Gini Dietrich

Seven Years of Blogging. Happy Birthday, Spin Sucks!

By: Gini Dietrich | September 10, 2013 | 

Seven Years of Blogging. Happy Birthday, Spin Sucks!By Gini Dietrich

Seven years ago tomorrow, Spin Sucks was born.

Seven years. That’s kind of crazy, isn’t it?

I’ve been thinking about this anniversary a lot this year. We’ve come a long way and I thought it’d be fun to share where it started.

In the Beginning

We launched this blog because some of the industry leaders were talking about this blogging thing. Back then, there was no such thing as WordPress or Blogger. There were no themes you could customize for your design. There were no plugins to help you learn search engine optimization. There were no social share buttons.

It was all done on Typepad and it wasn’t pretty in the least.

Case in point. I’m not sure who wrote the introductory blog post, but here is the very first entry.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 9.57.39 AM

I’m pretty sure that’s not more than 200 words, there are no hyperlinks, no keywords, no social shares, no subheads, no bullet points. Nothing that makes a blog post easier to read. And what the heck is the footnote? Oh my.

There were 23 of us at the time and we decided everyone would write, from the interns on up to me. We didn’t have an editor and there wasn’t a consistent way of doing things. The only rule was you had to write about something that was happening that made the PR industry look bad.

More Examples

We didn’t have guidelines that called for no politics in blog posts, consistency in hyperlinking to other articles, or even the use of images.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 9.59.56 AM

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 10.01.16 AM

It wasn’t until two years later we started to understand the whole blogging thing a little bit better. But it still wasn’t great.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 10.02.46 AM

The voice was inconsistent, the editing was non-existent, and the topics were wishy-washy.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2010, when a young man who was a graduate student at Northwestern University came to me and said he really liked what we were doing with the blog, but he had some ideas to help it grow.

I hired him for a residency and he set to work on adding guest bloggers, creating weekly posts (Facebook question of the week used to be a blog post that published every Wednesday), and holding me accountable to writing three times a week … and by 8 a.m. on those days.

Because of him, we created goals (and exceeded them) and grew this little thing into something that now requires a full-time person’s attention (yay Lindsay Bell!).

The Stats

On July 23, 2008, we installed Google analytics so we don’t have metrics from the first year. But here is what has happened since then:

  • We’ve published 2,240 blog posts
  • There have been 107,636 comments
  • There have been nearly 1.5 million visitors
  • There have been more than three million pageviews

More importantly, we dropped FADS from the branding to become just “Spin Sucks.”

We began inviting guest bloggers three years ago, but I can’t tell you how many of those blog posts are from you. I’d venture to guess 600, or about 25 percent of all published posts. Not too shabby!

What’s Next?

In July of this year, I scaled back on my writing to just four times a week (it was seven) and we’re continuing that test through the end of September.

Once Spin Sucks (the book!) is off to the printer, I’ll turn my focus to longer form content to create in-depth articles for “PR” searches, podcasting, cornerstone content, and more.

This is a place to test, take some risk, track the metrics, make some tweaks, and report back so you can learn something and implement in your own blogging efforts. If there is anything you’d like us to try, I’d be happy to take a stab at it.

So here we are. Happy seventh birthday, Spin Sucks! Here’s to many more!

Special thanks to Jay Dolan for the image.

UPDATE (September 10 at 1:20 p.m.): There are people who insist in finding something wrong with everything I write. Today it is that WordPress and Blogger did exist when we started blogging. I stand corrected.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • Congratulations! Where’s the cake?

    Not to get nit-picky, but I’ve been blogging since 2006, so Blogger was definitely around then!

    • But more importantly… cake.

    • Unmana I was going to say that. I checked my old acting blog on blogger, and it started in 2005. Though for me it was more journaling than blogging …

      • RobBiesenbach Unmana Acting blog?! Link!
        Yeah, me too. What I Did Last Weekend and other boring shit no one wants to know.

