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Gini Dietrich

Spin Sucks: The Book

By: Gini Dietrich | January 3, 2013 | 
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It’s official!

During the holidays, I submitted and signed a contract to write Spin Sucks.

I know I said I wasn’t going to write another book so quickly, but the opportunity presented itself and this is the book I’ve always wanted to write (at least for the past six years).

It’ll come out in December of this year, but my first deadline is one month away!

Therefore, I need your help.

Because we have such an awesome community here and you’ve all been involved in content creation, I’d like your participation in parts of the book.

Following is the table of contents, with chapter descriptions for each.

Read through it and tell me what you think. If you’d prefer to send me a note, that’s cool, too.

Part One: Tell Your Story without Sex or Extortion

1. Sex Sells 

It’s no surprise sex sells. And so do shootings and train wrecks and car accidents (both literally and figuratively). How do organizations compete with that in today’s 24/7 news cycle without embellishing or stretching the truth? This chapter will introduce an earned and owned media strategy that works together to compete with far more “compelling” stories.

2. The Google Extortion

When Google released its Panda and Penguin updates, fresh content became the number one catalyst for higher search rankings, followed closely by social media shares that drive traffic to those new pages. Of course, if you use YouTube and/or Google+, your content will be ranked higher than those who use the other social networks (or none at all). This chapter explains these updates, helps readers understand how content affects their search rankings, and how to manage it most effectively and efficiently.

3. Shareable and Valuable Content Creation

This chapter looks at how earned media (traditional public relations) and owned media (something you create and host on your website) work together to tell your story without sex or extortion. It provides tips and tools for working with the Google guidelines to increase search rankings, provide valuable content people are compelled to share, and create your brand’s story online so people are talking about you (good and bad…the bad we’ll revisit in later chapters).

Part Two: Shysters, Liars, and Beggars

4. Whisper Campaigns and Anonymous Attackers

This chapter is about the PR firms and/or professionals that are hired to create “whisper campaigns” to say negative and untrue things about their competitors online. It details the organizations that have been caught doing this (Facebook did it to Google) and what happens as a result. It teaches readers how to handle something like this if faced with it in their own organization.

5. Media Manipulation

This chapter is about the perceived ethics of the media and the bias each outlet has to political views. It discusses how to work with reporters (and bloggers) in the most effective way, without manipulating them to tell your story. It provides tips and tools for building relationships that provide your organization with the best earned media.

6. Content Farms and Black Hats

It used to be all we had to worry about where finding the search engine optimization consultants that did white hat (or ethical) work. Now we have to worry about organizations that scrape (or steal) your content from the web. In a controversial case study involving an international shipping company earlier this year, this chapter will look at how to prevent content scraping and black hat tactics throughout your entire organization and extending to consultants and partners.

Part Three: Your Brand; Your Customers

7. The Communication Gap

For many organizations, there is a big gap between what they think the brand message is and how their customers perceive it. For some, it’s an operational issue and others it’s lack of communications. This chapter will help readers understand which challenge they are facing and how to fix it, both internally and externally.

8. Your Customers Control the Brand

It used to be organizations would create their annual corporate messaging, their advertising campaigns, and their once a month media briefings to tell their stories and mold their brands. Now a brand is what your customer says it is…and that could change every day if you’re not completely aligned internally. This chapter will discuss how to work with your customers to tell your brand’s story and maintain its consistency day after day.

Part Four: Spin Sucks

9. Preparation, Messaging, and Engagement

Even though the world has changed and canned messages are no more, it’s still important to be prepared, to be consistent in your messaging, and to engage with individual customers. This chapter gives readers the tips, tools, and tricks for using the web to engage with your customers in a consistent and powerful way that allows you to celebrate the brand ambassadors and turn critics into fans.

10. Crisis Communications: Trolls, Critics, and Detractors

Unfortunately we live in a world where people want something for nothing. And, because the web provides an easy (and sometimes anonymous) way to criticize an organization, readers must be prepared  for the inevitable hit on their organizations. This chapter looks at companies, such as the pizza restaurant in Florida that received negative reviews on Yelp because he hugged POTUS during a campaign stop, that have had to deal with this, even though they weren’t looking for the limelight. It provides tips and tools for dealing with trolls, critics, and detractors.

11. The Shoemaker’s Children

It’s widely been said the shoemaker’s children doesn’t have shoes. This is true for PR firms that don’t do their own PR, web development firms that don’t have a website, and insurance companies that don’t provide benefits to its employees. Because technology is changing so quickly, and providing new and interesting ways for us to tell our stories nearly daily, it’s important organizations do their own communications internally – as a test and to create benchmarks – before launching externally. This chapter will explore how to do that, what to test, and know when it’s time to go external.

Your Turn

Is there anything you see missing? Is it compelling enough to get you to buy a copy if you see it in a bookstore? What else would you add?

Thanks to Jay Dolan for the awesome comic.

(Ignore this, I’m testing something with SEO: Connect with Gini on Google+.)

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.

147 comments
BobReed
BobReed

Wow!  How did i miss this news?  Oh, man... I can't believe I just wrote that.

 

What a logical extension of the "Gini" brand.  Makes total sense that you'd write something like this. Looking forward to it!

lauraclick
lauraclick

A very belated congrats, my friend! So excited to see this come to fruition - I think it's going to make one heck of a book!

 

And, I really like #11 - I think that is so true, especially when it comes to more traditional PR firms. How in the world will a company want to hire you if you don't have your own stuff in order?! I'll let you know if I think of anything you need to add, but this looks like a pretty complete list to me!

