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Public relations

Why has no one written ‘The PR Masterclass’ before?

You might have thought that how-to books on media relations from ex-journalists would be everywhere. Yet, as far as I can tell, The PR Masterclass, is the first one from a former staff journalist on national newspaper.

Yes, there are many good memoirs by ex-journalists discussing their time on Fleet Street. But I wanted to write a book that wasn’t about me (I am too young to write an autobiography). Instead, I wanted to produce a practical guide to getting coverage. It’s packed full of detailed advice to help people – perhaps like you – make your PR efforts work.

So why is this the first book of its type? Well, I can think of five reasons.

  1. Many ex-journalists who go into public relations take up highly paid in-house jobs in FTSE companies, where they are kept very busy. Anything they say may need to be cleared by their employers and they may even have a contract clause saying that they can’t undertake any commercial activity for anyone else. As such, they don’t have any incentive to write a book – and in their spare time, they’d rather spend it with their kids.
  2. Most journalists are used to writing hundreds of words, not 40,000. While some journalists are strong book writers, others just hate the idea of writing something that long.
  3. They have other interests they’d prefer to write about. Writing a business book doesn’t seem as prestigious as writing the ultimate biographical account of the life of a Gladstone.
  4. Some journalists spend their entire career working in one field. If they are, for example, writing about politics, they may never deal with PR people representing companies who want to get publicity for products and services. Thus, they never see many good and bad approaches and, indeed, never need to think about it. Starting out as a tech journalist, writing for newsstand magazines while at school, I’ve found myself writing almost every sort of article imaginable – from news, to features, to opinion, to reviews, to columns – and across magazines, newspapers and online. B2B, B2C and public affairs campaigns – I’ve experience of all of it. Not every journalist experiences that.
  5. Some people fear that putting their expertise into writing a book will reduce their ability to sell consulting. They worry that they are giving away their expertise. Actually, that’s not what tends to happen with business books. Most customers will indeed buy a book and implement the ideas directly. But plenty of bigger companies, who don’t have time to do it themselves, hire the author to do the implementation or to train their staff.

Fortunately, I didn’t get put off by any of those reasons – and so you can order The PR Masterclass here.