I met Louise Third from Integra Communications at an event recently where she was speaking on the subject of DIY PR. I was very impressed with her energy and enthusiasm for small businesses and getting coverage for all. We got talking and she mentioned an ebook that she had recently written. It's called PR on a beermat - part of the beermat series.
I bought a copy a couple of days ago and have just finished it. It is full of good advice, covering subjects from "why should I do PR", through "can I do my own PR?" and deep into some of the details of how you can go about running a successful campaign yourself. I have found Louise herself very inspiring - she has already given me the confidence to speak to journalists on national newspapers and leading industry journals (more of which soon).
I particularly liked the specific bits of advice such as ideas for creating news, what time to speak to various journalists and the best ways of following up press releases. All of this will be second nature to seasoned PR professionals, but for someone like me on the outskirts of the industry, it is hugely valuable.
It would be wrong to write an ebook on a topic like PR without going into the online elements, and PR on a beermat has a good section on the ways the online world is shaping PR. This is an area that is of particular interest to me, given our upcoming seminar on online PR and the campaigns we are running aimed at UK PR firms and Louise handles it well. Her advice on blogging is sound and includes a good discussion of the difficulty of growing an online presence, but also the benefits if you can achieve it.
Her blogging case study is wiggly wigglers for whom blogging has apparently been a great business boost. It isn't a blog I had heard of (I don't think I'm quite in their target market) but if you want to read about lacewings, it looks like a good place to start.
Web 2.0 even merits a mention and I think the following quote from the ebook sums up digg brilliantly:
> Often attempts at web PR turn into self-indulgent exercises in vanity - personally enjoyable perhaps, but potentially damaging to the business
There is a brief mention towards the end of the ebook about cuttings services and how they are almost certainly too expensive for most small companies doing their own PR. I'm hoping that the next edition might have a mention of Reputation Monitor as a tool for doing online media monitoring which is affordable even if you are a small company doing it yourself!
[Disclosure: I have met Louise Third, the author of PR on a beermat, and we got on well. I bought PR on a beermat via their website at full price, however, and have nothing to gain from further sales, so go buy a copy]