        • Unmana Oh my, it was … not great. It started with good intentions, to document production of the first show I wrote. I had no blogroll — I thought other theater people were weirdos. I shut off comments for a long while because of one daily oddball commenter. Eventually it just became life stuff after I got into my “real” blog, then I gave it a decent viking funeral.

        • RobBiesenbach Unmana Nice. That’s a lovely tribute to Allie the cat. And congratulations on getting married! (It’s not too late to say that, right?)

        • Unmana Never too late—thank you! And the cat tribute was very cathartic. Some day I’ll go back and edit it into a real story.

    • Unmana We DO need cake!

  • ★☆★
    You’ve come a long way, baby! 🙂 My takeaway from this post? Spin Sucks may be a thriving community now, but it certainly wasn’t an overnight success. What you just described sounds like a lot of hard work, strategy and late nights writing! Congratulations on everything that you’ve created here. It’s a community that I truly love — and one of the only blogs that I never skip reading.

    • TaraGeissinger Damn, you stole my line! I thought “You’ve come a long way, baby” would be perfect in light of all the Lean In conversations lately!

      • RobBiesenbach TaraGeissinger Great minds think alike!

    • TaraGeissinger I like to remind people that we’ve been doing this a long time (relatively speaking) and what looks like happened fairly quickly had a good three years of disaster before it began to work.

  • Happy Birthday Spin Sucks! Thanks for creating such a great community online and off!

  • Lara Wellman

    Happy anniversary!   
    Curious, do all your posts get formally edited before being put online?

    • Lara Wellman All of the posts except mine. They go through two rounds. Lindsay does first pass and I do second. But no one edits me because I don’t write until about an hour before it publishes.

      • ginidietrich Lara Wellman As IF I would dare edit Gini. 😉

  • Happy Anniversary SpinSucks! And Congrats Gini and your team! I love reading you (almost) daily 🙂

  • rdopping

    Ha! Love it. I am where you were 5 years ago but there’s only two of us….ahem……one who is more of a “silent” partner slash editor….ahem.
    Congrats. I hope there’s another 7. Its really nice to watch what you built grow. Isn’t it?

    • rdopping Is the silent partner your other personality?

  • Very inspiring, Gini. Happy anniversary…I’m glad to have found this great community, which has become about so much more than PR. Blessings on whatever is next…

    • Word Ninja Thanks, Amanda! We love having you here!

  • Congrats Gini, I do believe you are a survivor. You are the true pied piper of social, but in a good way. You let me into your world through your blog and I am very glad I have had the opportunity to get to know you. 
    I barely made it 2 1/2 and even though I’m still posting twice a month I do believe that car has run out of gas….it keeps me around though. 
    Here’s to another 7 and a Cubs World Series.

    • bdorman264 I think this is the nicest things you have ever said to me. Thank you.

    • bdorman264 That’s great Bill… now, I have to say something nice.

      • Adam | Customer Experience I set the bar; I didn’t say where, but I set the bar……:).

  • bobledrew

    Seven years! That’s like 49 years in old media.

  • Happy birthday & congrats!  The most useful PR-focused blog I know of!

  • Happy b-day Gini & crew, bang-up job writing and conversation-ing.

  • ElissaFreeman

    Seven years! How amazing – you’ve taught us all so much! And? Glad that I’ve been privileged to  have contributed to a small part of it!

    • ElissaFreeman You have been an awesome part of it. Thank you!

  • Seven? You don’t look a day over 5! Congratulations on building such a smart blog and a smart community!

  • Wow, 7 years – that is so awesome, Gini!
    I just want to say “Happy Birthday to Spin Sucks! – –  And a big thank you to you and your team over there – they do meaningful work and your leadership always shines through.
    You’ve definitely influenced me over the last few years and thank you for the insights, the education, the opportunities, and just welcoming me into your world at every turn.
    Cheers to you and Spin Sucks! : )

    • Mark_Harai Thanks, Mark! And congratulations to you on your new venture. I need to spend some time checking it out.

  • Woo hoo!! Happy Birthday Spin Sucks!!!

