3 Reasons for Why Idea Poaching Is a Sorry Excuse for Brainstorming


Regardless of how traditionalistic your take on the world of PR might be, it’s impossible to deny that valuable PR practitioners, more than ever before, need the ability to create engaging content. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at any of your client’s reputable competitors’ social accounts to see what’s being pushed—it sure as heck isn’t a continual stream of photos from the last company picnic.

Moreover, it’s engaging content, dragging audiences back to the source of the matter: a self-hosted blog or homepage. Needless to say, the same applies for all social channels, not just Twitter. Unbeknownst to those who’ve yet to have become wholeheartedly engaged in the creation of digital content is the constant need for great ideas. 

These can come from a number of sources, but all too often, they’re plucked purely from the headlines of rival websites. If ever there was a time to show off your client’s brilliant creativity, it’d be now. Instead, if the timeliness of idea poaching is chosen, the consequences will be worse than you could’ve ever imagined. Observe:

1) Same Old, Same Old

Somewhere out in the digital sphere, there’s a poor horse that keeps getting beaten over the head with the same series of janky clickbait lists. Hey, I’m not opposed to numbered lists or anything—I mean, did you actually read the title of this entry? 

In fact, studies have even shown that numbered lists equate more clicks, but step out a bit into the unknown and learn to rely on more than the list of pieces Google News produces for you. Don’t get me wrong, Google News is a great place to start, but you’ll need to put your own spin on things so as to distance yourself from what’s yesterday’s news. Anything less is just more of the same.

2) Softcore Plagiarism

If you’re looking for the hardcore copy and paste stuff, you’ll have to check under another dude’s mattress, because this plagiarism type is much more subtle. Any journalist or PR pro knows of the career-ending dangers of word-for-word plagiarism, but it’s the idea thievery that’ll really have your brain turned to mush. 

Though the consulting of other sources is key for content creation, use the brain that was given to you to make something truly unique. Real thought leadership isn’t a mere regurgitation of someone else’s brilliance. Sure, imitation might be the finest form of flattery, but not in this sense.

3) Attracting New Audiences

There’s an old idiom that says something along the lines of, “If you’re not improving, you’re falling behind.” Complacent content marketers and PR specialists accept current audience size and levels of engagement. 

However, the select few who refuse to accept workplace comfort continue to earnestly seek consumer expansion. Believe it or not, your commitment to stepping out of a content comfort zone is a direct reflection of which group you fall into.

In short, get over yourself and do something new. So, where do you belong? Am I completely out in left field with all of this or am I onto something? Please be so kind as to include any and all passionate responses in the comments section below.


Lucas Miller is the Founder of Echelon Copy. When not writing, editing or running, he's working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the "World's Greatest Pompadour." Additionally, for what it's worth, his editorial works have been featured on Social Media Today, Business2Community, Ragan's PR Daily, Spin Sucks and many other top-tier PR publications.