PerkettPR Staff Picks for Must-Read Summer Books

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

It’s safe to say that communications professionals are pretty voracious readers. After all, our business is staying on top of and in the mix with massive amounts of content, so there’s more than a good chance that our eyeballs track back and forth across screens and pages for at least part of each day.

But when was the last time you really read something? No, we’re not talking about Google alerts, news scans, blogs or client placements – but a good old-fashioned (or digitized for our Kindle/iPad contingent!) book.

Summer is the perfect time to make a dent in your personal library – and if you want a little inspiration, check out what’s on our must-read list while squeezing in some vacation time before the kids head back to school:

Professional/Business Reading

Personal/Pleasure Reading

  • South of Broad by Pat Conroy: “Not a quick beach read, but his stories about the south and all of its many charms are always a nice escape to somewhere warm and different. I really liked Beach Music, too, and would recommend that first to see if you like Conroy’s style.”
  • Inferno by Dan Brown: “Brown’s books speak to my appreciation of history and my interest in the impact of religion on society and culture, as well as my (and everyone else’s) fascination with a good conspiracy theory.”
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: “I’m a little slow to the party with these, but better late than never! They’re chock-full of cliffhangers, so I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what Katniss Everdeen will face next.”
  • Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen: “I’m reading it on the iPad and absolutely loving it…super funny!”
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: “I quickly read through this and book two (Shadow of Night) and am now eagerly anticipating the next in the series. A history scholar and teacher, Harkness combines her passion and curiosity to create an amazing, rich story and uniquely compelling characters that stay with you long after the book ends.”
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer: “If you’re looking for more intellectually stimulating material…I just finished it, and it’s terrific!”
  • Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich: “I’m hooked on them and am eagerly awaiting number 20. Any book that has you laughing out loud is better than therapy as far as I’m concerned!”

If one of your favorite books didn’t make the list, let us know. What are some of your recommended summer reads?

5 Elements of an Effective Press Release

press_release_writing“The shorter and the plainer the better.” –Beatrix Potter

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” – Shakespeare

Minute by minute, a dizzying amount of data is created in this content-driven world. (Don’t believe me? Check out this infographic from DOMO )

And as PR folks, we’re under the gun to get the message across – clearly, thoroughly and correctly on behalf of our clients.

More often than not, this takes the form of a press release, the worth and future of which has become an annual debate. (But that’s another blog post entirely… For our purposes here, rather than dispute its inherent value, let’s focus on a few ways in which we can improve upon the content of future announcements we’re putting out into the ether).

I found a great article by Bill Stoller, The Ten Commandments of a Press Release, where he outlines his top ten “shalts” and “shalt nots.” In it, he argues that “when the recipient of a release focuses only on its content — and not on its creation — the writer has succeeded.”

Stoller’s point is an important one: Good writing allows the reader to focus on the message versus the medium. Although we’re taught to write one way growing up, I tend to think that the most effective press releases today follow these five guidelines:

  1. K.I.S.S. “Simple” works, but “short” is even more impactful in our content-crazed world.
  2. Sell the story, not your company. Yes, we know who is paying for the release, but that doesn’t mean anything if no one wants to cover it, correct? Take the time to create context.
  3. Remember your audience. Resist the urge to use marketing speak or pepper in industry acronyms. B2B or B2C, it’s doesn’t matter; keep it straightforward and interesting.
  4. Do the legwork. Again, know your targets and how they like to receive content. Social media savvy? Try tweeting a link to the release. Very visual? Scrap the words and make an infographic with your information. Make it easy for journalists to do their job, and they may just reciprocate.
  5. See number one. We’re following our own rules here.

Do you have any other principles for better press releases that you’d like to see added to the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts!