SMS Used To Pump Life Into Newspaper Classifieds

The Chicago Tribune Media Group announced recently a new initiative to revamp its flailing classifieds business that was once a cornerstone. With newspapers loosing readers and revenue left and right across the country, many are turning to new media ideas and new-age forms of interaction to engage their readers. SMS and other mobile marketing mediums might be the answer they’re looking for.

The Chicago Tribune is introducing a new SMS-based classifieds system dubbed “QuickText” which allows job-seekers with a unique Web i.d. to receive detailed job listing instantly. The program is designed to “bridge the gap” between print and mobile media, according to Ellen Glassberg, the company’s director of recruitment advertising.

“Readers want immediate information but don’t always have immediate access to a computer,” Glassberg said. “QuickText serves job seekers by sending them listings when, where and how they want them, which we find increasingly includes mobile devices.”

Next month, the company will launch a similar program for new and used car listings, and before the end of the year, will debut one for real estate listings as well. Their hope is to capture the readers of their online classifieds, and keep them engaged and exposed to advertising through their mobile devices. Even though they’re bypassing the printed versions all together in most cases, the company still needs some form of communication with its readers. This was the method they chose.

It’s not a new idea, but the right direction I suppose. It seems every newspaper in the country is scrambling to find new “digital” means of delivering their content one way or another. First it was getting everything online, which they’ve done and has helped considerably. Now, with revenues still dropping exponentially, they’re turning to the newest form of personal interaction which is SMS and other new media applications.