PR Things To Do (Get 100+ Ideas)

An easy-to-use tool for coming up with powerful PR ideas.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Do you need PR things to do? I’ve got you covered!

Every once in a while, a great PR idea comes along. 1Please note that ambi­tious pub­lic rela­tions interns will always keep a Moleskine close to jot down ideas or instruc­tions as they occur.

However, in most situ­ations, we must devel­op awe­some PR ideas from scratch — and on the spot. Generating inspired PR ideas is hard work and can some­times be challenging.

Unless you make lists.

Here we go:

PR Things To Do (Make These Lists!)

I’ve assembled this easy-to-use tool to assist you in devel­op­ing bet­ter PR ideas. I’ve based this meth­od on mak­ing lists and extract­ing PR ideas that you can use from them.

1. You Should Make a “Pick-a-Fight” List

Make a list of people or organ­isa­tions your organ­isa­tion could make very angry.

Why should you make this list?

Take the Swedish brand Oatly, for example. They sell oat milk. They aimed at the milk industry (“The Milk Lobby”). Since Swedes are his­tor­ic­ally very pos­it­ive to milk, this stirred up emo­tions — and enough of these emo­tions were favour­able to Oatly for this to be a power­ful PR strategy.

Everyone loves a good con­flict from a safe dis­tance, and someone is always wait­ing to be triggered.

Corporate exec­ut­ives are some­times scared of stir­ring up too much con­flict for com­fort, so your approach should always be stra­tegic­ally sound and well-researched before you start the fight.

2. You Should Make a “Piggybacking” List

Make a list of experts and thought lead­ers inside and out­side your industry.

Why should you make this list?

On behalf of the Beech-Nut food com­pany, “The Father of Spin,” Edward Bernays hired a well-known New York phys­i­cian to sur­vey oth­er phys­i­cians to see what was most healthy — a light or a heavy break­fast. The doc­tors con­firmed that a hearty break­fast was better.

After some pub­li­city and tar­geted lob­by­ing, eggs, ham, and bacon became the quint­es­sen­tial American break­fasts, and hotels world­wide star­ted serving eggs, ham, and bacon for break­fast. In less than six months, Beech-Nut’s sales boomed.

Piggybacking on the author­ity of oth­ers is one of the more clas­sic PR tac­tics that we should always use respons­ibly and with caution.

3. You Should Make a “Stupid Majority” List

Make a list of Stupid Majorities in your industry.

Why should you make this list?

Many PR suc­cesses come from tar­get­ing a major­ity on its way out of fash­ion. Now and then, there’s a shift in soci­ety where new major­it­ies replace old major­it­ies. These new major­it­ies, of course, star­ted as minorities.

Majorities about to trans­form into old major­it­ies are what I call “Stupid Majorities.” “Smart Minorities” are those minor­it­ies who are soon about to become the new majority.

  • Tesla Motors took on a stu­pid major­ity. (“Electric cars can’t com­pete with fossil-fuelled cars.”)
  • Facebook took on a stu­pid major­ity. (“A media com­pany that doesn’t pro­duce any media is not a threat.”) 
  • Red Bull took on a stu­pid major­ity. (“Extreme sports are only for reck­less adren­aline junkies and not to be con­sidered real sports.”)
  • Airbnb took on a stu­pid major­ity. (“You can’t build a suc­cess­ful hotel com­pany without hav­ing any hotels.”) 
  • Apple took on a stu­pid major­ity. (“No one cares about the aes­thet­ics of technology.”)

As a bonus, Smart Minority fans will be dis­pro­por­tion­ately more engaged and sup­port­ive due to the con­ver­sion the­ory.

So, what are the Stupid Majorities today in your industry? 

Learn more: The Stupid Majority PR Strategy

4. You Should Make a “Whistleblower” List

Make a list of any cri­ti­cism or com­plaints your organ­isa­tion might have about your competitors.

Why should you make this list?

