Tag Archives: prsa

15 Sure-Fire Ways to Always Have Plenty to Write About

ideas to write about, blog, writing, inspiration, muse, writing techniques, content creation

Elmo, Katy Perry and Charles Dickens can help keep your ideas flowing.

How do you come up with ideas to write about?

It’s a question all writers hear – and sometimes struggle with. And it creates anxiety that keeps would-be writers from getting started.

But there’s no mystery to generating ideas – whether writing at your job, for personal reasons or even in artistic pursuits. And the same applies to creating content of all kinds. Anyone who’s done it for a while knows there’s  no mystery, no magic, no reliance on a muse.

So here are 15 sure-fire ways to keep the ideas coming, inspiration or not. Mix and match with your own to come up with reliable, proven techniques, and apply them as part of your ongoing process. (Even when you don’t want to. That’s why it’s called work, after all.)

  1. Jot them down. Good ideas can come at any time – while you’re driving, trying to sleep, watching TV. And, if you’re like me, you probably won’t remember them later unless you scribble them down on a notebook or make a recording on your smartphone. I compile them later on a Word doc and refer to it regularly.
  2. Tickle yourself. Keep a “tickler file” – either a literal file or something on your computer or phone – of articles, photos or links about things that are coming up that might yield good content. For instance, if your neighborhood organization is hosting a City Councilman, put that in your tickler file – and link it to your calendar for a reminder. This is especially helpful with events that repeat regularly, on a monthly or yearly basis.
  3. Follow the news. That includes niche sources about your topic, profession or industry. You should stay informed, of course, for other reasons. But events and headlines also are great sources of ideas.
  4. What's Tom got to do with it?

    What’s Tom got to do with it?

    That means pop culture and sports. We just had the Super Bowl – one of the biggest sports/cultural/media events ever. Even if you don’t care about football, you should know who played (and won), who performed at halftime, and which commercials blew up Twitter.

  5. Revisit your own content. You should periodically go through your existing content of all kinds, not just articles, and see what you can dust off. Chances are, readers won’t remember that you already covered a topic. And you can easily find a fresh way to top, update or present the information.
  6. Repurpose new stuff, too. Maybe you wrote a long article for your company website that can also be turned into a list for the e-newsletter. Did you have extra material from the Q&A with your CEO that you could put on your company’s internal social media channel?
  7. Read, read, read. Books, magazines, websites. All kinds of things — literature, trade publications, Stephen King, People magazine.
  8. Steal from the best. When you see something you like or find useful, see how you might apply it to your own situation. By the time you tailor it for your needs, you will have made it your own.
  9. timer-15-minutes-18884254Write for 15 minutes. And don’t stop or edit or second-guess. This is favored by a noted songwriting coach in Nashville. He tells students to sit down, with pen and paper (no electronics), and … just. Start. Writing. Let your mind and pen flow freely and, after 15 minutes, you go back and see if you haven’t inadvertently come up with a few good expressions or ideas. Even if you haven’t, it’s a great way to just Shut Up and DO IT. (Write, that is.)
  10. Curate content. We don’t have to write or create everything all the time. Sometimes, it’s best to share what others have written or produced and make a list to share. I did this over the weekend for the Super Bowl and got good traffic. So much content had already been created, and this was an easy way to join the conversation.
  11. Ask your friends and colleagues. You don’t have to say, “I have no idea – help me!” (Although you can do that sometimes.) But talk to people you like and respect, listen to what they’re saying, ask how they might write about a topic or present it in a video or a webinar or whatever.
  12. Get out of the office. Go to community events, conferences, speeches, ballgames – and pay attention. I get great ideas from the monthly luncheons of the Georgia chapter of the  Public Relations Society of America. The panels are interesting, the speakers diverse, and the audience smart and curious. Your topic, business and audience will present similar sources.
  13. Remember the basics. Always ask yourself: What am I trying to say? To whom? And why? That will help you focus, which will help you think of ideas.
  14. Find freedom in boundaries. Your boss or client wants the content delivered on time and on budget, and it has to include some key elements? Awesome. Within parameters, even those we set for ourselves, we can find great freedom to create. It forces us to focus on what is possible, not what might be ideal.
  15. Do one thing different. Try a different grocery store. Watch a different news program. Toss the football instead of a Frisbee with your kid. It doesn’t really matter what. But you’ll be amazed how even the smallest new experience can help you look at things in a new way.
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Gattis Loss the Latest in a ‘Really Difficult’ Time for the Braves

Atlanta Braves, Evan Gattis, trade, traded, trades, losing popular players, Jason Hayward, Upton, MLB, Major League Baseball

Say goodbye to Evan Gattis, Braves fans.

The day after the Braves traded popular slugger Evan Gattis to Houston, the team’s director of public relations acknowledged the challenges of the last few months.

