The Art of “Spinning” Stories To The Media.

Often times, we PR pros are referred to as “the Spin Crowd.”  And no, I’m not talking about the reality show spin-off of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  Unfortunately, PR is not all “Sex and the City” so to speak (as this blog post suggests, many a PR pro has struggled to come to terms with that realization)…

Ah it would be sweet to live like Samantha…but back to the point…

I’ve seen the word “spin” literally make people cringe with distaste.

Others have no qualms about it, including myself.  I believe there is nothing wrong with spinning a story to make it more interesting and appealing – after all, that is our job.  Let’s face it, at the end of the day, we are all salesmen.  And as usual, it’s all about how you define the word spin – and, how you apply it to your PR skills.

I saw the perfect example of the art of spinning while watching TV;  the recent commercial for the new and improved Sierra Mist – Natural. We all know that sugar is not exactly good for us, right?  Well, this company is using that very ingredient in a new marketing campaign, and using it successfully to sell something that’s supposed to be healthier for us.  Yes, I just used sugar and healthier in the same sentence.   That, my friend, is the art of spinning.

Behind the commercial is this:  Sierra Mist – Natural – is comparing their ingredients to the ingredients in one of their major competitors, Sprite.  Sierra Mist – Natural – uses 100% real sugar instead of Sprite’s high-fructose corn syrup.  Sierra Mist also claims to not use any artificial preservatives.

The fact that an unhealthy ingredient (sugar) is spinning Sierra Mist – Natural – as the “healthy” soda, is pure genius.

PepsiCo certainly did their research and is playing on the ‘fear factor’ of consumers starting to shy away from artificial ingredients and making more organic choices in foods and beverages.  Pump up that sugar is the “all natural” choice, slap the word NATURAL on the soda can, and bam (as Emeril Legasse would say)– spinning a message effectively.

Sierra Mist – Natural – is a campaign that I think we all can learn from, a campaign that spotlights our very jobs in PR. I do not believe spinning a story means lying, being sneaky or doing anything that would ring my guilty conscience.

Bottom line, spinning means crafting a sale.

And here at 919 Marketing, a sale means landing targeted coverage for our clients.  I work on several accounts where our team pitches stories that will get our clients in the media, (and not just small, daily papers, but USA Today, CNN-type opportunities and other media outlets that can impact their business), often times with stories that are less interesting than me staring at the white walls in my apartment.  With such high expectations from our clients, it’s our job to dig and spin in order to meet them.  It’s also our job to reveal the most interesting part of a person’s story or business and spin that into something in which consumers/readers/viewers will actually be interested – Just like Sierra Mist did with their commercial.

To anyone who still cringes at the word “spin” – or to some of our beloved interns (and I mean it, we love you) who may frown at the very thought of your boss asking you to spin a story or assignment – keep an open mind about what spinning actually entails and you’ll realize your morals and ethics are still intact.

As Donald Trump once said to his contestants on “The Apprentice:”  every job this day in age requires us to be salesmen – and at the end of the day, if you feel that very title challenges your morals and ethics, best of luck to you.  Remember, not all salesmen are slimy.  But your job, after all, is to SELL.

So, welcome to “the Spin Crowd!”

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the art of “spinning.”  What does this word mean to you?

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