Are you using Pinterest?
If not, you could be giving up a new outlet for showcasing your writing, whether you’re a freelancer or author, or do other type of writing.
In case you’re not familiar with it, Pinterest is an image-heavy, information sharing website that lets you save, organize and share pictures and links you find elsewhere online in folders called “boards.” You can follow other people – called “pinners” in Pinterest-speak – and “like” or comment on their pins. You can also link your Pinterest account to your Facebook or Twitter accounts. The service is still in closed beta, which means that you need an invitation to join – but invitations are easy to get, anyone who’s already a member can invite you.
Although Pinterest has been around for two years, it’s grown like gangbusters in the last couple quarters, and according to a recent Experian report, recently surpassed Google+ and LinkedIn to become the third largest social network, behind only Facebook and Twitter.
That’s a lot of pins.
More of those pins are being added by writers, who are using Pinterest as a bulletin board to collect ideas, share links to their work and more.
How I Use Pinterest
I’ve been using Pinterest for about a month; here’s what my account looks like. At first I gave myself permission to just play around. I pinned pictures of cute clothes, gorgeous home interiors and yummy looking recipes.
But the more I explored, the more value I saw in using it for work. In recent weeks, I’ve created boards for subjects I write about, including job hunting and careers and technology. I also created a writing board so I could collect ideas for posts for this blog, and a reading list of books I want to read for pleasure or work.
Most recently I created a board for the 2012 WordCount Blogathon. I’m using it to share links to posts about blogging, so I can point bloggers who sign up for this year’s to it if they need inspiration for what to write about, or how to get started. After the event starts on May 1, I’ll be pinning my daily blog posts there too.
How Other Writers Use Pinterest
But enough about me. For the past couple weeks, I’ve also been collecting examples of how other writers are using Pinterest.
Writers are using Pinterest to:
1. Support blogging. Innisfil, Ontario, parenting blogger Allison Rouble uses Pinterest to suport her blog, GenDMom. “I am setting my boards up to reflect my blog, any writing/webpages I am a part of and topics that pertain to my blog,” she writes on Twitter.
2. Drive traffic to a blog. Fellow Portland writer and writing teacher Sarah Moon uses Pinterest to drive traffic to her book blog, Clear Eyes, Full Shelves. “Pinterest is the #2 driver of traffic to my book blog,” Moon writes on Twitter. Moon’s a smart lady: she’s added Pinterest’s Follow button for Websites to her blog posts making it super easy for her readers to pin the posts to their own Pinterest accounts.
3. Help with story development. “For my writing I use it to map out characters and scenes. It’s been really helpful,” Perth, Australia, author Krissy Bradfield shared with me on Twitter.
4. Get inspired. If you’re writing a novel, “Find the house that your main character lives in and put it on a board,” writes Caitlin Muir in 3 Ways Authors Can Use Pinterest Guilt Free on the Author Media blog. “That’s what I do on my Book|Placesboard. There are something about the pictures on the board that speak to me. I know that a scene from one of my stories will fit into those pictures,” she says.
5. Keep tabs on the media business. Davenport, Iowa, journalist Joanne Phillips curates a board called Newspapers on Pinterest, an alphabetically listing of more than 123 papers using the service. You can also follow her Newspapers on Pinterest blog.
Just Getting Started?
If you’re just getting started, consider these Pinterest trends identified in an analysis of 11,000 pinned images that social media scientist Dan Zarrella shared today (April 11). Right now, the most repinnable word on Pinterest is “recipe.” If you’re a food writer, you should be sharing links to your published work and make sure that the word “recipe” is prominently mentioned.
Other takeaways from Zarrella’s analysis: descriptions of about 200 words long are the most repinnable; pins about food are very repinnable, and images about design are the most repinned.
This Mashable post, 7 Useful Pinterest Tools to Supercharge Your Influence, shares links to apps you can use to measure which of your boards and pins are most popular, take a screenshot of an entire web page, convert a block of text into a pinnable images, and more.
You’ll find lots of other Pinterest tips on the weekly #pinchat, which takes place Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific. Today’s chat features Sony Electronics. You can also join the #Pinchat Facebook page to carry on the conversation with fellow pinners throughout the week.
One note about Pinterest and copyright: Pinterest isn’t a copyright-free zone. If you’re pinning other people’s stuff, you need to be aware of copyright law. If you’re using a copyrighted image, make sure you’re linking back to the source. It also helps to include the name of the source in whatever description you’re adding to an image that you’re repinning. According to Pinterest’s copyright notice, If copyright holders complain, Pinterest will delete a pin and send the pinner a copyright complaint notice. Get too many notices and you could get kicked off the site.
If you have copyrighted images on your own website, you can install a piece of code that will block people’s ability to pin them. Read these instructions from Pinterest for putting the code on your site.
If you’re using Pinterest in some way, I’d love to know about it. Please share your experience in a comment.