Gini Dietrich

The Spin Sucks Scavenger Hunt Results

By: Gini Dietrich | March 10, 2015 | 

The Spin Sucks Scavenger Hunt ResultsBy Gini Dietrich

If you come round these parts fairly often, you’ll know we are ones to test theories…and report on the results.

In the past month, we held a scavenger hunt with two objectives in mind: 1) Sell more books; and 2) Send new visitors—and hopefully subscribers—to the blogs of some of our brand ambassadors.

There also were some ancillary goals, such as: 1) Help people put the practices in Spin Sucks into play; 2) Introduce our readers to new voices; 3) Introduce the readers of other blogs to the book; and 4) Get the book further out into the PR world.

I am rather astounded that PR pros continue to mass pitch and walk unethical lines and even suggest junior employees “pretend to be consumers” when calling the media.

Because of that, I think the PR world—every, single practitioner—needs to read Spin Sucks. Even if they don’t agree with it, we’ll have moved an industry a bit toward a new way of doing things.

Alas…perhaps the people who most need it don’t do any professional development or read beyond what they’ve written for their clients or organizations.

To garner more excitement and investment on your part, we created a package of Spin Sucks goodies and bought 10 pairs of Spin Sucks wine glasses to give away.

Well, the results are in and I have them to share with you.

To say they’re disappointing is putting it mildly.

Scavenger Hunt Results

But…here they are:

  • We sold 17 books to 14 people. Those people will receive a Spin Sucks goodie bag in a couple of weeks.
  • Of the 54 people who participated in the scavenger hunt, only 13 sent in the phrase…and that means only 13 are eligible for the wine glasses.
  • As of last night, 127 people have downloaded the free Spin Sucks Workbook.
  • We had more than 6,000 people read each of the 10 scavenger hunt blog posts.
  • But only an average of 44 visitors to each of the brand ambassador’s sites (less than one percent).
  • An average of only five new subscribers for each blog or newsletter.

When I told one of our brand ambassadors how disappointed I am that we sold only 17 books—seventeen—he said, “Well, maybe your readers have all already bought it.”

Perhaps. But that’s part of the reason we worked with the brand ambassadors…to introduce their readers to it.

Selling books is hard! We live in such a weird world where we all expect to get content for free. I mean, the Toronto Star just announced they are ending their digital subscription, which means all of their content will be free.

When you’re up against that kind of competition—and the authors who cheat to sell their books—it’s a rather difficult game to win.

What We Learned

The good news is we tried. It wasn’t a super risky experiment and it gave us a ton to think about.

We even had a college student do her mid-term on the blog, which she found in the middle of the scavenger hunt.

The disappointment is still raw so I need some time to really think about what we learned—and to talk to some of you about your perceptions of the bigger issue at hand.

But, here is what I think is going on:

  • People are busy! That’s indicative of only a quarter of those who signed up for the scavenger hunt actually finishing it.
  • Content is hard. You not only have to think about long-form content and search engine optimization, but you are competing with every other business in the entire world that is producing content.
  • A highly engaged community does not always equate money in your pocket. There is a huge return-on-investment, but it’s softer than “it drove X dollars in X time.”
  • A book gets even harder to sell after it’s been out for a year. Perhaps we should have had this idea when it was published. It would be interesting to see results differ that way.

There also are some questions we’re asking internally, such as, “Is Gini too accessible?” and “Is the PR industry ready for the new way of doing things?” and “Do we need to speak more at PR events?”

I’m going to have conversations with some of you…those I know who will tell me the truth. But if you have thoughts or feedback on the scavenger hunt, on selling books, or on what you think can be done in a world where we are already overloaded with content, I would love to hear it! You can email me privately and it will stay there.

Thank You

All-in-all, I’m glad we did this. It was really fun to execute and it was fun to re-engage the brand ambassadors.

It was fun to hear what people had to say about particular ideas written into the book, and it was interesting to see how much has changed since I wrote it in 2013.

To those who participated: Thank you.

To those who followed along by reading and sharing: Thank you.

To our brand ambassadors: Thank you. We definitely could not have done it without you.

