Playin’ in the Sand: PR Beach Reading

As any PR pro can tell you, it’s all in the timing.

Whether it’s when you reach a reporter just as he’s in the thick of a story for which your brand can provide some much-needed insight or launch a PR campaign that attaches itself to the zeitgeist, timing is everything.

This applies to both business and life, for better or for worse. My timing to spend a few days on the beach last week, for example, didn’t work out too well. A valiant effort to simply embed myself in the sand and watch the sky roll by was thwarted by swirling gray clouds and a constant threat of showers.

What are you going to do?

Fortunately, there’s still a good chunk of summer left to get in some quality beach time and hit the waves (I’m an avid swimmer). But even if the weather doesn’t cooperate it doesn’t hurt to crack open a cold drink and settle down with a good beach read.

Indeed, with communicators more pressed for time than ever, we recommend several beach books that can help inform you about the ever-morphing world of media, marketing and communications, but also entertain and enlighten.

> Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype, by Jay Baer

Baer, who has worked with top brands ranging from Nike to Walmart, explores how an age-old expression—Can I help you?—has taken on new meaning in a social marketing age.

> Edelman and the Rise of Public Relations, by Franz Wisner

This e-book offers a comprehensive history of the first family of public relations and the accompanying rise of the PR field. In 1952 Dan Edelman, who died in January, founded what is now the largest independent PR agency in the world, with 67 offices and more than 4,800 employees.

> Rethinking Reputation: How PR Trumps Marketing and Advertising in the New Media World, by Fraser P. Seitel and John Doorley

PR expert Fraser Seitel and John Doorley, founder of the Academy for Communication Excellence and Leadership at Johnson & Johnson, provide some crucial guidelines on how PR pros can navigate their brands through the new (and tricky) media landscape.

> The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

We’re all start-up companies now. Even if you work in an office ladled with the traditional accoutrements of corporate America, getting ahead in today’s world requires individuals to invest in themselves and their skill sets.

> Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences, by Philip Napoli

Ever get the feeling that we’re just a few codes away from transcending the space-time continuum? This book takes a look at the tremendous influence modern technology has on the media and the radical changes in how people consume media.

> The Fall of Advertising and The Rise of PR, by Al Ries, Laura Ries.

Advertising used to be the lord of the manor but in the new media world PR has become king of the castle. The Ries’ make convincing argument that in order to boost their credibility with consumers, companies need to drive the overall message with PR and have advertising, er, paid media, play a subordinate role.

Any titles you think we should add to the list?

Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1



  • durrell bell

    hello and god bless i am taking a journalist class and i really just wanted to know if you can help me out by answering a few questions for my class

    if you respond may you send it to my email at

    1. what is your routine every day before you go to work

    2.would you be able to give me a quote that you made up yourself. is it working under pressure to get the job done would you explain your feeling after you accomplish your job goals. you think all the time you spend in the media is in vain.

    6 last one would you call the media that you work in a battle cage and if so may i ask y.

  • Suzanne Mannion

    And since we are rarely successful at turning our work brains off completely, vacation also offers opportunities for considering future content ideas. So consider campaigns that spark you (jaded) marketing mind and share thoughts.

  • Michelle Turner

    As I have recently taken a position doing PR for a non-profit and trying to increase their digital brand, I really found “The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott to be a great resource- wherever you read it :-)

  • foakleys

    15 Minutes later Ron Davies went on a 20 yard run to crack a brilliant shot past Standen, but he should have been penalised for pushing centre half Ken Brown before getting the ball.