PR expert Gini Dietrich is not a clone
I am not a sports agent or a Food Network star. I am not an only child, nor am I the youngest. I am not passive-aggressive, but I am also not confrontational.
I am not a team player and I don’t do well in groups of people. I am not an employee and I am not a manager.
And, no matter what people believe about my time management, I am not a clone.
What didn’t you know about PR when you first started out?
Everything! I had no idea what I was getting in to.
I have an English degree (literature and creative writing). I thought I was going to go to law school so I could do contract negotiations for athletes.
But, for family reasons, I had to get a job after I graduated instead and I knew someone who knew someone at a PR firm. I learned everything on the job so I literally knew nothing when I started out.
You’ve become an authority on using digital communication for business growth, and deliver keynotes, panel discussions, coaching sessions, and workshops on the subject. What aren’t most businesses doing correctly when it comes to online communication?
Unfortunately, lots of things.
It makes me shake my head that people hate spam and marketing messages, as consumers, but as soon as they go to work, they think it’s OK to do that to others.
Most organizations forget they’re talking to human beings, not to an email account or a Twitter account. When we work with clients, we start to strip that stuff away. We figure out how they speak to human beings in person and then help them translate that same communication online.
You say your award-winning blog Spin Sucks is “out to fight (and change) the negative perception of the PR and marketing industries”. What common perceptions aren’t true about PR?
The biggest misconception is that we’re spin doctors or liars. The problem is there are *some* communications professionals who do that and, because we work with media a lot, the stories are told and retold in very influential outlets. But, just like any other industry, the people who lie for a living are a very small minority.
But given your skill-set, aren’t you just putting a positive spin on your own industry?
I would love to say I am, but I also highlight the bad. In fact, I probably highlight the bad more than the good, as ways to not do things.
I also am almost too honest about what it’s like to run, and grow, a business on the blog. I never spin anything. I am super transparent.
To end on a hypothetical: imagine you’re running a website. For argument’s sake, let’s say its, oh, I don’t know, a negatively-framed interview website. How wouldn’t you market it?
Well, I wouldn’t call it a negatively-framed interview website to start!
We would have asked Geni for a better way to describe questions that ask what something isn’t, but since our questions have to be negatively-framed we’re not allowed to… oh well.
Take a look at Gini’s blog Spin Sucks and check out her and Geoff Livingston’s book Marketing in the Round: How to Develop an Integrated Marketing Campaign in the Digital Era (Que Biz-Tech)