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Wanting to spruce up your current activity or explore digital PR concepts internally, but unsure where to start?

Below I’ve shared my top tips on the best practices to help get you and your internal teams’ thinking caps on to generate newsworthy concepts that will turn journalists’ heads.

From sending out the perfect team brief document, to the best ways of getting people interacting and involved during the ideation session, as well as who to pick for brainstorming, see the step-by-step guide below.



Picking the right people for the job is the first crucial decision to make. Be sure to include colleagues that have different areas of expertise in the content marketing field.

It might be someone from your design team with a huge interactive, stunt idea, or it could be someone from your SEO department that gives essential link-building intel on competitors, to steer you in the right direction of where you need to compete.

Your paid media team could even dig out audience insights to help guide you on the perfect concept themes to explore that you know your audience will engage with.


First things first:



Work closely with your team to create a brainstorming template that can be used for every ideation session. This will create consistency throughout your strategic approach and allow team members to know exactly how they should be thinking for each brainstorm.

Be sure to include as much detail as possible:


  • Successful and unsuccessful past campaigns
  • Competitor activity
  • Your core goals
  • Key product or focus areas
  • Dream publications
  • Tone of voice or brand values
  • SEO and visibility goals
  • Examples of recent similar activity in the news
  • A few initial ideas to get the ball rolling

Unless an urgent, last-minute brainstorm is needed, send your brief a week before the ideation session is set to take place, to give your colleagues enough time to immerse themselves in the ideation theme and goals.


On the day, break the ice and get people interacting:



Pretty self-explanatory, essentially everyone must come up with the worst idea possible for the brand in question. This one’s especially fun as it removes the worry of ‘what if my idea is bad’, as the whole point is to have the worst idea possible.

This one also often gets people laughing and joking around which helps to break the tension in the room. Sometimes we can also flip bad ideas into good ideas as well.




For this one, you put yourself in the mindset of another person, so we’ve done this with the likes of Kanye or Trump, and you have to think of what that person would do if they were in charge of the ideas.

Again, this generally throws up comedy ideas and helps to break the ice. It also starts to get people thinking creatively and not just about the usual ideas you’d throw out there.

Other varieties of this technique include teleporting, where you think about how you’d come up with ideas if you were in a different place (real or fictional), and time travel where you imagine you’re at a point in the past or future.


How to dig a little deeper:



The aim of this is to generate as many questions as possible about the brand/topic/product/service being discussed.

Think of this like when you have a conversation with a child and their response to everything you say is “but why?” Although frustrating, this actually makes you go a lot further exploring something than you originally planned, which is really useful.

Once you get to the end of one line of questions, move on to another and at the end review to see whether the questions and answers throw up any interesting ideas. This is especially useful for content ideas.




This is probably the technique that improved our brainstorms the most. The method we use most commonly, Brainwriting 6-3-5, needs six people and each is given a sheet of paper.

They are then given five minutes to write down three ideas. The sheet of paper is then passed to the person next to them and they have the option to either develop the ideas already there, if they have something to add, or write down three new ideas. This continues until you receive your original sheet back.

If you had six people for this then you’ll be left with 108 ideas within just 30 minutes – much better than a standard brainstorm, right?

This can also be done remotely or without getting everyone together if you use a Google Doc that can be sent around the team to save getting everyone together at the same time.

Generally, we’ll then use the remainder of the brainstorming to discuss everyone’s favourite ideas and start to whittle these down into the ones we want to develop further.


End on a high:



At the end of any brainstorm, you’re left with a range of ideas and it can be tough to decide on which are the best to progress and develop further.

One way to do this democratically is to lay all the ideas out and give everyone three stickers/sticky notes which are their votes. They can then go place their votes on their three favourite ideas (if they just love one idea they can put all three on that one or two on-one), then once everyone’s done, the ideas with the most votes are the ones that move on to be developed.




Finally, for those all-important finishing touches, try the following to further back-up your final ideas:

  • If there are any ideas you are particularly keen on trying but feel need an extra angle, news hook, or data backing, share them with experts in your wider team. An extra pair of eyes on a good idea can help turn it into a great idea.
  • Marry up any final ideas against the core brief and your business goals. It’s easy to get fixated on trying to find a big or original concept, which might not be needed to generate the KPIs needed. Always check back to see if there are other approaches outside of creative, such as technical link building.
  • Work backwards from the source of success, so in this case, find a publication you want to land a link on, study what type of content they cover or the type of data they need, and generate your ideas based on the key criteria you find.

So, in summary, my top tips for running better brainstorms are:

  1. Send a detailed brief in advance
  2. Do something to break the ice at the start
  3. Give everyone the opportunity to contribute in a way they’re comfortable with
  4. Explore every avenue based on your business goals
  5. Elevate concepts with your wider team

Make sure you check out some of our recent campaigns to see how we put the above into practice or head over to our Digital PR page for more information on how PR works at c3.