“It’s been a really difficult off-season,” said Beth Marshall, in response to a question today at the Public Relations Society of America’s Georgia chapter luncheon in Buckhead.

The Gattis trade followed earlier swaps of other “fan favorites,” as she called them — including outfielder Jason Heyward and Justin Upton. Plus, plenty of fans (including this one) are still miffed about the move to Cobb County.

(The Gattis trade might be the last straw for me. Big hitter, nice guy, remarkable story… Come on, y’all. This is what we’re losing?)

Marshall, on a panel with three other sports PR pros, called the trades “a necessary process for a lot of different reasons.” She said they bring not only P.R. challenges, but marketing issues, as well, since fans can’t come to see some of their favorites anymore.

With so many new names on the roster, everyone within the Braves organization will have a lot to learn at Spring Training — so they can help educate the fans, in turn.

Other morsels from the panel, shared on the PRSA Twitter feed:

  • A British couple touring the College Football Hall of Fame were flummoxed. “Do people actually GO to these games?” they asked a tour guide. – from Traci Messier of the Jackson Spalding agency, which works with the Hall.
  • The Hall activated Kia sponsorship with tailgate exhibit featuring their vehicles. That’s a good example of how corporate sponsorships have to be directly relevant for the sponsor and the event.
  • Comparing launch successes, speakers pointed out that the Hall’s events and grand opening were spread out; the Braves held everything about their move secret until One Big Announcement.
  • Athletes’ social media posts can help build brand — or destroy it. Marshall tells players to not tweet anything they wouldn’t say on TV.

RELATED: Say goodbye to Jason Heyward

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RELATED: Pics inside the College Football Hall of Fame

Why Social Media Storytelling is Like a Good Burger

PRSA, Georgia, Atlanta, Maggiano's, public relations, internal communications, business communications, social media, storytelling, facebook, twitter, instagram, children's hospital of atlanta, fleishmanHillard, Georgia Tech, Tech

My burger of choice is at Yeah! Burger, and here Steven Norris and I disagree. He’s more a Bocado man.

I love a good burger and I love storytelling. But it took a Georgia Tech social media pro to connect them for me today.

Social media storytelling is a lot like a good burger, Steven Norris said at a panel discussion sponsored by the Georgia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. A burger should be handcrafted, authentic and multi-layered, just like many stories told via social media. Different channels are like various toppings and condiments — with content being the meat patty and analytics the bun.

I like the idea, largely because it puts content as the centerpiece, regardless of, say, condiments or toppings. It will vary from project to project whether we employ chiefly Twitter, Facebook, any of the others or a combination of some of them. Maybe you lead with a nice slice of American cheese, squirt on a little ketchup and mustard and add some pickle slices today. Tomorrow, you keep it to a simple double-stack with mayo and lettuce. Wrap it all up in fresh-baked analytics, and you’re good to go.

PRSA, Georgia, Atlanta, Maggiano's, public relations, internal communications, business communications, social media, storytelling, facebook, twitter, instagram, children's hospital of atlanta, fleishmanHillard, Georgia Tech, Tech

Maria Jewett and Meg Flynn, with Steven Norris’s slide on the social media storytelling/burger recipe.

You get what he meant.

Some other nice moments from him and the other two panelists:

  • Steven: Any good social media post drives readers back to your website.
  • Maria Jewett of FleishmanHillard: “Having a great cause and having a great story will help your brand grow.”
  • Maria: “I am the editor of my own personal story and so are all of you” — and it’s not much different working for brands or companies.
  • Meg Flynn of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta: It’s better to focus on original content (including images) than repurpose marketing material and stock photos.

RELATED: Read ‘Epic Content Marketing’ book

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3 Pieces of Advice from a Hollywood Publicist in Georgia

PRSA Georgia, PRSA, Maggiano's, advice, publicist, movie, tv, production, atlanta, georgia,

Denise Godoy

Denise Godoy is an on-set publicist for movies and TV shows. She spoke on a panel last week in Atlanta about film and TV production in Georgia, a booming business with “The Hunger Games” sequels, “The Walking Dead” and lots more. (Read my post from the event, put on by the Public Relations Society of America’s Georgia chapter.)

I saved a little morsel Godoy shared because I thought it deserved its own space — even if you’re nowhere near show business.

“The big three lessons I’ve learned is, first, answer your emails. Even if it’s just to say, ‘I don’t know the answer to that but I will get back to you.’ You really want to be perceived as being an effective and communicative person.

“No. 2, Don’t take things personally. I get yelled at every day and trust me, it has nothing to do with me … The director’s in a bad mood, I’m in the way of the wardrobe department…

“The third is to not be emotional. This is your job, that’s it. There’s no emotions involved,” she said, wrapping it up with, yep, a movie quote. “There’s no crying in baseball.”

Good advice? What do you think?


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