Book Reviews

Public Relations

Public Relations Kit For Dummies

Author: Eric Yaverbaum, Holly McGuire (Editor), With Bob Bly
Publisher Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
Publication Date: February 2001

Reviewer:Andy Marken
In his nearly 25 years in the advertising/public relations field, Andy has been involved with a broad range of corporate and marketing activities. Prior to forming Marken Communications in mid-1977, Andy was vice president of Bozell & Jacobs and its predecessor agencies. During his 12 years with these agencies, he developed and coordinated a wide variety of highly visible and successful promotional campaigns and activities for clients. A graduate of Iowa State University, Andy received his Bachelor's Degree with majors in Radio & Television and Journalism. Widely published in the industry and trade press, he is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

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Whether you're simply thinking about public relations as a career, are a PR/communications student, new to the industry or a callused pro; don't think that this new addition to the Dummies series is beneath you. Yaverbaum, who heads up Jericho Communications, has done a very good job of discussing most of the tools and channels we use or should use without sounding like a Ph.D. instructor or alchemist.

The book is well thought out and organized to help novices as well as remind senior PR people. As with the hundreds of other Dummies books, the author has done a great job of following IDG's proven formula of explaining the basics and the advanced practices of the art/science of PR. This includes how to establish budgets, developing your press materials (how and why), working with the various media - print, radio, TV and on-line - and following through to produce optimum results.

He even helps the reader evaluate and determine if the PR idea he or she has developed will be worth the time or money that are required.

Certainly this book is directed at small businesses that doesn't have or can't afford full-time internal or external support but if they have a good business plan and good product they may grow using PR Kits for Dummies and be able to hire the help they need. Even if the executive only buys the book and gives it to his most outgoing sales person or his executive assistant to use, it will help the company avoid the complaints from editors and reporters we've all heard (regarding the other person).

The author keeps you involved by mixing real company PR examples with practical do's and don'ts for the reader. Maybe he goes a little overboard in talking about the various PR stunts but face it 80 percent of what a good public relations person does day-in and day-out would put almost anyone to sleep if you were to sit down and describe your work to someone.

Yaverbaum has developed five very good top 10 lists including some mandatory lists such as 10 steps to better PR writing, 10 things you should never do and 10 reasons to do PR.

We especially liked the CD that was included with the book because it presents some examples of press releases, forms, contracts and PR materials people can use. He has also included a lot of freeware applications; Adobe's Acrobat Reader and a reasonable set of resources…including the PRSA Code of Ethics.

If you've been in the business for five-ten years you may not discover anything new in what Yaverbaum has to tell you but at least he tells you in a clear, concise manner. And if you are in the practice of hiring interns or recent college grads who are anxious to launch their careers this could be the best book you can give them to read when the come on-board their first week.

It's an easy way to give them a dose of reality they probably didn't get in the classroom.