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Spin Sucks: An Interview with Gini Dietrich

I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you the following professional advice from Gini Dietrich, Founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc., a firm that uses non-traditional marketing in a digital world. Gini is also author of the marketing and PR blog Spin Sucks.

1. What inspired the Spin Sucks blog and what’s the story behind the name?

It has always really bothered me that PR professionals are seen as “spin doctors.” Sure there are people in our industry that will spin the truth to put their clients in a more flattering light, but that so rarely happens in places other than celebrities or sports. So we were talking about how much spin sucks in our industry and voila! The URL wasn’t already taken.

2. How is the blog related to your PR firm Arment Dietrich?

Arment Dietrich is our offline, more traditional client service business. Spin Sucks is the online marketing business. So same expertise; different delivery methods.

3. What are your goals for the blog?

Global Domination. We have pretty aggressive traffic, subscription, page views, and bounce rate goals. We nearly doubled our traffic from June to July, when we launched the new design and added guest bloggers. The goal is to continue that fast trajectory so we can eventually add meaningful advertising and launch into a membership-based program.

4. How many hours per week do you dedicate to blogging? How important do you feel it is to your company branding relative to other marketing and outreach activities?

Way too many! Between writing my own posts, commenting on our guest posts, and having conversations with people who comment I spend about 10 hours just on Spin Sucks. As for branding, it’s our number one driver of awareness. I write for several other blogs and publications and all of the invitations have come because someone on their editorial teams read the blog. It’s also huge for business development because even our current clients read what we’re doing/thinking and say, “We need that!” But, most importantly, it gives us the experience needed to lead our clients through their own content strategy.

5. How often do you post new blog articles to spinsucks? What other people contribute content?

I blog daily and we have one guest blogger daily. We started out with my friends as guest bloggers. In the past month we’ve had big name influencers both comment on the blog and offer their expertise. I’m still waiting to hear from Seth Godin, but I feel it’s coming!

6. Your blog posts consistently receive new comments from readers. What’s the best way to get people talking?

A few ways:

Write about something controversial

Ask a question at the end of your post

Provide a new way of looking at old ideas

Threaten to beat them up if they don’t comment (I DO live in Chicago)

7. How long have you been blogging? What are your biggest lessons learned since you started?

We started Spin Sucks four years ago because we wanted to understand this whole blogging thing. It was a disaster. We all took turns writing a post so there wasn’t a consistent voice and there were different levels of expertise. Some were really good at and others were really bad at it. I took the blog over in June 2009 to provide a consistent voice and to see if we could build something from nothing in order to teach our clients how to do. It seems to work.

8. What advice do you have for graduates or professionals seeking entry into the PR industry? Is a blog a logical starting point?

I don’t think a blog is necessarily something everyone should have to do. But I do think having a Twitter account they use to network with people who work at the agencies or companies where they’d like to work is ideal. Liking the companies they’d like to work on Facebook and joining the conversation is ideal. I will tell you that if someone has connected with me as a human being online and then we receive their resume, their chance of coming in for an interview increases 10 fold.

9. What are the top 3 recommendations you have for someone just starting out with a new blog?

1. Comment on other blogs
2. Write about current events
3. Don’t be afraid to post your opinion or be steadfast in your beliefs – this actually drives traffic really well

10. You’re a Chicago sports fan. Any prediction on next season for the Bulls (sans LeBron James)? Thoughts on “The Decision” from a PR perspective?

Sigh…the Bulls haven’t been the same since Michael Jordan. The Bears have a really hard schedule. The Blackhawks Stanley Cup team has been dismantled. And the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 101 years. Chicago isn’t a great sports town right now, but that doesn’t stop us from loving and believing!
As for The Decision. Boy do I have some thoughts! You can read them here: http://www.spinsucks.com/communication/pr-communication/lebron-james-a-pr-nightmare/

Thank you Gini for your time and great advice! Oh, and sorry about LeBron.

Comments or questions for Gini?

Thanks, Brent

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