    • yvettepistorio Happy birthday, Spin Sucks! Are there going to be goody bags after the party? #priorities 🙂

      • biggreenpenyvettepistoriothe Arment Dietrich Party Yacht is leaving tonight from the Chicago Docks you need to get a wrist band from ginidietrichto board, They cost $95 each but include buffet dinner, all the veuve clicquot you can drink and a Karaoke contest. The contest winner gets 1 free year of Spin Sucks blog posts to your inbox and a Jack Bauer Bobblehead Doll.

        • Howie Goldfarb biggreenpen yvettepistorio ginidietrich I love karaoke!!

        • Howie Goldfarb biggreenpen yvettepistorio ginidietrich I’ll throw in some valuable Big Green Pen post it notes to the SWAG. And a twoaster. Not everyone gets one of those, right martinwaxman?

        • biggreenpen Howie Goldfarb yvettepistorio ginidietrich martinwaxman Those are definitely collector’s items.

      • biggreenpen I’m going to make a cake – but I’ll be the only one to eat it unless people come to my house…

    • yvettepistorio We need cake at wine:thirty this week!

      • ginidietrich I will make sure to be eating cake during wine:thirty this week ;D

  • Congratulations and Happy Birthday/Anniversary/Blogoversay! Spin Sucks has grown into an amazing community that shares a wealth of knowledge while entertaining at the same time. I can’t wait to see what the next sever years bring ginidietrich and belllindsay. Thank you!

    • EdenSpodek Thanks, Eden! You’ll be part of the growth!

  • I have had the privilege of being inspired by ginidietrich  and belllindsay at  SpinSucks  since 2009 when I made my first foray into the social media world.  I have learned so much, I have laughed a lot, I have been moved…but mostly, I consider myself very lucky to call you friend and to be part (peripherally usually) of an intelligent and thoughtful (and thought provoking) community.  Happy 7th birthday!  May this be just the beginning of many more rewarding years for you!!
    Love you!

    • SocialMediaDDS AND part of a secret book club! Love you, too!

  • susancellura

    How wonderful!!! Happy Birthday to SpinSucks!!!

  • Happy Birthday SpinSucks! 😀 Love your stuff, and looking forward to many more birthdays from you 🙂

  • Wow! What a milestone. That makes you a real veteran in blog years.
    Keep up the insights. Happy birthday and congratulations ginidietrich! 
    I’m hoping there will be commemorative mugs!

    • martinwaxman ginidietrich you called her a veteran blogger is that code word for ‘old’ Martin? 😉

      • Howie Goldfarb martinwaxman ginidietrich Um the old would be me. Actually, I was referring to it as someone who’s been in the trenches. A lot of very young veterans these days, you know…

    • martinwaxman I hear there are t-shirts!

  • Happy bloggy birthday SpinSucks! You enlighten and inspire me every day. (Picture me doing a Wayne and Garth-style “we’re not worthy” bow right here…)

  • Hey ginidietrich, when is going to be released 

    • @corinamanea It should be out in January and it will be available for Kindle and Nook and Kobo and all.

      • ginidietrich Great news. I pre-ordered it, so I look forward to read it….in January  🙂

        • @corinamanea That was nice of you. Thank you!

  • Congrats. I take a look back from time to time — there’s good, bad, bloody awful, brilliant in my own mind and just about anything in between. Then there’s the whole WORK part of it, the links and shares, SEO and clicks, the business side of blogging for business. Damn, 7 years is quite an evolution – hat tip and I look forward to more. (And plan to steal this idea a time or two when I need blog fodder, so thx.) FWIW.

    • 3HatsComm I am always happy to provide blog post inspiration!

  • Way to be 7! Really cool stuff and we all learn from you. Thanks for sharing.

    • jeanniecw The blog is older than N!

      • ginidietrich Crazy! Just think of all that’s happened in 7 years. We didn’t even know each other!

        • jeanniecw That seems like it’s not possible.

  • PR Daily

    Happy Birthday to you!

  • Congrats! and Happy 7th Birthday!

  • JodiEchakowitz

    Congrats Gini and team! I love Spin Sucks (it should be required reading for everyone in a communications role) and can’t wait to read some of your longer form content.

