Are The Days of PR Spin Doctors Dead & Gone? Ask Gini Dietrich.

Spin Sucks ReviewHer New Book, Spin Sucks, Launches Today.
Grab A Copy, Already! Move it!

If you know me at all, you probably know that I’m a voracious reader. A complete bookaholic that can consume upwards of a dozen books each month. Sometimes in a week.

As a teen, I burned through the school library inventory by the time I hit sixteen – at least the parts of it that interested me. I was known by first name at the used bookstore down the street, schlepping in books to trade by the box full and reading all those romance books I probably should NOT have been allowed to read. Even today, I favor the kind of “trash” reading that acts like a pressure valve – a mini escape – right before bedtime. It’s how I relax.

But, as the responsible adult whom I pretend to be, I make the effort to mix in a business book every now and then.

So when Gini opened the gates to a book ambassador program and offered an advance copy of her new book, Spin Sucks, I jumped at it. Fodder for the reading machine from one of my favorite people! SOLD.

I’m also reading an advance copy of Chris Brogan’s new book, The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth. How did I get so lucky! Stay tuned next week for a post on that one! 

Her book is a short one, only 164 pages long, so it’s a quick read for those with short attention spans or little time to spare. If you head over to Amazon and grab a copy, you won’t regret it. It’s an interesting read.

Who Doesn’t Know Gini Dietrich? If You Are In PR, You’d Better.

I adore Gini. She is brilliant, adorable, and a sensitive soul who genuinely cares about people and is generous with her time and attention. She has an enormous, gentle heart.

Gini Dietrich, Spin Sucks

I also greatly admire her success in creating a tribe of loyal supporters and advocates within the PR community. If you haven’t connected with her yet, then track her down on your choice of social platforms and subscribe to her blog.

She is a force of nature; a tornado that sucks people in almost effortlessly with her wonderful personality, then keeps them circling around in her orbit for the long-term. Guys love her, even grumpy, competitive women love her. So how could I resist writing about her book?

Besides, we are kindred souls, in that we both gain joy from helping our fellow PR pros grow and sparkle. So here goes.

Spinning the truth sucks. Don’t do it.

“The industry, as a whole, hasn’t done much to change the perception that we’re all spin doctors, liars, party planners, club hoppers, and magicians… The tools today are different, but the premise remains the same. Lie or spin the truth, and you will be found out. Tell your story without sex or extortion.

While sex may sell the first time, it’s a good product or service that sells the second time, and it’s the trust you build with each customer each subsequent time that keeps them coming back.”

~ Gini Dietrich, Spin Sucks

A few quick quotes from the first chapter of the book:

  • Naturally curious people read a lot, which makes them excellent storytellers (I’m liking that one)
  • Don’t share customer quotes or testimonials – share customer stories
  • Brilliant, brilliant storytelling that doesn’t require an expensive media buy or a multi-person creative team. It simply requires that you constantly think about the story you 

    have to tell so you can quickly tie into the current events or industry trends as they’re

    happening.

I’d share more, but then Gini would have to kill me. So go buy the book, then tell me what you think. 

My opinion

To be honest, I don’t like sharing my opinions on books. Most of the time, they are geared towards pleasing everyone – making them too entry level for my taste. In the effort to keep the reader with beginner level skills interested, they don’t go deep enough into the level of detail that would interest me as an advanced professional.

I also like writing styles that slant almost towards a fiction, entertainment type of voice. If it is boring, pedantic or too business-like and stuffed with statistics, I tend to quit reading after the first few chapters. I bore easily and stop if I’m not learning something new.

When it comes to marketing or PR books, I’m difficult to impress.

I’ll admit I felt the chapter on SEO for press releases to have completely misinterpreted something Matt Cutts shared about press release do’s/don’ts, and I thought the chapters and the content skipped around quite a bit without having a strong enough focus around the true theme – spin doctoring – to tie them together. If the book had focused more closely on the overall theme of spinning facts, it would have been more interesting and valuable.

But in today’s publishing environment, major publishers require that a book target general business niches, not just industry niches (such as public relations). They want to sell books to the broadest audience possible. I get that, but it results in books that are less suitable for senior level professionals and geared toward the masses.

Bummer.

BUT… I thoroughly enjoy Gini’s writing style, her sense of humor and the ample use of brand examples. Although three or four of them were over-used examples that have been battered into the ground across all of the marketing publications this year and quoted in far too many books already! If I hear about that Oreo tweet one more time……………

I also thought her tips on dealing with negativity and criticism on social media were very well done, as were the tips on managing an issue and reputation repair.

All in all, if you are in public relations with entry level experience on the digital side of the fence, you should read Spin Sucks. If you are a more advanced PR practitioner, it may or may not be for you. I enjoyed the storytelling chapter and the closing one about Gini’s vision of the future of PR – but the rest of the book didn’t do anything for me. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t learn anything new.

I suspect most people would disagree with my feedback, though, since every review on Amazon at the time of writing this blog post is four and five stars. High praise, indeed!

If you are an entrepreneur, odds are good that you’ll find it interesting and you’ll learn something new.

Can I sneak in one final quote from Gini?

“Because there is so much out there, a backlash about content marketing is building up. In the future, it will only get louder because companies continue to create really bad content. And when they realize they’re terrible at executing the tactic, they decide content doesn’t work—instead of realizing they’re terrible at executing the tactic.

Despite the backlash, competent communicators who create interesting, valuable, and engaging content will thrive and will be in high demand.”

Truth. 

Get the book, it’s a fun and interesting quick read.

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