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Why Writers Need to Seriously Consider Pinterest

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I wasn’t planning to write a post about Pinterest. But after hearing some grumbling about this up-and-coming social media site, I felt compelled to share my evolving thoughts about it.

I know writers fear over-commitment to social media. We’re already stretched thin between Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Tumblr, and Blogging.

“I just don’t have the time to add one more thing,” I’ve heard plenty of writers say.

I’m a tad busy too. But I’m making the time for Pinterest. In fact, if need be, I’ll subtract a little bit of time from some of the other social media sites so that I can interact on Pinterest.

Here are several reasons why I think Pinterest is important for writers:

Pinterest isn’t a passing fad. Last week I read an infographic by TalkingFinger. Here are just a few statistics the infographic cited about Pinterest that show how important it’s becoming:

• It has 1.36 million users DAILY.
• It generates more traffic to websites than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined.
• There is a 145% daily user increase since the beginning of 2012.
• Over one-fifth of connected Facebook users are on Pinterest daily (which amounts to over 2 million people).

And here's another insightful infographic: Interest in Pinterest Reaches a Fever Pitch.

Pinterest provides key visual stimuli. I personally think that visuals attract people to our products more than any other type of marketing. Pictures are engaging, spark interest, and draw attention. In our culture of short-attention spans, the quick visual is sometimes all the time we have to garner someone’s interest. Just last week I was attracted to two different books as a result of pins on Pinterest. I’m sure if those pins grabbed my attention, they did others as well.

A recent study shows that Pinterest drives more revenue per click than Twitter or Facebook. The study said: "Pinterest is the first social network that’s delivering not only lots of traffic but also real revenue and lots of new customers."

Pinterest puts us into contact with more people than our followers. Currently with the way Pinterest is set up, every time you pin something that is “categorized” it will show up in that particular category under the “Everything” list which anyone can access. That means your pin has the potential to reach more than your followers. In fact, it can go viral. One of my inspirational pins got over 200 repins mostly by non-followers.

Pinterest allows us to connect with readers in a unique way. I connect with writers and industry professionals through Twitter and Blogging. But I’ve connected with readers mostly on Facebook. And since Pinterest is a female dominated site (so far 68.2% of Pinterest users are women), I have no doubt a large majority of my readers (women) will gravitate there at some point in the near future if they’re not already there. I want to be there waiting to welcome them.

On Pinterest, readers will get a better picture of my interests as well as my books (through my story boards). Recently, one follower on Pinterest said she decided to read my book as a result of my active presence on Pinterest. (Read what she said here.)

My summary:

For those who are dragging their feet about joining a new social media site, just remember the hesitancies you had with Twitter or that Facebook Page when you first started. They seemed a little intimidating at first, and you didn’t really “get” the point of them.

But once you jumped in and tried them, they began to grow on you, right?

It’s the same with Pinterest. Don’t let fear or other excuses stop you. As modern writers, we have to stay flexible and willing to change with the times.

Pinterest is only growing in popularity every day. Once you take part in the pinning fun, you’ll begin to see why it’s becoming so popular. And you’ll realize what a valuable new tool it can be to add to your writer’s toolbox.

Several cautions:

Pinterest is NOT a place to spam our books. Like any of the social media sites, Pinterest is SOCIAL. It works best if we pin/repin a variety of pictures that can entertain, encourage, and inspire others.

Pinterest needs to reflect YOU. One of the coolest things about Pinterest is that you can tailor your site to reflect your BRAND and who you are as a writer. For example, my boards display not only my novels, but also my love of writing, reading, coffee, and chocolate. I invite you to take a look and get some ideas from what I'm doing. But you shouldn't try to imitate me or anyone else. Figure out your brand and what is uniquely YOU.

Pinterest also needs to be for our readers. While it’s fun to have all kinds of random boards of things we like (i.e. hairstyles, kitchen remodeling,etc.), we need to keep the primary focus on having boards and pins that will appeal to our consumers. I think Random House and Penguin Books do a fabulous job with their boards. Both are promoting their books but at the same time appealing to their target audience in creative ways.

