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Top 10 Mistakes Beginner Bloggers Make With Pinterest

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Pinterest logo Pinterest is a social network that focuses on sharing images… visuals, as opposed to text. Bloggers can use Pinterest to their advantage for promoting products, services and building your brand online. Yet, there are some major mistakes beginner bloggers need to avoid when it comes to Pinterest. Here are the top 10:

1. Using Dull Images

Pinterest is all about visuals. Your images should be engaging, and filled with good descriptions and colorful text. Some beginner bloggers use stock photography, not understanding the value of quality, compelling images. For more information, see “3 Ways to Create Better Images for Your Blog Posts.”

2. Not Utilizing Keywords Enough

Create categories, and assign each board to a specific category. Each board should have a description, which uses detailed SEO keywords. This helps other Pinterest users locate your pins based on they’re searches. However, try not to over-analyze your descriptions. If so, users will assume you’re just pushing some product and won’t follow you.

3. Limiting Your Genres

This is one of the top beginner blogger mistakes. Many will stick to only one genre. Just because your company specializes in landscaping doesn’t mean you have to pin only images of lawns, trees and landscapes. Your target audience is all over Pinterest, interested in many different topics. So, you should be all over the place too. For your landscaping company, pin home cleaning and design tips also. Have a guided imagery business? Pin boards with inspirational quotes. Keep your pins related, but don’t be too narrowly focused.

4. Not Networking

Competition can be a good thing. So, don’t fear it. Search for other companies and bloggers you admire who are active on Pinterest. Then, band together with them, pinning their content in exchange for them pinning yours. You can also band together to create group boards. This will help to increase your visibility on Pinterest and online in general, increasing your traffic.

5. Not Linking Properly

This is another top beginner blogger mistake. Users get very annoyed with they click a Pin that takes them to a page not relevant to the post they were expecting. Some users will become very frustrated maneuvering around your site looking for that particular post. Others will close the screen and move on. All of your pins with links should send users directly to the post with the featured image.

6. Not Following Others

If you find pinners and boards that your target audience might find interesting, follow, follow, follow. Following others adds to the content and images your Pinterest followers have access to. As long as your images link to your blog content, this will help you boost traffic and generate leads. Also, many other bloggers will follow your Pinterest boards and pins in return. This assists you with building online communities on the Pinterest social network. So, be sure to like and repin any images you truly love.

7. Not Adding Descriptions

All of your images should have accurate descriptions. This helps Pinterest understand which pins and boards to display in search results. It also helps Google and other search engines understand what your images are all about. This helps your search engine optimization, which helps to raise your search engine rankings. It will also help you get found via Pinterest’s own search tool.

8. Not Using It to Recycle Content

All great content doesn’t necessarily need to begin from scratch. In order to provide your users with great content, gather it from various resources. Pinterest can be great inspiration when you’re writing. You can also repurpose content using Pinterest. Create an infographic out of a blog post. Link to your pins in your post. Create boards to supplement your topics. Get creative!

9. Not Staying Up-to-Date with Pinterest Changes

Did you know that Pinterest has new rules about running contests? Are you aware that Pinterest displays vertical content differently than it has in the past, which effects how infographics are displayed? Do you know how Pinterest has been updated recently? Stay on top of how Pinterest is changing so you can always get the most out of it.

10. Not Using Pinterest!

Pinterest is a very popular platform for promoting visual content, such infographics, cartoons, even videos. Get your content up there as soon as you publish and use pinterest.com/source/YOUR-URL to check what others are pinning from your blog.

Do you use Pinterest to market your business blog? How have you implemented your pins and boards into your daily tasks in order to increase traffic to your blog?

NMX Joins Food Network and Mashable for a Pinterest Hangout [Video]

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I’ve been running the NMX Pinterest account for about a year now, and have had a deep passion for this social network since the day I started using it. I even wrote a 100-page ebook about Pinterest, teaching you how to get started using this platform to market your content.

