We have been doing a great deal of planning in our AHA PR office, for clients and for ourselves. (When you have more than one client, you better plan well or no one gets what they need!)
The reaction we often receive in our first meeting with a new client is surprise at how nailed down we are when it comes to planning. We outlined an editorial schedule for a client recently and she was very interested in why we listed out all of the social media content needs on it, as well as needs for other content such as news releases, articles, speeches, etc. She asked why we don’t just grab the information from the other content when we need it. For us, it is important to plan out not just what content is relevant, how it will be developed, and the deadlines, but also how it will be shared and, where possible, to craft the message that is appropriate to the audience, community or stakeholder group and the medium.
There are many times in a communicator’s day when we have to react and respond (often immediately). Where we can, we plan the creation of content and schedule it in advance. This allows us to build the storyline, create momentum and carry it forward, and strategically engage.
An actor once told me that the reason he was so good at adlibbing was because he “rehearsed the hell out of the part ahead of time.” Creativity happens when you are organized and have efficient and effective processes. Creativity is at its best when you have the time to focus on it. Planning allows that time to focus. To us, planning facilitates creativity.
What do you think? Do you plan for creativity? How far in advance do you plan?