Now it’s time to take this information and come up with a new idea that will be even better!

photo credit: Shutterstock

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. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I will put together some thoughts and email them to you, Gini. I am sure I am not alone in my appreciation of your willingness to take a risk. (Props to MostlyMariah – that was a cool analysis!) You are right – people are busy and it is challenging to cut through that to capture their attention (and furthermore to capture their actual willingness to interact). In the group I am responsible for, I get original pieces up daily (some better than others but all of them interesting) and see days go by with no comments. Obviously there’s an “opportunity” there for me (and the author, and the organization behind the blog) to figure out how to reel people in but it makes me think every day of how to get people talking (and acting, and being ambassadors for the things they believe are worth their while). I am sad you are disappointed but I admire your willingness to admit it. AND, if I am number 11, 12, or 13 hopefully someone in the 1-10 group will throw a wineglass my way LOL. 🙂

  • biggreenpen Ha! I’ve actually decided to send wine glasses to all 13. I have to order them so it’ll take a few weeks. But you’ll get yours!

  • ginidietrich biggreenpen aw, lucky us! xo

  • ginidietrich biggreenpen I thought it was wine & glasses.

  • Gini, sorry to hear the results did not meet the Spin Sucks “hopes”  I personally enjoyed the extended interaction and knowledge gained from the  guest scavenger blog sites.
    I have my citizenship exam this morning, however I will think about your comments and try to offer my insights and perspective later.

  • Sumbich, sorry you have to put up with the likes of me who bring no value to the table, but you did leave the door open…just sayin’….

    I certainly don’t know what the answer is but I admire you for the willingness to take a chance. 

    Maybe your accessibility is a blessing and a curse. I don’t know the answer to that either and I guess it depends of what someone’s measure of success is. Yes, money is good and food on the table and all that other stuff, but I think your efforts have built an excellent base to allow you to try things like this…and only continue to grow from there. 

    My vote is to keep on being who you are with just enough curiosity and entrepreneurship to give you a reason to embrace each day.

    And no, you don’t have to send me any wine glasses; I still have my drink tickets.

  • Digital_DRK good luck on your exam!

  • Digital_DRK ginidietrich biggreenpen that’s a different scavenger hunt … 🙂

  • As always, your transparency is really, really admirable, and is probably a reason many of us come here regularly.
    Speaking as a non-participant, yes, it seemed like “another big thing” to try to squeeze into my day. And as I (tried to) joke earlier, I’m not much of a game player.
    Though I did make a note of a number of the blogs I’m not already subscribed to and plan on following them. I’m sorry it didn’t go the way you hoped, but admire your continued creativity!

  • Suzy Chisholm

    No risk, no fun…and we did have fun.But your set goals for the entire exercise
    were obviously not met and for that I am sorry.
    Once the initial disappointment has passed however, I do
    believe that there is an upside to this story.Maybe the answer is as simple as, people are just too busy to engage in
    a scavenger hunt with someone they do not yet know (thinking of brand
    ambassador blog readers).Maybe the ones
    relishing in your blog already have bought your book – like me.Maybe the answer lies much deeper and you
    have to go looking, but that will definitely lead to insight and maybe even new
    opportunities.Sometimes we have to be
    tested to see beyond.I don’t have the
    answer either but I will put some thought into your comments.
    Having said that, what indeed was the Scavenger Hunt answer?I collected all the words but for the life of
    me I couldn’t come up with a rational sentence…
    Gini, I think your honesty is admirable.

  • Lara Wellman

    I always love watching what you do and try and appreciate your honesty in sharing how it all works!

    I’ve been so swamped lately I knew I couldn’t take on the scavenger hunt so I didn’t even try, but I find that in general people are spending less time on things.  People would prefer a small free thing than a huge free thing because they’ll never get around to dealing with the huge free thing for example.

  • Suzy Chisholm there was a point when I thought one of the words was “duck” — I was beginning to doubt my intellect! I almost sent in one of the sentences that I knew wasn’t “it” but that was far entertaining than the actual end result!

  • I thought the Scavenger Hunt was a really great idea but I just didn’t have the time to participate.  I am a content carnivore – I skim through a few other blog posts and articles that I come across from day to day, but yours is the only one I read from top to bottom on a regular basis.  You always have the best meat!  Thanks for sharing your results.

