Customer Review

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, if a little oversold, 25 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers ... & PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs,) (Paperback)
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The New Rules of Marketing and PR is a discussion with bullet lists (the rules) of how to use blogs, social media and the internet in general to boost your business. The author makes a lot of play about the difference between his 'new rules' and the 'old rules'. However, unless the rules were quite different in the USA from the UK, it seems as though the new rules aren't actually much different from the old rules, and what he describes as the 'old rules' were simply PR done badly. Nonetheless, if you can put the new/old polemic aside, this is a good book that has a lot to offer non-specialists about how to make the most of the social media revolution.

First the good points
If you aren't a PR specialist, but have done a bit of marketing or advertising, this is a very good book to get you thinking about the importance of reputation, engaging in the conversation, getting the content right, coming up with compelling ideas, and generally working strategically rather than keeping going for quick wins. A lot of this applies to other media as well, but in author Scott's own journey it seems that he discovered these things after he got into social media. It also has some useful, non-technical, sidelights on the business of working with blogs, comments, Twitter and Facebook.

Now the less good
If you look at The Essentials of Public Relations by Sam Black, published well before the social media age, most of the strategic points that author David Scott is making are already there. In Scott's list of 'old rules' you see more or less a parody of what PR is -- though a parody you encounter in the real world often enough to ring true. Scott also seems to be taking the position of 'PR as a branch of marketing' in his old rules, and seems to evolve into something closer to what PR actually is which his new rules.

Also, Scott is really only talking about the work of relatively small businesses. If you're a business leader looking at this book, then this is probably the right place to pitch it. But he's altogether less strong on voluntary organisations, charities, NGOs, campaign groups and anyone else who isn't really trying to sell a product. He does mention them in passing, but they are not the focus of this book and the constant harping on selling may put you off a bit. This is a pity, because he does have some good things to say.

Finally, this is a very, very USA-centric book, with only the briefest application to UK and European markets. The situation with the internet is probably identical here, but it definitely isn't with 'traditional' PR and advertising. A very sophisticated British press may well run rings round your well-meaning viral media campaign, and a bit more robust PR strategy is pretty much a necessity if you stick your head far above the parapet.

Everything together, the title of this book oversells it a bit, and the author's attempts to rubbish 'old' marketing and PR do more to give the impression he never got his mind round them than that he is supplanting them. However, what he does recommend is good and useful, and this will be a helpful addition to a bookshelf on social media -- as long as you don't expect it to be _the_ handbook.
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