Guest Blogger: Erin MacPherson
Grab a notepad and a pen and write this down:
Now circle it, add a few stars or a few exclamation points or some bright purple glitter. Anything it takes for you to convince yourself that it’s a very important note. Now go hang it on your fridge right where you can see it.
Of course, Pinterest is social media. (Your little note is a total lie.) It’s quickly becoming one of the most popular and most-used social media tools. In fact, it has been called a social commerce game changer and the best social modality to heat up your brand. Pinterest is an important social media enterprise.
But I’m asking you to push that thought aside. Because when you start to think of Pinterest as social media, you fail to see Pinterest for what it truly can be: an amazing content marketing tool that can help you build your author platform, help establish expertise in the areas you write about and (perhaps most importantly) a way to fuel your social media efforts on Facebook and Twitter.
I think of Pinterest as my way to show the world (and especially my readers) who I am, what I think and what I love. So the next time they’re planning a kid-friendly dinner party or need an April Fool’s craft for their kid’s kindergarten class, they’ll know that they can come to me for ideas. And from there, maybe we’ll start to interact on my Pinterest board or Facebook page, sharing ideas about what to do when a two-year-old melts down at the petting zoo and starts pulling goat tails. And eventually, maybe, just maybe, a few weeks later, they may be wandering the bookstore and see that I write actual books on things like “discipline” and “educational activities ” and they’ll recognize my name and pick one up.
On Pinterest, the content marketing comes first, the relationship later, and the sales pitch last.
How do you make this happen? Go grab another piece of paper. This time, start jotting down Pinterest-y topics in which you are interested. And, since for most writers writing and life intersect, I’d guess that most of these topics intersect in some way with your books.
For example, if you write contemporary romance, some of your topics could be:
If you write historical fiction, write down things like:
If you write non-fiction parenting (like I do), your topics can be things like:
Post your list next to your other note on your fridge. These are the boards you should be intentionally building on Pinterest. Don’t just throw pins up willy-nilly, but instead, focus on building great, content-rich boards around the topics that you are passionate about. If you write about the same topic on your own blog, then post your own posts along with others.
My personal Pinterest strategy is this: Every week I choose one topic on which to focus. During that week, I spend ten minutes a day finding and re-pinning pins that relate to that topic. I also try to write at least one (if not more) blog posts around that topic that I also pin to that board, giving it fresh content that comes from me. So, for example, this week I’m pinning about Easter. I spent some time finding really colorful, fun and creative pins about kid crafts, kid-friendly recipes and other ideas for Easter. Additionally, I wrote two blog posts that related to Easter and also pinned them to that board. Now, hopefully as people search for Easter-related pins on Pinterest, they’ll find me, find my blog, find my books… you get the picture.
I’ve seen all sorts of authors, agents and publishing professionals use Pinterest as a content marketing tool. On Rachelle’s Pinterest Page, you can find specific boards for all of the books she represents. I have gone there more than once to get ideas for new reads. Additionally, you can find lists of her blog posts and links to her author’s pages. Kathi Lipp who writes about marriage, has fun boards (like this one on man food) that indirectly relate to her book content. Author Katie Ganshert pins her favorite quotes (like these on faith) to her boards, giving her readers inspiring messages that directly relate to her work. All of these people are using Pinterest in creative and effective ways as a content marketing tool.
Cool, right? And so simple. Okay, it’s not simple it at all. Pinterest is a gigantic, complicated and totally worthwhile NOT-social-media-tool. And once you have great boards, you’ll need to figure out how to use that content on your other social media platforms and after that, you’ll have to figure out how to host contests, find guest pinners and much more. But for now, making the switch from social media to content marketing is the first step in effectively using Pinterest to build your brand.
Watch for further posts about Pinterest on Fridays in April. (On April 5, I’ll tell you how to make sure the images you pin are both legal and effective. On April 9, I’ll be sharing 3 creative ways authors are using Pinterest as a marketing tool.)
Do you know how to use Pinterest to build your author platform? Click to Tweet.
Pinterest is NOT social media. Wait… what? Click to Tweet.
On Pinterest – focus on building great, content-rich boards on topics you’re passionate about. Click to Tweet.
Pinterest strategy: Focus on 1 topic per week, and spend ten minutes a day pinning. Click to Tweet.
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Erin MacPherson is an Austin, Texas mom by day and writer by night. She works as a staff writer for Dun & Bradstreet where she writes social media and marketing copy for companies like Disney, Nissan, LeapFrog and Discover Card. Her new series of books, The Christian Mama’s Guide series, releases on April 9, 2013 from Thomas Nelson. Drop by to say hello on Facebook, on Pinterest or at christianmamasguide.com.
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