Max is a result oriented SaaS sales and business development professional, with a blend of marketing, customer development, and leadership skills.
As PR professionals we’re always full of energy and bursting with great ideas. Right? Ok, maybe not always. From time to time we all find ourselves in a bit of a rut with no genius plan for our next media pitch. When this happens a good old fashioned brainstorming session can help. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your next one.
Take the “No Bad Ideas” Notion to a New Level
Most brainstorming sessions start with someone saying, “There are no bad ideas here, just throw out whatever comes to mind.” That’s fair enough, but it’s actually quite difficult to do. Why? Because the truth is there are bad ideas and everyone knows it. One way to breakthrough people’s natural reluctance to say something that others will think of as stupid, is to ask them to say something stupid. Start by asking for the worst pitch ideas. What would be really terrible? Once that’s out of the way, ask for ideas that are somewhat less bad. That should help get the creative juices flowing.
Assume the Role of Your Biggest Competitor
Have the team imagine that your biggest rival is having a meeting just like this one. They too are looking for pitch ideas. What are they likely talking about? How would they talk about their news? What words do they probably use? Once you are inside their heads a bit, you can then talk about how your pitch, tone and language can be different.
Try a Change of Scenery
It can be especially difficult to get creative when you’re sitting in the same old conference room or office. Simply holding the meeting in a different space can loosen up your thinking. An informal, relaxed setting will help your team open up. A quiet outdoor space is a good option. Encourage people to walk around. If you hit a lull, take a break.
Use a Thesaurus
Take a past pitch or your boiler plate and try replacing all of the descriptive words with new ones from the thesaurus. The idea here isn’t to come up with the perfect words, but to play with alternatives that might spark new ways of thinking and talking about your key themes.
Start with the end by defining what success looks like. If your pitch knocks it out of the ballpark, what will the result be? What will the article say? Where will it run? Don’t limit your vision of success to what you think can be reasonably achieved, craft the ideal scenario. A crazy goal requires crazy tactics, so come up with what they might be. You may find that some of them aren’t so crazy after all.
These are a few of the ways that our team finds inspiration. What about yours? If you’ve had success with these or any other creative techniques, we’d love to hear about it.