The Spin Sucks Scavenger Hunt ResultsBy Gini Dietrich

If you come round these parts fairly often, you’ll know we are ones to test theories…and report on the results.

In the past month, we held a scavenger hunt with two objectives in mind: 1) Sell more books; and 2) Send new visitors—and hopefully subscribers—to the blogs of some of our brand ambassadors.

There also were some ancillary goals, such as: 1) Help people put the practices in Spin Sucks into play; 2) Introduce our readers to new voices; 3) Introduce the readers of other blogs to the book; and 4) Get the book further out into the PR world.

I am rather astounded that PR pros continue to mass pitch and walk unethical lines and even suggest junior employees “pretend to be consumers” when calling the media.

Because of that, I think the PR world—every, single practitioner—needs to read Spin Sucks. Even if they don’t agree with it, we’ll have moved an industry a bit toward a new way of doing things.

Alas…perhaps the people who most need it don’t do any professional development or read beyond what they’ve written for their clients or organizations.

To garner more excitement and investment on your part, we created a package of Spin Sucks goodies and bought 10 pairs of Spin Sucks wine glasses to give away.

Well, the results are in and I have them to share with you.

To say they’re disappointing is putting it mildly.

Scavenger Hunt Results

But…here they are:

  • We sold 17 books to 14 people. Those people will receive a Spin Sucks goodie bag in a couple of weeks.
  • Of the 54 people who participated in the scavenger hunt, only 13 sent in the phrase…and that means only 13 are eligible for the wine glasses.
  • As of last night, 127 people have downloaded the free Spin Sucks Workbook.
  • We had more than 6,000 people read each of the 10 scavenger hunt blog posts.
  • But only an average of 44 visitors to each of the brand ambassador’s sites (less than one percent).
  • An average of only five new subscribers for each blog or newsletter.

When I told one of our brand ambassadors how disappointed I am that we sold only 17 books—seventeen—he said, “Well, maybe your readers have all already bought it.”

Perhaps. But that’s part of the reason we worked with the brand ambassadors…to introduce their readers to it.

Selling books is hard! We live in such a weird world where we all expect to get content for free. I mean, the Toronto Star just announced they are ending their digital subscription, which means all of their content will be free.

When you’re up against that kind of competition—and the authors who cheat to sell their books—it’s a rather difficult game to win.

What We Learned

The good news is we tried. It wasn’t a super risky experiment and it gave us a ton to think about.

We even had a college student do her mid-term on the blog, which she found in the middle of the scavenger hunt.

The disappointment is still raw so I need some time to really think about what we learned—and to talk to some of you about your perceptions of the bigger issue at hand.

But, here is what I think is going on:

  • People are busy! That’s indicative of only a quarter of those who signed up for the scavenger hunt actually finishing it.
  • Content is hard. You not only have to think about long-form content and search engine optimization, but you are competing with every other business in the entire world that is producing content.
  • A highly engaged community does not always equate money in your pocket. There is a huge return-on-investment, but it’s softer than “it drove X dollars in X time.”
  • A book gets even harder to sell after it’s been out for a year. Perhaps we should have had this idea when it was published. It would be interesting to see results differ that way.

There also are some questions we’re asking internally, such as, “Is Gini too accessible?” and “Is the PR industry ready for the new way of doing things?” and “Do we need to speak more at PR events?”

I’m going to have conversations with some of you…those I know who will tell me the truth. But if you have thoughts or feedback on the scavenger hunt, on selling books, or on what you think can be done in a world where we are already overloaded with content, I would love to hear it! You can email me privately and it will stay there.

Thank You

All-in-all, I’m glad we did this. It was really fun to execute and it was fun to re-engage the brand ambassadors.

It was fun to hear what people had to say about particular ideas written into the book, and it was interesting to see how much has changed since I wrote it in 2013.

To those who participated: Thank you.

To those who followed along by reading and sharing: Thank you.

To our brand ambassadors: Thank you. We definitely could not have done it without you.

Now it’s time to take this information and come up with a new idea that will be even better!

photo credit: Shutterstock

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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