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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

Want to Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic to You Blog, Podcast, or Videos? #pinbook

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Over the past few months, BlogWorld has been hard at work creating a brand new eBook with everything you need to know about the hottest subject in social media right now – Pinterest. And now that we’re finished, we want to share that information with you – for free!

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Blog, Podcast, or Videos is available starting today, and it doesn’t cost a cent. Simply click on the link to download your copy right now or, if you’re already subscribed to our newsletter, check your email!

Tell all of your friends – they can download a free copy too! Click here to tweet a message to them using our hashtag, #pinbook. And of course, we also hope you’ll consider pinning the ebook as well so you can share it with all of your Pinterest friends.

This eBook won’t be available forever, so make sure you snag a copy today!

Track Your Pins and Drive More Pinterest Traffic with Pinerly: Interview with CEO Rick Kats

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Pinterest is one of the most addicting networks out there (I swear I don’t have it open in a second window as I’m writing this post…), but while it functions well for hobby pinners, it doesn’t give content creators many options for tracking Pinterest marketing efforts. Enter Pinerly. This Pinterest analytics and marketing site received 36,000 signups within one week of launching and, so far, its 500 beta testers (of which I am one) have created over 1,000 campaigns to track pin performance.

Pinterest is an AMAZING marketing tool for digital content creators (and we’ll actually be releasing a free ebook covering that topic soon – stay tuned). Pinerly is part of that equation, at least in my opinion. So I sat down with Pinerly’s Rick Kats to talk more about this site and how it can help pinners build a bigger following on Pinterest, drive more traffic back to their content, and more.

Allison: For people who don’t know, tell us a little about yourself and Pinerly.

Rick: My name is Rick Kats, CEO of Pinerly. Pinerly is an analytics dashboard for online visual content sharing platforms – starting with Pinterest. We provide tools to allow users to post content and easily compare the virality, reach, and engagement of each campaign. Designed with the simplicity to make it “just work,” Pinerly allows brands, bloggers, marketers, sellers, and agencies to focus more on their customers/content while optimizing their posts to increase on their returns.

How did you come up with the idea for Pinerly?

The inspiration behind Pinerly came about when we were using Pinterest to market our old business (www.setnight.com) and noticed that our traffic increase by 30%. We really loved Pinterest from day 1 and enjoyed how friendly the demographic that uses it really is. Although it was a lot of fun, our biggest pain was trying to measure the amount of traffic brought to us from certain pins (ROI – or return on our time). This is the fundamental reason why we started Pinerly. There is a nice phrase that we saw some time ago “if you cannot measure it, then it’s just a hobby.” We believe that it’s completely true and are creating the tool that we wished we had for ourselves when trying to get more exposure to our brand.

I think the “Pinalytics” section is extremely helpful for online content creators who want to see how well their links are doing. I love how it shows your total reach, based on others who have also pinned it. Can you talk to me a little about how the Pinalytics section works and how content creators can best use it?

The campaign and pinalytics is certainly one of the most compelling features on Pinerly. What we allow you to do is easily measure click-throughs, re-pins, and likes on a pin that is pinned through Pinerly. In a similar process to Pinterest, you select an image or input a URL to fetch the images, add a description, add a destination URL and then post the pin onto Pinterest. Once you do this, you are able to easily compare the campaigns against each other and see which work better and try to understand why. Although this may seem like a simple concept, there is a lot that we (and other brands) have learned about our posts and now do more of to optimize on our postings. We talk about some of these things here. There is certainly a lot to be understood in terms of times, descriptions, images and boards to find out what converts best and why.

My First Pinalytics Campaign

The ability to schedule pins is something I think a lot of pinners want, especially people who are using Pinterest to market their content. When will this feature be available?

For the scheduling feature, we are completely dependent on the release of the Pinterest API – ability for third party services to post data to Pinterest. As soon as Pinterest publicly releases its API we will be able to flip the switch and enable this feature.

One of the most important things about Pinterest is to disperse the pins over time. So instead of just pinning everything at once, it would be great to have a way to spread content throughout the day so that even when you are away from the computer, pins that you may have found earlier in the morning will be posted to keep your followers engaged. We hope that this will allow many avid pinners do all of their pinning in one time and concentrate more on the things that matter (spend time engaging with their followers, customers, users, or even with their family =) )

I also noticed in a recent email you sent out, you mentioned a Pinerly button. What can you tell us about it? Will this be similar to the current Pin It button that a lot of people already use?

