#Pinterest & Blogging: 7 Keys to Success

Like many, I was hesitant about joining Pinterest, particularly before the recent copyright changes. Though I dug the concept, it sounded like a time-sucker and more fun than vital. When I learned that it’s the fastest growing social media platform, a top referrer to retailers and appeals particularly to educated women, I figured it was time to research my brains out look into it. I’m so glad I did.

Pinterest is now the third most popular social network, according to a new Experian study, behind Facebook and Twitter. And retailers are not the only beneficiaries. Crystal Underwood’s tips-for-mommas blog leapt from 100 hits per day to up to 7000 after she embraced the virtual pin boards. Design blogger Jessica Colaluca, one of Mashable’s “21 Must-Follow Pinterest Users,” credits Pinterest for 35 percent of her estimated one million-plus monthly hits. And major publications, including Elle magazine, Martha Stewart Living and Cooking Light, are taking Pinterest by storm.

“We are seeing traffic increases and high engagement, and [Pinterest] is great branding for us to get our content out there.” — Keith Pollock, editorial director of Elle.com

Whether you’ve joined Pinterest or not, making your posts more “pinnable” can enhance your blogging experience on multiple levels. There are loads of ways to obtain blogging and Pinterest success. Read on for my favorites…

1. Fill your blog with high-quality content. Joining Pinterest will not automatically stimulate quality blog hits (i.e., readers who linger, comment, subscribe and interact), even if you post visually-stunning images. Why? Because successful blogging takes lots more than pretty pictures. Pinterest can help open the door to our sites. Posting captivating content will keep guests from fleeing to the neighbors.’

2. Be authentic. Many of us recognize that authenticity makes for better posts and more enjoyment for us and our readers. The same applies to Pinterest. If you’re not a foodie, featuring glamorous food photos simply because the images are popular is counter-productive. Withholding your passions and interests can have similar effects. People sense falsity, so steer clear of it. Pinterest’s updated etiquette tips say it best: “Pinterest is an expression of who you are.”

3. Give to give. Giving of ourselves also enhances enjoyment—ours and our readers. If you, and by extension your brand, is entertaining, provide entertainment. If your brand is inspiring, inspire. Have cooking, cleaning or photography skills? Share some pointers. Such giving attracts like-minded readers to our blogs, who will appreciate what you offer. In return, you’re likely to gain subscribers, comments and, when applicable, sales. This practice reminds me of exercise. Many of us start working out because we believe we should. The emotional benefits—better moods, sleep quality, energy…—keep us at it.

4. Get creative with titles, photos and topics. Using your authentic self to conjure up snappy titles, eye-catching graphics and topics you genuinely dig is a great way to lure people from Pinterest to your blog. It also encourages re-pins and comments. Just make sure that your post’s content is at least as entertaining, inspiring, though-provoking or delightful.

5. Use your own photographs or self-concocted graphics. If you feature stock photography in a blog post, the pin should technically link to the stock company—not your site. Creating your own photos and graphics allows you to convey precisely what you wish to, without infringing upon copyright laws. Adding your website address to images can help draw more eyes to your site, particularly if you pin a photograph without any text. (Check out my example above. If I can create graphics, trust me—you can, too. ;))

6. Keep your blog and pin boards in mind in the “real” world. I only recently signed up for Pinterest. Already, it’s opened my mind up to cool new ways to use it. I tote and use my camera more often and have been dabbling in graphic techniques. Just as life inspires blog topics, knowing our posts could appear on Pinterest can inspire us to seek out photographable moments that coincide. Best of all, the process feels more like fun than work—how life should feel, IMHO.

7. Support others. As with other social media platforms, rambling on about ourselves, our products or our work generally evokes one thing: annoyance. We all know how frustrating endless pitches from a particular salesperson can be. If you’d slam the door on your content if it appeared at your door, switch gears. Comment on, follow and share others’ fabulous posts and pins on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and/or your blog.

