Pinterest Tips for Writers

| Monday, April 30, 2012
Today's Tune: Breath of Life

I'm rapidly becoming addicted to Pinterest. As if I needed another social media site to get addicted to, BUT WHATEVER. It's still a relatively new site, so people are still exploring and unlocking its potential. It's a fantastic site for creative minds, not only because of the visual stimuli, but because the medium itself can be used in any number of creative ways. So! I thought it might be helpful to write up a Guide to Pinterest for Writers.

First, a few general tips and tricks for new Pinterest users!

Here's a brief rundown of Pinterest etiquette. As with other content creation sites on the Internet, it's considered very rude to copy something someone else posted (text or image) and repost it as though you're the original poster. Don't do that. If you like something, Repin it. It's also frowned upon not to cite your source for an image properly. If you pin an image, try your best to make sure you're pinning it from its original source -- not Google images, not an unrelated blog, not a random Internet site. If you can't find the original source, that's okay, but do make at least a little effort to give the original artist/creator credit. Pinterest will give credit automatically as long as you pin from the original site. If a site has disabled Pinterest from pinning its images, don't be a jerk and copy/upload the image anyway. Generally speaking, Don't Be A Jerk and you'll be fine.

Pinterest is fairly simple to use. You can create boards in a number of different categories (Food, Weddings, Photography, Travel, etc.), then you add the Pin It Button to your Bookmarks Bar, then you surf the web and find images to add to your boards. Easy! You can see three of my boards in the image below. These happen to be an "Art" board, a "Women's Apparel" board, and a "Travel & Places" board.

Another tip for you: you can set your board's cover. If you don't set it, the cover will change with every new picture you upload. If you have a particular Pin that you especially like or think is representative of the board, set it as the cover. Very easy to do. Just hover over your board's current cover, click the "Edit Board Cover" button, and set to the image of your choosing.

Third tip: hashtags! Pinterest has them, too. If you're familiar with Twitter, then you're probably familiar with hashtags and how they work. Same principle. Hashtags make it easier for people to search for Pins. Simply use the hash/pound sign (#) plus whatever word/phrase fits your image.

Fourth tip: get creative with your description copy, but don't forget to make your images searchable. I tend to use my image copy the same way I use Twitter... to be irreverent and silly. It's a way to make your content interesting in addition to the images you're posting. However, don't forget that most people who don't know you will find you via searches. If you want to be found through a search, make sure your description contains something about the image. You don't have to use a hashtag for this, but hashtags do trend, so keep an eye out for popular ones.

Fifth tip: you can Pin videos, too! Videos are a fun way to add music or multimedia to your boards.

Now that we've gone over basics, let's talk about how to get a little more creative with your Pins and Boards!

If you're a casual Pinterest user who just tends to browse and Repin what your friends are posting, that's fine. It's actually probably better for you in the long run, because it means you're putting less time into the site ;) If you're an active user who likes to seek out new content to add to your Boards, you might want to experiment a little.

Experiment #1: Make your Boards more visually appealing. You can do this by creating themed Boards, creating a specialized Board cover, making sure all the Pins on a Board are visually congruent (same color, pose, style, lighting, etc.), or by using a Pinterest hack like this one created by VitaminCr.

Experiment #2: More themed Boards. Many users create simple boards such as "Food I Like" or "Pretty Dresses." These boards are fun and full of great images, but they're not very specialized. Dial it in and create a specialized Board. Many of my Boards tend to be photo journals ("Life in the North Bay Area," mainly populated with my own photography) or have very specific themes ("Alfred Hitchcock Halloween Wedding," because how cool would that be). Whole Foods does a lot of great specific Boards, and they throw in health tips and recipes while they're at it.

Experiment #3: Encourage followers to get involved by making up games or other involvement opportunities. You can create Boards where you're the only contributor, or you can add additional contributors. Maybe you can create a joint venture with some of your friends. Book clubs! A visual Round-Robin storytelling session! Simon & Schuster created a Board dedicated to the various contests and sweepstakes they hold. Think of new ways to involve your followers in your Pins.

Ultimately, we're storytellers. With the rapidly changing world of technology and multimedia eBooks, Pinterest is an exciting tool to use and play with in order to expand our traditional storytelling mind. Tell a story with your Boards! Be creative! And above all, have fun :)

Are you on Pinterest? How do you like it? What do you use it for? You can find me there as maybegenius!


{ Justine Dell } at: April 30, 2012 at 5:13 AM said...

This is the second Pinterest blog post I've read today! Excellent advice!


{ Emily White } at: April 30, 2012 at 8:04 AM said...

I am addicted to pinterest. In fact, I reward myself with a few pins on a very good writing day.

{ Hektor Karl } at: April 30, 2012 at 3:24 PM said...

I also like Pinterest. I'm not a heavy user, but I pin a few things every week.

I didn't know you could set the board's cover image. Thanks for the tip!

{ odesk 4 all } at: July 10, 2015 at 11:02 PM said...

How to add pinterest widget on wordpress. Easy and quick tricks

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