Yes! But even more exciting, it’ll be a “Pinerly It” button that will now allow you to pin things at the same ease as the Pin It button and will tie directly into your pinalytics so that you can basically create campaigns on the fly. We’ll also be tying in other cool features like the scheduling into this as well.

Currently, Pinerly is not open to the public, but you do allow people to get access sooner by promoting it to their friends. You’ve come under fire for asking people to promote in order to move up on the waiting list. What is your response to those critics?

I think it’s really easy to forget that there are real people behind Pinerly and that sometimes there are things that you really just can’t expect. We wrote a full response with all of our thoughts here: http://not99.posterous.com/all-cards-on-the-table.

What else can we expect from Pinerly in the future?

We’ve really got some really really exciting things in the works (and I’m not just saying that =) )

1) Pinerly Bookmarklet: Discussed above.

2) Scheduling: Also discussed above!

3) Multiple Accounts: Ability to manage multiple Pinterest accounts through Pinerly. The idea is to provide a seamless way to control multiple business accounts or personal accounts simultaneously and easily switch between them to making posting content even easier.

We’ve also got things like monitoring, campaign analysis and recommendations, and a lot more coming… so stay tuned!

Thanks all of the great information, Rick! I’m super excited to see how Pinerly keeps evolving, and I hope you’ll keep us updated!

Should You Block Pinterest on Your Blog?

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Pinterest recently released a new bit of code that you can add to your website which will block anyone who tries to pin your posts. It’s pretty simple. You just add a line of code to your header/footer and would-be pinners will receive a message when they attempt to pin anything from your site that says the site doesn’t allow pinning. Hear that? It’s the sound of Pinterest haters everywhere rejoicing.

But whether you use this social network or not, is blocking Pinterest a good idea? In my opinion, no.

At least, not for most bloggers. There are a few exceptions:

  • If your blog is photography-based, with posts containing little content beside your pictures, it might make sense to block Pinterest.
  • If your blog is about showcasing your artwork and, again, contains little written content, it might makes sense to block Pinterest.
  • If you hate traffic, it might makes sense to block Pinterest.

Okay, I think the last point probably doesn’t apply to anyone here…but the first two certainly might.

Pinterest has been getting heat lately because the platform basically makes it easy to repost any picture you find online. Pinterest does abide by DMCA rules and will remove pins when asked to do so by anyone who owns the picture in question, but this new opt-out code will make it even easier for bloggers to just say no to Pinterest.

Only…why would you want to?

I’m not arguing that artists and photographers should share their work for free. I believe everyone deserves to get paid for the work they do. However, Pinterest isn’t about stealing your work to use for some kind of personal gain. It’s about sharing your work so that others can find it. Curation is the theme here. Pinners are trying to help drive traffic to your site, not hoping to get away with not paying you for your work.

When someone steals a picture from Google images and publishes it on their blog without buying it (or crediting it properly/getting your permission if that’s what is required by the license), they’re using your work in a way that robs you of the money or traffic you’re supposed to get as the picture’s creator. They’re doing so because they don’t want to spend the money to pay you for your time. It’s the same as copy/pasting my words and posting on your own blog without permission – it’s wrong.

For example, let’s say that I am blogging about cake. Mmmm cake. Instead of taking a picture of a cake myself, buying a picture of a cake, or finding a free image to use, I steal a picture of cake you took for your own blog. It’s wrong. I’m using that picture for my own gain because I’m too lazy/cheap to do the right thing. You get no benefit.

Pinners, however, aren’t using your pictures without permission for their own gain. They don’t own their pin boards any more than we own our Facebook profiles. They’re using your picture as a preview in order to encourage others to be fans of the posts you create. It’s a recommendation, the same way it would be for someone to share a link on Twitter or Facebook. Pinterest just happens to create visual links, like a little preview of your site to encourage people to click through.

And because most people are visual learners, I think as Pinterest grows, this could lead to more traffic for any visual-based site (food, crafts, fashion, etc) than any social media site where just links are shared. Think about it. You’re more likely to be interested in a recipe if there’s a picture of the finished product to entice you, right? Allowing pinners the ability to pin your posts can lead to a LOT more traffic than places where people just share the title/URL.