Extra pointers:

  • Don’t only pin blog posts. Share and celebrate your interests. If your blog is serious, show your goofy side, and vice versa. You can also use Pinterest boards as tools to organize your favorite products, articles, books and so on.
  • Link your Pinterest account to Facebook and/or Twitter. Mine is linked to Facebook, which allows me to interact with people on both networks with one post. I then Tweet pins selectively. Experiment with both, then decide.
  • Invite your friends to Pinterest. Lisa Hall-Wilson and I both have group boards, which are a great way to join forces with like-minded folks. If you’re interested in joining my group, Writers United, drop me a note: august@augustmclaughlin.com.
  • To encourage readers to pin your posts, add a “Pin it” button to your share options, and a “Follow Me on Pinterest” widget to your theme.
  • Focus on quality and connections, not “the numbers.” Gargantuan numbers of hits can be fun to see on your blog dashboard, but it doesn’t mean much if people spend little time reading or enjoying your content. I’d rather have a handful of close-knit, supportive connections than boatloads of rapid clicks. Wouldn’t you?

I’d love to hear from you. Any of these tips strike a chord with you? Any to add? Thoughts on Pinterest in general?

Leave a comment

65 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your insight on Pinterest. You’ve made some good points. I’ve been hesitant about joining Pinterest as well because it’s potential as another time sucker. Time for me to weigh the positivies against the negatives.

    Reply
    • My pleasure, Rich. For what it’s worth, I find Pinterest to be less time intensive than other social media platforms. And linking your account to Twitter, Facebook, etc., saves time all around. Good luck with whatever you decide. 🙂

      Reply
      • Thanks for guiding me in that direction. Once I have my current writing project completed, I’m sure I’ll move in that direction; anything to consolidate efforts! 🙂

  2. Stacy S. Jensen

     /  April 12, 2012

    I’ve been hestitant about the copyright issues, but was pleased with the recent changes. Now, it’s sort of like G+ I’m just sort of maintaining, following people.

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the shout-out! I’m having fun with Pinterest too. Great post!

    Reply
  4. Thanks for the tips, my wife is a photographer and cant seem to leave the pinetrest alone, this has been informative.
    David. L

    Reply
  5. Catherine Johnson

     /  April 12, 2012

    Awesome tips August, I love Pinterest but haven’t got around to using share button yet or a follow one – oops!

    Reply
  6. Pinterest is a lot of fun. I usually reserve late evening for it, and I honestly just create boards/pin images I love. Things that inspire me. I also have a board for Thriller Thursday, and I have seen some increase in traffic from the images. I have boards for my books, too, but they’re mixed in with all the others. I don’t have a specific strategy for Pinterest other than to have fun and be myself. Hopefully that works, lol.

    Reply
  7. You’re not only a BG, you’re a PG as well! Good information.

    EHL

    Reply
  8. I’d also recommend using only images from Pinterest. For one, they’re prettier than a generic Google image search, for another they can end up creating traffic in the long run. For instance, on my Inciting Incident post, I searched Pinterest for “Start.” When I found images I liked, I repinned them. Then I embedded them into the post linking back to the pin itself. This creates a paper trail back to the original image but travels through my boards to get there.

    Make sense?

    Reply
  9. Thanks for more great info. I love the idea of Pinterest, but haven’t done much with my account yet. Another ball to juggle!! 🙂 I am keeping your posts in mind to help me–now I just need an extra hour in the day–or the ability to get by on less sleep. lol.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • I hear you, Coleen. I think the goal is streamlining our social media so it doesn’t feel like chaotic ball juggling. Finding and using what works for each of us is another key—and you do such a great job with all you’ve got going on. (Uh oh—I sense the cheerleader coming on… Run for cover! LOL)

      Reply
      • Coleen Patrick

         /  April 15, 2012

        The cheering is half the fun August! 🙂

  10. Thanks so much for shedding some light on a social media platform I have yet to adopt. Very useful info in the event I ever do make the leap (though I tend to be a laggard in these things 🙂 )

    Reply
  11. I’m still struggling to figure it out. Thanks for the tips, August!