So, when I was invited by our friends at The Shorty Awards to take part in a Google+ Hangout all about Pinterest, I was more than excited to talk about the topic. I joined members of the social media team from Mashable and Food Network to chat about how we use this network: our mistakes, our successes, and our advice on how others can use Pinterest better.

Check out the archive of this Hangout if you missed it:

Pinterest is a topic we will continue to cover here at NMX as it keeps growing. In addition to our ebook, you can find latest blog posts about Pinterest here, and NMX University Premium members have access to Debba Haupert’s 2013 NMX session all about Pinterest, which you don’t want to miss if you’re interested in learning how to be more repinnable.

3 Ways Content Creators Can Use Private Pinterest Boards

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Pinterest recently announced the introduction of private or “secret’ boards, which allow users to pin items to boards that their followers can’t see. This is a feature Pinterest users have been wanting for a long time, as it helps with planning gifts and surprise parties and pinning personal items that you might not want others to see.

If you’re using Pinterest as a marketing tool, private boards might not at first seem like a big deal. After all, why bother pinning images your followers can’t see to click on, repin, or like? But if you think outside of the box, there are a few ways bloggers (and even podcasters and video producers) can use this new Pinterest feature to create better content.

1. Sharing Content Ideas with Your Team

If you have a content team, like we do here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog, a private Pinterest board can be invaluable for sharing ideas quickly. Pinterest’s new private boards can be seen by one person initially, but you can invite others to view as well, giving you a great place to collaborate. Sharing ideas in this manner is especially easy because of Pinterest’s commenting system. Rather than a long email chain that just gets lost in the inbox shuffle anyway, keep your post concepts contained to a single board.

2. Creating Inspiration Boards for Future Posts

You can also create a private board of images that inspire your and could be good to use in future posts. Quotes, beautiful pictures, blog posts from other people, and reports can all serve as inspiration. Unlike the group post idea and collaboration board, these ideas might not be fleshed out quite yet, but that’s okay. No one can see them but you! So when writer’s block hits, head to your inspiration board to see if you can get your juices flowing.

3. Bookmarking Competitor Design Ideas

“Spying” on competitors (and I mean that in the most innocent way possible) can help you come up with new ideas for your own blog. There’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from others. So if you see a cool design element or notice another blogger in your niche using a cool plugin, take a screenshot and upload it to Pinterest. It’s easier (or cheaper if you hire someone) to make lots of changes at once instead of little changes here and there.

If you want even more Pinterest education, make sure to check out Debba Haupert’s Pinterest session at NMX Las Vegas!

How will you use Pinterest’s new private boards feature?

How Home Depot Became a Pinterest Powerhouse [Case Study]

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One might not at first think that power tools and lumber have a place on the Internet’s current social media darling, Pinterest, but this visual platform is being dominated by none other than Home Depot. Currently, Home Depot has over 12,000 profile followers on Pinterest, and their individual boards all have over 8,500 followers. If Pinterest’s high revenue-per-click rates and the assertion that Pinterest users are heavily motivated to buy are to be believed, Home Depot has build quite the lucrative following on this social networking – and it’s a following that is growing daily.

Understanding What Users Want

While DIY home renovators might go to Home Depot for pipes and wood, the company understands that this kind of item isn’t likely to resonate with Pinterest users.  Based on their Q2 2012 reports, about 2% of their total sales come from their online channels, which doesn’t sound like much until you remember that total sales for the company were $20.57 billion that quarter. People aren’t likely to buy certain items online because they want to see them in person, but Home Depot sells lots of items that people are willing to purchase sight unseen, and these are the items the company highlights on Pinterest.

For example, here’s an item Home Depot pinned on its Outdoor Living board:

Pinterest users are a lot more likely to buy this item online than to purchase potting soil or plants online, despite these being popular outdoor items at physical Home Depot stores.

Home Depot also understands that people are looking for different things at different times of the year. For example, during the fall, the boards at the top of the Home Depot profile include Tailgating Ideas & DIY Football Party Ideas and Halloween Crafts & Ideas.

The company also has boards for other holidays and seasons, like Valentine’s Day Inspiration and Summer Celebrations, but these are found closer to the bottom of the Home Depot profile. These can easily be moved to a more highlight position when the time is right.

