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Memo to CEOs: Get Serious About Media Relations

Author Bill Holstein has a provocative new book out for CEOs called "Manage the Media (Don't Let the Media Manage You)." It's a slim primer for CEOs from Harvard Business Press designed to get them thinking about taking a more active role in media relations.

For anyone in PR, Holstein's advice should sound pretty familiar. But I'm betting that this book finds an audience in the boardroom, where CEOs and other C-level executives can be insulated from the realities of corporate communications.

Among his tips:

  • Incorporate communications into corporate strategy: don't put PR in a silo. Let the PR people help shape the message
  • Go on the offensive and shape the message: frame the story before your adversaries (unions, competitors) do it for you
  • Prevent the emergence of broad coalitions: communicating early and often with your company's critics will keep your enemies divided
  • Embrace new media: it's here to stay, so you ignore it at your peril
On the plus side, Holstein's book includes many anecdotes about how CEOs have handled (or mishandled) their PR. On the downside, the book is very male/old-boy oriented and could use a few more facts and figures (and a few less generalizations) about how companies and CEOs have managed their PR efforts.