It’s no secret that Pinterest is an amazing source for generating new readers for your site. And if you’re a seasoned DIY or food blogger, chances are, you’ve already seen this at work on your blog. But Pinterest isn’t just for the big people; it’s a tool that ANY blogger can harness to increase their reach on the internet and grow their blog with new readers – and it’s not hard to do.
In this post, I’ll explore just what Pinterest users are looking for – what type of content grabs their attention and makes them want to share it. And I’ll give you some concrete ways to put this to work on your blog.[box style=”info”]*Note* This post contains lots of examples from my boards on Pinterest. If you like them, you should Follow me on Pinterest![/box]
Now, at the risk of missing the real point by listing “nine steps” first, I’ll go ahead and give you the big picture here:
The most successful blogs are USEFUL blogs. Repeat this to yourself.
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a blogging friend who contested this idea – when I said that people read blogs to learn things, she said, “but people don’t come to my blog to LEARN, they come to be inspired!” And it’s true – they do. But isn’t inspiration a sort of learning? Whatever the reasons we come to a blog, we always feel good when we can take away something – whether it’s a new perspective or a new skill, we like a bit of evidence that we’re better for having read a blog that day.
When a reader has a great experience with a post you’ve written, their natural reaction (especially if they’re female!) is to want to share that with other people. And whether they’re doing it via email, Facebook or Pinterest, they’re doing it because they were better off for reading your post. Now there’s something to feel warm and fuzzy about.
The thread that holds blogging together – I mean the sustained kind, the “classic” blogs that seem to grow and grow – is Generosity of Spirit. A willingness to share, give, encourage and inspire. And luckily, that’s just the kind of thing Pinterest users are looking for. So without further ado…
The most concrete way to teach someone is with a tutorial – this is Giving at its finest. You don’t have to have discovered something new, or have a completely original idea no one’s ever thought of. You just have to slow down long enough to share it with the folks who want to experience it with you as their tour guide.
What’s the difference between a “show and tell” post and a tutorial? It’s showing every. single. detail. of a process. The formula goes like this:
Step #1 description
Step #1 image
Step #2 description
Step #2 image
Discussion of what could go wrong + how to avoid it
BIG PHOTO FINISH
(preferably of someone enjoying what you’ve made or done)
Now, writing a tutorial isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to break things down simply enough that a complete novice can replicate what you did without getting frustrated. For real-world objects, a camera is a must. For computer-based tutorials, it’s all about the screen shots and/or videos. It takes some planning, but writing a handful of tutorials will do more for growing your blog than writing 50 “regular” posts.
This is where Pinterest has taken the crafting world by storm. If you craft it and are willing to break it down into bite-sized pieces, new blog visitors are yours for the taking! I’m a homeschooling mom, so tutorials like how to make homemade watercolor paints or a DIY (kid’s) stained glass window have caught my attention (and they’re good models to follow, for any tutorial), and I’m now reading these blogs because I was introduced to them via tutorials on Pinterest.
But what about non-crafters?
Tutorials aren’t just limited to traditional “crafts” – just take something (anything!) you know how to do, grab a camera, and share it.
Okay, this is way too much fun. Moving right along…
Everybody loves a good list. They teach you something, and they’re easy to share with others.
But what kinds of things could you share? How about 20 questions to ask your kids at bedtime or a list of what fruits and vegetables are in season at different times of the year? Maybe 10 tips for reading with your baby. My fave: 100 ways you know you’re a mom. Yup.
If you’re given to long bouts of prose, try breaking things up with a *list* and see how many people share it.
If you don’t have a single concept you’d like to break down into steps, why not round up some of the most helpful information you can find on a subject? This is a great way to resurrect some of your older posts (see 50+ watercolor techniques + ideas for kids for a great example). And if you truly want to reinforce some blogging friendships, you can “share the love” by including links to other bloggers’ content in your post as well.
If you’re passionate about something, use your knowledge to make it easier for others to understand. Like this (beautiful) guide to gluten-free ingredients. Or a guide to how much fabric you’ll need to reupholster different kinds of chairs.
This goes from simple “tricks of the trade” to more serious endeavors. I saw this “unofficial guide” to Ethiopian adoption on a friend’s Pinterest board just the other night. This is a woman who has traveled a life road and is willing to help others navigate the process so things will be easier for them.
Guides aren’t tutorials because there’s no step-by-step involved – it’s taking a bunch of information you have about a topic, and organizing it in a way that makes sense to others. A quick (or not-so-quick) reference. And this is the type of post that will have people not just finding your blog, but returning to it again and again.
Solve a problem – only a brief discussion about “why it’s a problem” is necessary. Just tell how you solved it and the results. Preferably with lots of pictures or videos.
Like a song for teachers to keep kids quiet in the hallways. And this way to keep baby bibs organized right on the high chair? Brilliant.
(Show Off Seasonal Crafts, Decor, Rituals or Inspiration)
Holidays are big stuff on Pinterest. I mean BIG. There are lots of Pinners (me included) who have entire pin boards that center on specific holidays. If you want to attract the Pinners who are surfing the seasonal wave, write a post (or ten) that revolve around the next closest holiday. It might seem short-sighted, until you remember that holidays happen year…after year…after year.
Take something simple and make it beautiful. Share some of your favorite quotes or photograph some of your favorite places. Share your dreams. But don’t forget to photograph or illustrate them – because without the “eye candy” factor, your life-changing poem just won’t make it to Pinterest.
Writing down a favorite recipe doesn’t take nearly as much work as writing a full-fledged tutorial. And we use them every day! I hope you realize that the recipe you share doesn’t have to be original. As long as you give proper credit to the person who wrote the recipe or shared it first (usually via a link to that post or to that book) and you only use your own photos, the recipe is all yours to share.
And now the delicious part: a few examples.
You could share recipes like your favorite buttercream cupcakes (and yes, gorgeous photos do help) or melt-in-your-mouth glazed apple pie bars. It’s not just for food, either – here’s a handy guide to dyeing yarn in 135 different colors…with Kool-Aid. I have preschool aged children and I knit; that one’s on my to-do list. 🙂
Yes, for FREE.
Everyone wants to know how to make money with their blogs, and it kind of seems counter-intuitive to just give things away. But that’s the magic of giving: people want to pass your generosity on to their friends. And when people come to collect the freebie, they’ll see all of the other amazing things you have to offer (as long as you’ve optimized your blog for new visitors, that is…) and stick around for awhile.
Whatever your skill or area of expertise, figure out a way to give some of it away. And when you do, make sure you have your best foot forward to show off the other amazing (perhaps non-free?) things you blog about.
And now, in the spirit of Pinterest:
I give you…
Yes, just for you.
And anyone else you want to share it with. 😉
[box]This post is part of the series Growing Your Blog with Pinterest: the Ultimate Guide. You can read the rest of the series here.[/box]
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