The ever-enthusiastic Richard Laermer is a well-known public relations strategist. In his book Full Frontal PR, Laermer successfully covers the ins and outs of just about every aspect of the public relations function. At the same time, Laermer injects a much-needed dose of gusto, coolness and fun when covering the more traditional facets of public relations.
Richard Laermer is a recognized authority on public relations and media culture. Laermer is a former journalist who wears many hats. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of RLM, a public relations firm that serves the consumer, technology, business-to-business, health-care, entertainment, publishing and financial services industries. Laermer is also a contributing editor to PR News and writes for publications such as
The aim of Full Frontal PR is to teach its readers how to generate hype and use it to their advantage. Laermer’s book succeeds at this in almost every way.
Laermer starts off with an introduction into the dynamics of exposure: word-of-mouth promotion and media coverage. Word-of-mouth, as Laermer explains, is the best type of exposure. However, he is quick to point out that attaining such verbal promotion does not happen by accident. Generating and maintaining word-of-mouth exposure is a skill that requires much diligence. The remainder of the book educates the reader on the various ways to attain word-of-mouth exposure and the role the media plays in doing so.
Laermer does an excellent job of defining the role of the media and journalists. The author refers to the media as “merchants of exposure.” They are the keepers of the gate that leads to a world of publicity. Laermer starts off his chapter on media by describing the journalistic process. He debunks the myth that journalists creep in the shadows, where they meet with their mysterious sources of information. On the contrary, Laermer describes journalists as being just like you and me. They work at their desks waiting for a phone call or email that will give them a good story idea. What Laermer is saying, is that public relations specialists should not fear journalists. Why? Journalists, to a certain extent, rely on public relations specialists to carry out their jobs. I found this concept to be very enlightening, seeing as how contacting a journalist is often intimidating.
The bulk of Full Frontal PR is dedicated to addressing the “hows” and “whys” of generating exposure and buzz. In the section entitled “The Nitty-Gritty”, Laermer shows the reader most of the available avenues of generating buzz. It is this section, chapters three through six, that make Full Frontal PR a must have for anyone who wants to learn more about public relations.
In chapter three, Laermer defines the power tools public relations specialists use to gain exposure. The tools and techniques described are analyst meetings, beta and product testing, producing b-roll footage, embargoing, exclusives, holding publicity events, in-person interviews, leaking information, performing media tours, holding press conferences, developing press kits and releases and producing surveys and trend stories. Laermer not only defines what these tools and techniques are, he also identifies the best ways to use them. This chapter further honed my understanding of all the various public relations tactics and therefore I consider it my favorite in the book.
Chapter four is another gem of information. Here, Laermer explains how to find the right news hook in order to sway reporters into using your story idea. Chapters five and six focus on how to pitch your story to the media and how to become a confident spokesperson in order to win over the press. The remaining chapters of Full Frontal PR focus on establishing and maintaining good media relations, gaining exposure on a national level and the new tools of exposure that the Internet offers.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Full Frontal PR. Richard Laermer obviously understands public relations and its benefits. I found that the true value of Full Frontal PR is in its educational use. Laermer not only clearly defines public relations, buzz and various publicity tools, but he also explains to the reader how to best use those tools. Throughout the entire book, Laermer uses callouts to highlight special sections of information. These callouts usually contain very useful insights that expand one’s knowledge of public relations and generating publicity. As an added bonus, Laermer includes lists of his favorite resources. These lists contain everything from his favorite news websites, to stay up-to-date with the latest buzz, to his preferred tools for generating publicity.
In conclusion, Richard Laermer’s Full Frontal PR is a must read for anyone looking to educate themselves with the ins and outs of public relations. Seasoned public relations specialists would also be well served by buying and reading a copy for themselves.