Give and Take

The best take-away from Home Depot’s Pinterest activities is perhaps the way this company combines promotion of their own products with promotion of other items. Like with all social networks, when you use the platform as a broadcasting tool alone, users typically don’t respond well. To have a more complete Pinterest presence, you need to not only promote what you’re selling, but also promote other cool and interesting products and projects you find.

A good example is the Home Depot Wreaths for Any Occasion board, which features some Home Depot products like an ornament wreath and bat wreath alongside wreath products and projects from others sites, like The Charm of Home, Make and Takes, and Once Wed.

Home Depot has Character

What I personally like most about Home Depot’s Pinterest presence is the personality. Home Depot could take the path many brands take on social media by being extremely “corporate,” but instead, the company’s pins have a little flavor. The descriptions make it sound like a real person, not a stuffy corporation, is behind each pin.

In the above pin on the company’s DIY Wedding Inspiration & Gift Ideas board, for example, you can see Home Depot asking “How cool would it be to have a wedding cermony [sic] inside of a greenhouse?” and several people answered. This type of engagement with a brand is worth more than passive repins, especially for a product not originally from the Home Depot site.

Where Home Depot Could Improve

Although Home Depot does Pinterest better than most brands, I still see room for improvement. Here are a few ways Home Depot could have an even strong Pinterest presence:

  • More Boards: Currently, Home Depot only has 32 boards, which means there’s a lot of room for improvement. With a topic like home improvement, there’s no limit to the individual boards that could be created.
  • More Interaction with Followers: Home Depot’s conversational style with pin descriptions is just a start. The company could take things a step farther and interact with their followers through comments.
  • Following More People: Home Depot currently only followers about 280 people, which is a very small percentage compared to followers. By following more boards relating to home improvement, the company would have more ideas to repin.

It will be interesting to watch how Home Depot continues to grow on Pinterest, as well as see other brands follow suit and start to build a presence on Pinterest.

Build a Pinterest Presence from Scratch: Staying Active in 15 Minutes a Day (Day Five and Beyond)

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Pinterest logo This is part five of a five-part series to help you create a Pinterest presence from scratch for your business or online content. Start at the beginning with this post.

It doesn’t matter how well you set up your Pinterest profile if you don’t stay active. On Pinterest, pins have the ability to go viral again weeks or even months after initial interest fades if the right person checks out your profile and repins something. However, no one will check out your profile if you’re inactive. People want to follower users who are actually pinning stuff on a daily basis.

I know it’s daunting when you already have tons of tasks to do every day. But with the following plan, you can conquer Pinterest in just 15 minutes per day! It’s doable for everyone who wants an active presence on Pinterest.

This post assumes that you already went through days one through four of this series, and that you have a profile set up with boards and are following a good number of people (50 or so to start). So if you haven’t done that yet, start at Day One of this series and go through it to get your profile up to speed.

Morning Duties (10 Minutes)

First, make Pinterest one of the things you do every morning, like checking your email. This part of your Pinterest upkeep will take about 10 minutes and is great to do over coffee, since Pinterest is as much fun as it is work. Here’s what you do:

  • Pin one thing (post, product, etc.) from your own site. Do this first, since it has the most potential to show up on category pages.
  • Pin one thing from a site other than your own. The goal is to highlight really great content that might not otherwise be found on Pinterest. Tag the author/company if they are on Pinterest.
  • Repin three pins from people you are following. Try to pins stuff to different boards.
  • Respond to any comments you received since last time you logged in.
  • Leave at least three comments on others’ pins.
  • Find at least three new people to follow via search, category pages, etc. (See our “finding people to follow” post here)

That’s it! Then, just go about you day. If you come across cool stuff in your travels, pin it, but otherwise, you don’t have to focus on Pinterest during your day.

