27
35
Gini Dietrich

The Spin Sucks Blogging Process

By: Gini Dietrich | April 16, 2012 | 
139

Last week, Mitch Joel wrote a blog post called, “Watching Me Blog.”

It was in response to Chris Brogan’s piece, “Watching Mitch Joel Blog,” which he wrote while we were all in Norway and, literally, watching Mitch blog.

In his post, he details how he blogs – from his philosophy all the way through publishing and distribution. But the reason I’m mentioning it here is because, at the end of his blog post, he calls a few of us out and says he’d like to see how we blog.

And, let’s be real, it’s a pretty easy blog post for me to write. One that doesn’t require a lot of research or time.

Blogging Philosophy

The philosophy at Spin Sucks is, “How do we change the perception of the PR and marketing industries?” If we can answer that question through everything we produce, we’re doing what we set out to do.

Last year at BlogWorld Expo, John Falchetto, Marcus Sheridan, and I had a debate about blogging consistency, blog topics, and even the header used on blogs.

Marcus told me twice a day blogging is like having too much sex. I kind of think there’s no such thing, but I got his point. It was then that we really began to dig into what this blog is about, what the vision is, and what we’ll allow and won’t allow.

It’s bigger than me. While it’s still fairly dependent on me, we’re making strides to scale beyond me, which is why my face isn’t in any of the design like you’ll see at other personality-driven blogs.

If we take steps every day, both through my blog post and the guest’s, to educate, inform, and change the perception in the tiniest way, we’re working towards achieving that goal.

Pre-Blogging

It depends on how I’m blogging that answers this question. As most of you know, every Thursday do Facebook question of the week where people can go to our wall, leave a question for me there, and then I answer it via video.

We used to air the vlog by 8 a.m. every Thursday, but began testing a different delivery method. Tony Gnau from T60 Productions now shoots, edits, and produces the pieces so they’re much more professional. The video still goes on the blog, but now in the sidebar. It also goes on the Arment Dietrich home page, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Google+, and even on Pinterest.

Tony and I shoot the videos, five or six at a time, and it takes us about 90 minutes. It saves me an inordinate amount of time each week.

But, the regular blog posts are all written. And the prep work for those is different.

I read. A ton.

Right now, I have 843 subscriptions in my Google Reader, which I push to either Reeder or Zite on my iPad.

I also subscribe to, and read, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, New York Times, New Yorker, and Harvard Business Review. I almost always read American Way, the American Airlines in-flight magazine, when I’m on a plane. And I subscribe to seven different SmartBrief daily newsletters.

But that’s where I get all of my ideas. To say I have a lot of original thoughts is being kind. Most of my ideas come from something I’ve read. If you visit Spin Sucks a lot, you know I don’t regurgitate what I’ve read. Rather, I take an idea and explore it, as long as it fits the philosophy.

If I have an idea that hasn’t yet been researched and explored, I throw a link or two in the “Blog Ideas” draft in our WordPress folder. That way, I always have something to write about.

Writing the Blog Post

I don’t do anything fancy like Mitch. He uses Windows Live Writer, but because he’s a Mac guy and this is a PC only program, he runs vmware just for that one program.

Not me. If I have an idea, I write it in a new post in the WordPress admin. I never write in Word or use another software. Even if I’m writing a guest post, I write it all in WordPress so I can link, optimize, and save for later.

Typically I write at 5:30 every morning. I can get my blog post written, the guest post edited and scheduled, and all of my tweets scheduled for the day by 7 a.m. I’ve found if I write later in the day, it takes me longer because I’m not up against a hard deadline (i.e. get to work).

But, cycling training begins a week from today and I’m traveling every week from now until eternity. So I’ll end up writing when I can and then scheduling it for the next day.

Publishing and Distributing

After I optimize the post, make sure I’m giving due credit with back links, add an image, add the “read more” icon, and write a compelling headline (which I always write last), I publish or I schedule it for publish. My blog post runs by 8 a.m. C T every day and the guest post runs by noon. With the exception of Friday, which is Gin and Topics at noon, and I write that.

Then I schedule tweets throughout the day using SocialOomph. I know, I know. Buffer and Hootsuite are better. But this has always worked for me so I can’t break the habit.

I schedule my blog post tweets at 8, 11, 2, and 5. I schedule the guest blog post tweets at 12, 3, and 6. And, at 7, 9, 10, 1, and 4, there are blog posts or articles tweeted that someone else wrote.

Then I post on Google+ and in LinkedIn groups, where I always invite discussion and commentary. If it’s something I know my personal friends will like, I post it to Facebook, but that’s rare. It does, however, go out via Networked Blogs to our fan page.