    • JodiEchakowitz I’ll get there…I have some ideas, but need to finish the book first.

  • Happy Blogiversary!

  • A heartfelt congrats! My go-to destination of the interwebs! Thank you for all of the awesome content and advice ginidietrich and team! xoxo

  • Arment Dietrich, Inc.

    Bwhahaha!! LOVE this pic! Thanks!!!

  • JefferyBialek

    Congrats Gini and the Spin Sucks team! I think this means some wool or copper for your seventh anniversary…though as we’re talking blogs, desk sets might be a bit more appropriate and a lot more practical! Spin Sucks is a welcome read every day.  Looking forward to your longer form content to come.

    • JefferyBialek Maybe a copper desk set?!

      • JefferyBialek

        ginidietrich JefferyBialek Better than a wool desk set!!

  • Wow Happy Birthday! I didn’t even read blogs until the summer of 2008. Didn’t start one til 2009 on Blogger. You done well. But maybe we can crowd source a way to bring back FADS.
    Funneling Alcohol Dads on Scooters
    Future Anachronistic Dreadnaught Snookers
    Forty American Doctors Skiing
    I need help from bdorman264 bobledrew @jasonkonopinksi @kmueller62 KDillabough we must bring back the FADS. We can do it! But damn this is hard!

  • Happy Birthday to Spin Sucks!  And here’s to many more years of inspiring people and changing the perception of the PR industry. I know the community around this blog has done a number on me since I started reading it. I’m sitting in a Public Relations class in the last semester of my belated undergrad degree in marketing, poised to go practice, partly in thanks to reading the content here and thinking, “I WANT TO DO THAT AND BE LIKE THOSE PEOPLE EVERY DAY.” Thanks to Gini and everyone else who has contributed to this blog and community!
    A Virgo — I knew it!!!

    • DwayneAlicie A Virgo! LOL! Only you would know that. 
      Did Karl the Fog come back?

  • Wowza! Like many, I appreciate all the wisdom and through-provoking conversation that happens here. Happy blogiversary. 🙂

  • Happy birthday Spin Sucks! Many thanks for all you have done to educate audiences about marketing, communications and public relations. I am particularly grateful for the knowledge I have gleaned from reading Spin Sucks over the years.

    • kevinanselmo This is the best comment I could receive. Thank you for saying so!

  • Happy Anniversary. It has been fun to watch you grown and I’ve enjoyed writing the occasional guest post. Now, where is the cake. I was told there would be cake.

    • ExtremelyAvg I want cake, too! Isn’t someone supposed to make you a cake?

      • photo chris

        ginidietrich ExtremelyAvg ahhh- see, I am not the only cake crazy here! Can I recommend Creative Cakes In Tinley Park? You won’t be disappointed!

  • You’ve come a long way baby. Happy to be part of the team. I was going to say “you couldn’t have done it without me” but then I thought I’d probably just get fired again. 😀

    • belllindsay I definitely couldn’t have done the last year without you.

  • KevinVandever

    I’ve known you since you were two or three. It seems like forever because seven years in blog years is like, what…100 in people years? You’ve grown and aged well. Thanks for allowing me to engage with “The Crazies” and to periodically bring value with a comment or reply (yeah, I’m fishing. It’s OK for you to say that everything I write adds value to the blog). 
    Happy Birthday!

    • KevinVandever Everything you write adds value to the blog, Kev. Particularly when you make me videos.

  • timbo1973 Thanks, Tim!

  • Best. Update. EVER!!!!

  • Wow Gini — 7 years! That truly is amazing. But even more amazing is the fact that you’ve created what, IMHO, is the strongest blog community on the Interwebz. 
    You deserve it all. Kudos!

    • Adam | Customer Experience Thank you, Adam! I wish I could say it was all strategic and very purposeful, but most of it has been sheer luck.

  • Happy “birthday” – you can have alcohol once you are 21 years old!
    I definitely appreciate the Spin Sucks community (and being a guest blogger on occasion).

    • dbvickery Well, Sean told me it’s like dog years, so we’re old enough to drink!