Afternoon/Night Duties (5 Minutes)

You should log in again during the day at some point. Exactly when depends on your niche. I find that with business-related stuff, late afternoon, when everyone is trying to kill time before leaving work, is a sweet spot. With a more hobby-related niche, like cooking, late night works better – after the kids are in bed, parents are browsing Pinterest. So log in that second time whenever it makes sense for the kind of stuff you’re pinning. Here’s what I recommend you do:

  • Pin at least one original thing from your own site or from someone else’s site.
  • Repin at least three pins from people you’re following, to different boards than you did that morning if possible. Comment when relevant.
  • Find at least three new people to follow.
  • Respond to any comments you received since you last logged in.

That’s it!

Now of course, you can spend a lot more time on Pinterest than what I’ve listed above, but this list of tasks allows you to stay active in just 15 minutes per day. It’s super easy to fit into your schedule, so no excuses! And actually, once you start really getting used to Pinterest, these activities don’t even take 15 minutes, so you have even more time for pinning, repinning, commenting, and following on Pinterest during your allotted 15 minutes. The more active you are on this network, the faster you will grow.

Have questions that this series hasn’t answered? Check out our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, or Videos with Pinterest for more detailed information about rocking on Pinterest. You can also leave any questions you might have in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

See the entire series here:

Build a Pinterest Presence from Scratch: Get People to Follow You (Day Four)

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This is part four of a five-part series to help you create a Pinterest presence from scratch for your business or online content. Make sure you’re subscribed to our blog so you don’t miss a single day!

So far in this series, we’ve learned how to created a Pinterest profile, how to build your first ten boards, and how to pin, repin, and follow people. Today is all about promotion. Now that you’ve set up Pinterest, how do you actually get people to follow you there? I’ve got lots of ideas for you! Implement them all or pick and choose based on your specific niche/industry:

  • Add buttons to your website.

Your regular fans may want to promote your content or products on Pinterest already, but they need a reminder to do so. A lot of social media plugins have added pin button options, and there are even more plugins out there just for Twitter, so it’s only a matter of installing them. I also recommend adding a Pinterest button linked to your profile on your sidebar or wherever you have other “follow me” social media buttons. Basically, wherever you tell people to follow you on Twitter or Facebook, also tell them to follow you on Pinterest.

To get a Pinterest button for your sidebar, just go to “About” on your navigation bar, and you’ll see a “Pin It Button” option:

  • Link to Facebook and Twitter.

If you haven’t already, link your profile to Facebook and Twitter. That way, you’ll show up on your friends’ pages as “recommended” and many will follow you. I also suggest tweeting out and sharing on Facebook that you’re a new member of Pinterest. You want your current community to follow you there if they aren’t already.

  • Comment on others’ posts.

On Pinterest, fewer people are commenting like they are on Facebook. This means you have an opportunity to stand out by commenting on others’ pins. So don’t just repin; actually take the time to comment on pins you like. People are more likely to check out your profile if you care enough to comment.

  • Pin a variety of categories.

When you have a narrow focus, it’s harder to reach new fans. You want to stay relevant to your audience, but be aware of related topics where you can have a Pinterest presence. Create boards in different categories as much as possible, while still keeping that connection to your niche. For example, if you have a furniture store, don’t just have boards in the “home decor” category. Pin wall art in the art category, cool home design in the architecture category, and furniture restoration projects in the DIY (do-it-yourself) category.

  • Write good descriptions.

Descriptions are the captions that show up below your pins. Write them well so they’ll not only be engaging, but so they’ll also help you show up in search results. Depending on your pin, also consider adding a a call to action to get people to click through to your site.

  • Be creative and interesting.

Take a look at your board names and descriptions. Are they unique or boring? Yes, you want to include keywords for search optimization, and you definitely want people to be able to tell what the board is about at a glance, but you’ll get more followers if you’re funny, creative, or unique in someway. For example, I like zombies, so I have a board about them called “My Zombie Board is a No-Brainer.”

  • Pin good content often.

By far, the best thing you can do to get people to follow you is the same advice I’d give you on any social network – be active and give your followers the best content out there. Don’t just let your Pinterest profile sit dormant. Make time for it every single day and you’ll see your follower numbers increase steadily.