    Reply
  12. Raani York

     /  April 12, 2012

    Thank you for your advice August. I’m still not sure if I should take the step. At the end I’m starting to get too busy with working so much and maintaining so many social platforms. Maybe some day – when I’m retired. *chuckle*

    Reply
  13. I had wondered about Pinterest. Thanks for explaining how it can be useful for writers/bloggers.

    Reply
  14. Kourtney Heintz

     /  April 12, 2012

    August, I had decided against Pinterest until I read your last blog post about it. With the copyright changes, I feel much better. I’m still figuring my way around. I love your Writers United board. These are fantastic tips too.

    It’s so addictive though. Last weekend, I spent hours pinning things. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Sigh. LOL. As you may have noticed, I deleted all but one of my boards. I’ve seen this coming for some time now. One more thing that will suck time. 😀 But I do LOVE the pictures. I NEED more time! Love this post August. You have been sooo helpful. Now to go hide for a month and get everything organized. Hehehe

    BTW – I follow a fabulous photographer and he’s been saying the same thing on G+ (another place I always forget to post anything). Pin – pin away. Pinterest is working with the photographers and it is great for everyone involved to have thier pictures pinned. 🙂

    Reply
    • I hear you, Debra! It’s encouraging to know that your photographer friend is such a Pinterest fan. One super easy way to stay connected to G+ and Pinterest is using those share buttons—on our posts and others’ we love.

      Reply
  16. I love Pinterest, August, although I did delete all but one of my boards, due to the recent issues. However, I’m back in there, pinning pictures again. There’s just something so inspiring about heading over to the site to look at the abundance of great images. 🙂

    Reply
  17. I’d love to know how you go about creating graphics to use. This is one area where I’m terrible, and I’m worried about spending so much time on the pictures that I run out of time to create the post to go along with it.

    Reply
    • Graphics are definitely not my strength either, Marcy. I’ve been using a couple of graphics programs on my computer—an app called Artboard and my basic Mac photo program. I’m also putting my camera phone to use more often. Hope that helps some! I plan to dig deeper into the topic soon.

      Reply
  18. akismet-069f82b6d320654603807f0aa4a9f1e9

     /  April 13, 2012

    —-Great tips.
    I’m afraid to get on Pinterest.
    I’m sooo addicted to other things, like BLOGS, facebook,twitter, wriring…etc….
    Pinterest might just be–
    one. more. obsession.

    Reply
  19. I am so addicted to the social media that I feel as
    if Pinterest will be one. more. obsession. ❤

    Reply
  20. Pinterest is a great site for those like me, who love eye-candy 🙂 It can be utilized in so many creative ways. Thank you for sharing some of your ideas.

    Reply
  21. lynnkelleyauthor

     /  April 13, 2012

    I’m so glad you’re blogging about this, August. And thanks to you, I finally started pinning a few things. I need to check out your group board. So much to learn! But I’m a visual person, so all the pics appeal to me!

    Reply
  22. BoJo Photo

     /  April 14, 2012

    I need to do more of number one! 🙂

    If you ever want to do an article on makeup for a photoshoot with links to any sites you have, let me know. I would love to have your expert advice for my clients to see!

    Great advie August!

    Reply
  23. Thank you for the tip about putting the Pinterest share button and the “follow me on Pinterest” thingee on my blog – I didn’t know they existed!

    I’m carefully moving around Pinterest – trying to be careful what I “re-pin” because of copyright issues. I’m careful on my blog about this too – and 99% of what I use are my own photos.

    🙂

    Reply
  24. Excellent advice, August! Let me try.

    Reply
  25. Hi, August, thanks for the great info! A lot of my blog deals with historical stuff, but I’m not clear on the copyright laws for old photographs and sketches. I’ve been using Pinterest mostly for my personal “visual” interests – nature photography and humorous stuff (such as Anne Taintor). And you’re right about Pinterest inspiring me to grab my camera and upload more pics – lots of fun! Not sure, though, how my gardening and humor boards will attract folks to my mystery/historical blog. Any ideas? Thanks, Kathy

    Reply
    • Hi Kathy! A couple of things come to mind. First, many historical organizations are on Pinterest—the Smithsonian, Chicago History Museum… You could embed their pins into your blog posts, and re-pin them on your boards.

