giving is good business

Three Public Relations Hacks No One Tells You About (and they always work)

What if doing a good business turn, expecting nothing in return, and doing it because it’s the right thing, brings in new business?

Everyone preaches about being grateful during the holidays. While all of that is good and well, the truth is that it can stretch us to the limit to give “yet more and more and more time and with heart” to whatever cause(s) are planted firmly in front of us.

But what if giving is good business? What if doing a good business turn, expecting nothing in return, and doing it because it’s the right thing, brings in new business?

Science now shows that doing “free business,” when it feels right, can generate future profits for you and your agency. Here are three true examples of doing work for others, when there doesn’t initially seem to be much point (except that it’s taking time and resources from my own business) – paid off.

It does not matter that these three examples are purely public relations and marketing “gifts.” The concept plays out across all industries. You’ll know how to translate these examples into your own agencies.

1. Free Public Relations Because Your Product is Exceptional

A local, very small brewery makes some of the best tasting beer in a state that is renowned for world-wide, award-winning craft beers. There are too many breweries (if there can be too many breweries) in Colorado – yet here they are – two brothers, one a musician, the other a forced-to-retire geophysicist – now both brew beer for a living.

They stumbled into making “gluten removed” beer while they were crafting excellent tasting beer. Anyone who has celiac disease, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or any other gluten sensitivity has had to kiss beer good-bye or drink awful tasting beer. Except these brothers craft over a dozen exceptional-tasting beers.

I arranged a radio interview for them, guided them on how to “social media it to death,” and then introduced them to a celebrity chef-owned Colorado restaurant owner.

I expect nothing in return, not because I’m Mother Teresa or exceptionally generous. I just felt like doing it and their hard work and excellent product warrant the leg-up.  

How did it or will it pay off? It just feels right. That’s the pay off.

2. Sometimes You Just Want to Be Part of a Very Good Thing

I sit on the board of The Chanda Plan Foundation because I cannot resist the extraordinary CEO who happens to be a quadriplegic.

The Chanda Plan affords all spinal cord injured people free health and wellness services that have proven to dramatically improve their lives. The services include nutrition, massage, chiropractic and primary care physicians.

The clients pay nothing. Some of them go on to become fully mobile. All touched by The Chanda Plan live better lives; the results, after a dozen years, prove it.

CCPR dedicates free public relations and services to The Chanda Plan because it is the right thing to do. It cannot be explained in a spread sheet, but it somehow feeds Capital City Public Relations.

3. Scratching Each Other’s Backs Breeds Wonderful Friendships

CCPR does free public relations and marketing for a neighborhood hairdresser; our coifs look all the better for it. Another writer needs contributions to her literary anthology and she’s getting one from me.

She’s one of the best editors in the business and my copy reads better because of it. CCPR gave another paying public relations client extra services over the past few months because the boost will likely catapult that business into another realm.

Where’s the business sense in all of this? Where does the spreadsheet demonstrate how the return on investment works?

There isn’t one. Like the successful CEO that last week let me pick his brain over coffee, when he is already working a 60-hour work week to keep his two businesses running in the black, it just is because it feels right.

Perhaps your business can go the extra mile, do a good turn, contribute to the community in a new way. Perhaps you’ll never realize a dime in the action and perhaps it will even cost you.

But the truth is that these business relationships are truly friendships. And the other truth is that it always pays off. Maybe it isn’t measured on the calculator or within any traditional return-on-investment calculation.

It does not matter if it cannot be laid out exactly, in numbers, how giving pays off. It’s simply enough to know, in one’s soul, that it does.

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Cathie Beck

Cathie Beck

Cathie Beck is the founder and president of Capital City Public Relations and an award-winning journalist and published book author with over 25 years of experience.

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