How exactly can you make time for Pinterest on a daily basis when your days are already busy? It doesn’t have to take more than 15 minutes per day! That’s the topic of tomorrow’s post, the final installment of this five-day series on building a Pinterest profile from scratch. You can also check out our free Pinterest ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, or Videos with Pinterest.

See the entire series here:

Build a Pinterest Presence from Scratch: Pinning and Following (Day Three)

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This is part three of a five-part series to help you create a Pinterest presence from scratch for your business or online content. Make sure you’re subscribed to our blog so you don’t miss a single day!

If you’ve been following along with our little series about creating a Pinterest presence, you’ve already created your profile and created your first ten boards. Now it’s time to start filling those boards with some great content and find some people to follow! push pin

Pinning and Repinning

On Pinterest, you can add content in three ways:

  1. Upload an image directly to Pinterest (this is usually not the best option).
  2. “Pin” content you find online, both from your own site and from other sites.
  3. “Repin” content that you see others pinning.

You want to split your time between pinning and repinning. Pinning something allows you to be the start of the repin ripples, which is good if you have content that hasn’t been added in other ways and if you want more followers. Repins are good too, though. It’s like retweeting content on Twitter – it’s a cool way to say “thank you” to people. Interacting with your community is a gesture of goodwill, and if you repin stuff from people who aren’t following you yet, it encourages them to check out your profile and perhaps follow you back.

So, both are good. Pin and repin often. If you get the “Pin It” button, it’s pretty easy to do; you don’t even have to go to Pinterest’s site to pin stuff you find throughout the day.

Whenever possible, pin a few things here and there, rather than a clump of 10-20 pins within an hour. When is the best time to pin? That depends on your target market. When is your audience most likely to be online, checking out Pinterest? Do some testing to find out.

Pin both your own content and content from others. It’s like Twitter: if you pin only your own stuff, you look selfish. So spread the love and pin from multiple sources.

Also like Twitter, you can use hashtags, and if you put an “@” before someone’s name, it will tag that person so they’ll be notified of a pin. But – and this is important – you can only tag someone if you’re following at least one of their boards. So how do you find people to follow?

Following Other People

There’s a great section about following others on Pinterest in our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, or Videos with Pinterest. Let me go over some of the top tips here:

  • Follow profiles, not boards.

When you see someone interesting, you can choose to follow their entire profile or you can just follow the boards that interest you. Most of the time, it makes sense to follow the entire profile and then unfollow the boards that don’t interest you. That way, you’ll see future boards they create. If you just follow some of their boards, you won’t see any boards they create in the future unless you click to their profile and review their board list again. It’s much easier to just unfollow boards!

  • Use the search function to find interesting boards.

When you write good descriptions for your boards, pins, and repins, it helps you get found when people search on Pinterest. You can use this same search function to find other people interested in the same topics you like. When you search for a keyword, remember to look at pins, boards, and profiles by toggling between these three options.

  • Follow your fans.

People who repin and like your content may be others you want to follow. You don’t have to follow back everyone, but if someone finds your pins interesting, chances are that you have similar tastes and will find their pins interesting as well. So pay attention to the people who are interested in your content.

Check out the ebook for even more advice about how to find people to follow!

See the entire series here:

Build a Pinterest Presence from Scratch: Create Your Boards (Day Two)

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This is part two of a five-part series to help you create a Pinterest presence from scratch for your business or online content. Make sure you’re subscribed to our blog so you don’t miss a single day!

Yesterday, we went over how to sign up for and create a profile on Pinterest, but having an empty profile won’t get you many followers, nor will it help your business or online content. So today, we’re going to go over how to create boards that set you up for success.

Creating a board is pretty simple. Simply click the “Add” button in your navigation bar and choose “Create a Board.”

creating a board on pinterest

In our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, or Videos with Pinterest, I talk about the ten boards I think everyone should create as a start to their Pinterest profile. Let’s start with just three boards to keep things even simpler:

1. A board about a hobby/interest related to your niche

Pinterest is about sharing cool stuff, and that means going beyond your niche or industry. You do want to keep your pins related to what you do, but think outside of the box. For example, on the BlogWorld Pinterest profile, we have a board about coffee. We’re not in the coffee business, but our readers drink a lot of coffee, so it’s a good fit.