So, if you’re not using Pinterest, did I convince you of its worth? *grin* If not, why not? What’s holding you back? If you’re using Pinterest, what are some things you’ve learned about the site that can help other writers who are getting started on it?

*Image via: 18 stats to sell your boss on Pinterest

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52 comments:

  1. Unfortunately I cannot cope with another form of social media on top of my full time job, my writing, my literary journal, my writer's retreat, my non-work responsibilities ... um ... oh yeah, and that little notion of having some time for myself! LOL. Just can't do it. Wish I could!

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  2. Thanks for posting this - I feel stretched to my limit, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe Pinterest is worth looking at, and it does sound kinda fun!

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  3. I'm there (as you know) and I love it! I think it's a wonderful way for readers to get to know a glimpse of me and my interests.

    As with everything, it's all in what you make of it.

    I love the visual aspect of Pinterest (though at times it makes me ravenously hungry).

    One thing I try to be sensitive of is not pinning or repinning hundreds of pictures at a time. I know folks who do that regularly and I feel like it clogs up the page. It's a tad overwhelming.

    Thanks for repinning & see you there!
    ~ Wendy

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  4. I love Pinterest! And I have to say, I have noticed how well you use it. You do not spam like I've seen others do. I've had to unfollow some people because they went crazy with their "marketing". (I'm not talking about any of my blogging friends!!!)

    So kuddos to you, Jody, for using Pinterest in a good way!

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  5. I started using Pinterest when I heard other writers talking about using "picture board" apps to assemble inspirational/reference photos for their WIPs.

    The apps were pay. Pinterest is free.

    So I've been creating photo boards there. I check out the photostream every so often, but that's not what I'm there for. I'm collecting dramatic scenery, character reference photos, images relevant to my fantasy WIP... just what calls out to me.

    Drop on by :) -- http://pinterest.com/blankenshipl/

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  6. Pinterest . . . I know of authors who really like it. And it's on my social media "to learn" list. But it's after I figure out GoodReads, and I'm writing another novel before I'll take a break to figure out GoodReads. I'm real slow at learning things like social media and websites, anyway. So I suppose I'll make it to Pinterest eventually.

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  7. I love Pinterest! It is the first social media that has really captured me. I do the others, but not as often as I feel I should. But Pinterest draws me in. I do think so much of it has to do with the visual. It's less relational, but I'm okay with that because in a lot of ways my Pinterest boards say so much more about who I am than the words I labor over in other forms of social media. And it is so practical! I found a picture of the heroine for book #4 on Pinterest. I've made several new recipes that were easy and my family loved. I've enjoyed sharing pictures I work from as I write each book, too. I could go on and on, but I'd better stop! :)

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  8. I love Pinterest. I don't have any books to promote (yet), but I'm sure it will be helpful when I do. I'm a very visual person, so I use it kind of like visual bookmarks.

    I love your pins, and bought your latest book when you pinned that it was on sale.

    I don't get Facebook or twitter, (will have to one day I guess),I find pinterest much easier to use.

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  9. I understand how this can come in handy but I would probably just pin a few things here and there, including a book cover, and leave it at that. I know people absolutely love Pinterest but I haven't found much interest in it (I'm not artsy-craftsy.) I enjoy visiting once in a while so I'll make sure to promote my own creations too. Thanks!

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  10. So far I have one image on Pinterest, so going by your statistic of 68% of Pinterest users being female I should, thinking about it, pull my proverbial thumb out and start being proactive on there for the male demographic.

    Glad I read through this post, as I only signed up to the big P out of curiosity after a friend told me about it - one of the 68%, I hasten to add.

    My only concern, with these ever expanding circles of virtual socialising and representation, is that more and more of what constitutes you and your personality is being laid bare for anyone to see, browse through and focus upon. Do you see where I'm going with this? I know of people who absolutely refuse and detest the idea of DNA profiling, yet have splashed all and sundry across the Internet via Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Tumbler, Flickr, Pinterest and any others I've failed to mention. Ripe for the picking by identity thieves or for the stalking/bullying. People - not all, but a fair number - have this naive love affair with social media on the web, happily posting without considering their own online safety and security. So yes, these ports of social information are great for self-promotion, sharing of interests, etc, but ensure you guard your personal information to the utmost and use all the security measures offered to you.

