I am a professional storyteller for GM's energy & environment communications team.
I can't tell you how many times I've tried to start a conversation on Twitter with someone, only to sit patiently for a response that never comes. It really has become a way for the so-called "experts" to blast their content to the masses. But if they're not interacting, there's an easy solution: unfollow.
3 months, 4 weeks ago on A Reading Assignment: Five Articles You Should Read this Week
So what you're saying is, I can break out a book in my cube and tell my client it's work-related?
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Fiction Makes You a Better Storyteller and Content Producer
Can I say again that I love this series? Okay. I love this series.
And, @mitchjoel, you're the second person in a week to recommend The Circle, so I'm putting it on my list of books to read.
5 months ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Mitch Joel
This is a great idea. I love hearing about what makes the person tick. I'm looking forward to the new series.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition is Coming!
So many good points here, Gini.
It can be extremely hard to deal with tough clients. Especially if, like me, you automatically go into defensive mode. PR is a competitive field. Most of us always want to win. Even if it's an argument.
If it gets too heated, sometimes you need to walk away and come back. But you always have to come to a solution. The worst idea is to let it linger.
6 months ago on Five Tips to Deal with Angry Clients
6 months, 4 weeks ago on Remote Work and Staying Sane
Great post, Audrey. As more and more of us get the opportunity to work remotely, we need to understand the positives and negatives.
In my opinion, there is no negative to wearing sweatpants during the workday. Especially during Michigan winters. Having the option to do so has kept me sane.
For those people who think working from means hardly working, I think it's the opposite. I have a 20-foot commute in the morning if I'm working from home. It's convenient to eat dinner, put the kids to bed, then go and do some more work. There's no end to my day. At least when I work at the office there is a set end point (followed by the commute from hell.)
When I write long form content, I try to start it off with something completely off-the-wall that takes readers by surprise.
Sure, the intro usually gets edited out of the final version, but at least I tried, right? Just like most people wouldn't expect your pastor to talk about Justin Bieber, I think it's in our best interest to find ways to hook our readers. Once we have them, it shouldn't matter how many words we've thrown at them.
If it's compelling, they'll stick around.
6 months, 4 weeks ago on The Changing Face of Long-Form Content
@JoeCardillo Thanks Joe. I'm going to read that later (right after I read the Stephen King interview.)
The key to marketers is telling stories is to tell the story so well that people forget they are being marketed to.
7 months ago on The Role of Long-Form Content in Brand Journalism
@ginidietrich I don't have specific numbers, but I know they always perform well. It's partly why we're trying to do a dozen or so of them this year. Like I said: we're experimenting. But they are stories that can be told, so we will. :)
Getting readers to accept long form journalism is tricky when we've been told for years that our readers want shorter pieces of content. You really have to capture their attention right away, or you risk them clicking elsewhere.
We've been experimenting with long form content on the GM environmental blog (when we have time), but it's usually in the form of a story about a dealership, or another local angle. In other words, something written for a built-in audience.
I guess the best route is to continue to experiment and try to extract those really interesting nuggets. I hate that word.
p.s. Thanks for linking to the Stephen King interview. I've saved to read later.
@ginidietrich @bradmarley If I was going overseas, I'd probably turn off my phone, too. But the only time I put my iPad on airplane mode is when I'm on an airplane. It's just so easy to swap and open my email. I need to just walk away when I feel the urge.
7 months ago on The Power of Time Off
@Patti Agnew @belllindsay
I thought they built iPads without power buttons so that you could never turn them off.
As long as we have iPhones and tablets and light PCs, we are never going to be able to completely unplug, you know?
But this makes it doubly important to recharge while on vacation. The reason most of us work with a team is so we have people to rely on. This also means helping handle other's work when that person takes some well-earned time off.
My response to the Economist article: Well, duh.
(BTW, Grantland ran an oral history of Swingers the other day. You might like it.