You want people to follow you not just for information about your content or products, but because they like the culture your company creates. Pinterest is about community, not just link promotion.

2. A board for quotes (either general inspirational quotes or inspiration quotes specific to your niche/industry)

People on Pinterest love quotes. It’s also really easy to create quotes images yourself by finding a quote you love and using Photoshop, PicMonkey, PicFont, or another program to add the quote over pretty, stock photography or even your own photography. Quote pins get repinned a lot, and you can link them to any of your related content, so they’re a great option for Pinterest.

3. A humor board (either general humor or humor related to your niche/industry)

Like quotes, people love images that make them laugh. Don’t worry if you’re not artistic enough to create your own funny images and cartoons. You can use this board mostly for repinning others’ funny images! But because humorous images get repinned pretty often, you definitely want this kind of board so your pins and repins spread and more people find your profile. Keep your humor niche/industry related as much as possible so you’re attracting followers who are relevant, and always be mindful about having good taste with jokes.

You’re off to a great start! Now, let’s fill out your profile with some more boards related to your specific niche or industry. In addition to the above three boards, I recommend that you create at least seven boards where you can pin both your own stuff and stuff from other people.

I know what you’re thinking! Seven boards?!? Why do I have to create so many?!?

You want to create so many boards for two reasons:

1. Not everyone who lands on your profile will know you. If they come to your profile and see a board called “My Food Blog” with all of your blog posts pinned to it, they have no quick concept of what they’ll find on the board. You want to name your boards after things that are well recognized, like “Cakes” and “Chicken Recipes” so people know exactly what to expect.

2. People need options that are as segmented as possible. If you have a furniture store, for example, people with different needs will be landing on your profile. Person A might have ten kids and need cool playroom ideas. Person B might not have kids at all, but wants garden furniture. Person C might live in a high-rise with no outdoor space, but is looking for a bedroom set. If you just have one “furniture” board filled with all of those things, all three people will look at that board and think, “Well, I might like some of this stuff, but most of it isn’t for me, so I’m not going to follow it. It makes much more sense to have boards of kid’s rooms, bedroom sets, outdoor furniture, and so forth.

My general rule of thumb is that you should create boards in narrow categories, but not so narrow that you can’t find something to pin or repin to them at least once a week. In terms of how narrow to go, therefore, it will depend on your specific needs and relation to the category. For example, if you blog about lifestyle design, you might want one overall travel board, along with boards about health, family, etc., but if you blog just about travel, you’ll want to segment and have boards like “Travel Tips for Parents” and “Tropical Destinations” (or whatever makes sense for your blog).

Think about how your readers define themselves. This might not be the same way you define them in categories on your website. It depends on your audience.

But your goal today is to create at least seven boards based on the links you can offer. On these boards, you can pin both your own stuff and stuff from others. So, adding to the first three boards I mentioned, you’ll have a great start with ten boards.

Of course, as you use Pinterest, it is A-okay to add more! The best and most popular Pinterest profiles out there tend to have dozens and dozens of boards. Just make sure you can maintain what you create, adding pins to each board at least once or twice a week.

This is very important: Every time you create a board, go back in and fill in the details so you show up in search results. When you add a board, you’re asked to categorize it, which is a start, but you want to also add a description. To do this, click your name in the navigation bar and once you’re on your profile page, click on the name of the new board you’ve create. Then, click the “edit” button and this will pop up:

edit a pinterest board

Make sure you fill in the “description” box with something that tells viewers what the board is about and indicate the topic so that when people search, your board will potentially show up. For example, on the Cookies board above, I used the keyword “cookie recipes” in the description since people might type that into the Pinterest search box.

Then, simply hit the “save” button and your board is ready to go.

See the entire series here:

Build a Pinterest Presence from Scratch: Sign Up and Create Your Profile (Day One)

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This is part one of a five-part series to help you create a Pinterest presence from scratch for your business or online content. Make sure you’re subscribed to our blog so you don’t miss a single day!

