Gini Dietrich has been part of a lot of PR projects, but she may be best known for the PESO model and Spin Sucks, a blog, podcast and book.
Spin Sucks was launched as an experimental agency blog for Arment Dietrich back in 2006, but quickly progressed from agency blog to industry resource. “We needed to figure out as an agency if this blogging thing that everybody was talking about was going to take off and if it could be something that we’d offer to clients,” says Gini. “And when we did it, I’d love to say that we were super strategic, and we thought it all of the way through, but there was none of that.”
The choice in name—Spin Sucks—goes hand in hand with Gini’s belief that the biggest mistake a PR pro can make is to be unethical. For her, the people within the industry that take liberty with the truth don’t rank as communicators. Yet, it is these unethical agents that drive the reputation of the industry and why PR professionals remain thought of as spin doctors. “It still happens,” says Gini. “You say, ‘I’m a PR professional’ and people go, ‘Oh, you lie for a living’.”
Despite this largely unfair reputation, Gini doesn’t see it holding the industry back—especially not now.
“In the last year, I’ve noticed a big shift from not necessarily having a seat at the table to executives understanding—finally—what a communicator can do, especially with everything we experienced in 2020,” says Gini. “I think we have an unprecedented opportunity right now to capitalize on that and help businesses grow. Lots of leaders want to understand how to shift from we don’t talk about our values to how do we talk about our values.”
It’s an exciting time for people to join the industry and if Gini has any advice for such up and comers, it’s to “network your butt off” and take advantage of some internet stalking (although, she didn’t quite use those words).
Students or new professionals can easily follow the agencies, companies, or not-for profits that they want to work for on social media and other platforms. But Gini has some key questions for them to keep in mind: Are the kinds of conversations they’re having of interest to you? Do you like how they communicate their values? Do you like the culture they seemingly have online?
“As you’re doing your research,” says Gini, “Figure out who it is you should be engaging with and start having conversations with the people that work there. Start to engage, because then by the time you’re ready to apply for a job you already have a reputation and people already know who you are.”