Writing is important in marketing and public relations. Good writing is imperative and is a skill that has to be honed. How? Reading.
You can improve your writing by reading any genre – from fiction to nonfiction, romance to sci-fi to true crime to historical to business – anything goes and everything helps improve your communication skills. Everyone writes differently and reading helps you understand different voices and perspectives; which means you learn from them.
We love books that talk about behavioural economics, leadership, psychology, and marketing and media relations tips from industry experts. In no particular order, here are some of our top picks for books to help you with your understanding of human behaviour and how to communicate with the public. And they’re written very well.
Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D.
A national bestseller, Influence is a book on the psychology of persuasion. Cialdini uses evidence-based research to answer the question: why do people say yes?
Learn the six principles of persuasion – reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity – and how they influence your life and those around you. Whether it’s pitching a new client, getting your business on the morning show, answering your customers’ questions or writing ad copy, this book will help you get the “yes” from your audience.
“Once we realize that the power of consistency is formidable in directing human action, an important practical question immediately arises: How is that force engaged? What produces the click that activates the whirr of the powerful consistency tape?”
Junior: Writing Your Way Ahead In Advertising by Thomas Kemeny
We give all our new employees this book – especially the writers.
Dive into the nitty gritty details with Thomas Kemeny on how to write advertising copy that speaks to people, not at people. And he practices what he preaches. The book is fun, smart and effective while showing you how to write the same way. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity in this book – effective writing takes work, patience and practice.
“A great headline is always the byproduct of smart thinking. The next few pages are what I’ve learned about this freeing type of writing. How to make it shorter and better. How to make it longer and more interesting. How to have a F’*&ing g@@d time w/ punctuation! How to move people and make them feel stuff in their stomachs and heads. And how to make body copy that doesn’t suck.”
The Choice Factory by Richard Shotton
We all have cognitive biases. What’s a cognitive bias? Part and parcel with behavioural economics, cognitive biases are hard-wired decision making tools that our brain uses to make decisions. They have helped us survive for thousands of years by allowing us to make quick decisions – even if they’re not rational decisions.
Understanding even a handful of these biases can do wonders for your public relations and marketing efforts. Entertainingly written with vivid examples and studies, Shotton goes into detail on more than 20 cognitive biases and the behavioural science that affects decision making. You’ll finally understand why you, and the people around you, do what they do. Make sure you use this knowledge for good.
“Why do we underestimate context as a driver of behaviour? Perhaps, because it boosts our self-image: it appeals to our ego to believe that we are paragons of rationality. Who wants to admit to being at the whim of external forces?”
When The Headline Is You by Jeff Ansell with Jeffery Leeson
Speaking and interacting with the media is a complex skill. This book is an essential guide to learning this skill set.
Crisis communications expert, Jeff Ansell, includes real-world examples, scenarios and exercises that will help you when dealing with messaging and media relations. Written for executives, leaders and communications professionals, this book offers values-based tips and tactics to successfully navigate a variety of media scenarios and encounters.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution for media messages. Different stories and situations call for specific types of messages that provide journalists with the quotes they need to report the news. Message types include those that tell your story, offer facts, provide perspective, show concern, and move people to act.”
Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
What makes an idea or product catch on? How does something become popular? The driving force behind a contagious product or idea is word of mouth. Things catch on when people talk about them. From social media to press coverage to talking at a party, people are more willing to embrace an idea if they hear about it from someone they trust.
Generate word of mouth more effectively with international bestseller, Berger’s strategies. He explores why people talk about certain products more than others, what makes content go viral, and principles you can make to influence these stories.
“People don’t think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.”
And what booklist from communication professionals would be complete without mention of the Canadian Press Stylebook and its counterpart, Caps and Spelling? These two are definite staples in our everyday work – there are multiple copies, in different editions on our shelves. Don’t make media work hard – give them your news releases in the style they prefer: CP Style.