Hit the Books: Why Reading is Essential to PR Success

Jan 25, 2012 admin

Working in PR is an exercise in discipline. We assume responsibility for everything from strategy to execution details, all of which can change on a moment’s notice. As Beth points out in her 33 Signs You Work in PR piece, #22 is “You are perfectly capable of writing a press release while tweeting, updating Facebook and watching Mad Men at the same time.” A successful PR practitioner needs discipline to carve out time for tasks essential to our job function, particularly the non-tangible elements like reading. It sounds simple enough, but with a daunting to-do list full of deliverables, reading can seem like a distraction when its intent is to provide inspiration and ideas.

At InkHouse, we are constantly reading, watching and monitoring for conversations that matter to our clients. We are media junkies always on the search for new opportunity. We find the time to read because we are curious and we know that being successful requires not just an understanding of our clients but an understanding of the media and what the media is covering.

Beyond reading the traditional and social media channels, I asked my colleagues what they are absorbing in their spare time and was inspired by the variety of responses. Some enjoy reading business titles and others prefer books that can “lead thoughts in different directions” (HT @gregpc). As content creators ourselves, it’s important to read whatever it is that keeps our “prose loose and creative, as opposed to getting stuck in business-speak” (HT @tinacassidy2 who just finished writing a nonfiction book).

With that in mind, here’s a list of books we are currently reading outside of the office to stay informed  and to inspire creativity – both essential to any PR practitioner’s success.


Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman (cc-chapman.com)

If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

The Elements of Style (the illustrated version with Maira Kalman’s drawings)

The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott


A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes  by Mir Tamim Ansary

Edmund Morris' three volume biography of Teddy Roosevelt – The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex and Colonel Roosevelt

Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords who are Bringing Down the Internet by Joseph Mann

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Milkshake by Joanna Weiss

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

Room by Emma Donoghue

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined by Steven Pinker

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Secret Lives of Wives by Iris Krasnow

World War Z by Max Brooks

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers


Have you read anything good lately? Contribute to the list using the comments section.

Topics: Content, InkHouse, Public Relations, Writing, Journalism, PR

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