Then I hand it over to you. I try really hard to respond to every comment and do a fairly good job with it. Sometimes it takes me all day to get there (which drives me crazy), but with speaking and clients and airports and mean TSA reps, it takes me longer than I like.

Now it’s your turn…

P.S. I totally stole the image from Mark Schaefer because it’s funny…and true!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

126 comments
Tinu
Tinu

I'm going to lay down because reading all of that gave me the lazies. But. First thank you for such a clear blueprint. I can see several things I used to do that I now am not, and a whole bunch of other things I'm doing wrong. Also: I'm now depressed.

TonyBennett
TonyBennett

So you're saying I'm a buffoon for never reading Mitch. Ok, you didn't say it, but I'm cool with admitting it. I have a feeling this will be the next passing of the baton in my blog reading marathon. From Mark Schaefer, to you, to Mitch. But don't worry, I won't leave you at the finish line... I got a big back to carry these blogs on all around the track!

Robert Murphy (Jitsu PR)
Robert Murphy (Jitsu PR)

Great read Gini. I like your strategy very much, which is probably why I keep ending up back here on a regular basis.  Can't wait to get my blog going after the rebrand.  A few more weeks til I'm set.

bradmarley
bradmarley

Wowzers. I know you don't read every single blog post in your reader, but even 10 percent is a lot of content to consume. Do you skim and read the posts with compelling headlines? Do you have a set list of "go to" blogs that you read no matter what? I would be interested in hearing how you decide which ones to read.

 

I ask because I was pushing more than 100 a few months ago, but I realized I was getting lost in my reader, so I deleted all of the subscriptions. :) Now I just go to the blogs that I want to read. Consuming blogs is a work in progress, I guess.

T60Productions
T60Productions

Very interesting... I had no idea you used Wordpress.  So... someone designed your blog's appearance using the Wordpress platform?

 

--Tony Gnau

 

p.s. thanks for the shout-out! :-)

hackmanj
hackmanj

I am glad you mentioned the new video format because I had wondered how you were doing that with everything else you do. I really like that approach in fact I'd really love to find someone locally I could work with like that. Thanks for the idea.

 

Blogging directly into WordPress is really a smart thing to do. I really don't see a benefit to doing it anywhere else unless of course you don't have internet access at the time. Technically though you could have WordPress running on your laptop though images would need to be added when you copied/pasted the html code into the live site.

 

My turn? Pretty much all I've had time to do in recent months is Podcast Episode summaries. ;)

Faryna
Faryna

Same here. I write directly to Wordpress. I found this eliminates any potential format disparity. Also, I can throw in the links and link descriptions on the fly. Better that then coming back and doing links when the fire is cold- that kills me.

Nic_Cartwright
Nic_Cartwright

Now I know why I have never played you on Scramble with Friends....  you are one busy cookie.....

 

margieclayman
margieclayman

Ugh, I feel so cool. I write all of my posts inside Wordpress too. My life is validated!!!! :)

Latest blog post: the fat picture

MSchechter
MSchechter

I'll never quite know how you do it inside of Wordpress, but I'm impressed as all hell that you can. Do you jump into fullscreen (or distraction free mode) or can you just block out all the crap on the screen?

 

Also, just because I wouldn't be my geeky self if I didn't have a suggestion, have you ever considered working Instapaper into your reading workflow?

 

I know it's an extra step, but I found a lot of success with quickly blowing through my RSS reader in Reeder and sending the things I want to read into Instapaper. I also automatically forward all of the newsletters I regularly read there (and have gmail auto archive them) as well as put all of the links I come across in a day from people via email and by twitter there. It's a hub for reading for me and only includes things I want to read. It's my daily pleasure. It's also a really well designed app for reading (where I find Reeder to be a better designed app for burning through the feeds. 

 

I've also found an unexpected benefit from this. Like you, I'm subscribed to a hell of a lot of feeds (although you put me to shame) and moving quickly through them in Reeder offers up a nice 30,000 foot view of what's trending. I often found I missed that when I would stop and start by reading directly in Reeder. 

kevinbehringer
kevinbehringer

Boy, you want to talk about an "infinite loop." I read your first two points in your graphic and saw my blogging process wrapped up in those two! Read Mitch, feel inadequate. Read Mitch, feel inadequate. Glad I'm not alone! Love to see some "behind the scenes stuff from bloggers I really respect. Thanks for posting!Kevin 

joeldon
joeldon

Gini, thanks for the insider view.  I had read the posts by Mitch and Chris. Cool to see the full spectrum.  I believe that leaves two left on the Norway list to share their secrets.

Faryna
Faryna

I'm glad to hear you mention/suggest you write with a mission and a vision (blogging philosophy). This defines the conversations that you lead. It creates the context for meaningful conversations.

bdorman264
bdorman264

Wow, that is identical to my schedule..............ok, maybe close to it.............ok, we both blog; I'll say that much. 

