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Death to Deceptive PR Tactics in the Digital Age: Spin Sucks by Gini Dietrich

Spin Sucks by Gini DietrichAs a marketing and public relations professional, nothing makes me cringe more than the word “spin.” I’ve been in meetings with good-intentioned souls who have used the word’s verb function: “Alison, you’ll know how to spin this.” **Shudder** Or, as a noun: “Let’s put a nice spin on this story.” **Tremble** Most recently, I heard the term “spin doctor” used on a BBC television drama where a married politician was trying to cover up his affair with a staffer; the spin doctor’s job was to dazzle and distract the unwitting reporters who were pursuing the story.

Maybe the word “spin” bothers me because I worked in television news for seven years before coming over to the “dark side” of public relations. More likely, it’s because I am a warm-blooded human being who equates “spin” with other negative words like lying, deception and fraud. And that’s just not what marketing and public relations professionals do. When you tell someone that you think they’re good at “spinning” something, you’re saying that you think they are liars. Even more offensive, you think your audience, your customers or your clients are dumb enough to be deceived.

Gini Dietrich, author of Spin Sucks

Gini Dietrich, author of Spin Sucks. Photo courtesy of Arment Dietrich.

Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm, has made it her mission to challenge the concept of spin. Recently, she borrowed the title from her wildly successful marketing and PR blog, Spin Sucks, and attached it to a new book.

Gini says she wrote Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age for business leaders who need to understand how public relations and marketing really work in today’s digital environment. She writes that part of the reason so many people think of communication professionals as spin doctors is because there’s no universal definition of “public relations” and no governing body to police the industry. Anyone can call herself a public relations consultant today and horror stories predominate many conversations about the PR profession. Gini shares a few of these negative stories in her book, but devotes many more pages to positive examples of communication done right.

Much more than an aspirational mantra, Spin Sucks is an antidote to the unflattering view of public relations as a mystical and deceitful practice. Gini offers fresh and relevant case studies for ethical and effective communication campaigns that profit from today’s technology. She devotes an entire chapter to search engine optimization and the ever-changing Google algorithm. Spin Sucks also demonstrates through well-researched narratives how companies are managing crisis communications in a world where one negative comment can spread like wildfire in minutes through social media. Executives or leaders whose responsibilities include hiring communication professionals–whether those professionals work inside or outside the organization–will benefit from the hiring criteria that Spin Sucks offers. Public relations, marketing and communication practitioners will find inspiration and strategy that will help them better serve their clients and their profession.

To learn more about Spin Sucks–the book and the blog–visit I received an advance galley copy of the book from Gini Dietrich in exchange for an honest review. I applied to be a part of the Spin Sucks brand ambassador program, which was a smart approach that Gini used to promote the launch of her new book. As someone who is keenly interested in promoting worthy authors and their books, I have been studying the brand ambassador campaign and hope to report its results and lessons learned in a future blog post.

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Celebrate Small Business Saturday by Supporting Your Local Independent Bookstore and the Indies First Movement

indiesFIRSTShopSmallIn an open letter addressed to “glorious book nerds,” novelist Sherman Alexie challenged his fellow writers to spend this November 30–also known as Small Business Saturday–volunteering their time at local independent bookstores. More than 1,000 authors all over the United States are heeding the call and will be hand-selling their favorite books tomorrow as part of the Indies First movement.

To see a state-by-state listing of independent bookstores and authors who will be guest-bookselling, visit this Indies First page on the American Booksellers Association website.

****SPECIAL NOTE: Read all the way to the end of this post to find out how to get a $10 credit toward any small business purchase tomorrow.****

If you’re in the Atlanta area tomorrow, you have a number of wonderful independent bookstores to choose from. Below is a list of Atlanta area indie bookstores, with links to their website and other relevant web pages, and their plans for Indies First:

A Cappella Books – authors Sheri Joseph, Susan Rebecca White, Jessica Handler and Lu Ann Cahn will be working in shifts at A Cappella Books. And A Cappella has even more to celebrate on Sunday; that’s the day that the bookstore celebrates 24 years in business. To learn more, view this e-newsletter from A Cappella Books.