  • sumnerj14 A content carnivore. LOL!! I may steal that. I’ll totally credit you. You may hear one day that this crazy woman uses that quote–and your name—when she speaks.

  • Lara Wellman You know, I think you’re absolutely right. I wrote a blog post last week that linked to all of the blog posts so a person would just have to spend 15 minutes clicking on links and finding the words. But that still seemed to be too daunting. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy undertaking, but I’m shocked that only a quarter who signed up actually finished it.

  • “Perhaps the people who most need it don’t do any professional development or read beyond what they’ve written for their clients or organizations.” I think this is a good point. Constant improvement and continual growth don’t seem to be common traits, which I find baffling. I was talking to my husband last week about people with whom he works and was floored by their lack of ambition. I think people get comfortable and see no need to venture outside their snugly box. If PR pros have been doing the same thing for 20 years, why change? 

    Personally, that’s not me and I don’t think that’s the majority of the Spin Sucks readers (at least the crazies, anyway). We appreciate your willingness to try new things and approach problems from different angles. The PR/Marketing/Advertising world changes so frequently, if we’re not keeping up and growing, we’ll be doing a great disservice to our clients or the companies for which we work. 

    The scavenger hunt was fun (I did most of the reading in one day). I’m disappointed the results weren’t what you hoped. Like some of the others have mentioned, this is the blog I read religiously. I visit other blogs a time or two a week then most everything else I read comes from my Twitter feed. Thanks for sharing your insights with the world.

  • Suzy Chisholm

    biggreenpen Suzy Chisholm I can tell you, I doubted my intellect more than just once during this Hunt.  Thank you for your comment, there is always comfort in knowing you are not alone.

  • bdorman264 You bring me tons of value. I mean, we have that nice little nest egg of money from the princes of the world. You like to buy your drinks, which means I get your free drink tickets. You send me all sorts of jokes. TONS of value!

  • There’s a huge difference between community and customers. Can a community become customers? Sure – but it’s more likely your community will be the ones who come by and chat a while, exchange jokes, have fun, etc. Much like The Crazies here.
    Customers, on the other hand, are different. They’re not necessarily looking for a relationship (despite what 99.8% of social media consultants say) – they’re looking to see what your company can do for them, and make their lives easier.
    What I think might have happened here (and especially when correlating with your Brand Advocate strategy for trying to reach the NYT Bestseller List when the SS Book launched) is the people that come here, and signed up for these initiatives, aren’t your customers. You’re not selling to them – they’re (primarily) your peers. And peers don’t buy from each other.
    The same goes for the blogs of those that took part. I don’t have raw data (obviously) but I’m guessing a lot of their readers are those already embedded in the space, and wouldn’t be customers either.
    The people you’re trying to reach with the book are the very ones that (probably) aren’t reading blogs at the minute – they’re too busy running the teams they’re paid to do, and trying to deliver results for clients (take a look at ArikHanson ‘s recent post about why CEOs aren’t publishing on LinkedIn for an example).
    Community is great – it validates what you’re doing as a brand-builder, and gives you an excellent example of the vibrancy a blog can have, if you’re trying to sell the value of blogging to clients.
    Customers, if they’re honest, don’t generally care about community. Yes, it’s a nice-to-have, but even nicer is the reason to buy from you versus someone else, because you meet their needs. 
    With regards the book and the results here, that would suggest a deeper dive into the change agents and policy makers at businesses, and how to directly connect with them, versus (hopefully) a community foot soldier gaining their attention.

  • Suzy Chisholm biggreenpen You are definitely not alone. I think the people who highlighted the word in bold fuschia should be sent flowers. Or wine glasses. Or wine.

  • Danny Brown I’m not sure I totally agree. I know this community is a bit different than most, but I can tell you, of the nine people who have commented here so far today, five have either done business with us (six, including you!) or have sent us prospects. Good, qualified prospects. But I’d venture to guess everyone who has commented here today has already bought and read Spin Sucks.

    Which was my friend’s point about the 17 books sold. I’m talking to the audience who has already bought. (And my mom texted me and said, “Seventeen is more than zero.”)

    So now I have to figure out how to get in front of the PR pros who don’t read blogs. Who don’t read books. Who don’t do any professional development. Because you and I both know there are MANY PR pros who need to hear this conversation.