 

This is why you are a machine and I am a flat tire, but it takes all types, huh? 

 

You still amaze me with all you accomplish and the fact you do engage and give back to your community as well. I don't see anybody at your level who even comes close to that; that's a big plus in my book, that's why I would take a bullet for you. 

 

BTW - I concur w/ the 'no such thing' nonsense and I don't mean too many posts..........:). 

 

You still da best; just keep doing what you are doing 'cause 'you rock'. That.is.all. 

sassyinthekitch
sassyinthekitch

Great post, as usual! This can really apply to any industry, love that. You have a system down, that's for sure!

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

Wow.  That's in inordinate amount of time, IMHO.  I think about things all the time, but when I wake up on a Mon, Wed, or Fri I realize I have to write something.  If I'm lucky an idea came to me the night before or in the 15 minutes or so before I crawl out of bed.  There have been many days when I had zero idea what I was going to write - and on those occasions I visit a few mainstays that I have where people write insanely dense, jargon-filled pieces on the economy and more or less translate them.  :-)

 

I never spend more than 30 minutes writing, 15 editing, and another 15 adding links and snagging a picture.  If I spent more than an hour on these things I would seriously eat into my ability to make a living!

 

During the day, I steal time as I can to log in to twitter and post a link live plus respond to comments.  I don't know how long this takes, but I'm often making tea or something while I do it.  

 

Lately I've been making some videos for my YouTube Channel on Sundays with my kids.  We made two 4 minute ones last Sunday and it took about 45 minutes - all in one take out in the park.   My son did the editing for me, which was minimal.  

 

I can't see spending any more time than that on this stuff without getting paid for it.  I make something decent out of the "tip jar", but not enough to justify a bigger commitment than I have.

ToddBartlett
ToddBartlett

Gini,

 

Thank you for the insight into your blogging process. I  recently began blogging for my internship and for personal branding purposes. At first, I was intimated by the thought of blogging and was insecure about my writing style. However, the more I blog the more comfortable it has become. Reading articles like the one you have written is very helpful for someone like myself.

 

Todd

John_Trader1
John_Trader1

I have to admit that I feel a bit dirty for having such great insight into your organization and thought process for each post you write. I have been a little unplugged lately so wasn't aware that these posts were circulating -- I'll be sure to check out some other methods, read through and hammer out a more organized, customized strategy for myself. Although I don't have my own blog I would like to hone my skills for some of the sites that I guest blog for.

 

It's gold to get this type of insight from bloggers who are successful. Thank you.

TheJackB
TheJackB

I am going to engage in some pseudo social media douchebaggery and provide a link to a post that helps writers:

 

http://www.thejackb.com/2012/04/12/1-foolproof-way-to-become-a-better-writer/

 

People over analyze and over think all this writing crap. Just write. Find your idea, put together a beginning, a middle and an end. Just write.

 

Stop trying to be different. Stop trying to be the most innovative person out there. What is the difference between Time and Newsweek or Toyota and Honda. 

 

If you ask me virtually nothing, yet they all keep going. We could dig into customer service, mindshare, marketshare and all that other crap, but we really don't have to because this is simple.

 

Some people will love your writing and others will hate it. Just write and good things will come from it.

Latest blog post: Pools of Blood

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @bradmarley I go in waves. Sometimes I just go to the blogs I want to read (weeks I'm traveling) and sometimes I skim the headlines to see what I want to read. I also have a lot of links sent to me, either via email or DM on Twitter. So I read all of those. And, of course, anything that links back to us. I can't venture to guess how many I read every week. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @hackmanj That's exactly what I do, if I'm on a plane without WiFi...have the window open and type in there. I also copy and paste it into a Pages document, just in case, but I still do it all right in WP.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @MSchechter I tried Instapaper. I didn't like it. Unfortunately I'm like everyone else. When I find something that works, I'll try new stuff, but if it doesn't make things easier on me, I go back to the old tried and true. It's why I still carry a notebook. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @wabbitoid We've figured out the secret sauce to getting business from the blog (two clients this year, alone). So the idea that we're not getting paid to blog is just looked at differently. I'll bet you'd find the same because you do so much writing for clients. You just have to analyze where people are finding you.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @TheJackB I agree with you about just writing, but you and I are not the norm. It's not easy for a lot of people to write. I always feel like I need to write - it's a part of me. But I know my friends and family think I'm nuts about it. So, while it's easy for us to say, "Just write," unfortunately it's just not that simple for some.

Nic_Cartwright
Nic_Cartwright

 @ginidietrich them's fighting talk from round these parts.....  challenge accepted - what's your cowboy name (username)......  arabic alphabet ok???

