In the business world, thinking outside the box is the unofficial motto. In public relations, we’re tasked with being creative thinkers. Our clients want us to find different ways to get in front of influencers and, ultimately, customers.
But we are so quick to focus on what’s next, sometimes we do it at the expense of what’s current.
Peter Shankman says he suffers from ADOS: Attention Deficit … ooooh shiny! And I think that as PR people we’re guilty of it too. Our clients sometimes push back on us with the charge to be “more creative.” But what is the cost of creativity?
It comes down to a simple ROI calculation. If clients value a mention in a metro print publication more than 50 tweets, perhaps your creative thinking time is best spent taking the metro writer out for coffee or trying to line up a desk-side meeting. If the time you spend trying to be “creative” outweighs the rewards of the action, then it is not worth it.
I’ve embraced this newfangled “Internet” thing. I know how to hand-code a blog entry, complete with some SEO tricks and I know about metrics in the social media space. But I also know how to dial a phone, send an email or go to an event to connect.
My point is that depending on your goals, news or message you’re trying to send, each of those tactics could be called creative. What some of us consider a de facto tactic in any PR campaign, others would consider it experimental and risky. Again, it all comes down to knowing your client and its goals.
In order to define creativity, you need to be aligned with your client and its goals. Pretty simple stuff, right?
The creativity plateau
I think we might be in a creativity plateau. Hosting a blogger dinner is no longer innovative. A campaign to comment on influencers’ blogs is not cutting edge. SEO for public relations (see what I did there?) is an established industry.
I think we’ve hit a temporary plateau. And that’s OK. It is OK to use established and effective tactics to generate reliable results. It is not imperative that every PR campaign feature a door-to-door singing telegram for every reporter in New York. Actually, maybe that’s not a bad idea…
What do you think?
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