Pinterest for Bloggers

I have recently discovered Pinterest.

When I first heard about it, I was not eager to jump on this newest bandwagon, but I have begun using it more and more lately as I’ve discovered how much fun it can be! (And, admittedly, when I learned that it is sending traffic to my blog.)

Even if you are not a blogger, you may enjoy this post, but I am mainly writing this for the bloggers out there who, like me, want to use Pinterest more but aren’t sure how to make it beneficial to your blog.

Blogger or not, I can send you an invite to join Pinterest if you want to try it out. Leave me a message in the comments if you want one.

First things first . . .

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board that “lets you organize and share things you find on the web.”

Jo-Lynne Shane on Pinterest

It is highly visual. You pin pictures, which then link back to the website or post where they originated. You categorize them according to their subject, so for example, I have a pin board for food, one for fashion, one for inspirational quotes, and so on.

Check out all of My Pinterest Boards!

How Do I Start?

First you need an invitation to join Pinterest. (Let me know if you need one.) Once you’re in, you’ll want to set up your profile page. It allows you to upload your photo, write a brief paragraph about yourself, and link to your blog and other social networks.

You will also want to install a Pin It button on your bookmarks toolbar. This allows you to easily pin an image from any site at any time. 

Pinterest Pin It Bookmarklet

First you may want to peruse the site a bit and see what’s out there. You can follow people (meaning you will follow all of their pin boards) or you can follow specific boards that interest you. Whatever boards you are following will show up in your main Pinterest page. It’s like a Pinterest feed.

Then start pinning away!

How Do I Pin An Image?

You can “Repin” the images you find on Pinterest and add it to one of your own pin boards. You do this by clicking on the image and selecting the “Repin” button.

Pinterest How to Repin

Or you can pin photos and images from websites and blogs by clicking the Pin It button in your bookmarks toolbar and then selecting from the images displayed. When you hover over an image, a Pin This button will appear – click on that! (See the blue Pin This button hovering over my Pinterest for Bloggers image? You would click on that.)

It will then prompt you to add a brief description or a comment, and you can categorize it onto the Pin Board of your choosing.

Pinterest Tutorial | Description and Category

Try to avoid typos, though, mkay? Ooops.

Feel free to add a description that will be helpful if you want to reference it in the future, or to give other Pinterest users an idea what the article it’s linking to is about, but never EVER copy content from a website or blog post and put it into the description. That is copyright infringement. (More on that below.)

How To Pin Properly

The goal with pinning is two-fold. You are creating a resource for your personal inspiration and future reference. And you are curating images and information for other Pinterest users to discover.

It is crucial that you pin an image in such a way that you and other users can follow the image back to the originating post. Especially with recipes or tutorials, it is worthless to pin an image that doesn’t take you back to the post that shows you how to make it. I learned this early on in my pinning. Therefore, you must pin FROM THE POST, not the main page of the blog.

So, for example.

You go to jolynneshane.com, and pretend that my most recent post is my Chicken Gruyere recipe.

chicken gruyere

It looks divine (doesn’t it!!?) and you want to pin it to your Food board so you can find the recipe when you need it and so others can discover it too! (Thanks so much, you’re so kind!)

When you pin the photo of my Chicken Gruyere, DO NOT pin it from my home page — jolynneshane.com. Instead, click on the title of the post, which takes you to the recipe post itself — http://www.jolynneshane.com/2011/03/tried-and-true-chicken-gruyere.html — and pin the image from there.

Because otherwise, what happens is, my Chicken Gruyere post slowly gets buried under new content. And if you pinned it from my home page — jolynneshane.com — then that photo will take Pinterest users back to my home page, not the Chicken Gruyere post. And that would be sad, verrry sad, because then you would not be able to find the recipe! So always, ALWAYS pin images from the web address want the image to link back to.

How Do I Get My Stuff Pinned?

First of all, you have to have content that is pinnable. And in a nutshell, that means pretty pictures or interesting graphics. Pinterest is highly visual, so you need to post eye-catching images so that people will WANT to pin them, and so that Pinterest users will WANT to click and come back to your site to see how to make that delicious recipe or that adorable craft.

Source: A Spicy Perspective via Jo-Lynne on Pinterest

I almost always include a photo in my posts. I try to include my own photos, but sometimes I buy them on iStock if I have nothing that fits. I like the idea of creating a graphic to fit with a post. I did that with this one, just to try it out. But that’s something that I haven’t done much of because, let’s face it, it is time consuming. I prefer to put my time into my writing, but we’ll see where Pinterest takes us. I do predict that you will start to see a lot more graphics included in posts as Pinterest continues to grow and bloggers realize the value of making their posts more visually pleasing.