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

I haven't read through the comments Gini, so excuse me if this has been addressed: How do you define the audience for this book? (I mean, other than me...) :)

dbvickery
dbvickery

Really looking forward to Part 3 considering our own focus (and Crisis Communications in Part 4). And if you need me to be available for Part 1, section 1...like sexy Heckler or something...I'll free up the calendar. In fact, maybe the book sells with a SpinSucks pinup calendar from "subjects" in the SpinSucks community ;). That should ensure we do not get stuck in a calendar with somebody like Jay Cutler or something...

 

Seriously, I'm looking forward to the book. I just wrapped up Marketing in the Round and definitely appreciate your communication style in book long-form and this blog.

clarade
clarade

I would suggest a section devoted to customer service as part of the customer controlling the brand. I often see examples of companies who win and lose customers based on how they interact with them on Twitter and other channels. I think this is eventually (maybe in 2013) going to be a game changer. So far, companies have gotten away with it, but it won't be forever. Eventually, a tweet will be more important than a telephone call from a customer!

HLeichsenring
HLeichsenring

Good luck on wirting. It will be hard work. Hopefully, you will have enough time left for Jack

 

Cheers from Germany

Hansjörg

HeidiCohen
HeidiCohen

Gini--Congrats and best of luck writing the book. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

Pawel Banaszak
Pawel Banaszak

The chapter titles are enough to make me wait the whole year. It's great news that you Gini will write this book.

I'm glad to see the word "consistent" appear more than once but had it been up to me I'd include it in every chapter. This could make some business leaders realise that not only are there ethical issues around spin but that it's also less effective than honest and consistent communication.

creativeoncall
creativeoncall

Too bad you can't get anybody to respond to you... (not that any of us are routinely asked to chime in on a book in the making, so... nicely done).  As others have said, it looks great: interesting, practical, useful. My one question is about the title.  Not to be dim, but is it simply Spin Sucks? Is there a more explanatory sub-title in the works, to explain to those non-PR business types you mention here wanting to reach, who presumably won't yet have fallen under your Spin Sucks spell?

 

Also, I recommend a really flashy book trailer with lots of spin-y SFX :)

jelenawoehr
jelenawoehr

Can you puh-leeese put something in about how community management is not:

 

* PR (or a substitute for PR)

* Customer service (or a sugar-free substitute for customer service)

* Marketing (or a way to force marketing messages down your customers' throats after tricking them into joining your "community?")

 

 

margieclayman
margieclayman

I think this looks really great Gini-san. I haven't read the other 90,000 comments so this may have been mentioned already, but are you going to treat the integration of PR with other marketing tactics at all? I know primarily this is for PR professionals, but the message of integration is still significant. 

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bradmarley
bradmarley

Full disclosure time: I haven't read Marketing in the Round yet.

 

But a book with more of a PR focus? I would totes read that one since it falls more within my purview.

 

 

AmyVernon
AmyVernon

Congrats! But stop writing books & let the rest of us catch up with you! ;)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @barrettrossie While it's a PR book, I'm going to write it with business leaders in mind. My thinking is the ethical and honest communication has to come from the top so I want to get their buy-in.

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ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @margieclayman I'm actually not tackling that in this book. This is more about how to communicate ethically and honestly so integration with the other marketing tactics is a completely different subject. Perhaps with Marketing in the Round? :) I'm also not tackling measurement in this. I want it to be true to the topic of Spin Sucks.

dbvickery
dbvickery

 @PattiRoseKnight Just baiting the Chicago Cutler-ites...you know who you are.

 

Denver still thanks Chicago for our roundabout acquisition of Peyton Manning via the Tebow Train.

clarade
clarade

 @ginidietrich Thanks for the reply. I guess I should have offered more insight. Working for a telecom company, it was often helpful that PR led social media initiatives. When a pregnant mom with two children lost her phone service and started tweeting to us, we could and did escalate her issue before it became a PR nightmare. When a popular chef started tweeting to his thousands of followers that we provided poor service, we could rally the troops to quickly solve his issues. There is sometimes a fine line between PR/Customer Service when it comes to the new world of social media. However, perhaps my suggestion was more within the areas of crisis communications. Good luck with the writing. I cannot wait to read the new book!

creativeoncall
creativeoncall

 @ginidietrich Spin Suck is great, it grabs, it nails the problem.  A good subtitle needs to nail the solution/benefit. To me, adding "The Book" is a bit too much of an in joke aimed at all of us who are going to buy it anyway.  Let the crowdsourcing begin!

jelenawoehr
jelenawoehr

 @ginidietrich Seriously, though. The "companies who think they need a community manager when they actually need marketing/PR/customer service" trend is out of control. "Community manager wanted, should have 3-5 years' experience in email support." THAT IS NOT COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT. "Community manager wanted, should be experienced in corporate communications and outbound PR." ALSO NOT COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT. Rabble. Rabble!

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

 @ginidietrich  By being true to the topic of Spin Sucks (and like @margieclayman I haven't read the other 90,000 comments), is the intent to have the book be a spinoff of the blog, or to expand upon past blog posts and community reactions?

PattiRoseKnight
PattiRoseKnight

 @dbvickery A Cutler-ite - I like that.  I am a proud Cutler-ite :)  My oldest son is a Payton Manning fan so now that my beloved Bears have no chance I am rooting for the Broncos ALL THE WAY!!!! I wore my Bears gear through Indiana over the holiday and got quite a bit of grief from Colts fans but would respond with a Go Payton Manning and then they's shut-up :)  GO BRONCOS!!! 

Trackbacks

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