Weekly rag connects with community

50 years of bringing good news

Mike Clark Opinion ■ Mike Clark is director and lead trainer and facilitator at Think Right business training company.






The weekly rag remains one of my favourite recommendations for effective marketing. It is, however, so much more. Coming from Zimbabwe, the concept of a free newspaper filled with relevant community news, that is delivered to you, fell into the bucket of “amazing things I love about New Zealand”. As most daily newspapers tout and flaunt the doom and gloom, end of the world is nigh predictions, publications that share good news really stand out. I used to subscribe to Reader’s Digest magazine for regular reassurance the world was not destined for hell in a handbasket, but actually filled with mostly nice people, doing good things. In our highly technologically interconnected world we are seeing disconnection, loneliness, depression and anxiety in pandemic proportions. More than ever we need ways to stay connected to the community around us. This is where our local rag comes into its own. I have been working with businesses for close to two decades now and certain topics consistently come up in discussion. How to find business and get leads (aka marketing) remains in the top three most frequently asked questions. Added to that, there is the desire to ensure one gets the best return on investment when marketing. This is why I love community newspapers. You are talking to the people around you through a medium that has a higher readership rate than daily papers (readership as measured by people who actually read the pages and not just the number of people who buy the paper). Unlike daily papers, people tend to have their local paper hang around a lot longer and we tend to read more of it. The chance of seeing a picture of someone you know, or seeing an event advertised that you want to go to, is much higher and people keep their paper as a reference point. The spread of local stories gives a lot more good-feel-vibes and people like that so you connect with people when they are in a more positive frame of mind. There is more to the local rag than just business opportunities. I want to use this opportunity to give a huge shout-out to all the companies and people that faithfully churn out our lovely paper every week. I deeply believe it is a service to the community that helps keep the heart and culture of the city alive. I was really sad to see Palmy’s other local paper stop some years back and grateful the Guardian continued despite the challenges. It is a huge ask for one team to try to capture all the goodness and activity of a city as vibrant and alive as Palmy. It is so important though. When people get to hear, see and read about all that is planned and the great things that have happened it gives hope. Hope is a powerful and enduring quality. When we see people start new ventures, help others, stand up for a good cause, be creative and beautify the world around them, it restores our faith in humanity. When we realise that people want to do good, desire to connect, care and make a difference, we can feel connected to something bigger than ourselves — to the love that makes community. As the Guardian celebrates its 50th birthday it is my prayer that the energy, efforts and enthusiasm of the team continue to reach out and bless our community, and that we, as a people of this wonderful city and great nation, be even more united, and inspired to also strive to demonstrate the enduring qualities of faith, hope and love.