#CreativePR: Brainstorming for Ideas
This is post 4 of our 5-part #CreativePR blog series. Stay tuned for the final post, which will look further into some of the tools, tactics, and strategies that innovative PR professionals are using today.
Every campaign, pitch, or piece of content starts with an idea. Communications professionals know that there’s no shortage of offerings all around us. Blogs, feeds, and podcasts are endless sources for triggering ideas, but at the end of the day, the concepts that we know will work for our clients and bring the results we want are often born in the brainstorm that takes place within our own team.
A team brainstorm session to which everyone brings their best ideas allows those ideas to be “hashed out” – direction is provided and the path-to-be is envisioned. Brainstorming is a messy process, but it’s supposed to be. What does a team brainstorm session look like in one of the most-engaged online PR communities today? To find out, we asked members of the Spin Sucks team, CEO Gini Dietrich and Arment Dietrich Client Services Manager Corina Manea.
Here, Gini and Corina discuss:
- What defines a successful brainstorm session
- Which tools their international team relies on for collaboration
- Where they look for PR ideas (content, business strategy, etc.)
Prep your team for success
Guide your team toward a productive brainstorm by doing prep work around your central focus or end-goal to make sure everyone is on the same page. Corina says, “We come to the brainstorm session with our homework done. Each of us arrives with ideas that are in tune with our area of expertise and we start debating those ideas – the how, the why, the what. A successful brainstorm session is when we go out of that session with a plan and a to-do list on how to make it happen.”
It helps that the Spin Sucks team is focused, but also engaged – their passion and genuine love for PR make their meetings the creative space that fosters hashing out ideas: “Our brainstorm sessions are full of positive creative energy, laughter and common sense. We like to have fun and work at the same time,” Corina says.
Get organized with internal communications tools
The international team stays organized in their internal communications by relying on sharing and collaboration tools. Specifically, “Slack, Zoom, Dropbox, and Basecamp,” says Gini. “For collaboration, Slack is our tool of choice. We might overuse it, come to think of it. We have channels specific to clients, to professional development, to exercise motivation, to content ideas, and to random greatness (which probably would get us in trouble with HR in a traditional organization).”
Slack allows users to categorize conversations into separate channels, and also has a direct message functionality so users can communicate one-on-one when need be. Internal communications can be simplified with this tool, which minimizes email overload and helps keep the team updated day-to-day.
Idea generation: Pay attention everyday
Participants of Spin Suck’s most recent course offering, the Modern Blogging Masterclass, know that this team is super-savvy when it comes to generating content ideas. Gini and Corina are always paying close attention to the content they consume, everyday, and mining the trends of the day for ideas.
Gini says, “I look to pop culture (the Whoopi/Oprah tweet), to the news (the Lands’ End debacle), to what everyone is freaking out about on social media (Red Lobster and Beyonce), to every PR site that aggregates content (ComProBiz, PR Daily, O’Dwyer’s), and I have streams set up in Hootsuite for PR-specific hashtags. I also have Corina send me articles she finds.”
Corina, who is a prolific content creator and curator, takes a similar approach: “We are connected almost 24 hours per day. If you pay close attention to what’s happening around you, it’s easy to find PR ideas, from content to implementing new systems in the company or professional development for the team.”
Stay tuned for the final post in our #CreativePR series next week. In the meantime, you can read the rest of the series here.