    Other than that, happy pinning :)

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  11. Yes, you've convinced me to at least LOOK at it, which I have avoided until now, knowing the "ooh shiny" effect on my productivity. Like Jessica, I am trying to also balance a job on top of family and writing, though thanks to the book I won here, I am getting on top of scheduling my time better.

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  12. I was hesitant when my sister (an interior designer) invited me to join Pinterest last summer. I didn't know how to use it, but after hearing her rave about the site, I got on and started to play around with it. I LOVE it now!

    I write historical romances, so I have boards titled: 1850's, 1860's, etc. and when I find a piece of clothing or an item online that I'd love to incorporate into a story, I pin it there to keep it all in one place. I pinned a picture of George & Elizabeth Custer and it's been really popular.

    One way I've found to generate people to my blog is by sharing a favorite recipe of mine each Saturday. I pin the recipe to my Favorite Recipes board and I get a lot of new faces on my blog each week - recipes are VERY popular on Pinterest. Just this last week I pinned a recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars and within three days it had been repinned almost 80 times. I'm convinced this is a good thing!

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  13. I completely agree, Jody. One of my big things has been finding readers outside of our writing blogosphere, and Pinterest is a great way to do that. I've had a lot of repins from non followers, and while I do have boards for my books, I have several other boards for things I love. It's a great way to connect on a personal level, because people are visual. I truly believe Pinterest can have more impact than Twitter and Facebook. As for the other social media sites, I do have a presence there, but other than my blog, I don't devote a lot of time to them. Writing is most important.

    Time for Pinterest isn't an issue for me. I love scrolling through the Net looking at pictures, so I save my pinning for night and spend 15-20 minutes, then I'm done.

    Great post!

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  14. I've heard it's addictive, so I've mostly stayed away. :P You've convinced me that it's worth the tiem and effort, but since I don't even have an agent yet, I think I had better spend more of my time writing and honing my craft. But I'm tucking this away for that time when I do get to a place where I need to spend more time marketing my brand. Thanks for leading the way!

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  15. Well said jody, you don't have to find more time just go there instead. It's so much fun and I like what you said about branding. I might find more kid's stuff to pin. Thanks!

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  16. Hey everyone! I'm really appreciating hearing all of your thoughts on Pinterest today!

    If anyone is interested in joining Pinterest, leave your email (or DM it to me on Twitter or via my Contact Page), and I'll send you an "invite." This will get you onto Pinterest faster than having to wait until they allow you to join from their waiting list.

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  17. Jody, I couldn't agree with you more! Not only is it a cool source of idea exchanges, it is the talk of many circles in which I interact. As a writer, I cannot possibly ignore it as a passing fad. Besides, it's fun! I'm not on there as often as I like (only briefly every other day or so), but when I am, I add to my boards, check out others' boards and pins, see what's trending, and join the conversations.

    My boards have generated traffic to my blog and website, not to mention new subscribers to my weekly devotion. Thanks for this great post and putting precise points out there for us to consider.

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  18. I'm on Pinterest just very lightly and casually. I guess two things really hold me back from investing too much time there. The first is that, as a fantasy writer, I'm not sure my target audience is there.

    The second is that I've noticed the traffic Pinterest has brought to my site isn't good traffic. What I mean by that is they don't stay. When people come to my site from Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, they stay anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 minutes. They also tend to visit more than one page. When people come from Pinterest, they average 30 seconds or less. Hits are fine, but I'd much rather have engagement.

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  19. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Marcy. Yes, I'm not sure about how Pinterest is showing up in visits to my site yet. But I do know that I'm gaining a presence on Pinterest which hopefully will only help in the future.

    As far as your target audience, one of the infographic stats says that Pinterest users are overwhelmingly between the ages of 25-54. In my opinion, that's fairly young. I'm guessing your audience would fall into that group (although you would know better than me).

