It's safe to say most people are now familiar with the visual platform Pinterest. Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has grown into a strong social media tool that allows users (over 70 million today) to create boards for their pins and "pin" from anywhere on the web.
Despite popular belief your business doesn't need to be product-based to take advantage of its benefits. It's a blogger, content marketer and business owner's dream. These days; Pinterest has become my one stop place for guest blogging opportunities, content inspiration, driving traffic that's rich in SEO benefits and so much more. Not to mention, it has made more of my articles go viral than any other social media platform. It's a powerful, powerful tool. And if you haven't yet discovered it, or want to get more out of it - read on.
1. Using Pinterest to Find Better Outreach Opportunities
Any blogger and content marketer can agree finding outreach opportunities can be tedious and time consuming. As a writer, I'm always looking for new ways to reach out to people and Pinterest has not only provided a strong platform for content delivery, but also an outreach avenue.
Pinterest has a specific feature relating to interests. It works on a learning algorithm that bases your individual interests on what you've pinned before. The more you use the platform, the more the categories create a specifically organised structure relevant and personalised to your experience. If you are using Pinterest for business too, these boards become industry related presenting a world of opportunities for you to tap into.
I've been doing just that. Not only have I been introduced to new outreach opportunities through the specific-interest tool, but just by browsing categories that relate to the industries I write in, I've come across oodles of possible websites to approach for guest posts and industry quotes for articles. You can come across potential websites in one or two ways. Pinterest puts you (and your content) directly in front of a niche audience.
1. Search under your chosen category (industry) and browse through pinners. To find out if they have a blog or website, click on their profile to find the link. Ideally, you want a pinner that 'pins' frequently or has a lot of boards relevant to your industry.
2. The more you pin from other boards that are similar to your industry, the more 'board suggestions' Pinterest gives you. For example; if I pinned an image from the above profile, it will show me another board that image is on. You can then go and see the pinner's profile and follow their boards. This builds your niche network of pinners.
3. Using Pinterest to Promote Your Articles
The 'interests' tool is a win-win situation because it works both ways. As you use Pinterest to reach out for potential guest post opportunities and industry quotes, you become more creative in the way you promote your own content.
These days, more and more sites are adapting the "pin it" button. This enables your content, whether it is images or words, to be 'pinned' to a user's board relevant to that content. Most people have already discovered firsthand how useful this in itself is. From the other end of the spectrum, users can download their own "pin it" button plugin to make it easier to pin content they find across the web, even if the actual site they're pinning from doesn't have their own button.
But it gets better. I started creating not only a board for all my articles I've written, but boards relating to the specific industries. For example, I have a home inspiration board which I have pinned ideas from other sites and Pinterest users, but also articles I've written relating to home improvement and interior design, and again with online marketing, DIY and music. Once I started getting into the habit of doing this, the re-pins of my articles (shares) boomed bigger than any other social media platform I have used. This, in my experience, has been made possible by creating specific boards that relate to Pinterest's most popular categories and 'pinning' the article to them. You can add the same piece of content to more than one board, providing they are of relevance. This broadens your Pinterest reach and allows your content to show up in the category searches within Pinterest for anyone to see (regardless of whether they are following you or not).
Content that comes up in your Pinterest news feed has a longer life span too. Unlike Twitter which will only last between 5 - 25 minutes, Pinterest displays pinned content for over a week. To benefit from this, it's important you are only posting pins at peak hours (use Pinterest Analytics to determine this). Also, you don't want to pin all your content at once. Space it out and optimise your pins for search when you post, not down the track.
So next time you write an article, share it on your usual social feeds - Twitter, Google+ and so on, but create a board relevant to the industry and get into the habit of sharing it in Pinterest too. Using the right description and keywords, the amount of re-pins and exposure to that piece (and you!) is incredible. See below for tips on how to do this.
4. SEO Friendly Tips for Making Your Pinterest Boards and Descriptions Work
For your Pinterest board or pinned content to be visible to major search engines like Google, you need to make use of your description. If you're repining someone else's content, don't get into the habit of using their description. Create your own one that's effective and relevant.
1. Ensure your Pinterest boards are visible to search engines by changing your account settings search privacy to off. If this feature is turned on, it will eliminate search engines being able to find your content.
