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Book Review: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
By: Mike Bush
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If you’re in the communications and/or social media space (read, everyone in PR today), you’ve hopefully heard the name Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s an author, a Twitter deity, an entrepreneur, and a wine connoisseur whose brilliant pairing ability literally know no bounds (hello Taco Bell wine-pairing, really).  

Oh, and he recently started a $25 million venture fund backed by the owner of an NFL team.

His most recent book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, should, probably be considered required reading for anyone in our profession. Here’s why:

The title is an obvious reference to boxing, and this book paints a picture of how marketers and flacks can effectively position their brands with their consumers to eventually be in a position to ask for a sale. Eventually is probably the most important word in that last sentence. Social media takes effort, but Gary V. shows effective examples of that effort paying off.

The first couple chapters are a bit of a rehashing of Gary V.’s earlier books, which, if you’ve read them all, makes these chapters a quick, simple refresher and reminder of the things we should probably know anyway. In my opinion, one of Gary V.’s strongest attributes as a writer is his ability to concisely articulate social media techniques that are so blatantly obvious, you can’t help but think, “well, of course that’s how it should be done.” Next, you immediately realize how many companies aren’t doing it that way, and you even think “Gosh, am I doing it that way?”

It’s compelling stuff.

The rest of the book highlights individual tips and recommendations for specific social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. These sections each include examples of companies who’ve done great work, and companies who haven’t really lived up to their fans’ expectations, along with descriptions of why something did or didn’t work (it’s easy to say Company X failed, it’s much harder to pinpoint why that is).

The end of each of these chapters includes a series of questions that content creators should consider before they post to a particular platform. At the very least, it’s important for anyone working in content development to keep these questions in mind. More realistically, everyone working in content creation should print these out and post them at their desk, looking at them every time they’re about to push the “post” button (or for coworkers, turn them into your laptop or tablet’s wallpaper).

This review is being published on a site for Flacks, so let me throw out a quick warning: Warranted or not, there is a fair amount of Flack-bashing in the book. There are examples of companies who make a social media mistake, and there are references to how “PR departments think stuff like this is a good idea.”

But, if you can stomach the occasional gut-punch to our profession, this book is a knockout. 


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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