Gini Dietrich

Introducing The Big Question and Monthly Fireside Chats

By: Gini Dietrich | January 6, 2017 | 

The Big QuestionLast year (ha, last year!) when I announced we are no longer doing the Inquisition, a few of you were incredulous (cough, Bob LeDrew, cough).

But don’t worry!

We have something to replace it that will involve more than one of you every week (and not require me to put on makeup and do my hair for the camera).

I know, I know.

Video is the next big thing.


We have plans for video, too. But that’ll be once a month, not every week.

Trust me when I say this: Doing video every week, with another person—and our combined schedules, is no easy task.

Introducing…The Big Question!

I wasn’t kidding when I said we are doubling (maybe even tripling or quadrupling) down on your professional development this year.

And when I say that, I don’t just mean you are going to hear more from me.

(Though, that would be great, wouldn’t it?)

(Clearly I’ve been around Laura Petrolino too long.)

We’re focusing on helping you learn from each other, and bringing you the brightest minds in PR and communications to help you become a PESO-proficient, modern PR pro.

(Say THAT five times fast—PESO-proficient, modern PR pro.)

When we introduced the Spin Sucks Slack community, we hoped to see you sharing your expertise and recommendations with one another.

We’ve been absolutely blown away with how much of that is going on both in the public channels and in private messages.

We want to harness this collective brain trust and take it even further by crowdsourcing great ideas from all of the Spin Sucks community members.

That’s why, every Friday, we’ll be coming to you with The Big Question—the one thing we (and your peers) want to know that will help us all get ahead, and help each other to do so.

Every week, we’ll go through and curate a selection of the responses and share them here with all of you, along with my thoughts on the topic.

But that means you have homework (see below).

The Spin Sucks Fireside Chat Series

The Big Question will happen the first three (or four, depending on the month) Fridays of the month.

On the last Friday of every month, I will host the Spin Sucks Fireside Chat Series.

You see, as much as I hate the actual process of traveling, I do get to spend in-person time with some incredible minds.

In September, while in Cleveland for Content Marketing World, I was at dinner with some of the most powerful brains in marketing, advertising, and communications.

I looked around the table and thought:

Wow. How incredibly lucky am I right now?

My next thought was:

How can I transfer these brains to our community?

We’ve figured out a way to bring those minds to you so you can learn directly from them.

I’ll sit down with one expert every month, for 30 minutes, and go in-depth on a topic I feel we all need to better understand.

This month’s Fireside Chat will be with Jay Baer on January 27.

We’re going to discuss why customer service is the new marketing and how that affects a communicator’s role within the organization.

And don’t worry, in addition to the brain food of the conversation, I promise you’ll come away learning something new about our guest, as well.

Stay tuned for more on this!

Your Homework

Now I need your help!

The Big Question won’t work without your involvement.

So you have some homework—I need you to answer next week’s The Big Question.

It is:

What is your professional development goal for 2017 and how will you make it happen?

Please share your response in the comments section below, in our Slack community, or on social media.

If you do share, though, please note it could be included in next week’s blog post.

So, if you’d rather it not be included, please let us know that when you share it.

And, if you have ideas for questions I should ask Jay Baer on the 27th, let me know that as well!

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!

  • paulakiger

    Not a communications/PR goal precisely, but improving my Spanish has been on my radar screen for so long. I need to do this in a measurable way this year, to clear the way for some of the PR/Comms specific goals.

    • Hey, that’s professional development! It doesn’t have to be PR.

      • paulakiger

        HOORAY! BUENO!

    • Regularly practicing and improving my Spanish is one of my goals, too! I was conversational in it long ago and I’m frustrated with myself for letting my language skills wither.

      • You can come to my house, Erin. At 10:30 last night, my three-year-old wanted to know how to say ice cream in Spanish. I yelled, “GO TO SLEEP!” I few minutes goes by and she whispers, “That’s not how you say ice cream in Spanish.”

        • HA, I would have responded the same way at three-years-old. I would probably respond the same way now, actually…

          • I ask Siri a lot of questions. Window, bumble bee, ice cream…we are learning Spanish together via Siri.

          • Or you could just ask me 🙂

          • I would be asking you constantly. CONSTANTLY.

            (How do you say ice cream in Spanish?)

          • (Helado, but you don’t read the “h.” So it would be “elado”)

        • I totally would have said that as well.

        • Hahaha! She must have been so cute!

          • That is NOT cute! She’s too smart for her own freaking good. GO TO SLEEP!

          • paulakiger

            That’s why parents love that book “Go the [blank] to Sleep” — the one I want to modify for caregivers of elders who are still up at 1 am. Maybe Siri has a solution for that. #SIGH

    • Last night for some odd reason (although all our reasons for doing things seem odd), my daughter and I were looking up how to say, “excuse me” in German, because it sounds funny.

  • Nancy Davis

    Restarting my blog is my biggest goal. I know I have a big hill to climb. First of all, I have not blogged in about a year. Second, my name will change and as a result, I don’t know what name I should blog under. I also have to think about how I am going to bring this into my larger goal, which is to help some of the local businesses/charities to get attention. I seem to always be on Slack at the wrong time, and have a hard time making friends there.

    • paulakiger

      That’s a great goal Nancy (those are great goals….). If you’re on the Spin Sucks slack, you’re in luck b/c with all these time zones there’s almost always someone there and able/willing to chat!

      • Nancy Davis

        I feel sometimes like I am butting in as my mom would say. I guess I just have to get used to it. Sometimes, it takes me a while to get used to things, but, then I grow on a fungus. 🙂

        • paulakiger

          And FWIW if you’re struggling with all the details of putting your own blog together you’re more than welcome to do a guest post on mine! 🙂

          • Nancy Davis

            I would be thrilled to do that! I will send you my contact info on the Slack channel.