Protect Your Photos

One bit concern with Pinterest is that it makes it easier for people to steal and claim your photos. This is why many bloggers put a watermark on their images with their blog’s URL. That way, if someone does try to steal it, or when they pin the image incorrectly, the url is on the image so users can find the right blog. It would be too lengthy to put the post URL in the watermark, but at least if you get them as far as your blog, they can search the topic in your Search Bar. (You do have a Search Bar on your blog, right???)

Make it easy for your readers to pin your stuff!

Add a Pin It button to your posts and a link to your Pinterest page on your sidebar. You can grab one from the Pinterest Goodies page.

follow buttons for pinterest

I am also using a WordPress plugin called Pin It On Pinterest that allows me to include a Pin It button on individual posts and I can even choose the image to pin and include my own description. I have done that on this post, as you can see below underneath my Link Within images.

Can I Pin My Own Stuff?

In a word . . . sparingly.

Like any other social network, it is okay to promote your own material IF AND ONLY IF you are promoting other people’s material WAY more. I go for the 90/10 rule. I only pin my own stuff about 10% of the time.

For instance, I made a board for blogging tutorials and most of them are mine. If I really wanted to work it, I would create custom graphics that are more interesting than my own blog buttons. Maybe I’ll get around to doing that . . . some day!

Using Others’ Pinterest Images In Your Posts

So you find a gorgeous photo on Pinterest that you would love to include in a post. Is this kosher?

Yes, but. As with everything, you want to give proper attribution. 

Say I’m writing a fashion post about casual weekend wear. I love this outfit I found on Pinterest. I right click and save it to my desktop and then insert the image in my post.

Then under the picture, I want to include proper attribution. If you click on the image in Pinterest, it will take you back to the originating site, in this case, a post on All Things Chic! Beneath the image, I will write the following:

Source: allthingschic.net (note that I link TO THE POST – http://allthingschic.net/2012/01/fashion-friday-weekend-casual.html – not to the home page) via Jo-Lynne (linking to my Pinterest home page or my Style Board, whichever) on Pinterest (pinterest.com)

So it will look like this:

red and denim casual weekend outfit

Source: All Things Chic via Jo-Lynne on Pinterest

So yes, you can use images you find on Pinterest if you attribute them to their rightful owner, AND IF you follow them back to their source and they are not protected by copyright. (For instance, on Flickr, some images say “all rights reserved” — I would not republish those.)

So What Was That Bit About Copyright Infringement?

The other thing I want to discuss is the issue of copyright infringement and content theft on the Internet.

Some people are under the mistaken impression that the Internet is a free for all and any information is up for grabs. This is not true. In fact, copyright law extends to the internet and all things digital. For more information on this issue, you can read my friend Julie’s post: Pinterest: educate your users about content theft.

Suffice it to say, you never EVER want to pin someone’s recipe or craft tutorial and include their post in your description.

More Pinterest Resources

Is your head spinning? Do you feel this post is way over your head? Read Megan’s Beginner’s Guide to Pinterest.

Are you a blogger who wants to know even more about how to optimize Pinterest for traffic growth? Read The Nester’s post on Pinterest and Blogging.

Want more?? Kelby has a slew of posts about Pinterest here: Talk of the Parent Blogosphere, Pinterest Obsessed Edition.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks, JL! This is a great encouragement. Like you, I’ve been meaning to get around to Pinterest. I’ve barely begun, but it seems to be rather time-consuming. I mean, am I supposed to go browse online, looking for things I love, to pin? Or am I just supposed to go to Pinterest and re-pin other people’s stuff. That seems a bit lame. I feel I should contribute something “new” to the boards. Anyway, many thanks.

  2. Barb @ A Life in Balance says

    Good post! I need to do watermarks on my photos. They’re not always the best, but they’re mine and I should protect them.

    I also found the attribution info very helpful for the post I was thinking of doing on Valentine’s Day ideas from Pinterest.

  3. says

    I probably need to do some editing on my pins. I’m sure too many of them go to the home page and not the actual post. I’ll try to be more mindful going forward, but I doubt I’ll go back and fix every pin. I also repin a lot, and don’t always check to see if the pin goes to the actual post. Too much time!

    What really bothers me when people put the whole recipe or text from a post in the description is that it just takes up so much space! And it totally defeats the purpose of Pinterest!

    This is a great post.

  4. says

    I LOVE it. I actually wrote about Pinterest today too, but my post is all about things that I think are pretty or nifty or funny. I was looking at my stats last night and I realized I get a lot of hits from people doing google searches for things they found on Pinterest (and didn’t pin I guess?).

    One thing I do when I pin stuff from the web is in the description I also write the site it came from. So if I pinned your recipe above I would type, “Chicken Gruyere from Musings of a Housewife.” I know it isn’t necessary, but I think it is just polite. Plus then you don’t have to actually click on the pin to see where something came from.

