Pinterest-Friendly Blog Posts: 5 Important Steps

I was 8 when I received my first bulletin board. *sigh* Memories… *pauses to ponder whether non-to-be writer kids cherish cork boards* My family had just moved to suburbia, and to ease the angst of moving, my mom bribed me with gave me Sweet Valley High and Babysitter’s Club mysteries. (Smart woman. ;)) So guess what landed on my board? Photos of my favorite books and characters, and anything else I found compelling—Paula Abdul, hot pink and purple what-evers, our family dog, my BFFs and code names for boys I totally did not have crushes on.

That, my beautiful friends, is Pinterest in a nutshell—virtual cork boards to fill up with content we’re intrigued by. And like childhood cork boards, they reflect our interests, personalities, goals and dreams. For bloggers, they are also visual platforms that can enhance our blogging/writing brands.

Whether you’ve joined Pinterest or not, your blog posts may have.* We can respond to this with an aggravated, “How dare they pin my stuff without asking?!?!” attitude, or appreciate the promotion and accept the fact that making our posts more pinnable can be highly beneficial. As the current fastest growing social media platform, Pinterest offers bloggers a fun, visual way to connect with readers we might not connect with otherwise. Cool, right? And because it’s a top referral to many online retailers, those of us with books or other products for sale have multiple reasons for excitement.

In my last Pinterest post, I focused on 7 keys for blogging/pinning success. Today, we’re digging deeper into the blog posts themselves. **If you’re a Pinterest brand-newbie, take a peak at the Pinterest Getting Started guide. If you’d like an invite to Pinterest, drop me a note. Trust me, it’s less confusing once you get started. ;)

1. Start with compelling content. Most successful blog posts have a common denominator: compelling content. Sure, it helps if the text, format and backgrounds are clear and the topics are tagged well and popular. But from my experience in reading and writing posts, the stronger the content, the more eyes and interest they gain. (If your heart races a bit at the thought of a topic, you’re probably on to something… ;))

2. Feature a fabulous, topic-specific image. Using an adorable koala bear photo is a great idea if your post somehow relates to animals. But using an animal photo just because it’s cute and you think people will pin it isn’t the best idea. Why? Because people will pin the photo, but they’ll be less likely to click to read the connected post. Or they’ll be disappointed when upon clicking the koala bear, they find a “how to de-lint your carpet” post (unless they happen to love koalas AND struggle with lint-laden rugs). It’s better to have a simple graphic that ties into your topic than to be cute but on two different planets.

Photos that work—and don’t infringe on copyright violations:

  • Your own snapshots and graphic creations. If you have visual arts skills, use them! If you don’t, now’s a great time to start practicing. I use my camera more often since joining Pinterest; you never know when a great photo opp will arrise—including those that require little, if any, expert skills. ;)
  • Purchased photos upheld by the Creative Commons license, which is a legal code that allows you to utilize images freely. Many Flickr users offer uphold CClicensure. You can also enter keywords into the CC Searchtool,which will take you to independent companies that offer CC-friendly works. Once you find an image, look for the CC license trademark. If you don’t see this—> contact the site owner.
  • Free (not stolen) images. Many stock photo companies offer free images. To find them, Google-search “free stock images.” TurboPhoto.com, iStockPhoto.com and Getty Images all offer royalty-free, affordable and/or totally free images. (When I use such images, I add text, crop them or combine them with other graphics to make them unique. More on this below.)
  • Fellow artists’ work, with permission. If you’re in love with a particular image, contact the creator. As long as we credit artists’ work properly, many are happy to share work samples. If you have an artistically-inclined friend, team up! By working together, you can both benefit.

3. Enhance your images with text or other “tweaks.” I’m not very graphics art-inclined, yet have been able to edit images and add simple text using Artboard—a Mac app I found on iTunes. Trust me: If I can do it, you can. I’ve also heard great things about PhotoShop and PicMonkey. Add your web address, a powerful quote that ties into your blog post or your post title—whatever floats your blogging/pinning boat.

4. Use easy-to-read text. When adding text to images, the words may read loud and clear until you make them into a smaller image on your blog, and smaller yet on Pinterest. Particularly if the words are the focus of the image, i.e., you’re featuring a quote, use bold, extremely legible font.

5. Invite blog readers to pin your posts by implementing Pinterest share buttonsAdding the “Follow Me on Pinterest” button to your blog also helps, by showing your readers you’re in the game. Notifying your current readers that you’ve joined Pinterest and that they’re welcome to pin your posts isn’t a bad idea either.

