I first met Bill Smith when I taught a class (via Skype) for Martin Waxman and then, like a good student, he came around these parts and built a relationship with all of us.
Bill is a marketing communications professional who has an expertise in social media. He is the IABC/Toronto social media manager. And he is a fine art photographer.
He has a passion for landscape, architecture and street photography, which means I really want to get him to Chicago to shoot the architecture here.
I’d love to have a Bill Smith Chicago original hanging in my home.
Because of his commitment to the community here and because he has so many cool interests, I asked him to sit on the Spin Sucks inquisition hot seat.
What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?
My biggest mistake was listening to well meaning career advice that took me way off track for several years.
Moral of the story, trust your gut.
What is One Thing about Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?
I’m a photography nerd who still shoots with film and makes black and white prints in a darkroom.
I spend enough time in front of a computer screen as it is and have a nice collection of vintage cameras.
If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?
No, I would not.
I have a niece and nephew I care about deeply and the list of things I want to do is constantly being added to.
I’m in for the long haul.
What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?
What to choose?
Astroturfing is a perennial favorite of mine.
I think, though, the biggest industry practice I have issue with is only equating PR with media relations.
We are uniquely situated and best qualified to tell our client’s/organization’s stories with a whole array of new platforms and mediums.
Aside from leaving money on the table if you’re with an agency, you are not advocating to your client more effective tools to help them tell their stories than just getting a story into the New York Times.
What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?
I want to say Spin Sucks, but I read that longer than six months ago.
I would say two books I read in the past six months are Influence Marketing by Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella and, on the personal front, The Big Sleep by Philip Marlowe.
I have my brother Alex to blame for getting me hooked on classic mysteries/detective fiction.
Currently on top of my to read pile is Metaskills, Five Talents for the Robotic Age by Marty Neumeier.
I’ll let you know if it’s a good read another time.
Why Does Spin Suck?
Spin sucks because it kills cute little puppies.
Seriously though, spin is a cheap tactic while effective in the short term in achieving objectives, it is damaging over the long-term for the client/organization in the eyes of their audiences and stakeholders in terms of reduced trust.
In terms of the profession, spin tactics does nothing but reinforce the impression that communicators are a shifty bunch that cant’ be trusted to tell the truth.
Take the high road, tell the truth and don’t spin.
The cute little puppies will thank you.
Where You Can Find Bill Smith
You can find Bill on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and on his photography blog.
He also is on the hunt for a job, where he can put his PR, marketing, and social media skills to good use.
And, on the photography front, he is organizing a group photography exhibit later this year that showcases the landscapes around Algonquin Park the Muskoka region of Central Ontario.