Spin Sucks – Book Interview

Heidi Cohen Interviews Gini Dietrich

spin-sucks-coverWhat’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing and why is it so important?

Just one piece of advice?! I’m going to combine two pieces of advice: Read everything you can (I mean everything) on marketing, how it’s changing, and what you can do about it. And then use that knowledge to test, test, test.

There isn’t a one-sized fits all when it comes to marketing. Your clients are different than mine so, while my case study may be helpful in thinking through strategy and execution, you’ll still have to test different variables, such as timing, distribution, content types, and more.

What was the inspiration for your Spin Sucks?

Whenever I tell someone that I am in PR, they inevitably say one of two things: “Oh, you’re a spin doctor” or “OH! You lie for a living!” Yes, people I have just met say these things. It’s like it’s okay to call someone a liar because the industry is known to be full of them. But, in fact, the industry is full of ethical people doing really good work.

Sure, there are the unethical turds, but doesn’t every industry have those? So we created Spin Sucks—the blog—to fight that perception. To help business leaders and other communicators understand there is an ethical way to do PR. The book came naturally out of the blog.

What is the key concept behind your book? How did you come up with it?

As we continue to find better ways for the PR industry to change the perception, we’ve created a new way of integrating communications. We call it the PESO model—paid, earned, shared, and owned. You’ll see when you integrate two of the four media types, you gain certain advantages. But, when you combine all four, you gain authority, which is what every organization wants.


It’s authority in the eyes of their customers and prospects. It’s authority in the eyes of their competitors. And it’s authority in the eyes of Google.

What do you want readers to take away from your book or be different as a result of reading it?

They should absolutely know that communications will have longer-term and more effective result if they don’t cheat their way to the top. We don’t need sex to sell. We don’t need to whisper bad things about our competitors. We can shine on our own merits and win the game.

How do you describe yourself professionally? What is your elevator pitch?

This is my informal bio…it says it the best: 

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

What are 1-3 books that inspired your work/career? How did they influence you? Your selections can cover any topic.

What Would Google Do? This helped me think through how to use the web to build my own business. I’m really good at it for clients and I wasn’t thinking about it for us. This book changed that.

Traction. My business is 10 years old this year and I’ve really struggled with how to scale. It’s not easy to scale a business that relies on people. You can’t pump out more product when demand is high. You have to hire people and their brains. This book really helped me plan for scale in a major way.

Predictable Success. It’s funny how different organizations are, yet how similar they are. This book stays on my desk and when we have an issue, I open it and think, “OK, it’s not just me. Everyone goes through this.” And then I find the solution.

What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your life or career?

You know, I don’t talk about this much, but my childhood was extremely challenging. My parents were very, very poor. There were five of us. My mom stayed home and my dad worked two full-time jobs. We had nothing.

I remember wanting to try out for the cheerleading team and they said I could, but that I had to pay for any fees and uniforms and the like. I had a job, but even that didn’t cover all of the stuff I needed for cheerleading. So I couldn’t do it.

When you’re a kid, that stuff is really hard, but it also taught me an amazing work ethic and how to save (which actually saved us during the Great Recession, both professionally and personally).

What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?

I came super, super close to having my own cookbook and cooking show last year! I did the screen tests and passed. I had “chef” professional photos taken. We had even chosen the cookbook name and cover design. And then, well, life got in the way. 

Is there a piece of content, a social media campaign or a marketing campaign that you worked on that you’re particularly proud of?

The big thing is the Spin Sucks workbook we just finished to accompany the book…and I’m super proud of it! It helps readers do the exercises in the book and succeed on some DIY communications. It can be found here.

Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d like to share?


Where to find Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich Pro Photo

Gini Dietrich

Thanks, Gini.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .