Taylor Swift is dating an NFL player. What can we do with that?
Our last Planet Reynolds touched on the importance of innovating with fresh ideas, so your fans don’t get bored. This time let’s touch on how to do that.
The quickest way to thwart the brainstorming process is to ask the above: what can we do with that? That question brings pressure to the topic and brains racing. Ask a group of creatives “what can we do with Taylor Swift dating an NFL player” and I guarantee you’ll leave with, “Let’s open the phones and ask the audience if they think it’ll last.” L-A-M-E. Your phones will ring, but it’s a weak treatment to the Hot Topic.
I like to have Pitch Meetings with the shows I work with. Everyone goes off, creates an idea or two around the topic in their own time and own way, then pitches them at the team in the next meeting, where we can only make it better by adding to it so it’s more vibrant. Kinda like how SNL writes its skits or Kimmel’s folks offer ideas.
How do I create my ideas? What works for me? I go for a walk. It’s highly unlikely a great idea will come sitting at a desk or in a conference room or staring at a computer screen. So, I grab one of the dogs (Sam on the left, Willow on the right below) and head into the park by my house for a stroll amongst the trees and nature. Zero distractions, no phone, only the birds chirping and leaves blowing so my brain is cleared out.
I read a Stanford survey about creativity a few weeks ago and it affirmed the value of going for a walk to open your brain to get more creative. When I do that, solutions to problems appear and better ideas than yes/no questions pop in my head.
High performing talent are deeply curious people. They read a lot around the topics of the day and that inquisitiveness stimulates their creativity.
While on a morning walk last week thinking about Taylor, I wondered what it would sound like if a musically inclined person on a show pre-wrote and recorded the song Taylor will release when she breaks up with the NFL player, as many of her songs start. Or to ask ChatGPT to write Taylor and Travis love poems and have a cute kid read them on the air. Maybe those are good ideas, and maybe not. But it’s what hit me on a walk in the woods and are better than a phone topic seeking a one-word answer.
My point is that if your show is little more than benchmarks, phone topics, and conversations amongst the cast, there is limited growth in that strategy. It’s our creativity (in ways that fit the show) that keep your fans intrigued. To do that, a walk works for me. What works for you?
There is much competing for the attention of our fans. What’s your game plan to prevent yours from straying?
Wonderment then a nice long walk (for Steve) = better ideas that will help you stand out.
And when you stand out and do something different, you become a one-of-a-kind, epic radio show fans crave to come back to.