My favourite communication ‘easy reads’

The PR Masterclass by Alex SingletonDuring my MA in Professional Communication, I skimmed and read a lot of books on writing, PR and online communications, and I’ve been doing so ever since. But which have been my favourite reads?

This morning I pulled some candidates from the book shelf, and wondered why they had stayed in my mind, and what they have in common. The answer is that none of them are too theoretical, I could put what I learnt into place immediately, they made me feel enthusiastic or inspired in some way, or they quickly built my contextual knowledge on a subject.

Here are some of my favourites:

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to use social media, blogs, news releases, online video, and viral marketing to reach buyers directly by David Meerman Scott

I hear this book referred to again and again. It’s hugely inspiring in that it fully explains how any size of business can use a wealth of internet communication choices to build its audience, many of which are free and accessible to all (except of course for the cost of time). It illustrates a shift that has taken place in marketing and PR since the internet, and although these ideas have become much more commonplace and probably more obvious to many since its first publication, it’s still a great read for anyone who needs an overview of the subject. I have one of the older versions, and I’m sure the latest one is even better. Despite the title suggesting that the book is concerned soley with ‘buyers’, the ideas it contains can be equally well adapted to organisations with aims other than selling.

Online Communities Handbook: Building your business and brand on the web by Anna Buss and Nancy Strauss

If you are thinking of creating an online community, perhaps to benefit your business or organisation, this is a highly accessible read. It isn’t a technical book, but quickly gets you thinking about the practical reasons such communities are successful, risks and benefits, and choices that need to be made. This book is great for creators of online communities, or for those who need to understand them such as content creators.

The PR Masterclass: How to develop a public relations strategy that works! by Alex Singleton

I sent for this after it was featured as the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s book of the month, and it was so easy to read I devoured it in chunks. It put much of what I already knew into context, validated some common sense but frequently ignored facts (e.g. only ever send something to a journalist that will genuinely interest their reader), and extended my practical knowledge no end. It’s ideal for anyone wanting to check what they know about PR, which may only form part of their job description or touch on their role in some way. You can read a more in depth review at PR Week.

What are your favourite communication reads? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Janine is a copywriter, content writer and marketer based in Cumbria. To discuss your communications needs confidentially and without any obligation, contact her on 015394 69034 / 07707 038 092 or email

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