Once you’ve created a Pinterest-friendly post, pin it along with intriguing text that gives readers a feel for the post. To make it even easier for pinners to read your post, paste the address after the description. Then, use hashtags as you would on Twitter. You can also tag others in your post by adding their Pinterest handle. If your account is linked with Twitter, insert the Twitter handle of anyone featured in the post. If I’m posting a link by talented writer Lisa Hall-Wilson, for example, I’ll put @Lisa Hall-Wilson to ensure that she’s notified. If I want to tag her on Twitter, I’ll add @LisaHallWilson.

*To learn if your blog has been pinned, plug this into your web browser, with your site inserted: http://www.pinterest.com/source/WEBSITENAME.COM.

I’d love to hear from you. Are your posts already Pinterest-friendly? Any tips to add? How has Pinterest helped your own blog?

Leave a comment

66 Comments

  1. Thanks for another useful post. I pinned it, LOL

    Reply
  2. We were just discussing this and how confusing and/or unproductive this option is on Writers Gateway. Good timing August. Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Reblogged this on little box of books and commented:
    More on using Pinterest

    Reply
  4. Thanks for the tips, August. I usually pin my Thriller Thursday posts, but I don’t create graphics for them. I just use the pics I’ve found on news sites, etc. Is that all right?

    You also mentioned adding hashtags to a pin (in another discussion) – should you do that even if you’re not tweeting it? Is there a point? I don’t like to spam twitter with my pins, so I don’t always add hashtags. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Great questions, Stacy. Technically, you may not have the rights to photos from news sites. You’re supposed to pin images to the original source, which would be the news site, not your blog. That sad, I highly doubt you’ll get in trouble. News images are out there in the public, and one could just as easily print and scan one and call it their own. If the news sites have a “Pin It” share button, you’re in good shape. Adding the photo source to the image by placing text in the border could also help. (Photo via __.)

      Hashtags aren’t just used for Twitter. People also use the terms to search Pinterest. (I don’t tweet most of mine, either.) Hope that helps!

      Reply
  5. Great post August! I’m hooked on Pinterest, I have no control…lol…is there a 12 step program? I didn’t know about the “how to find out if your site has been pinned” that’s pretty awesome. I too have been working on taking more photos, but my cellphone camera isn’t cutting it..time to move on to something bigger and better!

    Reply
  6. You are definitely the BG–and maybe now the PG? :)

    Reply
  7. Karen McFarland

     /  June 6, 2012

    Thank you August for this post! I’m definitely bookmarking it! I’m not on Pinterest yet. I can see that I will have to take the plunge sometime soon. This will be so much help when I do. :)

    Reply
  8. Thanks for this! Very helpful. I’ve been dragging my feet over Pinterest. Time to get on board, I guess.

    Reply
  9. Susan Cooper

     /  June 6, 2012

    Pinterest is an awesome site! I’m hooked. I always pin my blog posts to my boards but I been curious why I have not seen much traffic from my efforts. You have offered some great suggestions that I will start utilizing. Thank you for the link to check my blog has been pinned. That is awesome.

    Reply
  10. Fantabulous article and such great timing! I’ve been meaning to work harder to ensure I have an intuitive photo with each post. Especially my urban word wednesday’s posts – so I’ll definitely get on that to make it that much easier to pin. And I had NO IDEA about the site to see which of your posts have been pinned. That’s awesomeness August…thanks for that!
    Great tips and tricks. I’m going to work harder to ensure my posts are pin-friendly! Woot woot!

    Reply
  11. This is priceless advice, August. Thank you so much.
    Could anyone recommend an easy-to-learn and free image editing software for PC? Besides Picasa and Gimp (not easy to learn)?

    Reply
  12. Helpful – and entertaining – as ever, August. Thanks!

    Reply
  13. I’m new to Pinterest and this is helpful! Thanks, August. I need to bookmark this. Wait a minute…I can just pin it!

    Reply
  14. One question: what’s the etiquette on pinning your own blog posts? I haven’t done this yet, because I’m not sure…

    Reply
    • I think the general rule is pin away—and support others, too. (It’s lot like Twitter and Facebook in this regard.) Some people designate one board to their own blog posts. I pin mine on various boards, depending on the topic. Good luck!

      Reply
  15. Great post, August. I never considered asking permission to pin a blog post. I suppose I ought to.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Catherine! I think most bloggers are happy to have their posts pinned. I only ask if I’m concerned about the photos they used. If the person has a “Pin It” button, that generally works as permission. :)

      Reply
  16. I have a question. I just tried to pin this with your button and your post didn’t come up. I’ve had that before too.

