The historic definition of public relations is “being caught in the act of doing good.” It's even more relevant in today's social network-dominated media landscape where being caught in the act of doing good is the quintessential way to communicate. And the best way to be “caught in the act” is by sharing information freely, openly, and often – providing valuable, useful content to potential clients.
Phil Fersht, founder and CEO of HfS Research, is an excellent example of turning sharing into business success. As a highly regarded analyst in business process outsourcing and IT services, Fersht started his Horses for Sources blog in 2007 and shared his expertise freely, openly, and often. The blog became the go-to information site among services industry professionals and Fersht became the industry's recognized thought leader. In 2010, he launched HfS Research to virtually instant acclaim as a leading analyst advisory organization covering global business services and outsourcing strategies.
In 2010 and 2011, Fersht was named analyst of the year by the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations. Today, his website receives 120,000 monthly visitors, 78,000 research and blog subscribers, and has 17,200 LinkedIn community members - and it all began by sharing.
The concept that the most generous members of any social media company are the most credible and influential was termed “lethal generosity” by social media pioneer Shel Israel. That means companies that give away quality content through a variety of communications channels can dominate their competition in social media.
In the corporate world, sharing goes beyond information and content to include a company's public outreach efforts in the communities where their customers live, work, and play. Being caught in the act of doing good has become a focal point for embattled energy company PG&E. The company's corporate responsibility program includes a wide range of community-based programs in major areas including the environment, education, and economic development.
A new economic development project in the works will benefit mid-size cities in central and northern California that have been hardest hit by the economic downturn. PG&E will implement – without charge to the cities – an economic development campaign that will feature successful businesses and employers, highlight business incentives, and position California as a business-friendly state. The campaign will be directed at businesses considering a relocation or expansion, and to people interested in moving to or visiting the area. The campaign will be shared online, making it the go-to resource for businesses and individuals interested in central and northern California.
Now that is truly sharing.
Reg Rowe is SVP at Idea Grove.