When I was younger I used to read Trivial Pursuit cards in bed. Not to cheat, but because I wanted to know EVERYTHING. I was addicted to all of these random facts and mini-lessons in history, science, current events - you name it! I packed my brain with them, and so began my love affair with knowing as much as I could about what was going on in different areas of the culture, the world, the media, business - whatever I was interested and involved in.
This habit has become very useful when working in PR and trying to land stories in short lead media (tv news, newspapers, blogs, weekly magazines) because I know what stories and news is hot in many categories, right as it's happening, and I can respond with a great expert, a great new angle on the story, or a spin that gets a someone great press.
Staying on top of news can be difficult, so in order to be sure I know breaking news in all the categories I need for the multiple pr campaigns I'm involved in, I sign up for RSS feeds. These go directly into my inbox in their own neat, little folders so I can check them whenever I need to and they don't clog my already jam packed inbox.
I personally sign up for multiple feeds including:
* The Today Show's feed (also helps me keep up-to-date with what kinds of shows they are working on and interested in)
* Entertainment feeds from Entertainment Weekly & People Magazine so that I can be on top of breaking showbiz news for my celebrity-friendly brands and general knowledge of what's new in Hollywood
* Variety in order to find out what movies and shows are coming out so I can think about product placemment
* Several business magazines that cover small biz and entrepreneurship so that I can see the way they cover stories similar to the ones I want to place and also so I can stay informed as an entrepreneur
* New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal for heavier news and breaking headlines...
This way the most up-to-date headlines are being fed to me directly allowing me to quickly piggyback on a story at the most, and at the least be very informed.
The more you know about what's going on, the more you can create great stories!
Get your RSS feed going - and if you have any other great RSS suggestions please share!