As a Metro Publisher PRO or Enterprise user, a QR code is automatically generated when you create any piece of content which you can use to conveniently direct offline audiences to your online content. In this article, we will explore what QR codes are, why you should use them and how.
Squares on a square
QR codes are a type of barcode graphic of arranged dots in a square on a white background. They are read by scanning with an imaging device such as a smartphone or tablet. An app is required to do this of which a variety of QR code apps are available for free both for Android and iOS.
QR Code example
It’s a fast and handy way for readers to instantly connect to your website content without having to manually type in a web address.
Why you should use QR codes
QR codes extend the reach of your print publications and boost traffic to your website. According to the Pew Research Center and the American Trends Panel, nearly two-thirds (64%) of American adults now own a smartphone, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world.
Close to 70% of those smartphone users are active in following news and share about events and the like in their local community, with over half using smartphones to acquire information on events and activities.
Services and information are increasingly being primarily searched online while on the go, whenever and wherever, and the primary instrument is the smartphone.
Placing QR codes bridge the static to the dynamic where the reader can engage and interact with other media types be it video, surveys, or subscribing to the newsletter.
While the goal may be driving traffic to your website and as convenient as possible, be sure to keep in mind that the content should provide your audience something valuable in addition to to content where the QR code was placed.
If done right, not only will there be an increase in traffic, but audience growth and loyalty, subscriptions and advertising revenue.
How to use QR codes
QR codes can be printed on any kind of offline media including magazines, newspapers, flyers, posters, but can also include digital signage.
It should be well placed and easy to see. A short description of what the QR code will provide is recommended. For example, if an article is about a season fashion review with a QR code linked to a video interview of one of the local designers, be sure to add a call-to-action like “watch our interview about the latest fashion trends.”
Another use is promoting subscriptions, whether in magazine, inserts or flyers, with giveaways that allows the reader to immediately subscribe and register for the giveaways upon scanning the QR code.
Event promotions or listings are great to use together with QR codes. The reader can be brought to a page with additional information on the event, video highlight, venue details, get directions, buy tickets or win them.
Third party references are just as potent. QR codes can be used on stickers or awards that are publicly hung to drive people, for example, to a specific review of a restaurant. Imagine standing in line at a restaurant and seeing framed award certificates. If those would include a QR code, patrons could very quickly be directed to the review and read while they wait.
Of all the uses of QR codes, if used in combination with automated related links, you have a pretty powerful formula to ensure reader engagement and audience growth.
QR codes in Metro Publisher
The first time you save a draft, a QR code is automatically generated. You can either copy and paste the QR code image into a program like Indesign or Photoshop, or save it to your hard drive to send to a designer.
For more details, access the QR code article on the Metro Publisher Support site.