    Reply
    • Strange! Others have pinned it without any issues. Hmm… Maybe try refreshing your Pinterest connection? I’ll dig around more here, too. You can also pin by going to Pinterest and pasting the post addy into a pin. (More of a hassle, though. :)) Thanks for trying!

      Reply
  17. This sounds so intriguing – and I’m still not on pinterest… *sigh* – I figure I’m too busy….

    Reply
  18. thx for the info, August. I have a pinterest account but have done nothing with it. sighhh

    Reply
    • That better not be a being-hard-on-yourself sigh! ;) It’s tough to fit it all in, right? Getting started is the toughest part. If I can help, let me know. In either case, you’re rockin’ it, Pinterest-immersed or not.

      Reply
      • thanks so much, lovely lady. It’s ot a being hard on me sighhh – it’s more like my energy wells are depleted. I’m running on empty but have a few weeks in the day job until i have a week off. so i’m plodding along. thanks for caring.

  19. lynnkelleyauthor

     /  June 6, 2012

    Thanks for more useful info on Pinterest, August. The Creative Commons license answered some of my concerns, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that on an image. Maybe I just didn’t notice, but now will look for it.

    Reply
  20. Great post! My goal is to get on Pinterest and figure it out but I think it could be addicting and fun!

    Reply
  21. Great info, August, per the usual. We can always count on you. :D So many great posts, but all my WANA peeps are always pinning them to the board for me. What’s a girl to do? In fact, I’m not even sure I’m part of that group or not. I’m rather confused by it. Knock, knock. Can you let me in? LOL.

    Reply
  22. I love everything eye-candy, so, naturally, Pinterest is my friend. I don’t pin blog posts but will utilize the site for some marketing of my upcoming book. And yes, I will be taking a lot of my own photos :-)

    Reply
  23. Very timely.Will have a look.Thanks!

    Reply
  24. Hi August – thanks for the mention. LOL I’ve found sxc.hu to be a great source of royalty-free images. You do have to be careful on the images with people’s faces because photographers who post there typically haven’t secured model releases. You can also do advanced search on google images for creative commons stuff (as well as flickr). This may sound silly – but the easiest photo editing software I’ve found (because I don’t have time to learn photoshop) is Powerpoint. I can flip, recolor, crop, add text, layer images, etc. and save an individual slide as a jpeg. Easy. That’s how I’ve been editing the majority of the pics I use on Facebook.

    Reply
  25. What a great how-to for Pinterest Dummies like me. Gonna bookmark this one!

    Reply
  26. Thanks for the information – I have noticed a little more traffic on my blog lately. I used your url and was pleasantly surprised at how many people pinned the photos that I put on my blog – not a huge amount, but more than I expected! I usually take my photos from an artist’s web portfolio, tumblr or other blogs – I make sure the images are not copyrighted and that I always give credit to the original author by linking to their site.

    Reply
  27. This is a very clear, easy to understand post on pinning. I already use tons of posters and pics with quotes on my FB Page and I am thinking I will transfer these over to Pinterest. Thank you for the push in the right direction!

    Reply
  28. Great post! I have been struggling with how to use Pinterest for my blog. This is very useful info!

    Reply
  29. I have been dipping my toeses in Pinterest — it’s been a big help with this “writer’s block” episode I’ve had for the first time ever – lawd! :-D I mean, what better way to distract myself but by pinning and grinning –teehee –

    Another wonderful, informative post . . .

    Reply
  30. Great advice, August. I didn’t know how to find out if your website has been Pinned until now. I really need to get better about using pictures in my blog.

    And pinned this post :)

    Reply
  31. I love linking to pins from my blog – except I’m trying to go back and pin every image from when I started blogging; a daunting task. I’ve only managed to do half a year, so far…

    Reply
  32. I signed up for Pinterest and promptly forgot my username and password. Maybe worth trying again, huh? Thanks for the tips. I’ve found that I’ve hit this number – and it’s a good number – but now I’m not growing as fast as would like. Part of that is because my attention has been divided as writer and party-planner (and chauffeur and meal maker, and cleaning lady, etc…) but Pinterest could be another great Platform to try – especially with the recent changes on Facebook.

    Reply
    • If you rejoin I’ll add you to my group writers board, no matter what your name is! ;)

      I like the fact that Pinterest is less time intensive than other social media platforms—with the exception of pin addicts. ;)

      Reply
  33. Fantastic tips, August! I am a picture taking fiend, which comes in handy for blog photos. :)

    Reply
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