      As far as gardening and humor, those boards show your personality and interests, which will resonate with readers. It took me a while to realize that thriller authors (my genre) also eat and love animals (my hobbies ;)). We never know what will lead readers to our blogs. I think it’s important to leave all doors open.

      Reply
  26. Thanks so much for linking to my post via Pinterest, August 😉 Have to love Stephen King.

    I haven’t given much thought to joining Pinterest, as I’m still the introvert in the crowd. But…I like the idea of Writers Unite. Great post for thought.

    Reply
  27. Reblogged this on welcome to my place and commented:
    August McLaughlin offers out poignant tips on how to enhance your media platform by using Pinterest. I’ve been hesitant to jump on-board but in fact, this vehicle may lessen the time spent maintaining your social media presence.

    Reply
  28. Great post, August! I’m bookmarking this one as it couldn’t have come at a better time. Just getting ready to venture into the world of Pinterest. I think it’s going to fast become one of my favorite online hangouts.

    Reply
  29. With all the issues Pinterest was having, I had deleted my whole account and nearly cried when I did, and after I had written a similar blog post. When they changed their policy, I jumped back in. I’m still trying to recover the photos I had originally pinned, but getting there. I’d like to reiterate for your readers that once you have boards set up, it really isn’t a time suck. It’s fun but it’s also a form of work connecting with people, letting them see sides of you they may not see on your blog or in your books. I have Storyboards there and many of my interests showcased. I comment on other people’s boards and ‘like’ their choices of pins. Use the same supportive practices there that you would use on your blog. Great post, August. I’ll look for you there!

    Reply
  30. Awesome! I’d never thought Pinterest could tie into our blogging. Love your ideas! I need to start doing my own graphics. Do you use Photoshop to tweak your photos?

    Reply
  31. I haven’t started on Pinterest yet, but you make it sound okay.

    Reply
  32. Haven’t even looked at Pinterest, so many social media sites out there to choose from! May have to start though. Thanks August for the hints. 🙂

    Reply
  33. Patricia Wilson

     /  May 15, 2012

    I’m a writer, but a ludite when it comes to social networks; i.e. Facebook and now Pinterest. How can I learn to navigate these sites? Suggestions? Patricia Wilson, Columbia, CT

    Reply
    • Patricia Wilson

       /  May 15, 2012

      As I said above, I have no clue to web social networks.

      Reply
    • I think many writers are in a similar boat, Patricia. I’d suggest starting with a blog, Facebook and Twitter. I found Kristen Lamb’s book, “Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer,” extremely helpful as I began merging social media with my writing career. I’ve heard numerous agents say that blogs are more important than “regular” author sites… Twitter and Facebook are useful tools in promoting them and connecting with fellow readers and writers.

      One great lesson I’ve learned that’s kept me from going insane and loathing social media: The more we support others and give of ourselves, the better. Self-promoting by talking non-stop about our work or pleading for sales isn’t only dreadful (to writers and readers), but not helpful! 😉 Hope this helps. Feel free to drop me a note anytime with questions.

      Reply
  34. I am addicted to pinterest and live the way it helps me get organized virtually. I never seem to have the time to do all I want to do with this, so I’m loving your posts on how to use it for our blogs!

    Reply
  35. *love not live, sigh, I can’t type on my iPad:)

    Reply
  36. katinavaselopulos

     /  January 16, 2013

    I joined Pinterest but haven’t done much with it. Loved all the tips and information…Need to look it again and use this media the right way. Thank you!!!!

    Reply
  37. I have not given much thought to Pinterest either but you have me intrigued. I love creativity and this looks like a way to merge creativity with business. I’m more motivated when I can be creative. 🙂
    Thanks for all the practical and helpful tips and insights.

    Reply
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