“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way” – Edward de Bono
A summary of my career in 36 words: Completed journalism degree. Worked in traditional PR. Focused on news releases and events. Had little need to be creative. Moved into digital PR. Now I ‘create’ ways for clients to get in front of the press.
Now you have a full background of my life so far – at least what matters for this blog.
PR is quickly shifting into the digital landscape, with businesses from IKEA to Body Shop generating content which is creative and interactive. For someone who has never thought of herself as creative, it was a daunting prospect. I’d always thought that creativity was inherent. You either had it or you didn’t. But that wasn’t true, and I have learnt important skills to ‘unlock’ creativity:
Break Out of Patterns
Brain training pioneer Edward de Bono stressed the need to break out of patterns, and this is my most important tip. Get away from your desk and out of routine – any big idea you have is unlikely to come from there, because it doesn’t get you thinking outside the box.
You cannot force creativity, but you can open your mind to situations out of your routine. Take a different route to work, move your brainstorm session into a different room, whether that be an office or the pub. See if you can connect a random word to your client’s focus, or even ask your partner what their thoughts are on a topic. Just don’t just listen to your own brain at your desk, because you’ll go mad.
No Idea is Bad
I think at the start, creativity is a matter of quantity. Throw your ideas out there, don’t think about how stupid, serious or smart they are. Don’t be afraid of bad ideas and don’t judge others ‘bad’ ones, because they can pave the way to better ones.
Draw on your Experiences
Whether it’s Budapest or Bognor Regis, everyone’s experiences are important for creativity. People appreciate content that relates to them, and your experiences will shape these ideas. Think of problems you’ve had, questions you’ve wanted answers to, or situations you’ve experienced. When thinking of a creative idea about freight, see if you can link any of the above to your content strategy.
Listen to Podcasts
I know everyone’s talking about them, but that’s because podcasts are fantastic. Podcasts on current affairs and interviews with people I’m interested in outside of my job have helped me to be more in tune with others’ opinions, what’s going on in the world and what isn’t necessarily in the headlines. I often see if there is a way I can base articles and ideas around these topics because it’s interesting to others and I know there’s a market for it.
Creativity isn’t inherent, but it’s not easy either. It’s important to find what works for you, but hopefully these tips help you to get started.