Public relations, marketing and advertising professionals do quite a bit of brainstorming to generate ideas for content, campaigns, events and media pitches. Some ideas come easier than others, so here are a few tips to help you brainstorm when you get stuck (or even just as general practice):
- Think Like Someone Else—Put yourself in someone else’s shoes when you’re trying to come up with ideas. Whether you’re working on a project that would appeal to someone who is from a different generation than you are, or someone in a different profession, take the time to think like someone else. For example, if you’re brainstorming ideas for a media pitch, outline what you think a reporter would want to know about your client and frame your story idea/pitch around that. Or if you have a product that you need to market to a specific audience, talk to someone within that audience to get some informal thoughts.
- Brain Writing—Just as with writer’s block, writing freely about whatever comes to mind can help you generate ideas. Set aside 10 minutes and write down every idea you have, whether or not you like it. Take a step back and revisit your list after a few minutes. Looking at it with a fresh set of eyes might help you expand on some of the ideas.
- Reverse Thinking—Rather than trying to come up with solutions for your clients, thinking about potential problems could be a good way to brainstorm. For example, instead of asking, “How can I make my client’s website more user-friendly?” ask “How can I create a horrible user experience?” and make a list. Once you have your list of ways to create a bad client website, generate solutions for all the items.
- Group Sessions—As they say, “Two heads are better than one.” Sometimes, individual brainstorming leads to a dead end, so it’s a good idea to enlist some help from your colleagues and coworkers. Bounce ideas off of each other and don’t be afraid to vocalize your thoughts. A little bit of teamwork can take an incomplete thought and turn it into something great.
What techniques do you try when you’re brainstorming? Let us know in the comments!