From the Journals: Search Ads, Mobile Politics, Online Sources

Search ad impact, mobile political discourse, and online news source credibility are some of the interesting subjects in current academic journals. Public relations and advertising practitioners don’t have the time, and often the access, to academic journals, so I periodically give a brief summary of articles I find interesting. I provide source information for anyone who wants to access them via an academic library.

Incremental Clicks: The Impact of Search Advertising. Journal of Advertising Research, 51(4), 643-647.
A meta-analysis of several hundred studies revealed that 89% of visits to advertisers’ web sites were the result of search ad campaigns. Obviously this shows the value of search advertising as part of an effective campaign in which an objective is to drive traffic to a product page or other site.

Political Involvement in “Mobilized” Society: The Interactive Relationships Among Mobile Communication, Network Characteristics, and Political Participation. Journal of Communication, 61(6), 1005-1024.
This study looked at how mobile-mediated discourse is related to political participation. Essentially, political participation increases in large networks of like-minded individuals, but decreases when mobile technology is used in smaller homogenous networks. This would indicate that a strategy to increase mobile networks would be effective in efforts to get out the vote.

Source Cues in Online News: Is the Proximate Source More Powerful Than Distal Sources? Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 88(4), 719-736.
Readers have lots of sources of news online–a media site, an aggregator, a bookmarking page, shared links via Twitter or Facebook, and so on. This study showed that highly involved (i.e. deeply interested in subject, more seriously considering content) will consider both proximate and distal sources, or those that are close and identifiable as well as distant or second-hand sources. Meanwhile, readers of low-involvement are primarily influenced by a proximate source. This has interesting implications for messaging as well as a social media delivery strategy to reach and resonate with intended publics.

Jobs and New Media Good News for West Michigan

I received an email yesterday from Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor for Rapid Growth Media, that lifted my spirits. The blast email was to announce expanded job news coverage in the online publication. The expansion launched today in the Innovation and Job News section.

“Our philosophy is this: there may not be many big companies hiring 100 employees, but there might be 100 small businesses creating one job each,” Wood explained in the email. “Those businesses are often overlooked as news stories, or the owners are so busy doing the day-to-day they don’t think to let us know about their growth.”
More than a publication, Rapid Growth has been a cheerleader for the region since its inception. It’s not just seeing the positive job news in this economy, and the articles about smaller businesses, that is so uplifting. It’s the fact  that a local news outlet is dedicated to constructive coverage. 

A complaint about the mainstream media  has long been the dwelling on scandal and negativity, the “if it bleeds it leads” mentality. Sure, citizens need to be informed  of crime and less  than uplifting news. But the constant barrage of aggregated unemployment numbers don’t tell the full story. People need and want to hear about the small scale turnarounds and successes, the entrepreneurs as well as the monoliths. 

That may be partly why Rapid Growth has grown to 30,000 unique visitors  per month, and an email distribution of 15,000, according to publisher Jeff Hill. I would expect that to be a growth story of its own in the months ahead with its good news and the opportunity to peruse 98 jobs available at the moment I write this. It’s also encouraging to read about jobs landed–especially when they feature a former student of mine:-)

I realize that the mainstream media has been working to make their coverage  more positive and local as well. But it seems that new media like Rapid Growth, citizen journalism project The Rapidian, and an impressive e-zine from local social media maven StellaFly are leading the way into online, hyper-local, smaller focus, positive news. In a bit of irony, StellaFly recently posted a long feature of Mike Lloyd, the formerly ink-stained and curmudgeonly Grand Rapids Press editor now doing PR for Broadway Grand Rapids.

All of this is good for the news consumers of West Michigan. It’s also good in terms of the added outlets for the public relations professionals with small but good stories to share.