Previously, I’ve asked the question: Blogging and Pinterest? How does that even work? Well, I’m getting a handle on how that works–and why it works. But it does take some special research and preparation to craft a good Pinterest campaign.
Why does Pinterest have such potential? Well, at the moment, it’s just a far less crowded platform for getting yourself noticed. The entire planet uses Google, and that world of websites is fighting tooth and nail for space of the front page. The things bloggers like to blog about: hair, makeup, DIY, home life, small business, home business, etc.–are competing with the high rollers like Hubspot. How can I compete with domains that have the kind of Domain and Page authorities like Hubspot?
Following the guidelines of good structure, good keywords, and backlinks are a good start to building a blog or a website that has a chance in the marketplace, but we’re going to have to get creative and get on Instagram and Pinterest and yes, even Snapchat. We’re going to have to hustle.
I first got tuned in to the Pinterest thing when I noticed bloggers in my community (#bloggerstribe, #Bloglovin’ are both great groups) that people were saying that Pinterest was their best resource. Poking around on the topic, I’ve found that others agree. This post by a highly reputable blog gives fact and figures from his own experience. I recommend his entire two part series on Pinterest! However, for us small bloggers without a budget? At best we have a domain name and money for a latte in the piggybank jar. We don’t have a full-on WordPress site with all the bells and whistles plug-ins (yet). Even if we have the budget, (I could probably swing it) we might not be ready. I’m just getting my feet wet in the New Technology, so I’m not yet ready to implement for all of Josh’s excellent advice about add-on services and plug-ins.
I’ll be helping you get set up for Pinterest without tears and without a budget. This will be a continuing series. I even put in a new category for it!
You can watch me work it out for myself, follow along, and when I fall flat on my FACE (as I will do occasionally! learning by experience is still learning!)–we can all laugh at my screw-ups. Fail fast, fail forward! But more importantly, let’s not buy things we are not ready to implement. 😉
The first thing I’ll need for Pinterest (and down the road, Instagram) campaign is art that tells the story of my blog and my posts. Previously, I told you about five fantastic sites for free or cheap visual arts resources, including some terrific sites like Crello and Canva to get you started. If you don’t have a good picture to represent your post, you’re dead in the water. A “title page image” (or featured post image) should be eye-catching and have the name of the post on it. A little plug for the actual name of your site would also probably be a good idea. It will add to your name recognition as your site gets more popular–and help you to get more popular, more quickly.
I started this blog a day or so before Christmas (2017) and I have over 30 posts. This is because I learned from my previous failed blogs over the years to write shorter posts–and break long topics into shorter posts. I’ve been concentrating on producing lots and lots of content, refining my author’s voice, and establishing myself in a modest way in the blogging community (retweeting, joining blogger trains, reading other blogs, leaving encouraging comments). That social element is pretty important for small businesses, home business, and online commercial vendors. Now I’m going to start using what I know to create a better site. For getting into Pinterest and Instagram, I’m going to need to re-work my site design and the visuals I’ve used so that they’re more “Pinterly” or “pinnable.”
Crello and Canva are good go-to sites for re-vamping your visuals. It lets you upload your own images and then add texts and objects (like banners) to your site. Crello lets you start from scratch, but there lies the problem as well, some people are not very good at this. I know I have had to study to understand the basics of good design–a good set of tutorials on graphic design really help. Canva has tutorials for design that are useful for the absolute beginner to the more advanced user.
The Canva tutorial has a COMPLETELY beginner set of tutorials called “Beginner’s Challenge” that will walk you through every step for working with its platform. You can upload your own graphics–so the pictures I’ve chosen already could be tweaked to better represent my work to an audience that is going to encounter them as “online billboards” in a way. If you’re completely new to working with graphics, Canva is probably the place to start.
First principles of a good pin design: Make it pretty, make it readable (and relatable).
For this post’s featured image I ended up using Crello. It’s a bit of preference–but I liked the fact that I could put in “body text” — a kind of slug line or snippet within the image to tell you a bit more about what the post is about. It also seemed easier to figure out how to do my own design–better user interface, that encourages experimentation in designing fresh content. I used Crello because it was easier to resize my top header line of the zillion little Pinterest pins. I did not want a busy background to compete too much with the text.
My first hack at creating a good design went something like this:
You cannot really read the body text. It’s tiny. Imagine struggling to read this on a phone! I chose 32 point font –which is huge in Microsoft Word documents, but that gets diminished on the Internet. The font for headline text here is 91! I had to crank up the font size for the body text to 72 points.
The second problem is the voice. The word, “hopefully” –yikes. I wince at this. My thesis advisor would raise an eyebrow. It sounds tentative and weak. I tend to over-write. I was trained as an academic and loooooooong sentences are standard for that crowd–but they’re death to blog posts. Also the laughter part–that was meh. I hope to be a light and witty blogger, but these tutorials are not going to be on Jimmy Kimmel or the Steven Colbert shows. I’m over-promising. A little editing is needed on visuals, very often.
One of the little worries I have about using resources like Canva and Crello is their outputs tend to look a bit “canned.” I feel like I’ve seen many of their pre-fabbed offerings a zillion times. Don’t get me wrong–they’re super-nice. But I worry about their shelf life. There is merit to standardizing if you’re trying to create a super-polished, professional magazine. Even polished magazines have to change their look from time to time. Internet audiences value variety. I, too, am puzzling over the right “look.”
More to follow
I’m going to research more on the ins and outs, do’s and don’ts for pinning. I’m following Josh’s excellent advice to remake my blog-site more “pinteresting” and “pinnable” as well. And I’ll also keep up the study of SEO for home business, small bloggers and small business.
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Best wishes ~ Lola