Finding a job can still be tough out there for marketing and PR professionals, especially for students who are just finishing their degrees. Even here in the San Francisco Bay Area, where unemployment is relatively low and there are lots of jobs available in both disciplines, there is still fierce competition for each available role.
But here’s the good news — there’s a new book out that will give marketing and PR students a leg up when they start looking for internships and jobs. Enter Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age by Gini Dietrich.
Here are three reasons why reading Spin Sucks is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you’re looking for a job in PR, marketing or communications right now — especially if you are a student with relatively little experience.
You’ll learn things they didn’t teach you in class.
This book, along with the Spin Sucks blog, gives you the opportunity to learn from Gini’s experience. Sure you read and discussed case studies in school, but they were probably several years old by the time they reached your classrooms. A challenge that can arise in job interviews if you don’t have a lot of experience is finding ways to demonstrate deep knowledge and opinions about the profession. Spin Sucks helps by providing very recent cases that are directly related to the disciplines of content marketing and the new public relations.
And in this brave new world of a democratized Internet, SEO and content marketing have taken a place at the forefront of marketing and public relations. I was lucky to study them in my public relations course at San Francisco State University, but I have a feeling that some more traditional courses may not touch upon them. You need to understand them as a communicator, and this book will point you in the right directions.
You’ll get a blueprint for building your own personal brand online.
Here’s something else they don’t teach you in school — how to build and manage your own online reputation. This is an essential part of preparing for a career today. You can easily adapt Gini’s techniques for researching what your online persona looks like right now, and she provides a clear blueprint for creating content to tell your story in your own words across several channels. And that’s what employers are looking for these days.
Let me just say this — you need to be blogging about topics in the career you have chosen. If you aren’t, you are already two steps behind. But you can start right now! It’s how you will be found. You want potential employers to easily find evidence of your passion and thoughts when they inevitably type your name in a search engine. Especially if you are going to work in marketing communications or public relations, you need to demonstrate that you understand how things work online. The best way to do that is by approaching your own brand like your most precious client at your own agency. Tell your own story!
You’ll gain inspiration and insight.
It’s easy to say, “I love marketing!” But it’s quite another to be in the presence of someone who is really passionate about their work.
Gini Dietrich is one of those people. Reading her book is like hanging out with her for a couple of hours listening to her tell stories. And this is the same kind of energy you need to bring to your interviews. In today’s job market, you have to have passion and be prepared to show why you want to work in communications as well as demonstrate qualifications.
Reading this book will not only help you understand the current state of the industry and give you things to talk about in interviews, but Gini also points you in directions where you can do your own thinking about what you think the future holds for tactics like search engine optimization and content marketing.
Yes, you still have to take responsibility for your career search and do the work. In addition to the book, you can join the conversation at the authoritative and respected Spin Sucks blog. Joining the community in conversation there played a big part in my decision to make my own transition into marketing communications several years ago. I knew I wanted to be in marketing, but once I started reading posts by Gini and the guest writers, I thought, “Wow! I want to do that! I want to be just like these people! I think I feel the same way they do!” Learning from the people there and interacting with them gave me confidence that would have taken a very long time to develop otherwise. And now I’m working in marketing communications!
My wish for you, dear reader, is that you too will be inspired by this book, or another, and that the lessons in Spin Sucks will lead you to success in your job search. You can pick up your copy online.
Are there any other books you would recommend for job seekers in marketing communications, public relations, or communications in general? What books or techniques have helped you?
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One of the things I love most about social media is the access that it gives consumers to brands. I especially love how that access makes closer relationships possible between them.
Smart brands listen to what consumers are saying about them online; hence, we have the term “social listening” (a term that you need to know if you are in business today, frankly.)
And the best brands respond.
One of my favorite brands that does a great job of listening is the San Francisco Zoo. They routinely do things on Twitter like this:
The social media person at the zoo clearly takes time to monitor what’s being said about the organization online — and responds.
And it’s proactive relationship building — no crises here, just friendly “hey, how was your visit, we’re really glad you came out to see us, here’s a tip to make your trip even better.” Genius!
Thought leaders like Bryan Kramer of PureMatter believe that social listening is incredibly important — and in some cases it’s even an ingredient in the alchemy that creates brand loyalists.
But it looks like we may be beginning to see some backlash. Brian Solis of Altimeter recently posted analysis of an infographic that seems to say consumers don’t necessarily want brands to listen so closely and respond all the time. It sounds like people want access to brands, but they don’t necessarily want brands to hover like helicopter parents.
If you look at the Netbase infographic that Solis posted, they urge brands to be smart about listening and responding. And that advice absolutely makes sense. Social media is about personalizing and interacting, not “spraying and praying.” It might take a couple of extra seconds, but really analyzing the context of what you’re hearing before you respond — if you respond — may help your brand avoid alienating potential brand advocates.
Yes, we’re reminded yet again that there is an art that dances cheek-to-cheek with the science behind marketing communications.
I’m incredibly curious — what do you think? Do you sometimes feel that brands listen a little too closely? Do you sometimes want to be able to mention brands online without a response?
*Quotation in the title is based on a line from one of my favorite movies, Sordid Lives, written and directed by the inimitable Del Shores.
Now I don’t know about you, but I like my bourbon neat. Maybe this has to do with my being from the South. But that is neither here nor there.
Behold! The ever-elusive specimen of smart QR code use in its native environment!
So there’s lots of talk about QR codes from me lately, eh? Some people have already written them off as useless, some people love them, and some people apparently love to hate them.
Like a lot of people, it took me a while to understand what they are and how to use them, but now I’m impressed with QR codes’ potential for quickly linking the tangible with the digital. But as we are all painfully aware Read the rest of this entry »
*On Facebook and Twitter
Now I have to admit I am not much of a football or Super Bowl person. But as a marketing nerd, obviously I’m watching what’s going on from the sidelines — especially on social media!
And when the lights went out in New Orleans (did Beyoncé blow a fuse?) giving America a longer potty break than usual, smart brands knew that mobile devices and laptops would be humming with activity.
Oreo’s team swooped in and dropped the above photo on the unsuspecting Facebook- and Twitterspheres.
Just absolutely brilliant. Timely, humorous, great design … and almost 15,000 likes and nearly 5,000 shares. And climbing. Not to mention that a *lot* of people were left craving an Oreo cookie!
Oreos — the (un)official cookie of Super Bowl XLVII!
What outstanding examples of social media use did you see during the Super Bowl? What would you have done?
*Honorable mention goes to Duracell, which went to Facebook with a photo of the darkened half of the Superdome plus the text, “If only Duracell was powering the lights …” and then cheekily added “Looks like they used some Duracell batteries! You’re welcome. Enjoy the game. #TrustYourPower” once the lights came back on.
Excellent coverage of how Oreo did it from Rachel Sanders at BuzzFeed.
HubSpot offers a solid replay of brands that jumped on the blackout.
I asked a friend, “You know what QR codes are, right?”
The results: Read the rest of this entry »
Oh, wow. This new show “Buckwild” sure has me on the edge of my seat!
I know, I know … perhaps this is not the classiest thing I have ever said.
But here’s the thing… Read the rest of this entry »