In the world of digital PR, we all know that gaining links and brand awareness for our clients is the aim at the heart of what we do. However, doing so all starts with a campaign, and the idea for said campaign has to come from somewhere.


But, how can we create effective campaigns that generate press interest and gain those precious links for clients? The secret lies in the ‘ideation process’ – drafting up ideas for your client’s next big-hit campaign.


In this article, we’ll break down the importance of ‘ideating’ campaigns and share our top tips for generating the perfect campaign ideas for your clients.

Why do we ‘ideate’ campaigns for our clients?


The key to creating a great idea is to understand what the intended purpose of a campaign is in the first place. An ideation session provides the perfect opportunity to reconnect with the aims and objectives of your client and refamiliarise yourself with their mission.


By setting aside specific time to generate ideas, this helps to focus on your client’s priorities, and really do your research about not only your client, but also your client’s dream publications.


Ideating is inherently a creative process. More often than not, it requires getting into a specific mindset to create ideas, and this is also very important. We need the campaign-creation process to be a creative one – because we need the campaign to be creative, too!

Why should campaigns be creative?


The answer to this question lies in the objective of a campaign: to get press attention and build brand awareness for the client. In order to have your campaigns picked up by press publications, it needs to appeal to them in the first place. Usually, this means a campaign needs to be creative and stand out from the crowd.


Every campaign needs to feel exciting and worth talking about. Otherwise, there is a fair chance that journalists will not feel the need to write about it. And, for some journalists, creativity is more important than others.


In the travel sector, for example, many journalists are expected to turn over 8 articles per day, with each article being given as little as 15 minutes to be prepared. With relatively little writing time for the journalists themselves, a lot of the work falls on the campaign itself – and, of course, on the press release writing skills of PRs!


Journalists want content that will gain interest from the general public, and when the majority of their content will be pulled directly from materials prepared by clients and PRs, there’s even more importance placed on creativity.

How do you get in the mindset for ideating?


So, you’re ready to start coming up with campaign ideas – but you just don’t know where to start. Maybe your phone is firing off notifications every other minute and you just keep getting distracted by music playing in the other room, or perhaps you’re more of a night owl and are currently in the throes of afternoon lethargy. Getting into the “mood” for ideation is really half of the battle – so how do you do it?


We caught up with our team members to find out what gets them in the right mindset for ideating, and this is what they said:


  • Using a riddle or brain exercise to clear away any thoughts you had previously.
  • Deciding whether you are more of a team-player or a lone wolf, and acting accordingly when coming up with campaign ideas.
  • Sitting in silence – turning off the TV, muting the radio, and switching your phone to silent so that you won’t be disturbed.
  • Setting aside a specific period of time on a regular basis in which to create ideas.


Although these ideas work great for our team members, everyone’s creative process is different, and you may even discover something totally unexpected that helps to get you in a creative headspace for ideating. The trick is to play around with trying different things beforehand to find what works best for you.

Taking inspiration


Inspiration for a new campaign really can be anywhere and everywhere you look. Some of our team’s favourite places to turn for inspiration when we’re ideating include:


  • Facebook comments – to identify target consumers’ pain points and help identify opportunities for in-demand content.
  • Data_is_beautiful on Instagram – great inspiration for how to display data in a visually-engaging way.
  • Journalists’ social media profiles – to spy on them and see what interests them.
  • Google Scholar – a great source of academic research that might spark ideas.
  • Books – see our reading recommendations at the end of this article!
  • Government data and surveys – official stats can spark ideas and add legitimacy


What should you consider when creating campaign ideas?


Now that you’re in the mindset for ideating, there are some factors to keep in mind while you come up with campaign ideas for your clients. 


  • Take a look around the client’s website to familiarise yourself with the kinds of campaigns they have run before, and to avoid repeating ideas.
  • Gather as much information as you can about what your client would like to include, alongside their do’s and don’ts.
  • Be mindful of topics the client would like to avoid in their campaigns.
  • Identify the areas your client would like to focus on, including the sector they are aiming for coverage in, and 5-10 publications they would like to reach.
  • Research the types of content these publications are writing about frequently.


Factoring all of these elements into your creative process will help to ensure that the ideas you are generating for potential campaigns are relevant to your client’s aims, and also meet the criteria for their dream publications.

But, how can you tell which ideas will be successful?


While predicting media interest isn’t an exact science, there are actually some ways in which you can make an educated guess as to whether or not a campaign idea is likely to be successful in the press.


In general, using ideas that have already been done (but with a new look!) tends to perform relatively well. By looking at pre-existing campaigns and how well they have performed with the press, you can make a rough guess about future campaign performance. Taking features from campaigns and modifying them can be a good way of replicating previous success.


The topic also plays a big part. Campaigns need to be a popular and relevant topic, both to the client and the press, in order to get picked up for coverage. Ask yourself – is this something that would be of interest to a journalist? What is the relationship between this campaign idea and the wider industry?


If journalists are already covering something similar, there is a fairly high chance that they may also have room for your campaign. Although this generally depends on the publications and sectors being targeted.


So, what about if it’s a brand new idea that has never been done before? Should you refrain from taking a leap of faith with a completely original campaign? Well, no – not necessarily.


There is scope for new campaigns, providing it’s interesting and attractive to journalists. However, there is a higher level of caution that needs to be applied. For example, the campaign can’t be something that could run the risk of being offensive or too niche for journalists to write about. Campaigns cost money, and they ultimately need to go somewhere.

The secret to creating amazing campaigns: quantity wins


If there is only one piece of advice you take away from this article, let it be this: the secret to ideating some amazing campaign ideas is to throw as many ideas at the wall as possible. Give yourself a set time, e.g. an hour, to come up with as many ideas as you can.


Ideally, you’ll create at least 80 campaign ideas. Don’t panic, they by no means need to be flushed out, just a couple of words is enough. The majority of them may be awful – and that’s okay.


The method behind this madness is that, through quantity, you’re likely to also generate some quality. For every 80 campaign ideas that you come up with, around 3-5 of them may be something worth developing further into a grand-slam campaign idea that is sure to generate traffic for your client.


Of course, there is still no guarantee that your client will agree to every single one of these amazing ideas. However, even if they are rejected, you should still keep hold of them. These rejected campaigns can start to build an ‘idea basket’ which can be pulled from for future campaigns or even future clients.

Reading recommendations


There is truly so much that we in digital PR can learn from a good, old-fashioned book – including techniques to help us better perfect our ideation process to create even better campaign ideas for our clients.


Recently, one of our team member here at Shout Bravo completed the amazing online workshop series ‘Ideation for Digital PR’ run by Hannah Smith of These are some of her reading recommendations based on what she learned from her time on the course:



Final thoughts


In this article, we’ve broken down the purpose and importance of having ideation sessions to generate new campaign ideas for your clients, alongside providing you with some of our top advice to get you on your way to creating amazing campaigns that build links and brand awareness for your clients.


Campaigns are really at the heart of a good Digital PR strategy, and they can really help to build a positive reputation for your clients – alongside providing exciting and engaging content for journalists to publish to a wider audience.


We hope you’ve found this guide insightful, and that it has given you some inspiration for your own campaign ideating!