Gini Dietrich

Spin Sucks: The Book

By: Gini Dietrich | January 3, 2013 | 

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.

Spin Sucks in Your Inbox

161 responses to “Spin Sucks: The Book”

  1. KenMueller says:

    Really looking forward to this, and actually surprised this wasn’t your first book. Just makes sense. I hope colleges pick this up as a text book! On a first pass, the outline looks great!

    • ginidietrich says:

      @KenMueller Yeah? There isn’t anything you’d change or add?

      • KenMueller says:

        @ginidietrich not on first pass. I need to spend some time looking through this. I think in my mind, part three is where I would have started the book, but I’m sure you could explain why you ordered it the way you did.

        • ginidietrich says:

          @KenMueller Interesting…I’ll think about that.

        • KenMueller says:

          @ginidietrich I’m thinking in terms of the reading audience. Giving professionals who are reading this to be educated on something, a basis for the WHY of everything else, and a lot of it, comes from the content in section three. But that’s me speaking from my experience when I work with clients and students. They need to understand how and why things work the way they do online before we move on to the other stuff. And the idea of customers controlling the brand, and the gap, is often a good place to start.

        • ginidietrich says:

          @KenMueller This is why I made it public. Many heads are better than my one. Thank you!

        • KenMueller says:

          @ginidietrich well, i don’t think there is one right answer. And I think it’s very cool that you made it public. You’re braver than I am!

  2. bdorman264 says:

    Do you want some pics of me to include in it? 
    Good luck; of course, I’ll be buying it, pics or no pics…………

  3. DallasK says:

    Where is the chapter about Dallas Kincaid?

  4. PattiRoseKnight says:

    All I can think is:  Ground Hog Day 🙂  Didn’t we just do this book thing?  Seriously, this is your book Gini; no one can tell the Spin Sucks story better than you that’s for sure.

  5. John_Trader1 says:

    I like the TOC Gini, looks pretty damn smart. You cover a pretty broad spectrum here and it’s important to keep up on the latest ways to battle and attack each of the topics you cover. It will be a great reference, but probably out of date within a matter of months after publishing. Which of course, bodes well for a foray into part deux of your series, Spin Sucked: The Sequel.
    Look forward to reading it and like @KenMueller I think I need some time to digest before making any recommendations. Congrats to you!

    • ginidietrich says:

      @John_Trader1  I’m going to try to keep it evergreen (as evergreen as I can) so its shelf life is a bit longer. While some of the case studies may date it, some I’m thinking of using are years old and they still fit the lessons so hopefully…we’ll see.

  6. So awesome! Many congrats Gini. I love the structure and the sections. I’ll take a deeper look for sure.
    Most happy for you — I think this has a lot of potential for a wide audience!

  7. RebeccaTodd says:

    Yahoo!!! This is amazing.  Huge congrats to you! This book will be indispensable.  Let me think more after coffee.

  8. BeckyGaylord says:

    Congrats, @ginidietrich! Love the idea of getting feedback and opinions at the earliest stage. Makes so much sense — not only from the perspective of creating the content for the book but from the sales and marketing steps to come, too. You’ll be building fabulous anticipation and eager readers from the very start!
    Still, most would be too afraid to open themselves to questions, vulnerabilities and (possibly) even snark. Shows your tremendous savvy and talent, and also how deep and connected your social networks are. Good luck!

  9. First of all, congratulations! I really liked Marketing in the Round for its comprehensive and step-by-step approach. I’m excited for what you’ll do with this next book.
    My first impression is that this book will cover a lot of the tried and true elements of public relations and how they need to apply in a digital world. It’ll have a lot of application to those trained and untrained in public relations. I think part of it could become quickly out of date particularly the parts about Google since it changes so much. 
    I’m really happy for you and can’t wait to read it.

