Creative business idea number 3: don’t underestimate the power of a solid Pinterest marketing strategy.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Pinterest has been a complete game changer for me. I spent a lot of time putting all the basics in place for existing blog post content and images on my website following a brilliant free course with Jen Stanbrook: 7 Steps to a Killer Pinterest Strategy. Then I let time pass… and in around 12 months I’d gained a million viewers on Pinterest, alongside a huge increase in monthly visitors to my website.
Jen’s course covers the basics of heading off in the right direction with your Pinterest strategy:
- Converting to a business account
- How to claim your website or blog from within your Pinterest profile settings
- Setting up rich pins
- How to write an effective Profile description
- How to set up your boards correctly
- How to create effective Pinterest graphics to pin
- How to pin correctly and effectively using a scheduling app such as Tailwind
- How to create an effective pinning plan
- Introduction to understanding the analytics
Having followed these rules and grown to over 1 million viewers a month on Pinterest, I decided it was time to take my Pinning to the next level.
I signed up for a one-to-one power hour with Jen recently to help formulate a strategy going forwards. If you’re already doing well on Pinterest but would benefit from some tailor-made strategy on moving to the next level, this would be perfect for you too. Since our session, I’ve gained more than another million and a half viewers a month and traffic to my website from Pinterest alone has increased year-on-year by more than 50K a month.
The master class taught me to better evaluate how my strategy was working and how it could be improved. I learned how to use Analytics really effectively to identify which of my pins are really performing and why. So useful to know as it means I am now spending time doing more of what I know works and less on what probably won’t.
Time is money in a small, creative business, so it’s key to spend it wisely and effectively. I probably spend a couple of hours a week on Pinterest and always pin from a newly published blog post. I create at least one pinnable image to pin from the post itself, which I pin to multiple relevant boards, (using a handy ‘use interval’ button in Tailwind which lets you set up the right amount of time in between each pin to avoid being seen as spammy), I also usually create further pinnable images relating to the post that I upload directly into Pinterest and link to the page. This means I have lots of varied visual content leading to my content and I watch to see what takes off and what doesn’t.
Once your pinning strategy starts working for you, it’s easy to become slightly hooked on checking what’s happening. There’s a real thrill to seeing a pin really take off and go viral. I sometimes imagine the size of crowd in a football stadium to imagine the huge numbers of users who have viewed my pins and, more importantly, clicked through to my website from them.
Pinterest is the most enormous visually-driven pool of potential readers and customers and you just have to work out how to allow them to find you.
Jen Stanbrook works with a lot of creative and small business owners, so I asked her to share a few of her thoughts about the potential power of Pinterest:
‘Many makers and creatives undervalue the potential of Pinterest and instead, prefer to concentrate on other, more social platforms. However, Pinterest has the power to bring a huge new audience to your website, helping to build your audience and grow your sales. Pinners are looking for help, they’re looking for answers to their problems and many creatives can give them this, easily and in just an hour or two a week. It’s much simpler to bring hundreds and sometimes thousands of new people to your products every month than you think. Don’t underestimate what Pinterest can give you and don’t let it fall down your priority list. Start pinning!’
It’s important to remember that Pinterest is not social media. It’s a visual search engine and, if you have products to sell (and great photography at your disposal), this is a platform you should absolutely be using to generate visitors and customers.
If you need some help and ideas for improving the quality of your photography, you might like to read my blog post: Creative business idea number 2: photography tips for makers. I share my insider contacts from my time as a national women’s magazine journalist and editor as well as from running my own creative business. Find inspiration, links to online resources, individual photographers and stylists I can recommend from personal experience as well as some magical location suggestions.
Two of my most popular pins
I thought it might be useful if I shared two of my most successful pins, with some thoughts on why.
I was surprised at first that some of my beautiful single image pins didn’t get the levels of interest I would expect. Digging into the analytics revealed the simple truth. The image itself, the blog title, meta info and the offering all need to amount to an irresistible combined package.
The pin above links to an individual listing in our directory, and links on from there to that maker’s own website and shop pages. This means we are consistently directing high levels of highly engaged traffic to the maker listed with us. I create Pinterest graphics for each business that lists with us and do the same thing. So, for me, this means I am more than delivering on what we offer to the businesses who list with us.