7 months, 1 week ago on Media Relations: Why The Economist Thinks We Have it Wrong
So often, as PR professionals, we are restricted as to what we can talk and write about. Insofar as what can go into the press release. Repurposing the stories (or adding to them in a different medium) is a great way to get more life out of the story, because there is always more that can be shared.
I really love this post. Gini.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Brand Journalism: Breathe New Life into Old Content
@ginidietrich Probably true. Every day when we have to enter time we are reminded, if only indirectly, how much "work" we've done. You know as well as I do that the person who bills 7.5 hours can do just as much as the person who bills 11. Management needs to say that it's okay to shut it down at a normal time - especially to those who are just entering the workforce. A work life balance is important, even if you have no other commitments. That's my thought.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Time Management: A Challenge to Make You More Productive
@jelenawoehr That's everyone's goal, no? To find work that defines us? I'd love to find it. Maybe when I do my opinion will change. :)
Randy - I admire your tenacity in beating a shitty disease into submission and moving your business to the next level.
If I owned my own business (that incorporated elements of my passions) I would probably have a different take on this topic. But in an industry where the number of hours we work is still held in such high esteem, I am almost more focused on ensuring I maintain a balance.
I think a lot of us are scared to leave at 5:30, or not open our computers on weekends, because we think somebody is going to overtake us, and then our future (with the same company or line of work that promotes these thoughts) will be put into doubt.
I've worked hard the past few years to lessen the amount of time I spend working, while still getting the same amount of work done. There are days where I have to work late, but they are few and far between.
I enjoy this saying: Work to live, don't live to work.
@ClayMorgan I love how you phrase it as filling the gaps in coverage. Many, many companies have many, many stories to be told, but they don't. You need a person (or team) in place to tell those stories.
That said, @Gini Dietrich, I'm still confused as to how Grantland is brand journalism. Are we talking about Bill Simmons' brand? ESPN's brand?
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Brand Journalism: Embrace the Trend for Your Organization
Where's Hannibal Lecter!?
Let's recap: Eats people? Check. Can force people to swallow their own tongue by the power of suggestion? Check. Is certifiably insane? Check.
I saw him on your Facebook list, but I'm surprised he didn't make the final cut.
Other than that, great post, Gini!
8 months, 2 weeks ago on Fourteen Greatest Villains in Literature
At a previous agency, I had to provide a report for every. single. journalist who I pitched who was on the media list for a given announcement. It didn't matter what they said. I just had to explain how my pitch efforts went. This made it feel like the numbers outweighed the success.
In other words, if I provided a report that said I pitched 45 reporters, I felt like I had done my job better than someone who only pitched ten. But you know what? Quality should trump quantity. But like @Word Ninja says below: Some companies judge success by the numbers, regardless of whether or not they are the right numbers.
Long story short: This practice will likely never go away.
9 months ago on PR Spam: The Haggler Takes the PR Industry to Task
I think it's also important to understand what your audience is talking about, at any given time.
For instance, I follow a lot of people who live and work in Metro Detroit. When Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander was mowing down the A's in the playoffs, seems like everyone was tweeting about him being awesome. (And he is.)
But a few outliers were still tweeting links to their blog posts on how to infiltrate niche markets, or something. It was one of those "Huh?" moments where I realized they were more interested in broadcasting their knowledge, than they were in becoming a part of the larger conversation. So I clicked the "Unfollow" button.
Maybe it was a severe reaction, but I want my community to at least pretend to understand what is important to us when it's happening. Continuing to push out link after link is a quick way to lose a follower.
9 months ago on Social Media: Six Ways to Evolve in 2014
Unfortunately, until every PR firm takes morals into account, there will always be firms that are willing to skirt the boundaries of ethics in order to make a buck. And isn't money what drives most PR firms? They will be happy to take our business.
I'm not saying it's right to not be moral. It isn't. But, you know, not everyone thinks that way.
Also: I loved the Meat Puppets back in the day.
9 months, 1 week ago on PR Firm Accused of Wikipedia Sockpuppetry
Hey, @jasonkonopinski. Congrats on the new gig!
