Friday Book Review: Agile PR by Marian Salzman

C08TpwXXcAADpN6Although a familiar term today, “metrosexual” was not heard of until a PR agency used it in an advertising campaign for its client, the Italian beer company Peroni. That agency was Havas PR North America, headed by Marian Salzman, author of a new book called Agile PR: Expert Messaging in a Hyper-Connected, Always-On World. As Salzman explains, when Havas “hijacked” the term coined by English writer Mark Simpson and introduced it into popular culture, Havas was engaging in what she calls “news-fluence.” News-fluence is the art of newscrafting in order to create influence. Newscrafting is what PR agencies have always done: crafting great stories that help their clients to create news. A key component of newscrafting is trendspotting, a term that’s self-explanatory.

Salzman doesn’t waste time. Newscrafting, news-fluence and trendspotting are introduced in the first two pages of this highly readable and comprehensive overview of public relations in the age of social media and the “prosumer” — Salzman’s term for today’s proactive consumers. Readers receive the first list of imperatives — which she summarizes as “grab attention, expect trouble, master the media, know your story and spot trends” — on the third page.

The pace of the book reflects the pace of the world as Salzman describes it in this eloquent overview: “Back before everywhere-all-the-time technology was the norm… communication strategy could be planned in advance. The campaign blueprint plotted out a timeline with a series of milestones to be activated and checked off… The whole thing could be set up and executed more or less as planned, give or take a few adjustments to accommodate occasional unexpected events.”

“But that world is gone,” she continues. “Technology has made…” (click here to continue reading this review)