Relevant insights about public relations from a skilled practitioner.
This fine debut by Stahl, a co-founder of marketing communications agency Jacobstahl, is a concise overview of the PR field that offers a forward-looking perspective on the impact of modern communications technology. With precision and authority, Stahl covers the basics, raising important issues without delving into excessive detail. The book seems primarily intended for those considering a career in PR—the author teaches graduate courses in integrated communications at the City College of New York—but experienced practitioners may learn a thing or two, as well. The book’s 10 PR fundamentals, for example, are more intriguing than similar, more typical lists; they include “Curiosity,” “Message and Motive Integrity,” and “Story Telling.” Similarly, the section comparing “attraction” and “promotion” is intriguing: “attraction operates on a different rhythm than promotion. It feels friendlier, more relaxed. It doesn’t come with either the volume or the urgency of promotion. If orchestrated effectively, it can almost feel organic and inevitable.” Here, the author effectively and clearly associates the more sophisticated and subtle “attraction” with the power of PR. Stahl later uses the interesting term “gentle collisions,” borrowed from one of her clients, Michael Markowitz of Panera Bread, to explain how attraction creates “personal and authentic intersections in the everyday lives of the target audience.” There are specific tips and techniques, as well, as in a bulleted list of “ways to spark creativity,” and suggestions for keeping business objectives front and center when working on a PR strategy. The book closes with a chapter titled “Messages from the Masters,” which ably condenses the wisdom of 17 senior PR executives into digestible interview excerpts. Perhaps recognizing the relative brevity of her book, Stahl helpfully includes a section of additional resources.
A highly readable, provocative, and stimulating PR guide.