Away from the glitz and the glamour of Instagram, the mouthy ranting of Twitter, and the political hot mess that is 2020 Facebook is dear, sweet Pinterest, a social media platform that editors often overlook when determining their marketing strategy.
Pinterest calls itself a “visual discovery engine” where people organize images by topic or theme on “boards.” Lately, its popularity has been skyrocketing. The site’s active monthly user base grew by 26 percent last year alone to 335 million users, 72 percent of them being women. Plus, 58 percent of Pinners say Pinterest helps them make purchasing decisions, which means it’s a good place to show off your business and services, especially if your clientele is mainly women writers.
As for me, I market myself on several social media sites, but Pinterest is my most successful in connecting with potential clients. I fluctuate between 435,000 and 520,000 monthly viewers. I wish I could say it’s because I am some kind of social media savant, but I’m not. Pinterest is actually the platform I spend the least amount of time and effort on, and my genius strategy simply uses straightforward common sense. In this article, I’ll show you why I chose Pinterest and how I use it, in hopes this will help you grow your editing empire, as well.
Why Choose Pinterest?
Think about Instagram, a social media platform that has gotten a lot of attention in the past few years. Instagram’s goal is to keep users on Instagram. That’s why they make it incredibly difficult for you to leave. For example, they only allow you to use one link on your profile at a time, and that must be in your bio. You can’t even put links in your posts.
Pinterest, on the other hand, actively wants you to leave their site. It is built to drive traffic to you instead of to them. You’ll see a recipe pin with a photo of the finished dish, and then there’s a link in the text to take you away to that Pinner’s website for the full recipe. You’ll see a craft project’s pin with a photo of the finished project, and in the text there’s a link to that person’s site so you can get the full directions.
Pinterest is the social media platform with the easiest way to take people directly from their website to your website, all so you have a better chance at converting them to clients.
PRO TIP: When you do set up your Pinterest account, be sure to create a business profile so you can have access to your analytics. Pinterest is very generous with tracking (as they should be if they want you to continue to use them). For instance, you can break down your data by impressions, engagement, link clicks, save rate, and more. Here is an example of their analytics from my business profile:
Now that I have convinced you to start using Pinterest for your editing business, let’s talk about what you do when you start. First, you’ll need to think about the boards you will include on your profile. Ask yourself: What subjects are writers interested in? Then make boards focusing on those answers.
As writers begin to plot and plan their novels, if they are fiction writers, what standard topics do they need to consider? Everyone needs to think about setting. So, I have a “Setting Inspirations” board on my profile with a mix of urban and rural images and of classic architecture and tropical getaway spots. Being that I specialize in romance book editing, I’ve selected romantic spots where I could envision a couple strolling hand in hand. Hopefully there’s at least one photo that will spark an idea for the writer.
I also have boards with inspiration for how characters could look. I have a board titled “Main Characters for Romance Books (Female),” which is filled with photos of women, as women are typically the main characters in that genre. I also have a board titled “Love Interests for Romance Books (Male),” as the love interests are typically male. And I have a Queer MC & Love Interest Inspo for Romance Books board with lots of photos of couples, which is really popular.
You could easily adjust this for the genre or type of editing you specialize in, if in fact you do specialize. Think about setting inspirations for noir detective stories, for instance. You could pin photos of shadowy alleys, dimly lit offices, and skyscrapers disappearing in the fog. Searching “noir films” brings up lots of film stills you could collect onto a “Character Inspiration” board.
Meanwhile, a search for “fantasy settings” gives you drawings of otherworldly landscapes in forests, castles, architectural ruins, and more. For a “Character Inspiration” board, you could pin elves, fairies, and any number of fantastical creatures. For this genre, you could also have a separate board specifically for worldbuilding tips, as that’s a huge part of fantasy writing.
For editors specializing in nonfiction, you can create boards focusing on the main subjects you edit in and tips for nonfiction writing, in general (plus some of the board ideas I have listed below).
Do your editing clients tend to go on to self-publish, or do they pursue traditional publishing? You could make boards with tips to help newbie authors through each process, including advice about Kindle Direct Publishing and finding a cover designer, for instance, or how to write a synopsis and what agents look for in a query letter.
Here is a list of board ideas for you to consider:
Make Your Own Pins
Now that you have an idea of what you want to pin, you need to start making your own pins so you can get a slice of that web traffic.
The most common thing an editor may make a pin for is a blog post. If you’ve created any lead magnets (ebooks, checklists, and other resources) or products, you’ll want to create pins to promote those, as well.
You can make your pins by going to Canva, a popular and easy-to-use graphic-design website. They have a Pinterest pin template, where you can use one of their premade designs or drag and drop elements to create a pin unique to you.
Try to keep your pins similar in style and color so it will be easier for people to recognize them as yours. I have made a template for my pins in Canva, and I simply change the image and title to reflect the content I’m pinning about. The colors and format remain the same. Here are examples of my pins. Notice the colors and format are consistent.
You can use Canva for free and make anything from an Instagram image to an infographic to a book cover (and almost everything in between). But if you use the paid version ($12.95 per month), you can keep your brand colors together in your “brand kit” so you can create your projects even quicker, and you have access to 400,000 free photos, along with many more template options and unlimited storage.
Once you’ve made your pin and uploaded it to Pinterest, you need to create a successful description. There is a 500-character limit, and note that the first 50 to 60 will be what shows up in people’s main feeds. Here are some tips:
If you are serious about making the most out of Pinterest, then you’d be wise to look into Tailwind. Tailwind ($15 per month) is a social media post scheduler that focuses on Pinterest. (It started as only scheduling for Pinterest.) It stands out because it takes the hard work out of figuring out when to schedule your posts. You fill up your queue with a mix of your posts and outside posts (which it helps you select), and next Tailwind will decide when the optimal time is for your pins to go live and schedule them for then. Set your pins in a “smart loop” and it will continue to reschedule your pins automatically. Using Pinterest with Tailwind is as hands-off a social-media strategy as you can get, and it is extremely effective.
By using Canva to make your pins, Tailwind to schedule all the content for your boards, and a common-sense strategy to market your ideas, Pinterest could very well be the key to taking your editing business to the next level.
Good luck, Pinners.