Talking Content Marketing – With Gini Dietrich

The Talking Content Marketing series moves to the next marketing influencer, Gini Dietrich.

Gini is CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing company based in Chicago as well as founder of the influential PR and marketing blog, Spin Sucks. She is co-author of Marketing In The Round and author of Spin Sucks.

As her mum said to her when she was younger, “Remember who you are and what you stand for.” She has carried this into her professional life and has built a brand around doing communications ethically.

Six questions on adapting our mindsets and the approach we have to deliver.

In chapter 10 of Marketing In The Round you mention ‘success begins with changed perceptions or hard actions’. Is this the first step to move from an approach to marketing that has been prescribed from businesses for generations ie. dictating, self promotion, disruption, interruption and repetition?

marketing_in_the_round

It is. And, as you can imagine, it’s not easy. Changing human behavior is very, very difficult. Think about all the “newsletters” that arrive in your inbox. Most of them are not written well and you consider them spam. That is because a good majority of marketing pros are still creating them the old way. Even though they know it’s not working, they continue to do it because that’s the way things have always been doing.

 

How important is it to be regarded as a trusted resource, rather than just a provider of products and services? (This is a nod to Gini’s Future Of Content Marketing article where she highlights the ever useful ChicagoCabbie)

Chicago Cabbie is amazing! If you ever make it to Chicago, you MUST tweet him for a ride! I hate this answer, but it depends.

It depends on what you sell. Does the toothpaste manufacturer need to be regarded as a trusted advisor? No. But someone that sells their brain for a living (communicators, attorneys, accountants)? Absolutely. 

 

Do we need to become better at delivering value outside of our core business? 

I think so. To become an authority—or trusted resources—you have to give people value. That means not talking about what you do every time you create a piece of content, for instance. I have a friend who writes a newsletter for the heating and air conditioning industry. Most of the people who read it own their own businesses. So the content she puts in there is stuff that helps them run their organizations–HR, accounting, marketing. She doesn’t just talk about heating and air conditioning and it’s really well received.

 

To become better connected to our audience do we need to put ourselves in their shoes and acknowledge what makes us all human? 

We’ve forgotten that in-person interaction is what human beings need. Though we have amazing technology that can replace some of that, it doesn’t replace all of it. Commenting on blogs, participating on the social networks, creating an online circle of friends gives you some of that, taking those relationships offline makes that bond even stronger.

That said, I’ve met some amazing people online, who I cannot wait to meet in person. It creates a great opportunity to find new ways to do business with like-minded people.

 

What do you put the success of building the SpinSucks.com audience down to?

I wish I knew! My feeling on it is that we make people feel like they belong to something special. Even if you comment on a blog post or one of our social networks for the first time, we do a great job of making you feel like you belong from the beginning.

Sure, we have inside jokes and barbs that we throw at once another, but it’s pretty easy to throw yourself into those conversations early on. I think it also has to do with the way I was raised (here we go to my mom again).

I remember in seventh grade, a handicapped boy asked me to dance at the school dance. I was 13 and I was MORTIFIED. All of my friends made fun of me. My mom pulled me aside (she was chaperoning) and said, “You do not need to marry this young man. You do not even need to date him. But you do need to dance with him right this instant.” And so I did. And I was made fun of. But it was a critical moment in my life: I decided right then and there that it didn’t matter to me what other people thought. I was going to be nice to everyone.

 

How do you learn and what inspires you to create?

I read a TON. I do an inordinate amount of reading.

I watch hardly any television, unless I binge watch on a show (but I did just spend my reading time of the last two weeks listening to Serial). That helps me learn and inspires me to create. But my bicycle is where I’m most inspired. Some of my very best blog posts were written in my head while riding my bike. It gives you time to think. Even if you’re riding with a group, you still have time to just think.


Many thanks to Gini for pondering, taking the questions on board and talking content marketing. Why not find more from Gini’s side.

Gini on Twitter: click here

Spin Sucks: click here

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