Blog content ideas

Are you responsible for writing your nonprofit’s blog? Do you dread the task because the spark of inspiration eludes you? Do your posts lack sizzle?

If so, you are not alone. But take heart! Simply enter “blog content ideas” into your search engine and you will have a wealth of inspiration on your computer screen.  I tried it and this is what I found:

Blog Content Ideas

Blog Content Ideas

Eureka! Not only blog content ideas, but content ideas tailored to nonprofits. So I checked out 10 Blog Content Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations and was treated to a wonderful post by Heather Mansfield.

In today’s blog, I’d like to highlight Mansfield’s Tip #9 – share your social media success stories. Mansfield advocates blogging about your organization’s successful forays into social media marketing. Readers are looking for content about successful social media initiatives. She also notes the importance of putting “nonprofit social media success story” in your blog’s title because blogging significantly impacts search engine results. She then challenges the reader to “Google nonprofit social media success story.”

So I did…and found 328,000 results!

Social Media Success Stories

So use your blog to highlight your social media success stories and use the success stories of others to inspire your nonprofit social media strategies.

Posted in Blog, Social Media | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

QR Codes – More testing

My husband picked up this QR Code at a Rotary meeting:


Diamond Backs Postcard - Front

Diamondbacks Postcard - Front


Diamondbacks Postcard - Back

Diamondbacks Postcard - Back

I thought the marketing was clever… “Scan this diamond and get great seats for this one!” And, I thought the graphic designer did a fairly nice job incorporating a pictograph that explains what to do with the QR Code.

So I scanned the code, and was directed to this site:

Diamondbacks Ticket Site

After scanning the QR Code, I was directed to this site.

Cool! I then clicked on the green “Buy Tickets” button. And I got this:

Too many redirects

Too many redirects???

Too many redirects?? So I searched around on the web. Initially, I thought the problem was the QR Code itself. But after testing the URL on my computer (where it worked fine) I realized the problem might lie elsewhere. Additional research on the internet suggested the problem might be with my (gulp!) quietly brilliant HTC Droid Incredible. The suggested solution was to power down the phone completely and then try again. So I did…and it worked!

Diamondbacks half-price ticket page

Diamondbacks half-price ticket page

I was able to go to the Diamondbacks half-price ticket page where I could purchase tickets if I so desired.

Attempts to find reliable documentation about the HTC Incredible redirect issue proved fruitless. I will continue to research that problem and will report my findings in a future blog.

In the meantime, the testing provided some additional insights into QR Codes.

Clever graphics are an important component of effective marketing with a QR Code. Getting the consumer interested enough to scan the code is critical. But clever graphics are not enough – the consumer must be directed to a value-add site. In the case of this Diamondbacks QR Code, directing the consumer to a site where half-price tickets can be purchased was an excellent use of a QR Code.

Secondly, marketers need to be aware that QR Code technology has the potential to frustrate the end user when it doesn’t work properly. Potential breakdown areas include the software that generates the QR Code, the software that reads the QR Code, and the user’s phone.

Posted in QR Codes, QR Codes - Best Practices | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

QR Codes – Random Testing

I spent Sunday playing around with QR Codes. In this post, I will share my findings.

When I got up on Sunday morning, the first thing I did was hop onto TweetDeck to see what was coming in on my QR Code feed. One tweeter noted that the Best Buy circular in the Sunday paper prominently featured QR codes. So I shuffled out to the driveway, picked up the paper, brought it into the house and found the code the tweeter had referenced.

Best Buy QR Code for Prince of Persia Trailer

So I scanned the QR Code with my HTC Incredible phone using Google Goggles as my QR Code scanning application. Interestingly, instead of being directed to the P of P trailer, I was directed to the DVD section of Best Buy’s online store.

So I tweeted the results of my test into the Tweetosphere but I only got one reply (from the original poster) who said he didn’t know why I got that result.

A few hours later, I scanned the code again. This time, I got the trailer:

I tested again over the course of the day with several different readers (I-nigma, BeeTagg, Google Goggles, QRShow) and successfully reached the trailer each time.