Of course, like with every social media site, some users are jerks. They pin pictures without linking to the original source. They copy/paste the entire blog post into the description so people aren’t encouraged to click through to your blog. They change the pin URL to lead to their own site. They download your pictures and then upload them as if they own them.

But these users are a VERY SMALL percentage of users, at least in my experience. Don’t let a few bad apples ruin the bunch for you. Pinterest is working to make the platform better (for example, there are plans to limit the characters in a description to avoid c/p of the entire post). You should definitely contact Pinterest if some users are pinning your work incorrectly…but don’t give the middle finger to the entire platform! You’ll be missing out on the potential for lots of new traffic if you do.

Now, like I said, the opt-out code could make sense for some people. If your website or blog is all about your artwork (photography or otherwise), it might make sense for you to say “thanks but no thanks.” Personally, I would want as many people as possible sharing previews of my work, but I can also understand how you’d want to limit the way people share. For the typical blogger, though, blocking Pinterest just doesn’t make sense in my opinion. This platform is such a cool new traffic source, and unlike some other recent networks *cough*Google+*cough* it seems to have attracted the attention of the general public, not just people who blog and use social media. For most people, blocking Pinterest is cutting off your nose to spite you face. Before you make this decision, I recommend you at least spend a few weeks giving the network a try first-hand.

Feel free to disagree with me in the comments! Will you block Pinterest on your blog now that this option is available? Why or why not?

Why I Don’t Mind Pinterest Hijacking My Links

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Recently, Joel Garcia at GTO Management bought it to everyone’s attention that everyone’s new favorite social sharing site, Pinterest, is basically hijacking links to make money as an affiliate. I highly recommend checking out Joel’s complete post, but here’s the main idea:

  • When you “pin” something, unless you you the upload option to post your own picture, users can click on your pin to go to the original source. It’s a good system – it allows as much traffic as possible back to the site of interest, no matter who pins or repins.
  • There’s this tool called SkimLinks that website owners can use that will basically look at an entire site and whenever a link could be an affiliate link, but isn’t, SkimLinks automatically makes it one.
  • What Pinterest has done is installed SkimLinks so that anything pinned by any user that could be an affiliate link (but the user didn’t make one) will be made into one – using Pinterest’s ID.

It’s an upsetting thought for a lot of people, but I’ve never been one to go with the crowd. I’m more than happy to allow Pinterest to make money from my pins using SkimLinks. But I feel like a disappointed parent…because I wish they would have just told me.

Beyond FTC rules they are potentially breaking by not disclosing the presence of affiliate links, I don’t think it’s fair that Pinterest doesn’t make this process clear to new users. Even worse, the process for adding your own affiliate ID is difficult. In most cases, you have to add the pin, then go back in and edit the link, and while you’re making adjustments, your pin is live with their link…and people repin stuff pretty quickly sometimes.

The other problem is that sometimes bloggers and other content creators what to post their own products. You obviously aren’t an affiliate for yourself…but Pinterest could just take it upon themselves to add their own ID to your links, so you’re doing all the pinning work but you still have to pay out a commission to the company. Bogus.

Overall, though, I’m not inherently mad about Pinterest hijacking my links and making some money with affiliate sales. In fact, I hope they keep doing it.

The company has to make money somehow, right? Take a look at the site. Right now, how is it making money for the company? The answer is…it isn’t. To be sustainable long-term, the company would probably have to start having sponsored pins (yuck), blatant sidebar ads (yuck), or membership fees (yuck). I’d rather them make use of potential affiliate links that aren’t being used anyway. It makes sense because it doesn’t change my Pinterest experience in any way, yet the company still makes money.

It’s kind of like the chubby kid in the cafeteria coming up to you and asking, “Are you going to eat that?” If you’re not, give him the other half of your sandwich. Someone might as well enjoy it rather than it getting thrown away.

But they need to disclose this. Here are the changes I’d like to see:

  1. Full disclosure about SkimLinks when you sign up for the site. Not buried somewhere in the TOS…clearly stated for everyone to see.
  2. An option to add your own affiliate link when you pin a product (if you want to) as you’re pinning – not having to go back after the fact and re-link the pin.
  3. A dedication to warn and potentially ban users who are using affiliates without disclosure on their profile or boards.