2. Switch your Pinterest account to 'business' - you can do this in your account settings. The features are very similar but it will open the door to Pinterest Web Analytics (discussed further down).
3. In your profile description (about section), include your name, your business name, your URL and relevant keywords. This will make your account easier to find. This is what shows up in searches (both Pinterest and Google) so use those 200 characters wisely.
4. Pin descriptions should accurately describe your pin and you have 500 characters to do so. Again, you want to incorporate SEO-friendly keywords. For example: if you're pinning an article about finding a reputable SEO agency you could say something like "Before signing up to an SEO company, read these expert tips to understand the warning signs of an empty promise company".
5. Use relevant hashtags! Like Twitter, you can search for content by using hashtags. Using the above example, you can add in #SEO #reputableSEO #onlinemarketing #SEOtips.
5. Filling Marketing Gaps and a Dose of Inspiration
It's no secret that Pinterest is a source of inspiration, but it seems to follow the same trends; home improvement, wedding ideas, fashion and so forth. What about taking it a step further and using it for content inspiration?
I have to admit that it's way too easy to spend hours looking through Pinterest boards. There's just so much and I sometimes sit back and think wow, did I really just waste all that time looking at boards? Believe it or not though, my time hasn't been wasted, because every time I do just sit there sifting through different categories or user's boards, I come up with my own fresh article ideas.
Most times, this content inspiration stems from being in touch with the right audience for my specific industry and their interests - it allows you to tailor information for them and write articles that relate to Pinterest's most popular categories. By using the search categories feature, you literally fall into a treasure trove of new ideas - it's that easy. Even better though, it helps to fill in any marketing gaps, perhaps a popular topic that wasn't covered well that you can? Pinterest has become my go-to source for content inspiration, potential photos I can use for my articles and identifying these gaps.
6. Networking on a Different Level - Internally and Externally
The more you use Pinterest to discover new content inspiration or use a pinner's photos, the more you're able to create a niche networking circle. Reaching out to users for guest post opportunities opens that networking door, as does 'repinning' other people's content or using someone's image for an article. This can be the perfect way to notify that pinner, let them know you've used their image and in turn they're directed to your article to read (and hopefully share too!). I've come to notice too; pinners love to share articles that have used their images.
Because Pinterest is a platform to collect your ideas, it goes without saying that it's an internal smorgasbord to create your very own think tank. Thanks to the secret board option, you can create a board that is private and invite colleagues or business partners to pin to that board and view. I've been using this idea for content inspiration and have created a secret board internally. Colleagues pin to the board when they come across something interesting, which means you're not doing all the work too. This is a fantastic idea to document your blog ideas, potential guest post or networking opportunities, or as a placeholder for images you want to use in the future.
7. Tricks and Tools of the Trade - SEO and Web Analytics
All of Pinterest's benefits wouldn't be as valuable if it didn't come complete with SEO advantages too. Because Pinterest is curated by real people, they are real people that help drive traffic back to your website. Follow the most popular categories on Pinterest and if your article relates to any of these, people are more likely to click through your pin and keep reading.
The biggest plus for Pinterest is that Google LOVES it, thus rankings to a Pinterest board tends to be further up in Google search results. This article explains the correlation between Google and Pinterest, and how the use of Pinterest can improve your search result rankings. This is ideal for smaller websites or businesses that may not normally get much traffic.
To take advantage of these SEO benefits, it's important you check your keywords and find (and re-pin) content associated with the focus of your industry or blog. Pinterest is keyword search-friendly, so this is easy to do. When you're repinning content or uploading new content to a board, make sure you use relevant keywords and hashtags, a relevant image and a comprehensive description to draw people in. Google views Pinterest image captions as anchor text, so it's imperative you have an accurate title here too.
For business Pinterest accounts, the use of Pinterest web analytics gives you all the information you need to make the most of your boards. Similar to Google Analytics (but not as comprehensive), PA helps you discover who is pinning your content, including unique visitors number of re-pins and clicks, which content is currently being pinned in real time and what content is most popular. Like with GA, this is ideal for thinking about incoming and outgoing traffic and what content will bring users in.
As you can see, I've had a lot of fun experimenting with the benefits of Pinterest. For a platform that is so recognised, I believe the true value of it is still so overlooked and one that we can all find valuable. Pinterest is generating more referral traffic than LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube combined, who doesn't want to be a part of that!?