    I've seen several fantasy writers posting fun pictures that go with their brands. For example dragons, castles, creepy dark scenery. Their pictures totally spark my curiosity! I think there's a fantastic potential to develop your unique brand on Pinterest.

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  20. I've been totally resisting pinterest - but then I realized it's the perfect way to do something creative for my book launch (I'm making boards for my characters)...I'm off to check out your links! Thanks!

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  21. Jody,

    If you like fantasy imagery of a high standard, might I suggest you pop over to my blog and check out the artists I cover under my 'Art Spot' postings. I think you'll like what you find there.

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  22. Jody, yours is the first article I've read that has even slightly convinced me I should seriously consider Pinterest. Honestly, I've been in the "No way!" category but after hearing your your arguments for it, I can see its value.

    I'd LOVE to see a copy of your daily schedule to see how you manage it all, girl. :-)

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  23. Thanks for sharing, Jody. I will keep your post and the comments in mind as I ponder the issue.

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  24. Interesting post. I've been avoiding Pinterest because I was under the assumption it was a female dominated site. Well, that and the fact that, like you said, I already have my hands in too many social networking cookie jars. But I think I'll give Pinterest some attention and see how it works out. Thanks for the info!

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  25. Hi Jody, thanks for sharing your this post. I've been to your pinterest page and I love, love, love your reading and writing photos. They are so me it could have been me who put them up.

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  26. Sorry I'm so excited that my finger hit the enter button before I was done.

    You have convinced me to get an account. Thanks for the heads-up.

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  27. Your traffic might not be good from Pinterest if your total brand isn't cohesive. If they like what they see on Pinterest and find nothing like it on your site, why would they stay? I stick to the social networks that I have something valuable to add to, and thus far that's tumblr, livejournal, pinterest, twitter, and my own site.

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  28. Well, girl, you made me think. I'm sure you're right, I just don't like pictures.

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  29. I'm so glad there's a retweet button again! Makes it so much easier :)

    I signed on to Pinterest, but I still haven't gotten the hang of it. But I love the idea, and I'm one of the people who shares your inspirational pins on Facebook. Short and sweet messages grab my attention.

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  30. I hadn't heard of Pinterest until reading your blog posts lately, Jody. I've visited your board and it looks interesting; I think it may be something I will seriously look into. Of-course finding the time at the moment is always the big issue - I don't know how you manage it!

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  31. The minute I found Pinterest I felt like I came home (a visual person here). I immediately felt it could be of great social media value. Love the way you use it.

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  32. Thanks for these tips. I started using Pinterest a couple of weeks ago, but all I have so far is a board of images related to my work-in-progress, a board for my blog and another for my online articles. Your post has given me lots more ideas!

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  33. I'd recently started playing around with Pinterest, but I read this and now I'm using it in a whole new way! I don't have any followers yet, but my pins have already been repinned! I also saw a surprising jump in my blog traffic yesterday which I can only attribute to Pinterest. So, thanks, Jody! Keep the good ideas coming. ;)

    Visit me on Pinterest!

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  34. I'm waiting to closer to the time of hopefully being published, so I have something to share six months before it happens. Right now, I'm just not sure that anyone will be interested.

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  35. This was an interesting post. I’ve been hesitant to join for several reasons – one certainly being time. But thank you for this food for thought. As a writer, I want to know how Pinterest is valuable specifically for writers. I appreciate you sharing your experience. :)

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  36. I've pretty much stayed away from Pinterest for the reasons you mentioned, although I plan to blog about it, or should I say about not doing it.

    I'm pretty sure I will eventually. But right now, I'm choosing to prioritize my writing over more social media.

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  37. Arg!! Curse you, Jody. So I had to check out Pinterest since you praised it so highly. Got my invitation to join them today, and have spent the ENTIRE day pinning up pictures! Now, I'm addicted to yet another social networking site. Thanks a lot.

    But really, THANKS! I love this place!