So you want to start a Pinterest profile. Good thinking–this is one of the hottest social networks right now, and that’s a trend that isn’t going to change any time soon. Learning a new social network can be daunting, though. This five-part series is all about making the process as painless as possible and setting you up so that you can be successful on Pinterest well beyond five days.

As a reminder, you can also pick up our free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, or Videos with Pinterest, if you want even more in-depth education about using Pinterest. But this series will at least get you started out on the right foot.

Let’s dive right in! Today’s lesson only has TWO steps that take about ten minutes to complete, so no excuses! You can get this done right now.

Step One: Signing Up

In the past, Pinterest was in beta, so you had to request an invite to join or get an invite from someone already using Pinterest. If you requested an invite, it could take anywhere from an hour to over a week to get in. How annoying! Just recently, however, Pinterest opened up the network to absolutely everyone, which is a fantastic update. Now, you can get right in! Yay!

I recommend using the same username that you use on other networks, like Twitter. This consistency will help people find you more easily as they’re moving across all networks.

On Pinterest, there’s no division between personal accounts and business accounts like you’ll see on Facebook and Google+. This is more like Twitter–you can create a profile under your own name, under your business/website name, or both.

When you sign up, you’ll go through a process where they’ll ask you to pick a few images that speak to you. It will then auto-follow a number of people for you based on the images you liked.

I feel like this is a poor system on Pinterest’s part, simply because the people it auto-follows for you often have nothing to do with the images you picked and they tend to be people with large follower numbers who aren’t following many people themselves. It also only follows single boards, not entire profiles (more about boards versus profiles later in this series). I suggest you go through these auto-followed people right away and unfollow them all so you start with a fresh, empty profile. Hopefully, Pinterest will change this in the future!

Step Two: Creating Your Profile

Now it’s time to create your profile. You edit your profile by clicking on your name in the upper right-hand corner and then choosing “settings” as shown below:

Creating Your Pinterest Profile

Scroll down until you reach the “About” section. Here, you have 200 characters to describe yourself. I recommend using some keywords to help people find you. Most of the time, you can use whatever you’re using on Twitter, with some minor edits.

Next, upload an image. Again, for consistency’s sake, I recommend using the avatar you use on other social networks.

You can choose whether or not to include a location (it doesn’t really matter), but definitely make sure you list your website. This is a do-follow link, so not only will it lead followers to your site, but it’s good for search engine optimization.

You can choose to link with Twitter and Facebook if you want. If you do, you don’t have to send every pin to Pinterest. You get to pick and choose where you notify people with every pin, simply by checking these boxes when you pin something:

I recommend turning both of these to the “on” position so you can send pins to Facebook and Twitter when it makes sense. Linking will also allow Pinterest to find your friends who are already on Pinterest, giving you a base of people to follow, and it allows little Twitter and Facebook links to appear on your profile so people can find you from one network to another.

That’s it! You now have a Pinterest profile. See? That didn’t take long at all. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Build a Pinterest Presence from Scratch post, when we’ll talk about creating boards for your profile.

See the entire series here:

How to Instantly Make Your Content “Pinable”

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Want to instantly make every blog post you write pinable? Of course you do! According to PR Daily, Pinterest accounts for 3.6 percent of referral traffic, which makes it just about neck and neck with Twitter. So, the more your posts get pinned, the more traffic you’ll get to your site – and that’s a good thing all around, right? Yay, traffic!

It should come as no surprise that the best way to instantly make your blog posts more pinable is to focus on your images. But what if you don’t work in a visual niche like travel or food? Not to worry; you can still create images that will make your blog posts extremely pinable.

The following is an edited excerpt from The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, and Videos with Pinterest, an ebook you can download for FREE right here on the NMX blog. In this excerpt, we’ll talk about how to create great images for Pinterest that make sense for you blog, no matter what your niche.

Images for Visual Niches

Start by analyzing your niche. Do images work hand-in-hand with your content? We’re not talking about your personal practices. A lot of people get a little lazy when it comes to adding pictures to blog posts. But what’s the standard in your niche? Do people generally use a lot of pictures? In any basic how-to niche (food, crafts, etc.), this is often the case. That’s why those topics are so widely spread on Pinterest.

