Three reasons marketing and PR students need to read Spin Sucks (if they want jobs)

Three reasons marketing and PR students need to read Spin Sucks (if they want a job)

Sunday morning Spin Sucks

 

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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Why those Look Back movies took over your Facebook feed — and what communicators can learn from them

My Facebook Movie

a capture from my Facebook Movie

By now I’m sure you’ve seen your friends’ Facebook “Look Back” videos — even if you haven’t seen your own. A lot of my friends have been posting them, hitting critical mass sometime yesterday. As with most things in Facebookland, some users are enthralled while others seem enraged at the perceived imposition upon their feed experience. But overall, sentiment toward the movies seems to be very positive. I’ve even seen people asking, “where’s yours!”

So what?

Well, let’s take a closer look at why these Facebook “Look Back” movies are taking over your news feed, why people are loving and sharing them, and Read the rest of this entry »


6 steps to publishing a blog post about your internship experience

A post about my internship on the Concur corporate blog.

A post about my internship on the Concur corporate blog.

You took the time to apply for that internship you really wanted. You got the interview, you knocked it out of the park, and you got the job!

Now you’re giving it your all and getting good feedback from your managers. What can you do to kick it up a notch?

Blog about it!

In an earlier post I outlined the reasons why you should blog about your internship, and now Read the rest of this entry »


Social Listening Psychosis: “Don’t answer me — JUST LISTEN!”*

San Francisco Zoo -- an organization that knows how to listen.

San Francisco Zoo — an organization that knows how to listen.

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 San Francisco Zoo listens and responds to online mentions.

The San Francisco Zoo generates engagement by listening online and responding to mentions.

The social media person at the zoo clearly takes time to monitor what’s being said about the organization online — and responds.

The Zoo's responses to online mentions often aim to add value to customers' experience.

The Zoo’s typical response to an online mention often aims to add value to the customer’s experience.

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.


Maker’s — Off the Rocks and Back on the Mark?

a nicely used bottle of Maker's Mark. Photo by user swanksalot on flickr via Creative Commons.

a nicely used bottle of Maker’s Mark. Photo by user swanksalot on flickr via Creative Commons.

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.

Perhaps you heard the recent story about how Maker’s Mark is experiencing a pinch in supply of its bourbon due to unanticipated Read the rest of this entry »


And the winner of the Hottest Super Bowl Ad* Award is ….

You can still dunk in the dark. At the Super Bowl.

You can still dunk in the dark. At the Super Bowl.

OREO!

*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.

UPDATE:

Excellent coverage of how Oreo did it from Rachel Sanders at BuzzFeed.

HubSpot offers a solid replay of brands that jumped on the blackout.


A Slice of Justice — how doing the right thing gets you good will in new media

Grumpy Cat Concession

by Dwayne Alicie

Pssst — Grumpy Cat and I have a secret for you!

Doing the right thing is good for business!

But you already knew that, right? Read the rest of this entry »