9 months, 2 weeks ago on #FollowFriday: Our New Paid Media Manager
I read the entire post and all I could think was "What's a Kobo?"
Sort of kidding. This is great advice that can be used by both parents and executives. Personally, I know that i need to be more patient when it comes to explaining ideas to co-workers. Maybe I need to present the ideas to my daughters first. If they get, my colleagues surely will.
p.s. But seriously, what's a Kobo? A Canadian Kindle?
11 months ago on The Curse of Knowledge
Hooray for storytelling!
From a sustainability perspective, Walmart is the gold standard by which all other sustainability storytelling efforts are measured. (Their Green Room blog -- from the design to the content -- is really well done.) And they have an entire social presence tied to their "green" efforts. It's really well done.
Sustainability communications person, or not, you would do well to follow their lead.
11 months ago on Great Companies Have Great Stories to Tell
Word up, @ginidietrich . I think we all need to be reminded of this. Recession or not, these are important tips.
When I began my current work three years ago, I sent a personalized introductory note to some of the key media in the space, letting them know what I would be doing, as well as how I could help them. I also said I would be targeting them, which sort of gave them the chance to tell me if they would rather not receive my pitches.
The emailing took me all of four hours.
It didn't lead to immediate coverage, but it helped position me as a resource for future inquiries, and I have worked together with them on a few stories.
(And sometimes they take pity on me and take an interview, even if they have no intention of writing. I'm okay with that.)
11 months, 1 week ago on Media Relations in the Digital Age
Where's Kenneth Cole? I think they are being offensive on purpose to garner positive and negative attention.
11 months, 1 week ago on Five Epic Twitter PR Fails
@AlbertMaruggi Make you wonder if it's worth it.
11 months, 1 week ago on The downsides of PR travel no one wants to talk about
@Danny Brown I can see that. And it makes sense. It does get really old after a long time on the road.
I think you need to clarify what you are traveling for. Yeah, working conferences can suck, but there is something to be said about getting away from the regular routine for a night or two.
I flew out to my client's office yesterday to prep for something, and it was not unlike a day in my office. The only difference was that I had a night to myself (I have kids and a wife at home.) While I very much miss them (FaceTime helps) it was nice to get in a workout and eat dinner on my schedule, without worrying about putting the kids to bed and preparing the house for the next day.
While there are definite drawbacks to business travel, there are also some perks, like what I mentioned above. Maybe that's what nobody wants to talk about. Or, they're just afraid to admit they enjoy that time alone.
The balance between work and life is one of life's great mysteries. Some days I leave the office early (because I commitment with the kids, for instance) and I tell myself I'm going to work from home in the evening. But then I find myself constantly thinking about the work I still have to do, and my attention is diverted from what is really important.
So this mythical balance is just that: a myth. In an industry where there is always work to be done, I'm not sure we can ever really turn it off.
I try really hard to leave my work at work, but when I'm especially busy, I have a really hard time not thinking about everything that I need to do.
While I enjoy my work, sometimes I wish I was a construction worker so that when I punched out at the end of the day, I really punched out.
11 months, 2 weeks ago on Work/Life Balance: The Cost of Always Being On
Great post, Gini. This needs to be shared, oh, every three months.
For more than vs. over, I always think of how a plane flies over the ground, and that helps me remember to use "more than" in most cases. It's simple but, hey, it works.
11 months, 3 weeks ago on Grammar Police: Twelve Mistakes Nearly Everyone Makes
Congratulations on the recognition, Chris.
Interesting that you're not on social media. What do you do with all of your free time?
12 months ago on #FollowFriday: Chris Mader
Thanks for writing this, Arik. I love to read how other people spend their day - especially those in the same profession. I always tell people considering this field not to consider it if they don't like writing, and it appears your writing percentage backs that up.
1 year ago on How I spend my days in PR
I hate when people make the PR process seem like the easiest job in the world; like we can just pick up the phone and call a reporter to write our story. And the fact that it's in Inc. Magazine makes it even worse.
