Making an Impact | How to Come up With Creative PR Ideas

19th October 2022 By Liam Gullis 4 minute read

By definition, creativity is “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something” – and in the world of PR, that’s what it's all about.

Being creative is what really helps your client stand out in their market and also, what can make you stand out as an agency. But it's not always as simple as it sounds. Creativity can often take time. Time to think, time to brainstorm and time to implement the right strategy. 

Some of the best creative tactics, however, are reactive and require all hands on deck to ensure your PR material is on topic and on time. This is something we call ‘newsjacking’. Newsjacking is essentially monitoring the news, social media and current affairs and producing creative PR material in reaction to a trending topic. For example the flurry of social media posts from big name brands referencing the Holly and Phil queue jump, or the well positioned Madame Tussauds model of Boris Johnson outside a JobCentre after he announced his resignation.

In a more traditional sense, this is used for adding a brand’s thoughts and opinions to breaking news stories, be it government budget announcements or COP climate summit agreements. In this increasingly digital age though, we are seeing more and more creative newsjacking.

The point is, there is always a need for creativity and often some of the best PR stunts are in reaction to something of genuine interest to the public.

But what if you have a bit more time to plan? 

Let's talk through a handful of ways you can be more creative and start producing some pretty awesome content for your clients.

Monitoring trends

This first point is pretty self explanatory and echoes what I have already discussed above. Monitoring what people are talking about on social media and in the news is the essential first step to providing effective creative communications. This doesn’t always have to be as reactive as newsjacking, as there are many contemporary issues that will always pique the interest of journalists and their readerships. Take climate change for example. Climate change is one of the most pressing topics on the global agenda and offers a gold mine of creative opportunity. With all businesses across the globe implementing new CSR strategies and adopting a carbon conscious approach, why not shout about this creatively.

One of our clients, Stonehouse Court Hotel in the Cotswolds, has an admirable attitude towards the environment and during the chaos of the flight cancellations this summer, we decided to get our creative hats on and think about how we could react to this. 

The Carbon Cancellation Package was born — a simple idea that rewarded guests who stayed at the hotel in line with the carbon saved by their cancelled flight. This was not only an effective example of newsjacking, it also tied in to the wider trend of sustainability — with a healthy dose of social purpose.

Whilst we’re on the topic. Social purpose is like adding bananas to the custard — or crushed chilli flakes to the smashed avocado for all the millennials out there. The point is, if your creative content, big or small, has an element of social purpose (essentially a wider messaging that promotes positive attitudes or addresses pressing issues) then this can really help!

Stay aware all year round

The amount of times an awareness day prompts creative thinking or provides the missing news hook in the world of PR is remarkable. It can take a good story to the next level and help massively when pitching a story to press. There is an awareness day out there for just about anything. No, seriously… I’ve just stumbled upon National Earth Rotation Day. Is that not every day?

Anyway…I feel like I'm going round in circles writing this *winks*.

Awareness days are also a great way of planning future creative tactics and forging effective communication plans for your clients. If you are aware of these days, then you can plan creative tactics well in advance and ensure your material is distributed prior to or on the awareness day itself.

Make snowballs with your team

I’m not talking about literal snowballs funnily enough, I'm talking about the “snowball effect”. 

We’ve all been there… the request for some creative tactics for a client gets distributed to the team. You have an idea. It sounds good to you but you are unsure if it even makes sense and don’t want to embarrass yourself. Well, as cliche as it sounds, no idea is a bad idea. 

Believe it or not, the majority of effective creative PR ideas stem from a meeting of minds who have snowballed an initial idea and it's remarkable how a fresh pair of eyes can take a good idea, to a fully fledged PR campaign. There’s no denying that covid made the thought of sitting in a room full of people truly horrifying, but however you do it, in person or via Zoom, take some time out of your day to day work and just bounce ideas off each other — you’ll be amazed what creativity bobs to the surface. 

Be different

Finally, start thinking outside the box. There’s an old saying in PR that “every idea has been done before”, which in a lot of cases, is true. Variations on a theme are often effective and commonplace in the industry, however, it’s so important to try and be original. 

Think about your client, what they have that's unique to them and how this could be distributed creatively into the public domain. If you combine this with some of the points I've made above, you’ll find yourself well on track to creating some pretty sexy creative PR.

Or, you know, if you want us to do it for you – get in touch.

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