Monday, April 18, 2011

My 30-day project: & QR Codes

With everyone in the newsroom Tweeting, it made perfect sense for The Oakland Press to create a "best uses" of

My 30-day project gives the why-to and the how-to on using to do a lot more than just shorten URLs for Twitter.

By creating a free account, people can track data related to their shortened links. An added bonus? Every link shortened through the use of a account also has a QR code generated for it.

QR codes are something we're trying to use more often in our print edition. Why? To be able to interact with a huge and growing segment of news consumers — the mobile market.

Why not just create an mobile app for my newspaper, you ask? As much as I love apps, I'm not sold that they're the be-all end-all for newspapers organizations looking to reach the mobile consumer.

If we were to build an app, should we decide that iPhone users will get an app, or will it be Droid users? Or should we spend the money to make two apps? What about an app for the iPad? And what about apps for all those other tablets coming out now, and the next generation of smartphones lurking just around the bend?

My point is, the app thing is going to change. Right now, your apps are decided by your brand. Conversely, from our standpoint, we'd have to decide which brands are going to get our app. It's not a sustainable model and I have faith that in my lifetime, all smartphones and tablets are going to be able to shop at one master app-store — forget this by-the-brand crap.

I was just telling our Online Editor the same thing. He interrupted me to say, "In your lifetime you think that's going to happen? That's more likely to happen before Obama's term is up."

Red Wings ticket giveaway
Plus, why would you spend all that money creating a bunch of different apps when you could just add a line of code to your website that can tell what devices a user is coming from and automatically optimize the website for whatever that particular device may be?

I believe that's where JRC is headed. It certainly seems like the smartest and best use of resources.

In the meantime, we're finding other ways to connect with the mobile consumer — QR codes being one of them. We're also working on an SMS platform.

Already, we're getting results back from our use of QR codes. Staffer Paul Kampe said a QR code was used to promote a recent Red Wings ticket giveaway and generated a total of 65 clicks, including 35 from the first day and 25 more the next.

"Giveaways seem like a slam dunk for using a QR code," Kampe wrote.

I agree.

Here's video of the presentation broken into 3 approximately 10-minute clips:

This week, I'll be tweaking the Powerpoint included below to shed its OP-specific elements and make it applicable for all JRC properties.
Bitly QR codes