Book Review: Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge
In the nature of full transparency, I have to admit I have been waiting for this book for a long time. When I saw Brian Solis’ take on public relations and social media, I was stoked to say the least. With that said, the following is my honest review of
Putting The Public Back in Public Relations- How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR.
It’s not about technology, it’s about relationships and people.
This is the underlying theme throughout the book. Social media is only a tool used to interact with people, i.e., ‘the people formerly known as your audience’.
The first part of the book is dedicated to the history of public relations and the recent paradigm shift in the industry. Don’t skim through this section. It’s perfect for anyone new to the realm of social media / public relations or anyone who hasn’t participated in the conversation until this point. The authors frequently include direct blog posts which provide the reader with a sense of inclusion. A nice touch.
As soon as the reader is caught up to speed, Solis and Breakenridge jump right into the meat of the subject matter.
The authors cover the change in language that has taken place in the PR industry. This language change represents a more important attitude change in regards to participating with the public. This section also includes a somewhat funny chapter on blogger relations. The methods bloggers went to in an effort to stop PR spammers was pretty brutal, yet somewhat funny (example: Robert Scoble listing the email address of PR spammers on his blog).
The real gem of this section revolves around SMRs or Social Media Releases. These interactive press releases (I can barely call them press releases) are changing the way information is disseminated. A rough template is provided supplying the reader with a spring board for their own release ideas. SMRs are the way of the future.
Next, Social Media tools and technologies are addressed and explained for anyone who is late to the game. Again, don’t skip this section as the information provided is solid. The authors take this section to hammer in the concept of Relationships and People over Technology (sociology is greater than technology). After reading this section, the reader is left with a solid idea of what social media should and can be.
Finally, the future of Public Relations is discussed and provides actionable steps to properly implement the idea discussed earlier. This section is key for anyone hoping to adopt a social media strategy in their own business or hoping to ‘sell’ the idea to the larger corporation they work for.
This book kept me awake for nights on end. It has that motivational quality to it that just makes you want to do your PR job better. The book will get your head spinning with ideas while making you an effective PR 2.0 participant. Solis and Breakenridge have made this book their platform to change the public relations industry. While PR is the focus of this work, anyone participating in the online conversation should take the time to learn from their experience. The book’s themes are presented clearly and effectively. Putting the Public Back in Public Relations brings much to the table: it’s full of resources for further study and is worth multiple reads.
I recommend this book to anyone who plans on participating in the online conversation. If you are already active in social media and marketing online, you cannot afford to pass over this book. We all have much to learn. With greater participation and interaction, the PR world is prepped for greatness as long as we all keep in mind;
It’s about the people!