My article on Publicity Ethics last week really struck a chord. I received many “good job” messages and only a handful of unsubs.

Vijay asked a good question. Could I provide examples of “co-opetition” the word that means how to work with your competitors?

Some of my best friends are “competitors.” That is, we all offer PR services to authors, speakers, coaches, consultants and small businesses. However, we all offer a slightly different part of the publicity puzzle.

I provide leads and press releases.

Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound, offers advice and training materials.
Jess Todfeld, Karen Friedman, Shawne Duperon, TJ Walker and Susan Harrow offer media training. They are all in different parts of the country, so I can match prospects with them based on geography and fit.

Jonathan Bernstein offers crisis communications counseling.

Bruce Freeman pitches the media.

Of course, I’m pals with Jill Lublin, Steve Harrison, Bill Harrison, Jim Bowman, Mark Harty, David Mathison, Nancy Juetten, Raleigh Pinsky, David Newman, Alex Carrol, Rick Frishman, Robert Stack, and a zillion other people who have helped me and vice versa.

While we are all in PR, we all do different parts of PR, so we can freely refer clients to each other knowing that we are helping our clients find the best person for the job.

That’s co-opetition.

We also might exchange small commissions (or not, depending on the relationship) and that sweetens the pot.

We also can pick up the phone and call each other to get feedback on our problems and insights into our ideas. I’ve killed many projects when my buddies told me the idea was stupid or already done. And I’ve had ideas made better with the suggestions of my co-opetitors.

There’s an old saying in the martial arts that you use your opponents force to your advantage. If he punches, you use that momentum to thrown him.

The same is true with co-opetition. If you try to fight your opponents, you waste energy and can get a fist in the face. If you use their momentum, you win, they win and the mutual client wins.

Try it.

Who are your biggest competitors? Can they turn into natural allies?