A little less than a year ago, we started subscribing to the daily newspaper once again.
It had been a while since I had last been a subscriber. It wasn’t so much that I had given up on daily news, it was just that I usually read the paper at work or just didn’t have the time to get to it (two little kids will do that to your free time).
So, we subscribed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune
. The experience got off to a bit of a bumpy ride, but since then it’s been a coup for my wife and me. It’s been much better than TV (sorry, KARE-11
) for local news. The coverage is much more in-depth and there’s better coverage of Minneapolis events that impact us. Much like our decision to cut the cable cord, it’s meant less time watching TV, which has been a nice byproduct.
Subscribing to the daily paper is now seen as a thing of the past or as something “old” people do (please, no jokes). Younger people barely know what a newspaper is anymore (I wish that were a joke).
Even so, resubscribing has been a big win for me so far, particularly for my professional life. Here’s why:
Opportunities to recognize colleagues
At least a few times a week, I run across articles that mention a colleague or highlight a business where colleagues work. I use that as an opportunity to send these folks a quick note saying I saw them or their companies in the paper, along with a quick take on the article. This gives me a nice opportunity to connect with colleagues (which means referral sources and leads for me) and say “Hey, I’m thinking about you.” It makes a bigger impression than you might think.
Old-school clips for local clients
Do 20-somethings even know what clips are? Probably not, but getting the hard-copy paper gives you the chance to physically clip articles out, draw up a handwritten note and send it to a client or colleague. Again, it’s a great way to stand out from your competition, whomever they may be.
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The chance to study local media
One of those old phrases I heard growing up in this business was, “Consume as much media as you can, and study it.” You’ll notice media consumption is a big habit with many PR folks, and rightfully so. Since we’re working with the media so closely, it pays to know what beats these people cover, their personal writing styles, and what they’ve written about in the past. I’ve learned all of that and then some by reading the Strib
When reading an article, don’t just parse it for information. Study the style, notice who wrote the piece and keep mental notes on other topics that they also write about. Maybe even consider sending the writer a tweet or email telling them you enjoyed the article. Media professionals love to be recognized just like you do.
The Business section
When I was growing up reading the paper, the first section I read was always the Sports section. I know I’m not alone in that. As I grew older, I started reading the “Life” and “A” sections. But, I rarely read the Business section. It had too many buzzwords and I never really understood much of the language.
That changed when I started working for a accounting/consulting firm. I then started reading the Business section (as well as The Wall Street Journal
) regularly. And you know what? I liked it. Once I dove in and started to understand the lingo a bit more, I really got interested in the business world. Nowadays, I read the Business section first
My point? Don’t limit your horizons with the paper. Expand them! Learn to read the whole
paper, no matter how painful it might be. You’ll most likely learn something that will come in handy in a meeting or conversation in the weeks ahead.
What about you? Are you a daily subscriber to your local fish wrap? Have anything to add to my list?
Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. A version of this article originally ran on his blog, Communications Conversations.