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By Crisel Mills, Senior Director

Being creative means you’re always “on” thinking about the various ways to tell a story and how it will be received by your target audience. You want to be engaging to attract attention, but you also want to educate without being overly sales-y – at least not in PR. So where do you start? Whether you’re looking for a new pitch, trying to come up with a viral campaign or working on a new proposal, there are a few places to draw inspiration from. 

Here are some of my favorites: 

Research other award-winning work

I should preface this section by stating that we recently won four platinum Hermes creative awards, so in addition to reviewing our own campaigns, I also like to look at work being done by others. 

With Cannes Lions just wrapping up, their website is a treasure trove of inspiration. If you’re not familiar with Cannes Lions it’s a five-day festival honoring creatives and their work. A quick scroll through the site and you’ll find a lot of inspiring work mostly by marketing and advertising agencies, but one PR campaign that still stands out is from 2017 known as the The Trash Isles. This PR campaign forced the United Nations to pay attention to the trash patch in the Pacific Ocean known as the Great Pacific garbage patch. Everything about the campaign was clever. It kicked off on World Oceans Day, an observance day promoted by the UN, and included the formalization of the garbage patch into an official country forcing neighboring countries to pay attention to the growing pollution in the Pacific Ocean. Not only did The Trash Isles successfully recruit citizens, but the country also offered its own currency, passport, and flag (requirements to be an official country). It even recruited celebrity citizens bringing mass awareness to the Great Pacific garbage patch. This is the type of inspiration that you want going into a brainstorm.  

Read industry trades for inspiration 

When award season is over and you’re looking for new inspiration, PR trades are a great resource. My go to’s are The Holmes Report and PR Week for industry trend reports, campaign case studies, and CMO Q&A’s. In particular, I like reading CMO feature articles to find out what’s working from their perspective. For example, PR Week’s feature on Carolyn Tisch Blodgett, Peloton’s SVP of brand marketing, focuses on relatable storytelling. Specifically, new parents who used to be active, but no longer have time to go to the gym because of unique schedules. It’s a new story they sourced from their members and one that’s worked out well for them as I’ve come to know Peloton from my mommy friends.

Setup and review keyword monitoring reports 

Another great way to inspire creativity is to monitor client keywords within key publications. By looking at the various ways that keywords are covered you can identify new angles or offer the publication a new twist on a trending topic. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to reach a popular audience such as millennial parents. If you have the time, analyze a handful of headlines that come up when you type in a keyword. That will help you spot opportunities. 

These are just a handful of sources that inspire me to be creative. What are yours?