 

ps - i am slightly scared - you know lots of words....

MSchechter
MSchechter

 @ginidietrich You and your sensible approach to technology and just about everything else for that matter... :)

bhas
bhas

 @ginidietrich I switched between various options. I use Windows Live Writer for my own blog, but my client's WP blog is set up in such a way that WLW can't detect the theme. So sometimes, I will write in Evernote, sometimes I will write in Word and sometimes I will write in WP fullscreen (which actually has been quite regular lately)

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @ginidietrich  @bdorman264 Bill forgets he has a full time job running a high energy high risk insurance company while Gini spends her days blogging and yukking it up at music festivals,...I mean industry conferences. Bill you do good putting out the volume of content you do considering your limited free time.

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

 @ginidietrich I do get some work from Barataria, certainly, but I always need money right away.  That means getting work on my own without the blog.  I would dearly love to write pieces more like those on Barataria for a living, but it is very hard to be paid to write pieces on economics.  There are far more people ahead of me with much better connections and credentials.  

 

I think it will always be where I get things out of my head so that I am clear to write what other people will pay me to do.   That is valuable in itself, but in a very limited way.  I have to have some outlet for creativity and intelligent thought or I'd be even crazier than I am!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @ginidietrich  @John_Trader1 Don't worry John Gini has 57 Patents for A-D which is 1 more than Facebook has so she has her IP protected. Though I saw a URL registered last week www.spinsuckssemipro.com

TheJackB
TheJackB

 @ginidietrich I understand. I could post 3-4 times a day, every day and each one would be different from the others. But I am convinced that our need to write is the difference here.

It is a skill that improves with practice. I am sure that cycling isn't much different. I don't ride very often anymore so I might be hesitant to go out with out because I know that I can't keep up.

That shouldn't be a reason for me not to do it. If I put in the time to train than I should reach a place where I can ride with you without concern about my ability to keep up.

Writing isn't any different.

Latest blog post: Pools of Blood

TheJackB
TheJackB

 @ginidietrich Wayne Gretzky said something to the effect of you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

I understand what you are saying and yes, I have some natural ability but that is not always the difference.

Eight years of blogging and all of the other time that I have put in has made this much easier for me. If people put in the time they can do so much.

I might not be able to ride with Armstrong but is that really the goal. The goal makes such a big difference. Every time I help people/businesses start this process we start with establishing goals.

And we incorporate an understanding that you have to learn to walk before you can run.

 

 

Latest blog post: Pools of Blood

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @TheJackB Sure, but to take your cycling analogy, there also is some talent involved. You might be able to get out on your bike, but it's doubtful you'll be riding with Lance Armstrong, no matter how often, or how hard, you ride. And maybe you won't even get out there because you know you'll never be good at it and you don't want to spend the time. You are an incredibly gifted writer. I think you're taking that for granted.

Trackbacks

  1. […] want a little more detail on the entire process, check out Gini Dietrich’s recent post on the Spin Sucks blogging process, in response to Mitch Joel’s post on his blogging process. Tomorrow, I’ll focus a bit […]

  2. […] Gini Dietrich generously shares her own blogging process at Spin Sucks. […]

  3. […] have been some wonderful posts that look inside many bloggers’ strategy from Mark Schaefer, Gini Dietrich, Jason Konopinski, and others. From what Ken Mueller discovered over at Inkling Media when he posed […]

  4. […] recently read Gini Dietrich’s post on Spin Sucks about her blogging process. Apparently, there’s this fun trend going on among […]

  5. […] Sharing the Blogging Process by @ginidietrich via @SpinSucks: […]

  6. […] Thinking of blogging? Here’s how to get started Posted by James Howe on April 25, 2012 in Branding I just read a great post by Craig McBreen with excellent advice for potential bloggers! Thanks to Gini Dietrich for tipping me off about it via Twitter. Gini, incidentally, recently wrote about her own process for blogging. […]

  7. […] inspiration for a post on Facebook advice for people who don’t like Facebook. And we all have our own blogging process, and I recently shared my blogging […]

  8. […] looked to prolific writer Mitch Joel for insight, and a meme was born. Jason Falls, Chris Penn, Gini Dietrich, and Mark Schaefer share their writing methods – how else – in blog posts you won’t want to […]

  9. […] Thinking of blogging? Here’s how to get started Posted on April 25, 2012 by James Howe • 4 Comments I just read a great post by Craig McBreen with excellent advice for potential bloggers! Thanks to Gini Dietrich for tipping me off about it via Twitter. Gini, incidentally, recently wrote about her own process for blogging. […]

  10. […] Spin Sucks! Blogging Process […]

  11. […] recently read Gini Dietrich’s post on Spin Sucks about her blogging process. Apparently, there’s this fun trend going on among […]