When you blog multiple times a week as I do, it sometimes feels impossible to keep churning out stimulating posts. When you feel you’re in a rut, remember these tips and tricks to stay creative.
Caffeine is your best friend- I once asked an established PR professional how she stays creative and she told me: “Caffeine…so much caffeine.” Caffeine can help you get the kick-start you need to get your thoughts rolling. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, try a decaf tea or coffee. My roommate swears that the act of getting a cup coffee or tea (decaf or not) can give you the placebo effect of being caffeinated.
Move around- Researchers indicate that you should take a two-to-five minute break every 15 minutes to an hour to stand up and move around. However, this can seem unproductive in an office setting. Also, you might feel uncomfortable doing stretches at your desk (I know I do.) To get around this, I usually eat lunch at my desk and I take a few 10-minute breaks throughout the day instead of taking an hour for lunch.
Talk to people- A few times a week I go to Starbucks to get a much-needed Passion Tea around midday. I make an effort to talk to at least two people. You never know whom you will meet and what they will say. They may even spark your creative juices. (Also for any future interns: the doorman for the office building likes his Starbucks with two creams and four sugars.)
TED Talks- Their slogan is “Ideas worth spreading” for a reason. If you’ve never heard of TED Talks, log onto https://www.ted.com/talks immediately. You will learn things you didn’t even know you didn’t know. When in doubt, TED Talks always gives me an idea to roll with.
Drink water- I was flipping through the channels one night and landed on Lifetime’s “Child Genius.” It seemed like every other scene was of one little girl’s father demanding, “Please drink some water.” It seemed bizarre to me at first but I looked up a study on the effects of water on the brain. As it turns out drinking water may boost brainpower and reaction times. So stay hydrated! http://www.self.com/flash/health-blog/2013/07/health-drink-water-boost-brain-power-reaction-time/
Go outside- I take getting outside the box literally; I like to go outside the office on my breaks and get some fresh air and sunlight. Because my office is located in Washington, DC , I don’t have to go far to find inspiration. The streets in NW are always brimming with ideas.
Reflect- Remember that creativity flows to the willing. Focusing too hard on being creative can inhibit your creativity. Think about what’s going on in your life and relate it to current events, studies, or viral videos you’ve seen. After all, my initial lack of creativity today inspired me to write this post.
Sometimes your campaign will be educating the public and you must address a community group. The best way to educate an audience is with a presentation. Make your presentation the best it can be with these tips:
Know your audience. Learn as much as you possibly can about your audience so you can tailor your presentation to their needs and interests. Find out about any recent events related to your topic that may have impacted the audience.
What’s the point? Is your campaign meant to call people to action or is it part of an ongoing campaign? Make your purpose for speaking clear.
Know what you’re talking about. You should know the issue inside and out. Bring fact sheets to show you’re prepared.
Open your presentation the right way. Show the audience you know who they are and care about them and their issues. Stimulate the audience immediately with a personal story and let them know you want to hear their questions and stories, too. They should know you are there not only to describe the issue but also to provide solutions.
Use good judgment when presenting with a PowerPoint. Nobody wants to hear you read a slide word for word. They can read it themselves. An effective presentation requires engagement and eye contact. Don’t go over the time allotted for the presentation. Indeed, use of a Power Point can sometimes distract an audience from your oral presentation.
Ask questions. Make sure to give the audience enough time to respond if you really want an answer. If you wait long enough, someone will respond. Questions are also a good way to show you are talking to your audience, not at them.
Twitter has the ability to reach millions of people instantly with news long before newspaper articles are published. Live tweeting an event gives people not present at the event a chance to be involved with breaking news in real time, unfiltered by editors. These tips will help you live tweet an event effectively.
Create a unique hashtag for your event - hashtags are a great way to make your content visible, cohesive, and organized. Hashtags also make it easy for people to retweet your tweets and follow you.
Know who the speakers are before you start - research what they look like and their twitter names before they speak, especially if there are multiple speakers.
Go for the combo- use images, hashtags, and handles. You aren’t live tweeting the right way if you’re only using words.
Have help- live tweeting by yourself can become overwhelming if there is a lot going on. Make sure you have enough tweeters to cover the event properly.
Get to the event early- you want a seat in the middle of the action.
Don’t stop! - you’re telling a story for people who aren’t at the event. If you don’t tweet about everything that is happening, you’re story is going to have major holes in it. Your tweets should give your audience a feel for what is happening at the event.
Live tweeting doesn’t end when the event ends- use time after the event to make the content resonate with your audience. Spark discussions and get people involved.
Get into it! - get involved with the event, talk to people, take videos, move around. This can enhance your experience.
The demand for infographics has grown immensely in the past few years. Check out these tips to make your infographics stand out.
Show don’t tell- your responsibility is to turn information into something visually stimulating. Let the images do the talking. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Make an infographic, not an excel chart- anyone can make a graph on excel. If clients wanted excels chart, they wouldn’t need you. Take your chart to the next level and make it really stand out.
Think outside the box- Most inforgraphics read vertically. Mix it up so your inforgraphic doesn’t get boring
Three colors are best- A three-color palette is easy on the eyes. The wrong colors can make your infographic hard to read. Stay away from dominant dark colors and neon together. Check out color psychology to really get an edge.
Begin with the end- Know what you want your audience to ultimately take away from your infographic and center your design around that.
Pick an interesting topic- It doesn’t matter how visually stimulating you inforgraphic is. If your topic isn’t interesting, your design will fail.