  • biggreenpen Suzy Chisholm The funny thing is I had a friend email me and say, “How do the people who are color blind participate?” Uh…things you don’t think about ahead of time, but now will!

  • LTreu

    Gini – I was one of the 13 you mentioned that finished the hunt, but even if I hadn’t, I think this was a great idea. I had never seen anything like a blog scavenger hunt before, and I actually told a number of people about it since I thought it was such a wonderful idea. I am sorry to hear the results were disappointing, but if you look at intangibles, I think the results may be a little bit rosier.
    You showed yourself, again, to be a thought leader here in my mind. Your approach was smart taking advantage of powerful concepts like: 
    – Building Community (both within the bloggers you brought together to participate and your readers)
    – Gamification (I actually looked forward to coming in each day that a post was going up… I would look at the scavenger hunt sheet stuck to the wall by my desk and think “It’s a hidden word day!”)   
    – Digital Marketing (building links back to your site and getting your name out on other websites while still promoting the insights of friends)
    – Education (as you said, you introduced us to some other bright minds in the industry)

    Did it sell a lot of books or get a lot of entries? No… and that is disappointing. I know in my case that I have one of your books, as do a lot of my marketing friends, from your Cleveland AMA visit last year… We always want to measure against the KPIs set, and I know book sales, blog subscriptions and some other metrics weren’t where you wanted them to be… But I think it is worth remembering that this was still a VERY COOL IDEA, and you should be proud of that. It generate word of mouth about you and the program… at least near me… and I know that WOM lead to a bunch of newsletter signups by some friends and coworkers, if nothing else. The campaign was a great idea, regardless of the precise outcome, and I, for one, respect you for tackling it!

  • LTreu Lukas, you are amazing. Thank you! I love the gamification bullet point. I appreciate your writing that out. As we think more about the results (and it becomes less raw), I’ll use that (and credit you) in future discussions. You rock!

  • ginidietrich But were they community members first, or customers that became community members? Additionally, how much more invested were they in you than others, as each community (and advocate) has a different level of investment in the brand / person they’re invested in.
    For example, I ran an outreach/promo campaign a little while back, and instead of open invites to request participation, I looked at three key and correlating metrics:
    2. Email subscribers
    3. Email participant (that took action above just subscription)
    Because you tie an email to a comment, you can tie that back to who went the extra step and subscribed. Because your subscription service tells you who opened versus who clicked versus who left a comment after clicking, you start to understand who has a deep investment in your success versus who likes what you do.
    That’s the people you go after, because you know they’ll go through hoops to see you succeed. Not taking anything away from The Crazies here, but there are different levels of Crazies, and it’s identifying those that may have resulted in a slightly different outcome.
    Just a thought.

  • ginidietrich Danny Brown I said this to you privately earlier, but as much as you’re dead right that there are many, many PR pros who need to hear this conversation, I believe that they just don’t care enough. They go to work, they get paid, they’re under no pressure to change…why bother? It doesn’t bode well for the future of the industry as a whole.

  • ShelbyBurns

    I loved doing the Scavenger Hunt! As a recent college grad in my first professional job, I try to take a couple minutes out of my day and read a few blog posts to soak up as much new information as possible. The hunt helped me find new bloggers who wrote about things I was interested in learning about. While I didn’t subscribe to all of the blogs, I bookmarked most of them and plan to check back periodically. Also, I was one of the people who had your book prior to the Scavenger Hunt, but I did download the workbook.

    Although you are disappointed in the results, I appreciate the opportunity you gave us to find new bloggers and learn new practices. I also appreciate that you refuse to cheat your way to the top and that you shared the results of this experiment. It gives newcomers to the PR world, like me, a positive role model.

    Thank you!

  • ginidietrich LTreu This is such awesome feedback!

  • Jimmy Orum

    Gini, while I did not take on the Scavenger Hunt (I’m feeling FOMO now), I truly appreciate the Spin Sucks Workbook. I purchased Spin Sucks (and Marketing in the Round) last year. The workbook has been awesome, because it allows me to capture my ideas in one place, as opposed to the many, many Post-Its I have accumulated and try to assemble into one coherent stream of thoughts.

