Book review: ‘The Public Relations Handbook’ by Robert L. Dilenschneider

‘The Public Relations Handbook” – fifth edition, edited by Robert L. Dilenschneider. Photo: Amazon

Robert L. Dilenschneider formed The Dilenschneider Group in October, 1991. Headquartered in New York and Chicago, the Firm provides strategic advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies and leading families and individuals around the world, with experience in fields ranging from mergers and acquisitions and crisis communications to marketing, government affairs, and international media. Experienced in a number of communications disciplines, Mr. Dilenschneider is frequently called upon by the media to provide commentary and strategic public relations insights on major news stories. He has counseled major corporations, professional groups, trade associations and educational institutions, and has assisted clients in dealings with regulatory agencies, labor unions, and consumer groups, among others. He is the editor of “The Public Relations Handbook,” a comprehensive and invaluable guide for public relations practitioners in the 2020s and beyond. (Amazon, 2022)

“The Public Relations Handbook” – nineteen contributing authors navigate the subject of public relations. In this field, it is no longer enough to be able to write an attention grabbing press releases and to establish media contacts. Nowadays, you must also be able to navigate the digital world and be prepared to work with other professionals. The skills needed in today’s public relations include supporting a company’s marketing and sales, handling social media, managing government relations, effectively working with the media, communicating with the investment community, supporting top management during a crisis or scandal, and positively positioning the company’s commitment to environmental, social, and government issues. It is divided into seventeen chapters, including Engaging the Community: Public Relations Is All About People and Working with the Media: They Are Not the Enemy, but Care is Required. The first five revolve around public relations, what it is and how it works. The last six deal with how to navigate public relations in different places, like private families, higher education, and countries like China, Japan, and Canada. Each chapter ends with a ‘Takeaways’ section that summarizes the topics covered.

Public relations has always been an important part of all types of businesses because it facilitates relationships among business professionals. “The Public Relations Handbook” was first published in 1967 and this new fifth edition explains how to deal with a more complex and constantly changing digital world and addresses new challenges in the financial, economic, political, public health and societal sectors. Editor Robert L. Dilenschneider is a communications executive who brings together leading experts in the field to address the specific skill sets, strategies, and execution that public relations practitioners need today. The language is relatively easy to understand and the overall layout of the chapters makes the information clear and accessible to the general reader. Highlights include Chapter 11 Crisis Communications: Not If, but When because it discusses what to do in your organization when a crisis occurs including how to handle the backlash and Chapter 13 Going Forward with China: A Guide to Success because it goes into detail of specific scenarios, for example, at a formal meal in China, ‘it is considered very rude in Chinese culture to eat before the host starts.’ The target audience may be public relations professionals but everyone can benefit from it, especially the chapters dealing with how people outside the United States conduct professional and personal business. “The Public Relations Handbook” is a valuable resource guide for the public relations professional and is recommended for readers who appreciate learning about public relations and business management even if they are not in the business of public relations.

“Public relations professionals must be prepared to deal with a staggering variety of people, issues, and subjects. After all, ‘it takes a village’ – public relations, as we know from its very name, is not done in isolation. It is a collegial endeavor.”

*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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