      • ginidietrich at that rate, you are closing in on daily prune juice doses…

  • “Insect Terminator and Philosopher” may be my next business card.
    Happy happy happy anniversary to you, Charlie, and the AD team! Whilst I was not around from day 1, I’ve loved watching the Spin Sucks blog grow and change. From the amazing guest posts to Ell Bee’s fabulous editing to the conversations here in the comments, both with Yvette and other team AD folks and also with my fellow Crazies, Spin Sucks has become, if not a daily stop for me, a place I check in a few times a week to learn and laugh. (RAT note- just TRY and edit THAT sentence, Ell Bee!!!) Oh yeah, and sometimes fight a little. 
    I appreciate the efforts of the you and your team, Lil G! Congratulations!

    • RebeccaTodd I CAN EDIT ANYTHING!!!

    • RebeccaTodd Wait til you see what I did to your Gin and Topics tomorrow.

      • ginidietrich RebeccaTodd WHAT??? Sure, you don’t let me post nekkid women, you edit my swears…what do I even do this for???

        • RebeccaTodd I didn’t edit your swears. You’ll see.

  • EricPudalov

    Happy birthday Spin Sucks!!  Wow…I remember when it was called “FADS”!!  Am I dating myself here?  Glad to see how much you’ve grown and how much valuable info you’ve all contributed to the PR community.

    • EricPudalov You ARE dating yourself! That means you’ve been around here a looooong time.

  • I started reading Spin Sucks in 2011 and glad that I found it. You and the community here have provided me with a lot of ideas that have helped me professionally. And for that, I thank you. Happy birthday, Spin Sucks!!!

    • Anthony_Rodriguez I’m glad you found it, too! And that it led to our meeting in person!

  • rdopping

    yeah! That’s right. So what?

    • rdopping So nothing (shaking my fist at you!)!!

      • rdopping

        ginidietrich rdopping shake it baby…shake it.

  • Happy Happy Yo!

  • Arment Dietrich, Inc.

    Only if you make it! ^yp

  • Happy birthday to the whole Spin Sucks team. And thanks for the reminder that this whole blogging malarkey is a journey and keeps on evolving, consistently  – as do we.

  • patmrhoads

    Since I do have some narcissistic tendencies, and you’re getting too much of the attention here, I’d like to find a way to somehow make this about me. But I’m failing to think of anything good, so I’ll go for trying to look like a super nice guy. So, happy birthday, Spin Sucks!
    On a completely unrelated side note, I got neither enough sleep last night or enough coffee this morning. Just saying…

    • patmrhoads Pat, it’s usually all about me. 😉

      • patmrhoads

        belllindsay, oh so YOU’RE the one stealing all my thunder. Hmph. Well, given your brilliant wit, broad experience, and unmatchably cool fashion sense, I’ll acquiesce the throne of attention to you… for now.

    • patmrhoads Did you get your coffee today??

      • patmrhoads

        ginidietrich Chai latte, which isn’t nearly enough caffeine. I may have to go out for round two.

  • This would actually be a good blog if yvettepistorio would just write her own content instead of plagiarizing everyone elses’! 
    But regardless, super wow to this! How amazing (and inspiring to others) to see how far this blog has come and how much it has evolved and developed. You all have taken content and turned it into a living community. A family. So really more than a ‘happy birthday’, we all owe you a THANK YOU,  for providing us with this fantastic place to meet and exchange ideas. The land of misfit toys (which I guess would make belllindsay Rudolph and ginidietrich Sam the Snowman)
    Spin Sucks Christmas Special….coming up next!!!!

    • LauraPetrolino BWAHAHAHAH! LOL!! Poor Yvette.

  • midlifexpress

    Blogger not around seven years ago? That’s odd because I started using it in 2002!

    • midlifexpress Please see my update at the end of the blog post.

  • Happy belated 7th! Thanks for sharing all of this amazing content.

  • photo chris

    Is there cake??? Every birthday should have cake. GREAT cake! Happy Birthday team! So glad you were “born.” 🙂

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