    Thank you so much for sharing the results of the Scavenger Hunt! As a PR practitioner (earning my wings still), I appreciate your willingness to experiment and share the results even when they were disappointing. Your blog is one of the few I subscribe to and read daily because I trust the information so much, I usually don’t need to go much further than your words.

    I agree there are many people in the field who need to be more concerned about improving their craft and not check out/clock out at 5 p.m. On the other hand, it is those people who don’t advance themselves that allow me to develop my brand and stand out when the time comes.

    Thanks for all you do! 


  • As a blog participant in this here contest, I want to say a big THANK YOU! for including me – and driving traffic/awareness to my site. I enjoyed being part of and watching the experiment.

    And thank you for sharing your learnings and data so transparently, ginidietrich! As RobBiesenbach said, that’s something you openly do and I think it’s one of the many reasons you have such an engaged and passionate community.

    Selling books of any kind is hard work – and I always think that each one sold is its own mini-accomplishment.

    That said, I wonder if the contest needed to be simpler – so people could get the payoff every week or every couple of days. Our attention spans are limited and maybe 10 days in social media is like 10 years in real life :).

    Congratulations and sign me up for the next one!

  • martinwaxman ginidietrich RobBiesenbach sorta like dog years, right? 🙂

  • Danny Brown ginidietrich   I LOVE this statement — “now I have to figure out how to get in front of the PR pros who don’t read blogs. Who don’t read books. Who don’t do any professional development.”This — this is the kind of marketing problem I love. Easy? No. But working on it and taking steps to get there — that’s the magic.

  • I’m wondering how much of a difference it would have made to do this all with one post that linked to all the ambassador articles at one time. I think the spacing of this may have meant that the hunt fell victim to the squirrell effect. 

    Either way, to post the results in an open and honest way like this shows exactly why your book is so important. There is so much to learn from you sharing this as you did. Proving, once more, that Spin Sucks. Spin delivers no real value. Honesty and transparency and authenticity (my word) are the things that deliver value each and every time.

  • ShelbyBurns Hey, congrats on finishing school, and welcome to the professional world!

  • WhatsYourAvocad

    You’re right, Gini, selling books is hard! I spent most of last year promoting my book, How to Live Your Passion & Fulfill Your Dreams, (available now on Amazon). Speaking engagements, workshops, blog posts, social media, radio appearances … and still, it’s difficult. Don’t give up! I’ve realized that I wrote the book because I had something to share. The people who bought and read it tell me they loved it, that it made a  difference to their lives. So perhaps I didn’t get rich off the book sales. But the experience enriched my life. And that was enough.


  • ShelbyBurns

    DwayneAlicie Thank you! It’s good to be here :]

  • ShelbyBurns Welcome and congrats, as well!  This is a great community as you may surmise, looking forward to catching your comments as you explore the professional landscape.

  • I was the one carrying the other paddle to  RobBiesenbach’s missed the boat participation. As with his candid statement my reasoning was similar and also because I try not to commit to something I may not  complete due to the time commitment or perhaps lack of interest in prizes or gamification despite their value.

    Following comments here with respect for your honesty on the outcome and probably with a bit of guilt, I just spent the time and like the scavenger bird finished it in one fell swoop. martinwaxman may just be on to something with our attention span in social media being so limited.  

    In the end it is your building of our knowledge through authentic and ethical communications that will keep us among your mosted trust community.

  • LTreu Nailed it !!

  • Suzy Chisholm

    ginidietrich Danny Brown Uff, that is a rather grim outlook of our fellow colleagues.  

    Having said that, if those are the PR “pros” you are after Gini, then I suppose looking for them in a blog – when they aren’t reading blogs – is like looking for a needle in a haystack.  I can’t speak for the States but here in Switzerland my colleagues like to go to Communications & PR events and lectures. That is where the experts present themselves and that is where connections are made, person to person.  These PR “pros” you are seeking out (we should actually be calling them PR want-to-be’s) first have to be led to their luck before they can find it.  Just a thought…

  • annelizhannan Yes, like you, I never promise anything I can’t follow through on and I knew I just was not going to be able to do this. (And I hope my answer didn’t come across as brusk or harsh!) But when I do say yes, that’s a guaran-damn-tee!

  • ShelbyBurns

    LTreu I definitely agree with your ‘Gamification’ point. I was always so disappointed when I looked at the sheet and saw that it was not a Scavenger Hunt day. Great feedback!

