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Promotional ideas and technique. Always radio, always positive.

Creativity on tap, by Paul Chantler

Guest writer Paul Chantler says creativity is always within reach. Now he’s launched a service to help stimulate it.

Paul Chantler

Paul Chantler of Radio Ideas Bank

Creativity is incredibly hard to define – and ironically it eludes most of us just at the time we need it most.

So here are three ideas you can use to stimulate and capture creativity.

1. Pretend you’re a kid again.

Just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean you should forget about the nine-year-old you that still lives on somewhere in your head. Remember what it was like when you’d have imaginary friends and fight pretend monsters. If you can tap into that feeling, you’ll find yourself taking a fresh approach to creative jobs.

2. Shake things up.

Do different things, read different books and magazines, check out podcasts you’d never normally listen to, look at TV shows you’ve never watched before. You’ll soon be overflowing with fresh ideas and perspectives.

3. Remember to make notes.

Irritatingly, creativity always happens at moments when you least expect it. So always carry a pen and paper with you or make sure you have a recording app ready to tap on your smartphone.

When I was a PD, I just couldn’t be creative on demand! I used to dread the weekly promotions meeting where the sales team brought in briefs from their clients and expect me to come up with fantastic new ideas on the spot.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I thought, if I could go online for inspiration and search a database of contest and promotions ideas, sorted by client category or occasion? I tried to find one and couldn’t – so, with some former colleagues, built Radio Ideas Bank.

This is how it works. If you have a car dealership client, you simply enter that in the search box and up pop dozens of pre-prepared contest and promotion ideas you can go and sell to your client. You can also search for promotions by occasion such as Mother’s Day or Christmas.

We have hundreds of ideas on the site, all of them categorised and searchable, with the mechanic described in detail. Access to the ideas is available through personal or corporate membership. Already some smaller stations in the UK are using it but I’m amazed at the apathy of others who don’t even try something like this which can generate valuable local revenue.

Juices must flow

Creative ideas are the lifeblood of radio, both to attract audiences and grow revenue. Radio advertisers love fresh, new ideas. Listening across the dial these days, it seems to me that many stations have lost their imaginative pizzazz and rely on boring listen-to-win contest mechanics, uninspired talk topics or this-is-that-was links.

In my travels around radio stations overseas, I’ve found there is an appetite for compelling creative ideas. For example, stations in India are crying out for inspired ideas, tried and tested elsewhere which they can use to boost ratings and revenue.

I guess that’s why most of the interest we get in Radio Ideas Bank comes from overseas. That’s sad. Radio in the UK needs to return to an era where content is listener focused – and creativity and imagination conspire to build success.

So let’s get our creative juices flowing again and bring back the pizzazz!