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Leveraging Pinterest: How “Pinnable” Is Your Content?

You can’t get far online right now without coming across an article about Pinterest, the hot new visual bookmarking tool. Pinterest’s growth is explosive, and content creators and “brands” are scrambling to figure out how to “leverage this channel” (hate the buzzwords).

Most advice focuses on creating a presence on Pinterest and pinning your own products or content. This is a mistake. The real strategic opportunity is in optimizing your content for Pinterest.

Pinterest Basics

The majority of Pinterest users use a browser bookmarklet when pinning new content, and when you click on most sites, you see an array of the pinnable images available and their sizes:

You choose the image you want, choose your board, add your notes and it’s pinned.

When Pinning Doesn’t Work

Problems arise when a site just isn’t optimized for pinning. You can’t pin anything from a Flash site, which is still a favorite of many high end retailers, so that is a completely missed opportunity.

“Unpinnable” Images

More subtle problems arise with product sites that offer nifty image preview tools. In this example on Schumacher, a provider of high end textiles and wallcoverings, they have a javascript image tool that prevents the images from being detected by the Pin It bookmarklet. If you are a savvy user, you can click on “switch to JPG view” and be able to pin that image, but most people will not know to take that extra step.

Some large blogs seems to have problems with structure and/or volume of images. On Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen, I tried to pin the image from Cookie Dough Dip. What I got was a barely functional browser, empty image slots, and a few images from a different post entirely:

Click to Enlarge

Optimizing Your Site

The best way to test how your site “pins” is to set up a Pinterest account, grab the bookmarklet tool, and try pinning a few of the things you would like to see pinned and review the results. This is also an opportunity to browse around and see what type of images are being pinned in your market sector or niche. Pinterest is an extremely visual medium, so pinners generally are looking for the largest and most appealing images possible.

If you are a blogger, does your post offer some type of featured or lead image? Many list/resource posts typically use many smaller images and lack a good featured image to pin. If you use WordPress, remember that you can create a featured image that is available but doesn’t actually have to be used in your post.

Using the “Pin It” Button

Pinterest offers a button that you can add to products, posts or pages that allows you to prepopulate the image, link and description of what is pinned. The button code on their site has you prefill this information one pin at a time, but with a little tweaking or a knowledgeable web developer you can modify this into a dynamic share type button.

If you are using WordPress, there are several articles and plugins to reference:

If you are using the Genesis Framework, Brian Gardner has an excellent tutorial on how to add “Pin It” buttons to your theme: Genesis Framework Pin It Tutorial

For other content management systems, check your documentation and forums or talk to your web developer. (Sidenote: When researching tutorials for this, I found many tutorials that either don’t work or have you making individual buttons for each post. Read carefully as you embark and focus on tutorials that actually have a track record with WordPress or javascript. Poor or slow code is worse than no Pin It button)

If you are a content creator, success on Pinterest will mean making an investment in understanding Pinterest users, their tools, and how “pinnable” your sites actually are!


Related Post – 13 Ways to Get More Pinterest Followers

Category Social Media
Diane Kinney The Versatility Group

Diane Kinney is a web designer and developer with 15 years of experience online and a strong interest in social ...

Leveraging Pinterest: How “Pinnable” Is Your Content?

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