  • RobBiesenbach And they say Men are from Mars, Women from Venus  😉 Agree when it comes to respect of someone’s time and effort I won’t dishonor or insult with empty promises. No your answer wasn’t harsh and I believe ginidietrich is a person who not only acts in transparency but respects when it is returned.

  • jonmikelbailey I DID do one post that linked to them all at once. At the very end. I made it SUPER easy to cheat. And yet…

  • DwayneAlicie You’re hired!

  • ginidietrich jonmikelbailey Yes, but by then the squirrels already had them and it was too late. Friggin squirrels. Why must they be so powerful?!?

  • jonmikelbailey I HATE SQUIRRELS

  • WhatsYourAvocad and I still remember your guest post, FWIW!

  • Jimmy Orum FOMO deserves its own post entirely.

  • Hmmm…this seems like a puzzle that can be figured out.  I think the Crazies can/will have good suggestions on how to figure this out.  As a good Italian girl, I like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.  My initial thought is that your willingness to throw your spaghetti at the wall is an important difference that sets you and your company apart!

  • Wow, a lot of very thoughtful, considerate, reflective and insightful comments. I suspect “busy” is a fair conclusion to reach. There was an extra commitment of time and focus required to properly absorb and respectfully acknowledge the scavenger hunt blogs.  Worthwhile for sure, however a reasonably significant commitment none the less. I looked forward to reading each scavenger blog, however I also knew that I would need to allocate time to properly appreciate the value of each entry.

    I am not sure how being too easily accessible factors into this. Yes you are more accessible than a Jay Baer or a Mitch Joel for instance, however their message goals are different. 

    Perhaps the delivery platform has to be adjusted to induce a more fun playful feel that doesn’t require as much direct and allocated attention, static images or a podcast format that  can be accessed by “contestants”  during their own in between  periods or downtime,   something that incorporates into their recreational window, requiring minimal effort, with maximum value. Always easier said than done.

  • WhatsYourAvocad

    biggreenpen WhatsYourAvocad See, that! Now you’ve made my day! Thank you!!!

  • Digital_DRK That’s a really interesting though, Darryl. So pre-packaged webinars or podcasts that can be downloaded on a person’s own time versus a scheduled time? I wonder how you would promote that because the sense of urgency is gone.

  • lizreusswig You also don’t want to throw spaghetti at the wall without a clear goal in mind. And, if the goal isn’t reached or the ROI is so low, it doesn’t make sense to keep doing that. I don’t know. I don’t have a clear answer yet.

  • annelizhannan I know we’re all at a content exhaustion phase. There is just too much. But I wonder if it is possible—at all—to sell books without cheating? That really bothers me.

  • WhatsYourAvocad I don’t know. I had a different goal with Spin Sucks: To actually make some money. No, I most certainly haven’t gotten rich off book sales, but it has afforded me to raise my speaking fees and reach new audiences. The latter is what I want to do more of, but can’t figure out how to get to them.

  • martinwaxman Smaller payoffs is a really good idea. I hadn’t considered that. That instant gratification we all want.

  • Jimmy Orum Ha! Don’t feel FOMO. Now if I get to go to see Avengers with RDJ, THEN you can have FOMO.

    Also, I love your attitude!

  • ShelbyBurns OK, you made me laugh out loud! And let me know what you think of the Workbook!

  • Suzy Chisholm I do A LOT of PR events…even have a reduced rate for the local chapters. But even still… I don’t think the people who really need to hear how PR is changing are going to these events. I have a blog post brewing about what an executive at Ogilvy said about what we do. He calls it earned influence…but it’s still media relations. If we can’t get top guys like that to stop talking about PR as media relations, I don’t know where to go from here.

  • Kara It’s funny—we may have had the same conversation! We look around at some of our friends and wonder, “When did they get so….OLD?” I think part of that happens when we stop learning and stop our quest for new knowledge.

  • RobBiesenbach You know, I’m not much of a game player, either. Sometimes we try things I would never do. Not in a million years. But I also know the world outside my cave is a glorious place.

  • Digital_DRK Congrats on passing your exam!