Book Exchange Marietta – customers who visit this Canton Road independent bookstore will find music provided by a live band, personal appearances by local writers Ann Hite, Romily Bernard and Lynn Cullen, and a new selection of clever and sassy gift items. For more information about the Indies First party at Book Exchange, visit and like the store’s Facebook page.

Bound to Be Read Books – guest author-booksellers at this warm neighborhood bookstore in the East Atlanta Village include Collin Kelley and Laurel Snyder. All of the stores in the East Atlanta Village are offering specials as part of Small Business Saturday. You can visit their Small Business Saturday EAV page on Facebook to find out more.

Charis Books & More – authors Pearl Cleage, Isabel Wilkerson, Fiona Zedde will be sharing their time at the nation’s oldest independent feminist bookstore. Charis is also listing the recommended reads from “virtual booksellers” Karin Slaughter, Amanda Kyle Williams and Jessica Handler. For more information, visit this page on the Charis website.

Eagle Eye Book Shop – authors Lynn Cullen, Carmen Deedy, Ann Hite and Joshilyn Jackson will be in the store sometime between 10 and 5 on Saturday. They’ll be chatting with customers and recommending their favorite books, including their latest. To view this and more Eagle Eye Book Shop events, visit this calendar on the store’s website.

FoxTale Book Shoppe – the Foxes always have a great time in store for customers at this charming indie bookstore in Woodstock, GA. On Saturday, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Charles McNair will be reading and signing copies of his latest novel, Pickett’s Charge, at 1:00 p.m. To see a complete listing of upcoming FoxTale Book Shoppe events, visit this page on their website.

Little Shop of Stories – if you’re as clueless as I am about what books, games or products to buy for the 18 and under set in your lives, you need to visit this cozy children’s bookstore located on the Decatur Square. Guest booksellers include Joshilyn Jackson and Laurel Snyder, and you my favorite full-time author and part-time bookseller, Terra Elan McVoy, will be there on Saturday.

To encourage its customers to shop small on Small Business Saturday, American Express is offering a $10 credit on your next monthly statement. You must register your American Express card before shopping at your favorite independent bookstore to take advantage of the program. Visit the Small Business Saturday page here to register your card for the $10 credit.

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Two Tuesday New Releases

We can’t wait to crack the spines on these two new releases available on Tuesday, September 18, 2012:

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke Book Cover

The Cutting Season
By Attica Locke
Hardcover Fiction
Dennis Lehane Books / HarperCollins
384 pages

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke is the first novel to arrive under the new Dennis Lehane imprint at HarperCollins. Locke talked about her second book during a #blacklitchat Twitter interview hosted by Miranda Parker and moderated by Bernadette Davis on September 16. The author was inspired to write about Belle Vie, a fictional plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, after attending a wedding at a real Louisiana plantation. She had a visceral reaction to being a part of a beautiful celebration set against a backdrop of such historied suffering. This eerie coexistence between past and present sounds like a great starting point for a moss-draped murder mystery.

Fierce Loyalty by Sarah Robinson Book CoverFierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities
By Sarah Robinson
Paperback Business
Hayfield Publishing

With the advent of social media, “community” has become little more than an overused buzzword. Everyone says they want to build and grow “community” (including Southern Spines!), but how do you go beyond getting people to buy your product or like your Facebook page? How do you attract and engage fiercely loyal groups of people to carry the flag for your brand, organization or cause? Author and seasoned business coach, Sarah Robinson, of Birmingham, Alabama, extracts and examines the DNA of Fierce Loyalty in this new business release. Learn more in this video interview with Jenny Schmitt of Cloudspark Strategic Communications.

Launch Day Interview with Rebecca Schmitt from FierceLoyaltyTV on Vimeo.

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