Thriller or filler? Public Relations: The Basics by Ron Smith

This month's book reviews feature a guide on how to break into PR and a systematic explanation of every facet of the industry.

Thriller or filler? Public Relations: The Basics by Ron Smith

Published by Routledge

Public Relations: The Basics is written by the professor of public communication at Buffalo State university, Ron Smith. It may look like a run-of-the-mill introduction to the PR industry, but it is definitely not.

The book takes readers systematically through the PR industry to provide a full and rounded explanation of it. It covers everything from the history of PR and how it has evolved to the skills used by practitioners and how to create a comprehensive PR plan, including the different tactics used and the evaluation of work.

The first section provides an in-depth look at what PR is and how it became the industry it is today. I found this section particularly informative, especially the use of PR tactics in ancient times, in religion and during revolutions. It was also interesting to find out about PR events during wars that are sometimes overshadowed by the history of propaganda.

In the second part of the book, Smith provides almost a step-by-step guide to PR planning, with worksheets and examples. The use of real-life case studies helps illustrate the points he makes and provides insight into the PR tactics that well-known businesses and organisations have used.

Smith underpins his writing with academic theory, making it useful for people studying PR.

Although Smith's writing style is, at times, quite complex and difficult to follow, this is one of the best introductions to PR that I have read. I would recommend it to anyone studying PR or looking to get into the industry.

Alex Kerwin, PR student, University of Westminster

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