If pictures are a huge part of your niche, half the battle is already done. The other half is making sure that your own content is up to snuff. Simply put, you need a money shot.

In film terms, the money shot is the scene that often takes a disproportionate amount of time and money to shoot, but is essential to the success of the film. It’s that moment in a film where viewers feel like the price of the ticket was justified. Money shots are those big movie moments that you remember forever, like the scene where Luke Skywalker loses his hand in Star Wars or Leonardo DiCaprio shouts “I’m the King of the World” in Titanic.

You need to use pictures that serve as money shots for your blog posts or other digital content in order to gain traction on Pinterest. You want readers to need to share because they’re so enticing. It’s that shot of freshly baked rolls with melting butter when you post a bread recipe. It’s that adorable shot of your daughter covered in finger paints on your parenting blog. It’s that shot of your finished product when you post a tutorial. Stock photography certainly doesn’t give you a money shot (in most cases).

And not every picture you take yourself is a money shot, either. These pictures have to be special; they have to make you want to click through to see the amazing website they came from. In other words, these pictures have to be evangelists for your content.

When the Money Shot isn’t Easy

The concept of a “money shot” picture is pretty easy to implement on sites that are already inherently visual. But on other sites, this is not as easy. For example, if you blog about social media and write a list of the “Top Ten Tips for Using Twitter,” there’s nothing physical to photograph, other than maybe a screen shot of you using Twitter. And that’s not exactly a money shot. Or if you’re a virtual assistant and sell services instead of products, there’s nothing to really photograph other than yourself.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful on Pinterest. On the contrary, if you work in one of these niches, you can be super successful because others aren’t using the network. Less competition means more opportunity for you! Creating a “money shot” picture that’s eagerly pinned is easier than you might think.

Step-by-Step Image Creation

The first step is to find a picture that makes sense for your post. It can be one of those dreaded stock photography images, as long as you’re making sure to use Creative Commons pictures that allow users to alter the image. Fair use photography can be found at a number of sites, include SXC.hu, Flickr, and Wikipedia. Again, make sure you check the licensing of any photo you want to use to ensure you’re giving attribution properly and to ensure that the owner allows people to create derivative works.

The second step? Add some text. In most cases, your headline works just fine, but remember, the focus here is on the picture. So if your headline is too long, alter it. You want the text you use to convey information and entice readers, which is why you should use your blog post/podcast/video title—you should already be creating headlines that attract clicks.

If you’ve never really thought of the power of headlines before, here are some great resources:

In addition, Brian Clark at Copyblogger has an 11-part series called How to Write Magnetic Headlines that you should check out.

The third step is to make the text look professional (and readable) by adding a drop shadow, highlights, and if necessary using photo-editing software like Photoshop. Looks matter. I know your content might be great, but that alone won’t help you get shares and clicks on Pinterest. You need to present a pretty package.

Even if you don’t have a photo editing program, you can quickly and easily add text to pictures with PicFont.com.

Examples of Great Images for Pinterest

These images can take on lots of different looks. Here are a few pins to check out to get some ideas for your own pictures:

We also have used images like this here on the NMX/BlogWorld blog. Here are some examples:

There are some challenges with creating these images. Sometimes, if you have a theme where the homepage pulls images of different sizes, it can be difficult to create images with text that work across the board. We have that challenge right now, so it’s one of the things we’re thinking about with future redesigns of this blog. If you aren’t a designer, placing the text on an image can also be challenging so that it looks good.

What’s important is that you’re trying, and that you’re making as many posts as possible pinable on Pinterest. This isn’t just about Pinterest. If you don’t like or don’t care about this platform, that’s your prerogative. What it’s about is realizing that a more visual, interactive web is where we’re going as an industry. If you aren’t making an effort, if you’re just using stock images and logos, you’re going to get left in the dust.

Want even more awesome Pinterest advice? Get the entire ebook for FREE here: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, and Videos with Pinterest

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