This pin links to a blog post that includes a free pattern download. Don’t underestimate the power of a free download! I used a Canva template to create this – because I’ve also found that step by step images tend to perform well. It’s an immediate visual signal to Pinterest users that your post contains useful practical information.
I have connected with so many lovely knitters around the world who have got in touch having found this blog post via Pinterest.
Late one night, an email came in just before I was shutting down and heading to bed. It was from a recently widowed woman living alone on a large farm in Wisconsin. She got in touch to tell me how happy she felt to be starting to knit the lamb. She’d bought a magnifying glass to help, as her eyesight is failing. But finding the pattern and going out to buy the soft, bouclé wool had, she told me, helped her to feel a spark of happiness she hadn’t felt for some time. She was looking forward to knitting again. Making something with her own hands. That’s the wonderful thing about creativity isn’t it? I sat up writing a reply to let her know how much her appreciation meant to me. It felt sort of magical to have come together with her like we had. We never would have have without Pinterest. There’s such a wide, creative community on the platform hungry for exciting new ideas. So why not share yours with them?
I couldn’t agree more with Jen’s tip for finding success in business as a creative:
‘In my experience from working with creatives and makers, as well as how I run my own business, those that are most successful are open to opportunities. They network with like minded business owners, drawing on their expertise, learning from their mistakes and forging relationships that help nurture and grow their own business. They take action. When they are given advice or take on new knowledge they put it into practice; they are proactive in driving their business forward.’
Jen has lots of great free resources available if you subscribe to her mailing list. If you’re new to Pinterest, her free 20 point Guide to Getting Started on Pinterest would be the perfect place to start. Jen’s courses and workshops offer a range of packages suited to all levels, from beginners to advanced.
Another great source of information (much of it free) on all things Pinterest and blog-related is Kristie Hill. She offers a range of online courses including her Pingineered for Growth course which is aimed at helping you grow your audience with Pinterest.
I really like her underlying approach to Pinterest success – that good Pinterest marketing is just good blogging: focus on serving your people, add a pinnable image and you have a solid foundation for successful Pinterest marketing. There’s no need to overly stress about how many pins you post a day, what ratio of yours versus other peoples, how many boards you should have etc etc. All important things to get right, granted, but not worth fretting over too much as the more important areas to focus on are:
- Create in-depth high value blog content
- Optimise your image for SEO and Pinterest properly
- Make sure your site is user friendly and easy to navigate
- Write strong and engaging captions with a call to action (ie click through to…)
- Include at least one pinnable image in each blog post you write
- Write captivating blog titles
- Create content of value that serves your audience
- Include a strong meta description for each blog post you publish
My own particular favourite is Kristie’s free to download Pinterest Dashboard that you can use to customise your Google Analytics. It gives great insights into your Pinterest traffic and really helps you dig down deeper into what’s working and what’s not. You’ll need the scheduling app Tailwind installed to be able to download it, but I would heartily recommend you do. Using Tailwind to schedule my Pinning has been essential in being able to put my Pinterest strategy into practice. You can get started for free with a month’s trial before committing. I’ll be exploring the benefits of Tailwind in a little more detail soon, in my blog post: Apps to Help you Run your Creative Business. I’ll also be sharing more about my love for Canva – the app I use for creating my Pinterest graphics.
If you own some top quality images, have a clear story to tell, that can translate into help and ideas for the vast audience using Pinterest, you’re off to a great start. My advice would be to jump in, get started and learn as you go. Take a course or two. Do the homework and don’t be afraid to try your hand at something new.
Good luck and happy pinning!
I’ll be sharing my key 10 Steps to Creative Business Success over the next 10 days or so, as well as a PDF with all the information in one place for you to download and keep.
The 10 steps I’ll be covering are:
- Creative business idea number 1: website design inspiration using WordPress and Squarespace
- Creative business idea number 2: photography tips for makers
- Creative business idea number 3: don’t underestimate the power of a solid Pinterest marketing strategy
- Creative business idea number 4: the best online tools and apps to help you
- Creative business idea number 5: social media marketing, photography, storytelling and strategy
- Creative business idea number 6: profitability & how to build a sustainable business
- Creative business idea number 7: make a clear marketing strategy plan
- Creative business idea number 8: don’t be afraid to learn from mistakes
- Creative business idea number 9: the power of planning to help you build a sustainable business
- Creative business idea number 10: sometimes forget the plan and seize the moment
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