  5. says

    Great tips Jo-Lynne! I’ll have to check out your boards and get some of those yummy recipes pinned. I’ve been on Pinterest for a while now but I feel like all of the sudden a lot of my friends have gotten onto Pinterest – it must be really booming right now. And I would love to be able to add watermarks to my photos, maybe in a PSMM workshop? One of these days I know I’ll get around to adding it, but I really have no idea how to even begin trying to add.

  6. says

    I am saving this post and subsribing to your great blogLynn. I have been trying to get into Pinterest…no luck; could you invite me?
    It would make my day. Love the way you you explained it all.
    Rita

  7. says

    Great Post! I have a lot of non-blogging friends that I am going to share with…seems like everyone is on Pinterest now. I don’t use it as much as I want to, like everything else it’s a time sucker :)

  8. Lauren@BaseballsandBows says

    I would love an invite. I’ve been holding out, but since you mention recipes, this would be a great help for me as I try to save some GAPS recipes. I’ve been bookmarking, but this would be much better! Thanks!

  9. Mary says

    Yes, I’d love an invite! I have tried twice to join, but have yet to receive an invitation. What’s wrong with me? :P Thank you!

  10. says

    I thought I had already joined pinterest … would you send me an invite? What is the difference between pinterest and just organizing ‘favorites’ on your browser? I have different categories like recipes, birthday party ideas, decorating, gift giving ideas, travel, etc. that have worked for me in the past to be able to go back and find a recipe, etc…

  11. says

    Thanks for putting the word out about copyright and attribution. It’s scary how things can get taken without credit, and most people really don’t realize they are even doing it!

  12. says

    Thanks for the link, sweet friend! Your tutorial is so much cleaner and better organized than mine is!

    Thanks for discussing the copyright issue, too. A blogging email group I am in was just discussing this. I really think non-bloggers have no idea about copyright issues. They may copy and paste the text into the pin description for their own ease or whatever. How can we go about changing this?

    • says

      Pinterest needs to take the reigns on this one. You are right. People just don’t know. There should be some sort of flag button you can click if you see something that isn’t appropriate. Could be easy to implement.

  13. says

    Hi Jo-Lynn,
    I want to thank you for the invitation to Pinterest; I was having a ball until I realized all the posts I have been adding do not open up to my blog; only the picture shows up. I do follow your instruction. I think maybe it is a problem with Blogger. I wonder if anyone else notice problems.
    Thanks,
    Rita

  14. says

    Just got my Pinterest invite today (just requested it directly from their site) and have been having a wonderful time pinning all sorts of things (kitchen organization ideas, recipes, fashion). So much fun! Thanks for the great tips, especially the one about copying text from the site you pinned into your description. Ooops.

  15. Jenny says

    Would you please invite me to join Pinterest? I tried through their web, but haven’t received their invite yet. Thanks in advance.

  16. Tracy Saritzky says

    I was all set to join Pinterest because I love the site, But the permissions required to join stopped me cold. They have access to my data and can post something saying it’s from me? What is that about? I emailed the site where they ask if you have any questions to feel free to contact them, but have yet to hear back. Does anyone know more details about this? In the meantime, at least I can enjoy the content.

    • says

      I signed up with my email account and login with that information. It sounds like you are trying to access Pinterest with Facebook or Twitter. If you link your FB or Twitter account to your Pinterest account (which I did do), it’s just like any other app that FB requires you grant permission for the connection.

      The permission to post means that you can check a little box when you pin something to share it on your FB wall or Twitter feed. I’ve never had them post something that I didn’t initiate or had any issues. It works like the game apps on FB.

      I hope this makes some sense.

  17. Lori says

  18. says

    Thanks for sharing. I recently joined pinterest and am trying my best to figure it out. To be honest it didn’t quite grab my interest like I had heard it would. I have heard that it can drive traffic to your blog though. I really need to play there more. Thanks for helping me get started.

  19. says

  20. says

  21. Steven says

    Hello JL

    That was an incredible post! I never knew what all the chatter about Pinterest was until this morning. This seems like a lot of fun could I please have an invite so I can give a try? I also like the explanation of your disclosure because as we know blogging, hostings and website building take both time and money. My photography site is new and under construction as we speak but it ranks well.

    Anywhoo… thanks in advance and looking forward to your reply

    Steven

  22. says

    Wow, this article is SO helpful! Thank you! I love Pinterest and am always wondering if I’m doing things correctly. :) I really like your blog as well!

  23. says

    Great job Jo-Lynne. I had to pin this because it is a wonderful resource for people that don’t know how to use Pinterest.

    I love your blogging tutorials, they are the best!
    Keep up the good work.

    Cindy

  24. Lauren says

    This is really interesting. I have a Pinterest but some of the sections on here I had no idea about. The copyright section was very interesting!

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  27. says

    I have been interested in joining some group boards to increase my followers but I am having trouble figuring out how to do this. Do you know of any instructions out there on joining and contributing to group boards?

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