The idea is the starting point for the whole campaign. It’s a time that you need to get creative and produce an idea that isn’t just relevant for your client but is going to get the results that you want it to.
It isn’t something you can just switch on and there’s lots of great ways you can ignite it and get the ideas flowing.
Here at Bednar Comms, we share some tips and tricks on how to get creative and come up with PR campaigns that will give you the best chance of landing coverage.
When it comes to coming up with ideas, it all starts with research. I look into everything and anything about the client, their industry, competitors, and topics that are relevant to them. I start drawing a little mood board which allows me to spot any first directions or ideas.
The best process for me is to speak to the team and bounce off ideas. When running an ideas session, the number one rule is to come with a clear head and just have a chat. No strict rules! No idea is a bad idea.
However, when it comes to inspiration I love seeing what other brands have done, some great newsletters with round ups are Content Curated, Work in Progress, The Weekly PR or twitter accounts such as Digital PR Examples or Just Digital PR.
If I struggle with coming up with ideas, I make sure I stop working, close my laptop and go for a walk, or read something, watch TV – do something completely different, you would not believe how much it helps with the whole process of coming up with ideas.
Laura, Digital PR Manager
The top line of what I do when coming up with ideas are: reading the news, looking at competitors or previous ideas, googling topics, as well as an open informal discussion with the team.
This starts to just get my creativity going just to start thinking of potential ideas even if they don’t make the cut for whatever reason just the process of thinking of ideas gets me to where I need to be.
For me my biggest tip would be to get in a room (or a video call in covid times) and just discuss ideas and topics with your team regardless of how good they might be, your random idea could spark something in someone else or they could even add that missing link you couldn’t quite figure out.
I’ve worked in agencies before where you’ve had to think of and prep 3 ideas before the ideas session to then present them and it doesn’t work as well. When an idea is fully formed other people don’t feel or can’t be as creative and put their own creativity to it so working together as a team helps my creativity flow.
Hosting a more informal chat to see what we all come up with creates a better environment where people feel more confident to chuck random ideas out to be developed. I don’t think you can put rules or restrictions on people being creative.
Niamh, Digital PR Executive
Whenever it comes to campaign ideas, I often have ideas come to me quite quickly, almost as short sentences that jump out at me. For example, if we’re looking at something to do with ‘Energy’, my mind instantly thinks of how ‘it is winter and people might want to save money on the heating’. However, this is never a fully baked, ready to go idea!
I think for me personally, whilst ideas come to mind very quickly, getting creative and coming up with a nicely rounded idea relies upon other people. Having a chat, and having a laugh so that everyone is feeling comfortable to throw out what could be a terrible idea is so important. I much prefer a nice, relaxed conversation rather than the serious ‘meeting’ atmosphere, not just because it means we can have a bit more fun with ideas, but because it helps me have the confidence to speak up, which can be nerve wracking if you’re not feeling as positive about an idea as others are.
I also keep an eye on the news all the time. Not only is it good to see what journalists are picking up, and what they seem to be avoiding, it’s also good to see the general tone of the press to make sure we aren’t being too upbeat about a topic that may be a bit more serious etc. But I also like to see what people are doing so we can keep our ideas original too! So whilst it’s good for inspiration, it’s also good to make sure we can stand out from the crowd, rather than just fall in line with the rest of the news stories.
Louise, Senior Digital PR Executive
When coming up with ideas for campaigns, I don’t have a strict process that I will follow, it can change depending on the client. However, a Google search is usually the first step I would take- I find it helpful to absorb everything that is going on around me! I always ask myself, what is going on right now? What are competitors doing? What is going on in the news? I will always put myself in the shoes of the target audience, and ask myself “what matters to them”? “Why would they be interested”? It also helps me to look at previous campaigns, by doing so, I can analyse what did/didn’t work well in the past and how this can be developed moving forward.
When it comes to ideas sessions, it’s always great to come prepared with topics to share with the team, however, if nothing comes to mind initially, I find I can have a “light bulb” moment when in the session itself. Bouncing ideas off each other is hugely impactful and helps inspire my ideas and spark new thoughts.
Getting feedback is an important part of the creative process. It is always helpful to share all of your thoughts, even if you don’t think something can materialise, a conversation encourages development and has the power to take an idea to the next level.
Once I have come up with an idea, I will do some research to see if it has been done before. It can be frustrating to find that “your” idea has previously been executed. If this is the case, taking a step back is not a negative move, reevaluating is an important part of the process, and it allows me to build upon original ideas to make them even better than before!
For us at Bednar Comms the power is in the team, working together, sharing our random thoughts and bouncing off each other to pull together the best ideas to exceed our targets.
What do you do to come up with your idea? We’d love to hear!