  10. For this to be the massive success it deserves, it is absolutely imperative the book has as much personal narrative and as many reinforcing examples as possible.
    The work will be an autobiography of your philosophy and business. That’s why you want to write it so bad.
    Referring to @John_Trader1  and his point about longevity and shelf life, you also need to think forward as to how you can expand and expose the book’s message and lessons harnessing the modern channels of communication and amplification. I always refer people back to Gina Trapani’s wiki on Google Wave ( as way ahead of its time. Using something as simple as MediaWiki to create a ‘futureproof’ extension of the book and its principles is not only a customer pleaser, but a revenue booster if you charge for ‘membership’ beyond the first year after buying the book itself.
    Most of all – good luck. Sustaining superstardom seems to be inherent in the Dietrich household!

    • ginidietrich says:

      @DaveThackeray  I don’t know about superstardom – there is always something more to be done – but thank you! And thank you for the Google Wave link. I’ll check it out!

  11. belllindsay says:

    Ok, you just KNOW I’ll be all over the Media chapter. LOL Just need time to digest. So excited for you!!

  12. rdopping says:

    You may be the first author to write a business book through the process of collaboration with your colleagues and readers. I wonder how collaboration and the topic of your first book weaves into this?

  13. That is all.

  14. jeanniecw says:

    Your boyfriends suggested chapter called “Childhood” and “Little Ninja.” You can guess who said what. 
    Congratulations!!!! Very excited.

  15. Awesome all around. Really deep, relevant topics. Congratulations!  Can’t wait to see it.

  16. It sounds really good to me, I could see picking it up.

  17. rachaelseda says:

    I want to read it already! Congrats Gini!

  18. Andrea Pecoraro says:

    So excited for you and your new book. Oh, and I love the word shyster. Happy writing!

  19. KevinVandever says:

    I would love if you included the phrase, “douche canoe” somewhere…maybe in with the shysters. Good luck! Congratulations!

  20. Rodriguez247 says:

    Congratulations on your new project, I’m sure it will be just as successful as all of your projects. I’ll re-read this list and send you my comments later, but from this list, I’m looking forward to reading it.

  21. spinchick says:

    Very exciting. Love the chapter topics. Looking forward to reading it when it’s done.

  22. Rieva says:

    So excited for you @ginidietrich . As a member of the media, I look forward to you explaining to people how to approach the media. That said, calling the chapter on working with reporters and bloggers “Media Manipulation” seems to set the relationship as adversarial right off the bat–that in order to get media coverage you have to resort to manipulation (which strikes me as dishonest), rather than establishing an open and honest relationship with reporters. The kind of relationship you in fact have.

  23. Carmelo says:

    Hey Gini … so great! It’s really probably already “written” right? That certainly doesn’t mean you don’t have tons of work to do. I like all the topics … the entire outline. I’m wondering, Gini, about doing a chapter on the history, present, and future of PR. Maybe predictions about the direction would be too risky but coupling it with history and present would certainly be interesting to me! 
    Very happy for you! 🙂

  24. rainbowclaire says:

    Huge congratulations @ginidietrich  that’s fantastic news for you.  Look forward to reading what else you’ll have to say.
    Love the chapter titles.  The “Sex Sells” chapter would also fit nicely into the “Buzz Marketing” boon that everyone seems to be talking about.  Good luck with the writing!

  25. Tinu says:

    Congratulations Gini — always thought that would be a great book title. I have notes for #2, but I don’t want to stick my nose in if you have access to data sources on that already. 🙂

  26. hackmanj says:

    Hey Gini and a huge congratulations on the next big thing. I guess I would ask who the target audience is before I comment on the content. I personally like what I see and I could see a wide appeal.

  27. hi Gini – I enjoy reading your blog but first time commenting. I’m not exactly in the pr field but do have to do communications in my work. The reason I read your blog is because of part 4, chapter 9. This is also the reason I’d buy the book. I wish that chapter was the entire book 🙂 I’m not speaking for any industry or demographic – just a reader sharing my 2 cents.

  28. geoffliving says:

    Congratulations, Gini.  Wish you well with this new book!

  29. HowieG says:

    Can’t you just download your blog posts from the last 2 years and hit publish and be done?
    Or I can help you cut and paste them, then let me edit them before you send to the publishers. I work cheap.

  30. Kristinesimpson says:

    I am so excited for the book to come out. Congratulations!!

  31. ExtremelyAvg says:

    I think it sounds like a fantastic read. Well done.

