Developing creative ideas and stories in a public relations programme is a fundamental part of the planning process. One of the most difficult aspects of this vital function is knowing whether your creativity will translate into effectiveness. Quite often we only find out after the event – the surefire great idea that has excited our client may not be received with the same level of enthusiasm by our colleagues in the media.
Public relations involves integrating ideas and recommendations that both follow the style of the client’s business and are in tune with the way the media operates. In essence, creativity can be seen as ideas and concepts that go beyond the established and conventional.
Creativity is a skill and its possible for everyone to improve on their own levels. Creative ideas don’t just happen in the manner of a bulb lighting up, often they are the product of hard work, diligence and perseverance.
Here are a number of tips that can help PR professionals improve their creativity skills:
– Be a good listener… Ensure you understand the idea and the brief properly before giving your input
– Remember other cultures… Recognise that your mindset might be excluding other perspectives
– Understand the target audience… Keep your all-important target front-of-mind
– Study competitors and benefit from their experience… Creativity doesn’t mean you can’t learn from someone else’s work
– Brainstorm your ideas with your colleagues… The old adage is certainly true: ‘two heads are better than one’
– Hold creativity sessions in a neutral place… This gives everyone an equal chance to shine
– Use visuals such as a flip chart… it helps to crystalise ideas when things are written down
– Don’t throw away or reject ideas… you can review them later and reconsider them in the light of new developments or opportunities
Ultimately, creativity in public relations requires an understanding of a broad number of issues and trends that can be used as a template for newsworthy ideas. Analysing case studies, reading professional journals and attending network events are all ideal ways to develop great creative skills.