rosenburg

Whether you’re starting a PR career or looking for ways to improve your skills, this public relations book is for you.

Amy Rosenburg offers a comprehensive guide to flourishing in marketing, offering her first-hand accounts of the industry.

It explains how to work alongside influencers and content creators to generate a positive buzz. This publication also describes the importance of maintaining strong relationships with media platforms and colleagues.

You could see this book as your personal mentor on the road to learning good PR. Plus, it teaches you additional approaches for the digital age, like increasing SEO and communicating with journalists for story ideas.

With this book in your back pocket, you’ll understand the value of content and how to connect with your target market.

4. Strategic Planning for Public Relations by Ronald D. Smith

Developing an effective PR plan is challenging, especially when you’re not sure how to start.

Luckily, Ronald D. Smith has put together a fun and extensive guidebook on how to create and manage an effective campaign.

This public relations book walks you through the basic responsibilities of a marketer, from auditing a brand’s identity to learning its audience.

Using the steps in this guide, you’ll learn how to identify objectives and promote a business using different strategies.

It also explains what you should do in a PR crisis and how to deal with bad publicity. You’ll learn how to budget for marketing campaigns and ways to use emotional appeal to your advantage.

5. The Father of Spin by Larry Tye

Sometimes, you need to look at the past to find the best way forward.

This fantastic public relations book tells the story of Edward L. Bernays, one of the most successful PR practitioners. It highlights how the industry started and why it’s changed to suit the mould of the modern market.

Although life is vastly different compared to the 1920s, marketing fundamentals remain the same. Larry Tye, the author, uses Bernay’s career to understand the evolution of PR and its role in our lives.

Each chapter utilises numerous interviews and papers, revealing the personality and perception of the man that defined modern PR.

You learn how strategies have slowly changed over the years and which concepts continue to provide positive results.

6. Cases in Public Relations Management by Patricia Swann

This public relations book provides an in-depth look at real-world situations and how they affect a brand’s image.

Patricia Swann highlights why it’s essential for PR professionals to adapt to the world of social media.

It takes an honest look at today’s generation and how they rely on the internet for guidance. She examines the reasons for data breaches and why they’re able to turn into a brand’s worst PR nightmare.

Swann also investigates “cancel culture” and how a simple mistake can run a business into the ground.

This book attempts to unravel the secret recipe of good PR by looking at multiple high-profile case studies. It also teaches you the best way to deal with issues online and how to manage a communication crisis.

7. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

This book is a must-read for anyone wanting to make an impact and get an edge in the PR industry.

Malcolm Gladwell investigates a phenomenon in marketing known as the tipping point or the moment an idea gains traction.

He explains how a trend starts, why it spreads, and what happens in the future if you maintain good PR.

This best-seller remains one of the top educational guides for anyone involved in sales or marketing. It expands on the way people think and what makes a product or service appear essential.

While many of the principles included in this book are basic, it provides a brilliant introduction to the human psyche.

8. Guerrilla P.R. 2.0 by Michael Levine

What did Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers have in common? A publicist named Michael Levine.

Good PR is essential to building success, but startups don’t have the budget to hire high-profile marketers.

Fortunately, Levine’s book provides all the tools you need to wage an effective publicity campaign on your own.

He uses his decades of experience and personal strategies to teach you how to get media coverage. You’ll learn how to think and talk like a publicist and use exposure to your brand’s advantage.

The best part is that all these concepts can be adopted using little to no budget. It gives you the skill and confidence to create an effective campaign without breaking the bank.

9. When the Headline Is You by Jeff Ansell

When dealing with the media, you can’t rely on honesty alone. You need to understand the way the news is written and how to react in specific situations.

Jeff Ansell walks you through these events using his public relations book to guide executives and leaders in the spotlight. He looks at some of the lessons he’s learnt over the years and highlights situations you need to avoid.

You’ll learn how headlines are generated behind the senses, along with strategies for dealing with hostile questions.

Ansell provides an intuitive guide for creating compelling PR statements and building trust during a crisis. He also offers various tips on how to spot misleading questions and the best way to approach them.

hippo logo
Notebook cover: Story of My Life

Empower Your Mind and Business

There are tons of exceptional public relations books out there intended to educate and upskill anyone interested in the industry.

They utilise real-world events and personal experiences to guide you through this ever-changing landscape.

Whether you’re part of a marketing team or a business owner, these nine books covered above will undoubtedly give you an edge.

Are you ready to empower your mind and give your brand the attention it deserves?

Contact Hippo Thinks today and let us help you build a PR strategy that’ll maintain a positive image for years to come.


Hippo content trends

for brands that excel

Join over 10,000 subscribers

Get Hippo Content Trends in your inbox