  • ginidietrich Thank you!!  :-))

  • Lara Wellman

    ginidietrich Digital_DRK The value of live becomes asking questions.  We’ve had people sign up after webinars are over and watch the recording. It’s great because the content has been created and we’re still getting signups to our mailing list.

    I’ve also seen a fair amount of people charge for the recording after a certain amount of time so the incentive to watch live is the free part and then if you miss it you’re willing to pay for a great resource afterwards.

  • WhatsYourAvocad

    ginidietrich WhatsYourAvocad Oh please don’t get me wrong, I had every intention of making money on the book. And I did everything within my power toward that goal. I created a marketing plan and followed it, set up distribution and courted bookstores, appeared on countless media outlets, wrote blogs, did a ton of PR. It just didn’t convert to the level that I’d hoped. I sold books but not enough of them to replace my income. Self publishing offers a lot of risk. I dedicated a long time to the process. But, in the end, I had to go back to activities that generated real dollars. What I meant in my post was that I’d made peace with the fact that I wasn’t going to get rich off of this book. I think most authors experience this. Very few are best sellers. Most reach a small but enthusiastic audience. But, as you said, it did increase my credibility and fees for speaking engagements and it continues to sell on Amazon. And of course, there will be a next book. I’m working on that now. (Of course I am!) What I’d do differently: I’d like to find a publisher as opposed to self publishing the next go ’round. Self publishing brings with it a lot of the financial risk as well as takes up a lot of time in securing and expanding distribution. Publishers have that part down, it’s part of their business plan and they do it well. I’d still do the same amount of promotion, or more, that is required even when you have a publisher. I’d also do a lot more pre-promotion ahead of the publish date of the book than I did. A new book is a lot sexier to the media than a year-old one. They actually do have a shelf life. Ah, it’s a learning process. There’s a lot of noise and competition in the marketplace. Don’t despair. How to reach a new audience? Well, social media certainly opens up the world to our messaging. In person appearances and workshops create one-on-one personal experiences, even when you’re speaking to hundreds in an audience, that communication is still personal  to the person’s whose ears your words reach. Keep going. It’s worth the journey.

  • ginidietrich Hmmm … I’m starting to feel like the bad kid punished for not doing his homework!
    I’m all about trying new things — my whole career has been built on that. I also think part of my success is determining what to say no to so I’m not overloaded and I can keep my other commitments.
    I also equated the scavenger hunt with the exercises at the end of each post, which I definitely did not have a chance to do each day. Though I did Evernote a couple to do down the road.

  • ShelbyBurns

    jonmikelbailey Are you by any chance speaking at the Frederick Chamber of Commerce New Media and Technology Conference next week? I just registered and thought I recognized your name!

  • ShelbyBurns jonmikelbailey Yupper. I am the opening speaker so coffee up! Tell all your friends too, will be a great day full of great info regardless of what Gini says.

  • ShelbyBurns

    jonmikelbailey I’m looking forward to it! I’ll be there with coffee in hand.

  • Christopher Graves

    Hi there Gini. I am that “Ogilvy guy” I’m their global chairman and also chair of the PR Council (industry association). If you read through the idea of “earned influence,” it is not earned media. It is a mindset and approach that includes paid, owned, shared. The idea was to examine the core competence of PR at its very best, and at its most differentiated compared to other areas of expertise such as advertising, direct, activation. At our very best, we listen to learn more about groups and individuals, understand their worldview and personal frames, offer to build relationships that bring some value or utility to them, and then earn permission to engage. When we create content, for example, it should be to offer something relevant and of value without an immediate expectation of quid pro quo. I believe in a relationship-based approach that takes the courage of patience and implicit narrative rather than explicit sales messaging. If you check out what I have said, we do need to evolve and learn new skills as an industry while deepening that core competence of building relationships that engender trust. Specifically: we need to be more visually literate; we need to have a better fluency in behavioral science; we need to embrace and understand relevant data and analytics (without falling prey to a fad approach to big data); we need to live and work social, mobile and location-aware relationship building. When I described “earned influence,” it is a social-psychological-behavioral meaning and not simply earned media. I’m grateful you allowed me to drop in.

    Here was the Holmes piece: (

    All the best and keep up the fine work.
    Chris Graves
    Global Chair
    Ogilvy Public Relations
    Chair, The PR Council