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  38. I just don't have time to add another time sucker!
    One day... Maybe I will.
    X

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  39. Of the friends I have who have tried Pinterest, 100% love it. So I have no doubt that it has lots of potential. However, I have serious concerns about the possible ramifications of "borrowing" images that others have created. In most cases they are posted with the intent that they will be repinned, but the copyright issues still haven't been fully resolved. So I'm not getting involved until or unless they are.

    I'm barely keeping up with my commitments to blogging, FB, Twitter, Google+ and Goodreads anyway, and need to have them under better control before launching into something else. You're amazing in how you manage to stay on top of everything and still get your writing done and meet family and church commitments, too!

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  40. Jody, You've convinced me to get on Pinterest. :) Gosh darn, you!

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  41. This is about the 5th post I've read on pinterest today...Maybe I should check it out. :)

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  42. Nice props for Pinterest, Jody! I agree that Random House is doing a great job on pinning, etc. I mention them along with three other publishers (including one indie) who "get" what Pinterest is all about here: socialfresh.com/book-publishers-pinterest/

    I look forward to sharing pins with you! (I'm rooibosqueen when I pin.)

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  43. Like any new social media, I think it's good to start out slow. Try a few things, watch it for a week and see how you fit in. I'm a recent Pinterest user and am enjoying the experience. Thanks for the post on how to use it properly.

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  44. My kids warned me about it. They said I'd spend a lot of time there. They were right. I mostly collect recipes, way more than I'll ever cook. I'm a virtual hoarder. :-) It's good to have a variety of boards. You need self control to limit your time. I have none, so I don't.

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  45. I was wary at first, because of copyright issues, but I opened a Pinterest account anyway and just made sure I was very careful about what I posted/pinned - still am, but as it grows, it's easier to find things to re-pin, etc.

    I'm having fun with it, but not spending a huge amount of time there. Still trying to develop it and fix it to where it reflects who I am and what I love and do and etc . . .

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  46. This is a great post. I opened a Pinterest account a few months ago. But, alas, since I had to wait a few days before my account was officially activated, and in the meantime I signed with a publisher and have been SWAMPED with stuff to do, I never got back to it. Thanks for the little nudge to get my Butt back there.

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  47. A day or two ago I posted a link to an article via Twitter (@BVSBooks) that ties in with this. That post http://tinyurl.com/csqrspk was about why readers choose to connect with authors through social media. It asked and answered the question... What is it a reader wants when they follow an author on social media? According to the post the reader wants a connection with the author...they want to know a bit more about the author...something a little personal... And Pinterest really delivers on that. Though some authors only post content directly related to specific books they've written most people have some boards devoted to books and some devoted to other things. What better way to let a reader connect with you than to see the things you think are cool...books are great...but why not the houses you like...the sayings you like...the gardens you like...the recipes you want to try?

    I think Pinterest is a wonderful way for readers to connect with an author...to get that personal connection they seek.

    The post I mentioned ties in beautifully with this post.

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  48. Thanks for the link to that article, Laurie! I agree. Pinterest is NOT just about our books, but one other fun place for readers to get a glimpse of us and for us to have fun with our readers. I love seeing other pins and repinning them and feel it's a great way to interact with my readers.

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  49. Jody, I just started up on Pinterest last week, and you're right. I'm loving it. I'm beyond thrilled when I get the little message that says someone has pinned or repinned one of my pins or blog posts. I love the points you make and the pointers you give. You've inspired me to keep investing! Because, shew! Social Media can indeed be a time and energy sapper. But I guess it's just something we have to learn and then become disciplined in. Pin on!

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  50. Kay, Glad I could inspire you with Pinterest! I'm really loving it too. It's such a great way to encourage one another.

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  51. I often see things on Pinterest that are from google and there are some things on google that I want to pin on my boards on Pinterest and I was wondering how to do it or if you even could when there was no "pin it" button on the website. I've seen the captions under a post say google images as a reference from where the picture came. Is it possible?

    Buy pinterest followers

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  52. As one of the FEW men on Pintrest (I finally dove in after getting my feet wet months ago), I'm finding it more fun than most things I do platform wise.

    I still love blogging more, because I'm a chatty soul at heart, but Pinterest in finally growing on me. Hope you'll check me out when you can, Jody.

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