Pinterest, I’m happy for you to make some money from me. You have an awesome platform that I love to use, and I feel good that you’re able to make a little money in exchange for me being able to continue using your cool site. Just be honest about it and give me some options to make the experience less shady. Let’s keep Pinterest awesome. That way, we can all make a little cash and enjoy the pinning experience.

35 Brilliant Bloggers Talk about Pinterest

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Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Pinterest

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been blogging and tweeting a lot about Pinterest. It’s my latest obsession, and one that I believe has unlimited potential for content creators and business owners. Check out Seven Cool Ways to Use Pinterest and my Pinterest Beginner’s Guide if you haven’t already; then, take some time to read the below Pinterest posts by some of the most brilliant bloggers online.

*Note* Usually, I link everyone’s Twitter handles, but this week, given the topic, I thought it would be an even better idea to link to Pinterest profiles too, when I could find them.

Also, you can find my Pinterest boards here. I pin mostly funny stuff, good blog posts, and craft ideas (plus a mish mosh of other stuff). Leave your Pinterest profile link in a comment below and tell us what you most often pin so we can all connect!

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

5 Pinterest Tips for Beginners by Kelby Carr at Type-A Parent

Kelby’s a power user in the world of Pinterest, and she’s currently working a new Dummies book about this network, so her post is a great place to start! If you’re new to Pinterest, this post will help you get going. Upon first glance, Pinterest can look really confusing and hard to learn, but with a little time – and Kelby’s tips – you’ll be addicted in no time!

Pinterest is great to find cool stuff and inspiration, and it’s also great for content creators hoping to drive traffic. Writes Kelby,

If you’re a blogger jumping in, it is probably because you would like to get exposure and traffic as a result. Just like other social networks, you should primarily pin content from other sources or you will look spammy. Still, you can pin your own content on occasion. What is even better, however, is to encourage others to pin your content.

Read the entire post, and then check out Kelby on Twitter (@typeamom) and on Pinterest (kelby).

Pinterest: Behind the Design of an Addictive Visual Network by Lauren Drell on Mashable

One of the best ways to learn about any network or platform is to hear information straight from the horse’s mouth. That’s what you have in this post from Lauren Drell at Mashable – a great interview with one of the co-founders of Pinterest, Evan Sharp. Along with Paul Sciarra and Ben Silbermann, Evan created this social discovery platform as a way for people to visually share things they find interesting, and today, it’s one of the fastest-growing start-ups out there. Check out this complete interview with Evan to learn more. Here’s a snippet:

I was always collecting images on the web in folders on the desktop of my computer, but it wasn’t a very good system for remembering where things came from or who made them. We wanted to create a place where you can go to upload or collect things on the web and simply organize it the way you want to [each with its associated metadata].

You can find Lauren on Twitter @drelly and on Pinterest (drelly).

18 Real-World Examples of How Brands Are Using Pinterest by Sakita Holley at SakitaHolley.com

Pinterest isn’t just for bloggers. This is also an absolutely great platform for brands who want to connect with their audience. Companies like Nordstrom and Whole Foods have been cited often for using Pinterest well, but these aren’t the only companies making awesome use of Pinterest. In this post, Sakita takes a look at 18 brands that really understand how to use Pinterest – and as you can guess, they’re doing more than just promoting their own products. From her post:

I’m always curious to see how brands use various platforms to engage with their customers and fans. So naturally I’ve been scouting for early brand adoption examples on Pinterest, a new website still in its infancy that puts a digital spin on pin boards.

After checking out Sakita’s post, you can find her on Twitter (@MissSuccess) and on Pinterest (misssuccess).

BONUS: I usually only highly three brilliant bloggers and list the rest as links below, but this week, I wanted to also highlight a fourth post, from Dave Copeland (copewrites/@copewrites) at Read Write Web – “A Guy’s Guide To Pinterest.” Most of the posts this week are written by women and the platform itself tips in favor of female users…but that doesn’t mean guy’s can’t use it too! In fact, there are a lot of really cool things guys are pinning on Pinterest, so fellas, don’t be afraid to sign up.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about Pinterest? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link

Next Week’s Topic: Public Speaking

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

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