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QR Codes – Gimmick or Tool?

QR Codes are popping up everywhere, and marketers are scrambling to figure out how they can be effectively incorporated into an integrated marketing strategy. Simply put, QR (Quick Response) Codes are 2-D barcodes that allow the user to move from print to web. (Think “print-based hypertext link.”) Using a smart phone enabled with a QR scanning application, the user scans the QR Code and the decoding software directs the phone’s browser to go straight to the encoded URL.

But are QR Codes a flash-in-the-pan marketing gimmick or are they a new tool in the marketer’s new media toolbox?

In my opinion, the answer lies in how we introduce QR Codes to the public. The task at hand is to figure out how to optimize and incorporate the technology to provide value to the end user.

So before you slap a QR Code on your next marketing piece, consider the following:

User Experience – The technology is still in its infancy in the United States. There are dozens of applications that create the codes, dozens more that read the codes, and dozens of mobile phone models. Bottom line – the technology doesn’t always play nicely together so a particular code may or may not work on any given phone. The American public will be turned off by a technology that doesn’t work reliably.

Mobile Optimization – In our haste to bring QR Codes to the public, marketers are linking QR Codes to web pages designed for computer screens. QR Codes are all about mobile technology. The URL must be optimized for mobile.

Value-added – Again, because of our eagerness to bring QR Codes to the public, marketers are sending users to pages with little or no value-added. If the user experience ends with the question “what was the point?” the marketer has alienated his audience from the QR technology and possibly his product.


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In the beginning…

I recently made a career switch from healthcare to graphic information technology. As I explored the many areas of opportunity in my new field, it became clear that my strengths and interests gravitated around new media and the tremendous marketing potential of these communication channels.

But, like many others, I couldn’t quite see how new media (particularly social network sites like Facebook) could become legitimate players in the world of business. Then, in January of 2010, I had the opportunity to attend the PODi AppForum in Las Vegas. The conference featured networking, information, inspiration…and a case study that proved to be life-changing for me. Ted Raymond, VP of Allegra Marketing and Print in Scottsdale, Arizona, presented his award-winning Support the Sash campaign developed by The Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus Pine Council (GSACPC) and Allegra. The purpose of the campaign was to engage alumni and to develop a network of donors for future campaigns. The campaign utilized:

  • Variable data direct mail
  • Email
  • Web – Personalized landing pages
  • Social Media (Facebook Cause page, YouTube Video
  • Telesales follow up calls

The campaign targeted the memories and emotions of former Girl Scouts in an effort to get them re-engaged, and ultimately make a donation to support today’s scouts. In addition, the campaign was versioned by age segment, with personas and messaging targeted to specific age groups:

The campaign results were remarkable:

  • 31% of respondents made a donation
  • Average donation increased from $50 to $250
  • Facebook “Cause” page grew by 141 members, 68 of whom were not in GSACPC’s database
  • collected 87 referrals from “refer a friend” function

Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus Pine Council was very pleased with this campaign and continues to use this format for ongoing alumni donor development.

Best practices learned from this campaign are:

  • Build a relationship before asking for money. GSACPC did not make a hard push for donations in this initial communication with alumni. Rather they focused on reconnecting and informing alumni about the challenges facing Girl Scouts today.
  • Use print to drive social media interaction. With print you can cut through the clutter of email and online messages. It can be an effective way to capture your audience’s attention and then begin the conversation through social media.
  • Relevance drives response. By segmenting its audience into different age groups, GSACPC and its service provider were able to create messaging and imagery that strongly resonated with Girl Scout alumni.

After Ted Raymond’s presentation, I approached him to let him know how impressed I was with his work. From there, we developed an ongoing professional relationship which resulted in an invitation from Ted asking me to join the Allegra team. I am now currently working on the GSACPC’s Fall campaign and look forward to bringing you the results of that effort.

To obtain a copy of this and other PODi case studies, click here.

Posted in Allegra Marketing & Print, Integrated Marketing Campaign, New Media | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment