PR professionals often find themselves in an interesting dilemma: They understand the media and can pull the levers of attention for others, but they have trouble standing out themselves.
The challenge is that, despite their savvy connections and ability to whip up a story, the details of their own work don’t command the media’s attention. In a field where everyone is a master of PR, it can be hard to stand out from the pack.
The solution? Do something that separates you from the rest of the PR world.
Sure, this can be accomplished by the absurdity of the stunts you pull, the level of clients you work with or other unique details about your life and business.
But there is one surefire way to become known as more than just another PR person: by defining who you are and what you stand for with a book.
Here are three of the most successful ways we’ve seen PR professionals leverage books.
When prospective clients decide they want to amp up their PR strategy, many of them begin by trying to crack the code themselves. Inevitably, this path leads them to Amazon, which leads them to the top books on the subject, which (ideally) leads them to you.
Ryan Holiday executed this strategy brilliantly with his book, Trust Me, I’m Lying. By educating a generation of PR professionals and business owners on how 21st century media works, Ryan immediately stood out from the pack as the person in media.
Although Ryan had done incredible work in the years leading up to the book, it wasn’t until his book was released that the public began to view him as an authority in the field.
As PR professionals know well, it’s easier to be talked about and stay top-of-mind when you own a small niche.
As a firm or agency, it’s difficult to pin down your niche without ostracizing certain valuable clients. But with a book, you can define who you are and what you’re best at to become better known in that niche and appeal directly to the right people.
Think of the Heath Brothers. Although they run trainings as opposed to an agency, they wanted to be better known as the experts on how to make ideas stick. It didn’t matter that they knew a lot more about marketing — they knew they could stand out better if they were known for one thing.
After writing Made To Stick, this became a reality. Whenever the idea of “stickiness” came up in a business context, their book was discussed, and it allowed them to stand out from the hoards of other marketing trainers in their field.
While most books by PR professionals relate to teaching the skills they have in a way that helps them stand out from the crowd, there is also value in building notoriety in other ways.
When David Ogilvy released Confessions of An Advertising Man in 1963, he was already a legend in the advertising industry. However, the release of the book, and the inside look it gave the rest of us into his world, solidified him as the go-to person in advertising.
More than 50 years later, the power of the position Ogilvy created -- notorious industry leader and insider -- still drives clients to choose Ogilvy & Mather over competitive agencies.
As a PR professional, you are in the unfortunate position of competing for attention with others who are just as media-savvy as you are.
The solution? Write a book on what you know, and share your ideas with the world.
Zach Obront is the co-founder of Book In A Box, where he helps busy professionals write and publish their books. He’s also the author of The Book In A Box Method (which you can download for free here), a step-by-step guide to exactly how to go from idea to published book.
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