          • paulakiger


    • When I started Arment Dietrich, I wasn’t married yet. But I was engaged so I went ahead and added Dietrich in there. I say do it under your new name.

      • Nancy Davis

        That is what I was thinking also. I am considering doing a little play on words with my new married name. I have ideas rolling around in my head, I just have to put them down on paper.

  • 1. Attend an industry conference in-person; I’ve managed to do this the last two years and have found it so helpful in sparking new ideas and developing my skills in various areas.

    2. Start volunteering regularly! So many nonprofits need help with media outreach, social, content creation, etc. whether on a regular basis or event-basis. Even a couple hours a week could really help, and it’ll stretch my brain to think about marketing/PR for a different industry and organization (we all get into ruts, I think).

    3. Practice my Spanish…Duolingo makes it so easy and I still don’t do it.

    • Which events do you think you’ll attend?

      • I’m not sure yet. I focused on social last year, so I’d like a different focus for this year. I’m debating MozCon, Content Marketing World or Inbound, or possibly something with more PR focus. There are a lot of great options out there, fortunately/unfortunately.

        • I vote for Content Marketing World. It’s my favorite conference of the entire year!

          • Ooh, I was already leaning towards this one. Hearing that, I might just have to try it out. Last year’s schedule makes it look like a great event! 🙂

          • I second Gini’s recommendation of CMworld. This will be my fifth consecutive year attending. Well worth it.

    • paulakiger

      Duolingo is a big help and I’ve been a Duolingo drop out too.

  • Mihai

    A # for this might help! #TheBigQuestion or #SpinSucksQuestion

  • Susan Stoga

    My biggest goal is to implement my marketing plan for my firm so that we can better reach clients in our niche. It’s been thrilling to look at the possibilities. That said, it’s challenging to know should have top priority. I’ve also set a goal to develop a virtual marketing committee for the not-for-profit I’m involved with to assist children living in foster care. I believe that’s the best way to encourage adoption from foster care, no matter where in the country, Shameless plug –

    • I’m kind of surprised this is your top priority and not the launch of your new product. But I like it! And agree wholeheartedly!

      • Susan Stoga

        New product = marketing to the niche. Same goal, just worded it differently. My sole focus is on launching the C & U niche

  • Continue to improve my writing such as incorporate better SEO ideas as well as do a few posts of my very own. I blog for work and Greater Greater Washington. SEO and analytics are on my radar. I can do topline stuff but want to dig deeper now. And personally, figure out how to work horseback riding lessons into my schedule.

    • You’re doing the 30-Day Challenge, yes? By week three, you’ll start to work on this goal. And, by February 1, you’ll have a really good plan to help you achieve it. But you’re on your own with the horseback riding.

      • Well, I’m now 4 days behind on the challenge. Hoping to catch up soon. RE: Riding 🙂

        • You will! The first three days are pretty easy. I still have to do Day 4 because it’s a little tougher.

          • paulakiger

            I stalled out last night on Day 4 — but asked the Slack community to hold me accountable. Right now the only two things in my inbox (the one I just got to zero (YAY!) are days 4 and 5. #winning

  • My biggest goal is to treat myself like a client. My personal writing has gone haywire the past few years because I’ve focused so much on my clients (work that I truly love). But I feel like I’ve been behind the scenes and don’t really showcase my expertise as part of my personal and professional brand. So I’m focusing on the things that made me successful at the beginning when I didn’t know what I was really doing (but had gusto and passion to learn) – and evolve my presence.

    I’m still not 100% sure how I’ll be doing that because I hate self-promotion with a passion but I do have value I bring to the table that I want to share on a larger scale.

    • You know, we should chat about this. I also loathe self-promotion, but there is something about providing useful content to an industry that makes it feel different.

      • Yeah, I would definitely appreciate any and all insight. I think that one of the ways I’m going to try to do that is participate in more Twitter chats, do more guest writing, but also figure out how to evolve my own blog. I am having a really hard time figuring out how to provide enough value to grow an email list. Impostor syndrome also kicks in hard right around the moments I’m feeling confident.

        • paulakiger

          I don’t have an email list either although 99% of the experts say I should. I have such a love hate relationship with email, I hate to foist one more thing in the inbox of someone I care about, even if it is quality material.

          • I have two blogs and 0 emails lists. I’m sensing a theme here…

          • Yeah, that’s my biggest struggle.

  • jeanniecw

    Homework Schmomework.

  • Bill Smith

    My big goal for 2017 is to do some professional development, not a full blown certificate or diploma but some online courses to pick up some skills and write on my professional blog more often than once a quarter. I do have a question though will these fireside chats take place in front of an actual fireplace?

  • Dotti Gallagher

    I have three primary professional development goals this year.
    1 – Write (by hand) every day. My practice is to write for about 15-20 minutes between 7-8 a.m. to get my day started. I have an app that generates a writing topic every morning and these stimulate my creativity. My husband gave me a beautiful journal for Christmas which inspired me to write by hand. It’s a lost art…
    2 – Read every day. I wound up last year with an inbox full of professional blogs, emails and news posts that I hadn’t read. This year, I started by weeding out the ones that don’t add value and adding a few that do. And, I set side time on my calendar every day for reading…alright, sometimes skimming, but it all gets into my brain somehow. I’m also reading for pleasure and watching less TV.
    3 – Apply to the PRSA College of Fellows. I’m qualified and committed to going through the process. It’s challenging, but I can do it!

    • paulakiger

      What’s the app, Dotti?

      • Dotti gallagher

        It’s called Daily Page.

        • paulakiger


  • Starting my blog. Something I have been making up excuses for and putting off for months.