Contrary to popular belief, we have specialized skills. (Or is it "skillz"?)
Thanks for writing this, @ginidietrich.
1 year ago on Media Relations: How to Do it On Your Own
@ginidietrich The fact that she had them made up for this (I assume?) leads me to believe her intention was to become part of the story. But maybe I'm just wrong and naive and jaded.
1 year, 1 month ago on There is No Such Thing as Off-the-Record
Exactly. The first thing I tell my subject matter experts when I do media training is that there is no such thing as off-the-record, so don't even bring that up.
In the case of Weiner (I never thought I'd type those words together in a sentence) everyone here is to blame, from the New York Daily News who gave the intern (and her glamour shots) space to run something that was sure to incite a reaction, to the communications person for calling the intern one of the most callous and offensive words in the history of the English language, to Anthony Weiner for just being himself.
At least us future communications students now have an excellent case study in how not to communicate.
@ericajmoss Just think of how much time they could save by managing instead of moaning about it. Very annoying.
1 year, 1 month ago on 400 unread emails in your inbox: Does that make you important or inept?
I don't think anyone purposely brags about their overflowing inbox, but it certainly comes off that way. If anything, it's a cry for help.
I don't know about you, but when my inbox is at capacity, it only adds to my stress level. The messages may be digital, but they feel like a physical weight bearing down on me. The most simple way to manage this is to set aside time every week (day?) to go through your email, even if it is after work hours.
It might feel like a part-time job, but it has to be done.
@ginidietrich The movie is like the book in name only, from what I hear. I haven't seen it yet. The book is written as an aftermath to the zombie war. The movie is just a regular zombie movie.
I have yet to watch a movie that was better than the book.
1 year, 2 months ago on The Spin Sucks Summer Reading List
"P.S. I heard the movie was terrible. Don’t see it. Read the book instead."
Isn't that usually the case, @ginidietrich ?
Thanks for pulling this list. "Into The Darkest Corner" sounds intriguing. I think I'll add it to my list, once I finish the other three books I'm trying to read. Sigh.
I enjoyed this post, Shanna.
The experts suggest so many different ways companies should use Twitter (engage! sell! be personal!) but rarely have I seen suggestions to use it as an extension of the brand's story. It's a really smart strategy.
And if you're a person, I really can't think of a better platform, especially if you consider all of the supplementary tools you can weave into your Twitter feed.
1 year, 2 months ago on Social Stories: How to Use Storytelling on Twitter
@PTheWyse Oh, yeah, broken out into a series of posts is a great idea. But then it becomes short form again. :)
1 year, 2 months ago on Increase Blog Traffic with These 12 Ideas
Does anyone actually read long-form content on a blog? I love it, but I get the sense a blog is not the right place to put it.
@ginidietrich I use the Camera+ app on my iPhone. It works well and only cost $.99. (Although, my wife does take some good shots with her slightly more expensive camera.)
1 year, 2 months ago on Four Tips to Take Photos for Your Content
I mean, most of us have smartphones that are capable of producing halfway decent images. By using these tips, none of us should want for images ever again, or have to delve into Creative Commons. Add some filters and you'll look somewhat professional.
You've inspired me, Gini. Thanks for making my Tuesday just a little bit better. :)
Does this involve adding more hours to the week? Because if we had more time, (I hope) more of us would be willing to come up with new ideas for the client. But as it stands right now, we spend all 40 (lol) billable hours in a week getting through the work that needs to be done. We don't have the energy to come up with new ideas that could give us more work to do.
One of my big beefs with idea generation is that most of them are the result of agency wide brainstorms, which then get presented to the client. And they go nowhere. It seems like good ideas are merely in place to show the client we are smart, but nothing comes of them.
"You had great ideas, so here's my business. Now keep the status quo because I don't want to rock the boat."
1 year, 2 months ago on What PR Firms are Missing: Ideas