You can often har­vest inform­at­ive sug­ges­tions if you ask an organisation’s employ­ees about com­pet­it­or weaknesses.

Perhaps they treat their employ­ees badly? Perhaps their exec­ut­ives are lin­ing their pock­ets? Perhaps their qual­ity of ser­vices or products is poor? Perhaps they’re over­char­ging? Perhaps they’re strug­gling fin­an­cially? Perhaps they have uneth­ic­al practices?

Get in on any dis­turb­ing issues con­cern­ing your com­pet­it­ors. As some might be true, great PR ideas are lurk­ing around these murky waters.

Learn more: Your CSR is Boring — You’re Picking the Wrong Fights

5. You Should Make a “Creative Influencer” List

Make a list of influ­en­cers and brain­storm how each would spend 10,000 EUR from your budget — if they were allowed to spend it creatively.

Why should you make this list?

The idea is to put your­self inside the minds of influ­en­cers and ima­gine how they would pro­mote your brand. 

Such brain­storm­ing ideas are likely out­land­ish, but some could be start­ing points for great PR ideas. The best way to devel­op one good PR idea is to devel­op one hun­dred bad ones first.

For inspir­a­tion, I sug­gest check­ing out fam­ous vlog­ger Casey Neistat’s video “Make It Count” which he made on behalf of Nike:

Learn more: “For Content!”

6. You Should Make a “Creative Coworker” List

Make a list of employ­ees and ask them how they would spend 10,000 EUR from your budget if they could spend it any way they wanted without constraints.

Why should you make this list?

You some­times get sur­pris­ing answers if you ask your employ­ees how they would spend a budget. 

I’ve read many such ideas, and, oh boy!

How about installing a swim­ming pool on the roof? How about invit­ing a fam­ous band or throw­ing an epic out-of-pro­por­tion party? How about pay­ing for everyone’s gym mem­ber­ship fees for a whole year? What about invest­ing the money in a nearby day­care facil­ity? How about build­ing more park­ing spots or buy­ing free-to-use elec­tric kick­bikes? What about a dona­tion to sui­cide pre­ven­tion to com­mem­or­ate a colleague’s broth­er? What about mak­ing a row of quiet rooms where employ­ees can med­it­ate and catch their breaths?

Ideas like these are often all over the place, mak­ing them per­fect for find­ing great PR ideas.

Of course, some will sug­gest giv­ing the money as bonuses — which might not be a ter­rible PR idea.

7. You Should Make a “Journo Topics” List

Make a list of trade journ­al­ists and email them, ask­ing them what they’re most inter­ested in at the moment.

Why should you make this list?

Journalists are often sur­pris­ingly sup­port­ive when organ­isa­tions ask for advice. 

If you can get rel­ev­ant journ­al­ists to dis­close what they’re extra inter­ested in right now, their input is valu­able fod­der for great PR ideas.

Learn more: How To Write a PR Pitch

8. You Should Make a “Survey Questions” List

Make a list of poten­tial sur­vey questions.

Why should you make this list?

A cli­ent launch­ing a job mar­ket web­site asked job seekers if they had lied about their resumé. It cul­min­ated in nation­al head­lines and thou­sands of registrations.

Liars — 4 out 5 job seekers lie on their resumé.”

Another cli­ent struggled to get cli­ents to sign ser­vice agree­ments on their backup power solu­tions. So, we sur­veyed hos­pit­als about their ser­vice agree­ments. It cul­min­ated in nation­al head­lines and all hos­pit­als sign­ing up.

Deathtraps — 7 out of 8 hos­pit­als haven’t ser­viced their backup power in case of a blackout.”

Journalists are almost always open to inter­est­ing new sur­vey res­ults. Make a list of ques­tions and dare to be cre­at­ive and pointy.

9. You Should Make a “Sales Dreams” List

Make a list of salespeople on staff and ask each to come up with a head­line about your brand (that they would love to see).

