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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.

Seven Cool Ways to Use Pinterest

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Have you joined Pinterest yet? I have to admit – I’ve been pretty obsessed with it in the last few weeks as I started pinning things and exploring the community. And some pinners are using this new network in really cool ways.

For those who’ve not yet familiar with Pinterest, the concept is pretty simple. When you sign up, you create “boards” – as many or few as you want. Each board has a certain theme. When you come across something you like online and want to both remember (like a bookmark) and share with others, you can pin it to one of your boards. For example, I found this really cute costume idea and wanted to remember it for next year. So I pinned it to my “Halloween” board.

Your homepage is filled with the pins from the people/boards you’re following. When you follow someone, you can choose to follow all of their boards or pick and choose the boards you want to follow. I find this extremely helpful, since a lot of my friends have interests that aren’t relevant to me, but I still want to connect with them when it comes to other interests that we share. A good example of this is my friend Kelby Carr. I follow her craft projects board, since that interests me, but don’t follow her board that features stuff for kids, since I don’t have kids of my own.

The most common boards I see are for recipes, craft projects, fashion, and humor, but more and more, people are starting to get creative, which is super inspiring. And, if you use Pinterest in unique ways, it can definitely help you as a blogger or online business owner. Let’s take a look at some really cool ways I’ve seen people using Pinterest:

  • Create a gift registry.

This list tip comes from Kenna Griffin from Prof KRG. This holiday season, she used Pinterest to create a Christmas wish list, which you can see here. She shared the list with family members, which made it much easier for them to purchase gifts she really wanted. You could use it to create a wish list for your blog as well. Depending on your niche, fans might want to send gifts or donations, and this helps them understand how to best show their appreciation. Of course, if you’re a parent, you can also have your (older) children create boards with a wish list theme to help you make purchases.

  • Pin your best blog posts.

Sure, Pinterest is a great way to share funny pictures and whatnot, but does it have any practical use for bloggers who aren’t working in visual-centric niches? Yes! For example, one of the boards I created is called “Favorite Blog Posts I’ve Written,” and my plan is to use it to pin posts that I’m especially proud of. This has the potential to get out of hand if bloggers use boards to promote every post they write, but with the correct restraint, I think it can bring me a lot of traffic. People have already started to follow that board, and as of writing this post, it only has a single pin.

  • Start a Pinterest book club.

This is one board I’m hoping to start in the coming months – a little book club for me and others interested in reading the same books as me. Lots of people use Pinterest to share their favorite books, but what about creating a group board (where anyone can pin things) and every month reading a book together, using the board to share links to reviews and analysis, products inspired by the book, interviews with the author you’ve found, etc. When I read a book I like, I love to read as much about it as possible, and share with others who are reading the same things, so Pinterest could give us a fun place to collaborate.

  • Use Pinterest for project management.

I haven’t seen anyone doing this yet, but I think it could be super helpful for some people, since you can create boards where multiple people can pin things. For example, say you’re an interior decorator. You could use Pinterest to share cool stuff you find online for a specific room you’re designing with the rest of your staff (and they can share with you too). The homeowners can even get involved with pinning. There’s a lot of potential here for anyone collaborating on a project. I love that it would cut down on the crazy number of emails you send back and forth.

  • Pin as an affiliate.

This Pinterest board idea comes from James Dabbagian, who created a board called “Books on Blogging and Social Media.” All the pins on that board are affiliate links, so if others check them out on his recommendation, he’ll get the credit on Amazon (or wherever). You can easily disclose that your links are affiliate links in the description, which James has done, and it makes total sense, since it helps people who are interested in a specific type of product find an entire list of items to check out.

  • Create a Pinterest test kitchen.

Food bloggers have definitely headed to Pinterest en masse, which makes sense since food is definitely visual. Instead of just sharing recipes, though, what about creating a “test kitchen” board? As you’re developing new recipes, ask your followers to try them out and “like” or repin if they enjoyed the meal. It’s a great way to get feedback on the success (or not) of a dish.

  • Bookmark inspiration pieces.

Occasionally (and by occasionally, I mean every two minutes), I come across blog posts, infographics, pictures, and so forth that get my inspiration juices flowing. I don’t always have time to write at that moment, though. Instead of just bookmarking posts, which is clutter-y and hard to efficiently organize, I’ve created a new Pinterest board to essentially bookmark cool ideas. If it inspires some of my followers to check out awesome things other people have written or created, all the better.

Some there you have it – my seven cool ideas for using Pinterest. As I continue using this platform and explore what others are doing, I’m sure I’ll have even more neat ideas to add to this list. Have you come across anyone using Pinterest in a cool way? If so, tell us about it in the comments!

Do You Pinterest? These Companies Do and It’s Paying Off

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I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Pinterest and if you haven’t, feel free to head on over there. I’ll see you back here in a few days when you’ve pried yourself away to eat something, feed the pets and take a shower.

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board, a pin board, of all your favorite ideas and finds. When I first heard about it, I thought it was just for finding home decorating ideas, recipes and cool outfits. I was wrong.

I tried to stay away from Pinterest as long as I could, because come on, do I really need another excuse to keep me tied to my computer and smart phone. I’ll answer that. No. No I don’t.

It wasn’t until my nephew, who is in college, stayed with us for a few days during Thanksgiving. He kept talking about Pinterest. My teenage son and daughter then decided to create an account and all I was hearing was laughter and “Did you see my board and what I just found?!”

Needless to say they were having a good time, and being one who doesn’t like to be left out, I joined Pinterest and have been addicted ever since. (Thank you Caleb.)

Pinterest is definitely not just for those who want to find yet another creative place to hang garland in their house for the holidays, or a new cookie recipe that will make all the moms at your son’s elementary school Christmas party green with envy. It’s for anyone – male, female, young and old.

You know who else has taken a liking to Pinterest? Companies. I was reading this article on Adage about how Pinterest is driving more traffic for some companies than Facebook.

Here are a few companies mentioned in the article who are using Pinterest to drive both traffic and sales:

You can visit their pages and read the Adage article to see how they’re using Pinterest. One thing you’ll find, is they are still all in the learning phase.

Land’s End actually created a contest titled “Pin It To Win It” which kicked off December 14th. You can find out how to enter on the Land’s End Facebook Page. Here’s a snippet from the page:

We’re excited to kick-off a Holiday Pin it to Win it contest, our first-ever challenge on Pinterest. Simply create a virtual pin board featuring your favorite Lands’ End Canvas products for a chance to win one of ten $250 Lands’ End Canvas Gift Cards. Contest ends 12/21/11 at 11:59pm CT. Winners will be judged based on creativity, composition & style expertise.

Clever don’t you think? It will definitely be fun to watch Pinterest grow, as well as how different companies use Pinterest to their advantage.

Do you Pinterest?

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