Coming up with ideas can be hard, especially when you’ve been in the industry for a while. How do you keep your marketing campaigns fresh and original? Well, we’ve talked about our content ideation tips in the past, and one of them is to host brainstorming sessions with the team. 

But…how do you brainstorm for ideas? Or rather, how do you optimise brainstorming for ideas so that it provides you with results? Don’t worry we’ve got tips for that too. 

  • Assemble the right people

Not everyone is good at brainstorming, and that’s a fact. When putting together your group, it must be made up of individuals that will try their best to contribute, and that work well together. But don’t stick to the cliques, the group should have a good mix of people. Not everyone has to be a marketing or content expert, in fact, sometimes it’s useful to have people with a different expertise. The more points of view, the better! 

  • Set expectations ahead of time

When planning the brainstorming session, make sure to create a brief in which you detail the expectations, as well as all of the necessary information, ahead of time. This will allow attendees to properly prepare, not only regarding topic research but also in organising their time and tasks. Knowing exactly what to expect during the brainstorming session can also help it run smoothly, allowing everyone to focus on the task at hand: coming up with ideas. 

  • Ensure everyone participates

Some people are louder than others, it’s just the way it is. Some individuals will naturally take the lead during the brainstorming session, while others will be a little quieter, and more reserved. It’s not a bad thing! However, it can be useful to assign a mediator, in charge of making sure everyone’s contributions are heard. They can hand the spotlight over to quieter individuals from time to time, encouraging them to share. 

  • Throw questions around

Sure, a brainstorming session needs to provide answers. But if you place the focus on that from the very start, you might not get them at all. Instead, ease the session in by throwing some questions around, regarding the specific topic or marketing campaign you’re brainstorming for. A good trick is to play a “what if?” game, in which the group discusses different approaches or possibilities, no matter how weird or vague. Kind of like an opening exercise, to get the brain juices flowing. 

  • Start with the generals 

During the brainstorming session, start big and slowly narrow down. This will allow multiple ideas to form out of more general concepts, optimising the effort you put in. For example, ask yourselves what kind of emotion you want to elicit in your audience, and then think about what kind of content could accomplish it. Prompting ideas through how they will affect the audience is a better approach than focusing on metrics such as coverage and data. Those things can come later on in the brainstorming process when you solidify the viability of different ideas to start working on them. 

  • Don’t bin ideas!

This is one of our golden rules. During a brainstorming session, you’ll get a lot of “unusable” ideas, but don’t be too quick to discard them. Bad ideas still have their use, as they can prompt other better ideas, or spark discussions that lead to a productive ideation. So if someone says something that is instantly labelled as a “no”, set it aside and revisit it. If you don’t set it aside, it might be forgotten, and its potential along with it. 

  • Team-build the ideas

Once you have a few ideas floating around, try and team-build them. This consists of everyone in the group providing input to shape the idea into something more cohesive, using some sort of checklist or standards. It’s essentially finessing the concept, so it becomes something viable. By doing this as a group, you ensure the idea remains open to different angles. 

Needless to say, these are just some of our tips for making a brainstorming session go as smoothly (and as productively) as possible. There are plenty of other things you can try out, and at the end of the day, brainstorming works differently for each group of people. What matters is that you create an environment optimised for having an open discussion, bouncing around ideas until something good comes from it. 

To read more digital marketing tips, check out our It Works Blog for all sorts of useful insights. Alternatively, to find out how we can help your business, get in touch today!