Ten years ago, I sat in a staff meeting where my team was talking about this blogging thing.
We were all intrigued by it, but had zero idea what it was or if it was something we should try to figure out, in case it made sense for clients.
Because we have a rule here that we try things on ourselves before we recommend them to clients, we decided to at least test it out.
So my team called a meeting and presented an idea: We would launch a blog called the Fight Against Destructive Spins—or FADS.
The idea being that, any time we saw someone doing PR incorrectly or giving the industry a bad name, we would call it out.
This was our very first blog post:
I’m always really embarrassed to show this.
I mean, the author is “Arment Dietrich,” there aren’t any images, there isn’t an easy way to scan the copy, there aren’t any links to what the heck we’re talking about (but you do see we footnote it), the subhead isn’t really a subhead, it doesn’t reach the minimum number of words for the search engine spiders, but worse…the copy is horrendous.
More than horrendous. It’s not even college essay good. It’s just really, really bad.
We Had No Idea What We Were Doing
The second blog post, which coincidentally ran on the same day (no clue why we did that!), wasn’t much better, but at least we have a couple of links in there and begin to speak toward our vision.
After this, we ran one more blog post in September, six in October, six in November, and three in December.
I’m also embarrassed to admit we didn’t know you could schedule blog posts back then.
We didn’t have an editorial calendar so there was zero consistency.
And everyone on the team—from the intern through me—would blog under the author name “Arment Dietrich.”
It was a disaster!
But we kept at it—and thank goodness!
Today, it’s a much, much different story.
Depending on where you look, we are among the top three PR blogs in the world (Cision has us at number three, as does InkyBee, while Forbes counts us as number one—which I tend to quote when I talk about it).
And the blog, itself, is quite a beast:
- There are 3,765 published blog posts.
- Of those, 1,885 are mine.
- There are 158,824 comments and, believe it or not, none of those are spam.
- We have close to 50,000 fans, who subscribe, comment, and share.
- And there are 172 students in either our mastermind group or taking our online courses (and that continues to grow, as we’re in the middle of The Modern Blogging Masterclass launch right now).
We Can Lay Claim to…
But the community is where the real value is and where we have the most fun.
We highlight four guest bloggers every week, who bring a different perspective than many of us have on the full-time team here.
These people donate their time and their content and, for that, we are grateful.
We can lay claim to hundreds of IRL meetings between people who met in the comments here—some of whom *I* haven’t even met yet—and there was a Spin Sucks wedding in 2014.
There was even a t-shirt made when Martin Waxman received, what he calls, his Spin Sucks Klout bump.
So, to celebrate our 10 year anniversary (TEN YEARS!), we thought we’d ask some long-time community members and friends how Spin Sucks has influenced them throughout the years.
Here is what they had to say…
The Spin Sucks Community Members
Spin may suck, but “Spin Sucks” definitely does not. Gini, her team of writers, and the online community at Spin Sucks have been a real source of encouragement, inspiration, and professional development for both myself and my staff.
From the nuts and bolts of agency management to industry trends and tools, Spin Sucks has been—and still is—a resource for my team as we work to serve our clients *and* grow our business.
Without Gini and her team at Spin Sucks, I don’t think I would have had the knowledge or the confidence to build the business I have today. (Or at least, my business would really suck. And it does not suck, thanks to Spin Sucks.) — Travis Peterson, Impact Campaigns
I did not arrive at Spin Sucks via a “traditional” route. I was a non-profit administrator who was developing a deep interest in social media. As that interest grew, I began following Spin Sucks.
I have learned from it, grown my network from it, been forced to think in new and different ways because of it. Most importantly, I have become a part of a community whose members care for and support one another. That doesn’t suck one bit. — Paula Kiger, Big Green Pen
Spin Sucks is the most impactful blog about modern PR ever. Ten years of awesome, and I hope at least 10 more. — Jay Baer, Convince and Convert
? I had been a reader of Spin Sucks for awhile, but became a real “Spin Sucks Crazy” after meeting Gini four years ago at a social media event…she’s brilliant and surrounds herself with equally as brilliant team members. Our fun Spin Sucks community has been a valuable source of amazing info, support and, yes, even silliness for me. I count Gini and Laura Petrolino as true friends and am thrilled to congratulate them and the entire Spin Sucks team on 10 years! Best wishes for many more! — Liz Reusswig, EMR Strategies
For as long as I can remember Spin(space)Sucks has been one of my go to PR and social media resources. I’m not just a community member, but also a former client and only have great things to say about the Spin(space)Sucks team. Congrats on 10 years Gini! I can’t wait to see what you teach us next! — Brian Tudor, The Infamous Podcast
I wish there was an internet “wayback” machine that would show me exactly which rabbit hole I fell down that lead me to Spin Sucks, because maybe that way I could climb back out. (I’m kidding!)
Spin Sucks has been an incredible tool in my career for many years now. Whenever I’ve needed some solid insight into a process, technique or strategy and, often, how to build an argument to support it internally, I know exactly where I can find it. Gini and her team have built a top-notch community of communications pros who are willing to tell it like it is… even If I think there aren’t quite enough Willy Wonka GIFs… — Kate Nolan, Eat at Kate’s
I owe a lot to Gini and the Spin Sucks community, both of which inspired me to get my act together and go back to school so I could get a job doing what I love—marketing communications.
It has been a place for me to learn, to bounce ideas off people to gain confidence in myself and now to send other people who ask me for advice on their own journeys. And it’s still a place I go to find out the latest or for some clarity when I suspect I am mired in my own myopia. And also I have met some of the most awesome people—friends—in the world through Spin Sucks! — Dwayne Alicie, Concur
I joined the Spin Sucks community in what most would call a very “non-traditional” way. I had recently returned to agency life and sent Gini a pitch to have my agency’s president blog about some kind of trend or another. It was, admittedly, not a good pitch. However, Gini did something amazing: She replied to me, telling me not only it was bad, but why it was bad.
Talk about a humbling teaching moment. I replied back, thanking her and explaining I had just returned to agency life and things had changed a lot since I’d been gone. I pitched her on writing a blog post about my experience. She loved it. From then on, I’ve viewed Spin Sucks as my go-to source for not only professional development, but also for my own personal gratification, knowing that I’m getting advice and insight from honest practitioners who are real, approachable and really damn smart. Happy 10th, Spin Sucks! Here’s to at least 30 more! — Sara Rude, Cramer-Krasselt
When I first started reading Spin Sucks, it was called FADS, or Fight Against Destructive Spin. I suggested to Gini she call it Fish Are Deceptive Suckers, and to build a mascot that wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney flick. I was thinking merchandise, weekly specials like The Halibut Minute, and such as.
While I’ll always think Gini missed the boat on that one, it’s great to see it didn’t hurt the blog and her goals long-term. Because that’s what friends do—they take your stupid ideas, humor you, and do their own thing regardless.
So Happy 10th Anniversary, Spin Sucks—the ocean’s loss is the online world’s gain! — Danny Brown, of the aptly named blog
And now it’s your turn…how has Spin Sucks influenced you throughout the years?