3 lessons learned from 7 years as Visual online Curator and Influencer on Pinterest
A few years ago someone called me an "online influencer". Good call. Whatever I do never seems to quite fit into a category, and there wasn't so much truth in those two words. It wasn't all me.
After a while, when asked what it's I did, I'd sigh and say "depends what day it is. Someday I'm an online influencer, and other days I'm a visual photography curator".
Because I knew my main goal was to develop my style and not only post to earn money and rewards.
It's become vitally important for me to create a new type of visual content for users scrolling pictures — content which isn't just flipped through, but which is noticed.
I wanted to create an "account" which will differ aesthetically and inspire you, motivate you to see the beauty not only around yourselves but on the screens of your device.
If a picture's worth a thousand words, I make sure you choose the right one.
Moreover, bring to all your beautiful works to life. Then be seen.
So with that, I'm going to publish this piece that's been sitting in my drafts 40% finished (or is it 60% unfinished) for one month. I picked it up again today and thought what the heck, see you later perfectionism - this blog post is quite useless sitting in my drafts - get it out, girl! So here I'm, embracing the perfectly imperfect, which in reality, is more than perfect: here my 3 most important lessons learned through this ever-changing landscape of creative entrepreneurship.
1. There is a "season" for everything
If you've ever felt the sting of silence around what you felt was your best creative work you're not alone. There is noise out there, and breaking out of the noise takes a little mastery and much patience. There are some people who "get lucky" early, but there are more people who worked hard, produced a lot and never gave up that is now shining in their fields. I am trying to remember to have joy in the journey on the days that I get discouraged, navigating the balance between enjoying the process (ups AND downs) and having faith.
There are two numerical theories to "help" me on this.
The law of large numbers (LLN) suggests that the more content you crank out, the more "evened out" your content will become. That means while some of our stuff will be seen as "blah", some of it will be stand out work – even early on — no EPIC piece but relevant and consistent.
Which brings you to a concept outlined by the US Army called the Band of Excellence – which is a fancy way of looking at how things improve over time. The more content you crank out – with an aim for excellence, the better it will get over time. You can see it when you "play" on Pinterest and watch the sores gradually increase over time.
Your best Pins represent the best ideas: inspirational and actionable. Create that pin with a clear audience in mind and engaging for that audience. Think like your audience. When you create new Pins, start from your audience's perspective. Why do they use Pinterest? What kinds of ideas are they looking for? How can you help them make decisions? Content relevancy matters more than anything else on Pinterest. Focus your energy on creating great content that's tailored to your audience's interests and needs.
So be patient and stick with it. Publishing consistently over consecutive months is the best way to build a dedicated audience. Not every day is an up day, but the more you keep at it, the higher your scores over time.
Plus, get ahead of seasonal trends. Because when it comes to celebrations or seasonal events, people use Pinterest to plan long before they turn to other platforms. Start saving seasonal content about 30–45 days in advance. Activity will keep picking up as you get closer to the big day. If seasonal content works with your brand, take advantage of it. Stop repinning Halloween stuff in July! You'll likely see an uptick in your analytics.
2. Don't be obsessed with the number
Popularity doesn't pay the bills. Oh yeah, I want 10+ million viewers on Pinterest and 100K followers on Instagram - absolutely! However, I get enquiries and job leads every single day, and the most common theme in the emails is "I found you on Pinterest or Instagram, and I just love your visual curated job". Numbers do not matter. Your like-minded and visual-addicted being genuine does. People that follow you because they like what they see, and that have a little relationship going on with you.
Be obsessed with forming genuine relationships with your loyal followers, and giving them incredible, genuine content: aka how to pin successfully. Yes, on Pinterest. Pinners matters. Moreover, now with the "following tab" more than ever.
Learn where to find high-quality content. If you want to use Pinterest to drive traffic back to your website, you have got to keep the good stuff coming. Only follow people you can repin content from. Make a short list of search keywords you can regularly use to find new content. Create secret boards for stuff your readers probably don't care about. It makes cleaning up your boards much easier for future you. I also like to keep a secret "content ideas" board for one-day inspiration. Remember, visual content is king.
Take no prisoners when it comes to refreshing your content. Create new images for your blog posts (keeping Pinterest the target priority), and repin your posts everywhere: your blog's board, your related boards, etc.
Concentrate on boosting your engagement rate, NOT your follower count. The Smart Feed (the front page of your Pinterest account) wants pins that are getting clicks and repins. Pinterest doesn't care if you have a million followers if they're ghosts that never click on or repin your content! You want your followers to engage with your content in the "following" tab. You want other people to discover content and pin it from your site. You want to pin your content. All of it. Everything. Do it all! The more variety of engagement you're getting, the better. This is not a new thing. It's just essential.
Only pin content that aligns with your brand. Be obsessed with quality over quantity. If you're struggling to curate new pins to share every day, consider looping the pins you already have.
3. Yourself and your creativity is ever evolving (as Pinterest algorithm now too)
I wouldn't say I liked zucchini when I was a kid. Now I love it. What you may like today, you may not like next month. My tastes for things have certainly changed dramatically from year to year. We are human! If you take a look at what I loved two years ago on Pinterest could be surprised!
We are in a state of constant flux. We are bombarded with inspiration from every direction, and some things tickle our fancy, others don't. Don't fear change. Creativity evolves, with the ebb and flow of life. Just go with it. Something great might happen.
Know what determines how well your content performs. Here's what I mean: Your monthly viewers doesn't matter! So it is NOT necessarily directly tied to your number of followers. This is the number that shows up under your Pinterest name on your profile. It's the only metric you can see on someone's profile, leading most people to believe that a high number count is ultimate Pinterest Goals. I call it the "vanity mirror". However, here's a secret: it's not all it's cracked up to be. The only metric that REALLY matters when it comes to Pinterest is the traffic you're getting to your site. I've seen many variations in follower count/monthly views/monthly traffic, and honestly, there isn't a magic formula to determine how many monthly views you need to receive a certain number of referrals to your site – it depends on your content, and whether it's clickable.
The things that do matter are the quality of your domain, your overall pin quality (the number of pins you have vs how many clicks and repins they get), your quality as a pinner (you need to pin high-quality content regularly), and relevance. While domain quality, pin quality and pinner quality tell Pinterest how important your pins are, keywords tell Pinterest what your pins are about! (make it sense? Do you see the difference? If don't we need to talk!)
Meanwhile, I'm writing this blog post Pinterest is changing their algorithm. Again! For that reason now more than ever use data pin attribution! Descriptions add context and reinforce your branding. If you're sharing a recipe, you could mention the main ingredients or prep methods. If you're creating a travel Pin, you could add ideas for activities at that destination. It would help if you worked relevant keywords into your descriptions but stay away from keyword stuffing. It's unnecessary and makes your Pins less useful for the people reading them.
The most important thing is: don't get frustrated!
Pinterest is a fickle bit* and sometimes, the minute you stop trying is precisely when one of the things you pinned ages ago will take off. Have patience, and be consistent. You'll get there. I promised you.
Love you, Antonella
P.S. Do you have any questions, frustrations, or confusion that I can either help with or just like … cry with you about? Please drop me a comment below! Did you find this post about Pinterest helpful? Why not do it some love and share it on Pinterest? Thank You!