  32. Frank_Strong says:

    Love the outline Gini, it’s very compelling.  Brainstorm:  maybe it’s the intro, or the conclusion, or another chapter, but I wonder if there isn’t an overarching philosophy about why in fact, spin sucks.

  33. vanhoosear says:

    Congratulations! Love it!

  34. Sousa7 says:

    Way to go, Gini.  You may have this in mind under Crisis Communications, but discussion as to how to address activist groups/activists that aim to cripple corporations and/or brands via social media would be helpful. Refer to the Occupy movement (… Wall Street, …Monsanto, etc.), Lean Finely Textured Beef and Bettina Siegel’s, Chick-Fil-A, etc. 
    Best wishes.

  35. Sounds great. Looking forward to reading it!

  36. NateStPierre says:

    Happy to see you writing this, Gini!

  37. AmyVernon says:

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

  38. bradmarley says:

    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.

  39. margieclayman says:

    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.

    • ginidietrich says:

      @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.

      • Ari Herzog says:

        @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?

        • ginidietrich says:

          @Ari Herzog  It’s a little bit of both – while I won’t have duplicate content in there from the blog, there will be some case studies and theories I expand on that we’ve talked about here, but that will be as close as it gets to being similar.

  40. jelenawoehr says:

    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?”)

  41. 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 🙂

    • ginidietrich says:

      @creativeoncall I know. It sucks, doesn’t it? 🙂
      Actually, I”m glad you asked! There will be a subtitle, but I haven’t decided what it’ll be yet. We’re going to crowdsource that, too. Later, though.

      • @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!

  42. Gini Dietrich says:

    Woo hoo!

  43. 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.

  44. HeidiCohen says:

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

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

  46. clarade says:

    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!

    • ginidietrich says:

      @clarade I’ve been thinking about this all day. You’re right – eventually a tweet will be more important. I just have to figure out how to weave that into a book about PR. Thank you!

      • clarade says:

        @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!

  47. dbvickery says:

    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.

  48. 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…) 🙂

    • ginidietrich says:

      @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.

  49. lauraclick says:

    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!

  50. […] writing her second book, aptly titled Spin Sucks: The Book. It’s about the general perception that PR is made up of a bunch of spin doctors and what we […]

  51. […] I went and committed to writing Spin Sucks (the book) so the fiction is on hold for […]

  52. […] marketing are going, you need to start listening to her. She has a book, and apparently another one coming soon. At the very least, you should read […]

  53. […] a Compelling Business Story Gini Dietrich | Email | No Comments I (finally) started writing Spin Sucks this past weekend and boy am I fired […]

  54. BobReed says:

    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!

  55. […] in charge. I mentioned earlier this week I’m writing the “Sex Sells” chapter of Spin Sucks right now. In it, I show lots of good (and bad) case studies of really good storytelling. One of […]

  56. […] flew down only for the weekend, but it was enough for me to write 8,000 words of Spin Sucks, get some sun, and be waited on hand and […]

  57. […] many of you know, I’m writing my second book (Spin Sucks, due out in November!) and, because of that, I’m doing a ton of research (a TON) for case […]

  58. […] taking my own advice and write the gospel according to us (though Lindsay reminds me I am writing Spin Sucks, the book, which serves that […]

  59. […] many of you know, I am in the middle of writing Spin Sucks, the book. It’s a little more than half-finished (yay!) and it’s getting down to crunch […]

  60. […] I will not see you on Thursday as this is my week for 2014 planning…and I have to finish writing Spin Sucks. […]

  61. […] Spin Sucks (the book!) is off to the printer, I’ll turn my focus to longer form content to create in-depth articles […]

  62. […] definitely didn’t disappoint. First, if you have ever read one of Gini’s blog posts (and if you haven’t, get on that stat! You are missing out on an amazing resource and […]

  63. […] remember, no spin because Spin Sucks (See what I did there? Read the book, it’s awesome). Just focus on what Jay Baer calls […]

  64. […] Agencies are offering their clients the best way to engage with their consumers through paid, earned, shared and owned Media (the PESO model), as Gini Dietrich describes in her book, Spin Sucks.  […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please enter an e-mail address