Why should you make this list?

Salespeople go into meet­ings car­ry­ing the weight of their entire organ­isa­tion on their backs. If the organ­isa­tion has an excel­lent repu­ta­tion and does well, its jobs become much more manageable.

Salespeople often come up with rel­at­ively straight­for­ward head­line ideas. Their ideal head­lines are often straight-up praise for the organ­isa­tion. But this input is essen­tial; salespeople often know pre­cisely why their organ­isa­tion deserves credit.

These lists are highly rel­ev­ant for clas­sic busi­ness press pitches: new cli­ents, new hires, new awards, testi­mo­ni­als, mile­stones, con­tracts, innov­a­tions, and launches.

10. You Should Make a “Recurring Events” List

Make a list of annu­al events.

Why should you make this list?

Promoting annu­al events is becom­ing a staple of the PR industry.

The trend is that the organ­isa­tion does some­thing yearly that gath­ers momentum and slowly grows. Please think of how Apple can launch yearly events without telling any­one before­hand what they will launch.

Please note that it doesn’t have to be phys­ic­al events, either. It can be the launch of a yearly report, for example.

11. You Should Make a “Gossip Girl” List

Make a list of the most prom­in­ent top­ics of gos­sip in your industry.

Why should you make this list?

There’s gos­sip fly­ing around in every pro­fes­sion­al industry. Typical gos­sip is often unsub­stan­ti­ated but still so inter­est­ing that people can’t stop them­selves from talk­ing about it.

Making a list of gos­sip top­ics might feel unpro­fes­sion­al (“dirty”), but we should nev­er under­es­tim­ate the allure of guilty interests.

Why are people so inter­ested in these top­ics? Is there any truth to any of them, or are they rumours? Are there, in fact, quite severe under­pin­nings to some of these top­ics that deserve an open debate?

Gossip is often inter­est­ing for a reason.

And that reas­on might hold an embryo for your next great PR idea!

12. You Should Make a “Keyword Research” List

Make a list of the most used keywords used by people who land on your website.

Why should you make this list?

Providing online edu­ca­tion for free is per­haps one of the most under-util­ised PR tac­tics out there. People go online to learn about par­tic­u­lar mat­ters — and some­times, these mat­ters align with exist­ing in-house expertise.

Keyword research is an excel­lent approach to get­ting accur­ate data on pain points. And this inform­a­tion should help you devel­op highly rel­ev­ant PR ideas.

Make a list of the top-vis­ited pages on your website.

Why should you make this list?

List the most vis­ited pages on your organisation’s web­site and look for some­thing that sticks out, some­thing that might be sur­pris­ing to you.

Why are our web­site vis­it­ors so obsessed with one of our employee’s old blog posts? What is so inter­est­ing about that par­tic­u­lar one?”

14. You Should Make a “Pain Point” List

Make a list of cus­tom­er pain points.

Why should you make this list?

This is an easy — but great!— one:

Create a form on your website’s thank-you page ask­ing new sub­scribers about their biggest industry-spe­cif­ic challenge.

Your cus­tom­ers’ pain points make for great PR ideas.

15. You Should Make a “Unspoken Truths” List

Make a list of things every­one in the industry knows (but no one talks about).

Why should you make this list?

Unspoken truths” are typ­ic­ally power­ful PR concepts. 

People (espe­cially journ­al­ists) love to hear oth­ers say what they already know to be accur­ate, but no one dares to express it; this is basic­ally what most stand-up comedi­ans talk about for laughs.

These truths may be uncom­fort­able, so cre­ate a safe brain­storm­ing environment.

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Thanks for read­ing. Please con­sider shar­ing my pub­lic rela­tions blog with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. If you have ques­tions (or want to retain my PR ser­vices), please con­tact me at jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

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1 Please note that ambi­tious pub­lic rela­tions interns will always keep a Moleskine close to jot down ideas or instruc­tions as they occur.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has


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