Gini Dietrich

Sixteen Ways to Use Pinterest for PR

By: Gini Dietrich | May 9, 2012 | 

Yesterday I was invited to talk Pinterest for PR at the Public Relations Association of Louisiana in New Orleans.

When Abbie Fink asked me how it went, I said, “It’s really fun talking Pinterest with 30 PR girls (and three guys).”

Because, as we all know, I LOVE PINTEREST!

Rather than talk to the room from slides, I had written down 16 ways to use Pinterest for PR and I walked around the room asking for examples for each.

I began the discussion by reminding everyone that using Pinterest is not a strategy. So I remind you of the same. These are fun ideas for using Pinterest at work (and feeding the addiction), but they should be used as part of a larger marketing or communication strategy.

I now give you those 16 tips.

  1. Think visually first. Duh. It’s a site full of images. So, while I really do love Pinterest, if you can’t tell your story visually, it’s not the right place for you to spend time. An example we discussed yesterday is the Department of Transportation. While the group did come up with a few ideas their communication pro could use, all-in-all there isn’t much exciting about photos of asphalt.
  2. No blatant promotion. We like to see a nice balance between your own boards and boards that highlight others. For instance, for our client Frank and Eileen, we have boards for their women’s and men’s shirts, but we also have inspiration boards.
  3. Provide visual customer stories. We’re storytellers, which means we also need to know how to tell our story visually. The Chicago Bears do a nice job of this because they not only give you things to buy (clothes, merchandise), they tell a story of their history through photos.
  4. Pin interesting things happening in your industry. And also invite others to contribute to that board. I am a contributor to a social media board and also to Meta Pinterest – Insights & Resources. This allows you to keep up on trends, statistics, and resources without doing all of the work yourself.
  5. Think about your events, publicity stunts, and news conferences. About 10 years ago, I was in New Orleans for the first time. We were launching Over ‘n Out Fire Ant Killer. In order to tell a story and drive interest from TV stations, we created a New Orleans style funeral, complete with a singing minister and mourners, for the fire ant. I did a search and found some images so I may still pin them…10 years later!
  6. You can pin videos. Most people do not know this, but you can pin videos. I started a Facebook question of the week board, just to see what would happen to views if I did. Turns out, a good number of people (in the top 10) come to our YouTube channel from Pinterest.
  7. Put the “pin it” button on all of your web properties. I need to take this advice myself. I use Chrome so I have the “pin it” bookmarklet in my toolbar. Because it’s so easily accessible for me, I forget not everyone has the same. Just do it.
  8. Articles, stories, and blog posts. Even though it’s a little bit self-serving, pinning articles, stories, and blog posts about your company also helps out the person who wrote it. You get to highlight some of the stuff others are saying about you and they get the benefit of increased traffic. Whole Foods does a nice job with this with their Favorite Books board.
  9. Ask employees to create boards. Just like you want employees involved in your other social networks, ask them to create boards on the business page that showcase their talents, hobbies, and families (if they’re so inclined). Just make sure you have a couple of sentences in your social media policy about what’s cool and what’s not on Pinterest.
  10. Blogs and websites you admire. I’m going to use Frank and Eileen as the example here again because I think my team does a nice job with this. They’ve pinned bloggers they love, based on the industry. So, for instance, they don’t have technology or social media bloggers pinned. They’ve pinned only fashion and clothing bloggers.
  11. Best practices. I do this for my speaking engagements. Anytime I read something, or hear someone speak, and think, “Ah ha! I need to include that in a presentation,” I pin it. You can do the same for best practices you’d like to incorporate into your business world.
  12. Key journalist’s stuff. This really goes hand-in-hand with tips eight and 10, but you can separate bloggers from journalists. The nice thing about pinning the work the reporters in your industry do, they can see who is driving traffic to their sites and so begins a relationship.
  13. Trade shows and conferences. Just back from Counselor’s Academy, Martin Waxman introduced Sharypic to the group, which is a photo sharing site for conferences. I’d like to see a mash-up of Sharypic and Pinterest for PR pros. The conference will use Sharypic to combine all of the photos everyone at the conference tweets and you’ll pin the ones important to your boards.
  14. Change descriptions with SEO in mind. This one drives me crazy. How often do you see a photo on Pinterest with the caption, “This is so cool!” What the heck is it?! People don’t search, “This is so cool!” They search, “Extra kitchen storage.” It’s easy to change the description. Make sure you do it so what you’re pinning is easily found.
  15. Make sure links work. There is nothing more frustrating (on Pinterest, at least) than clicking on an image to buy it or a to make it and not finding the URL that has more information. If you’re pinning things that are going to drive back to your website or blog, make sure the links work!
  16. MEASURE your efforts. It wouldn’t be a Spin Sucks blog post without measurement, now would it? One more example out of Frank and Eileen, because I have easy access to their analytics. In April, Pinterest was their number eight driver of traffic, which represents three percent new visitors. Of that three percent, 83 percent bought a shirt, representing $2,670 in revenue. Not too shabby for a few images on a cool new social network!

So there you have it. A nice big list of things you can do on Pinterest.

What else would you add?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Good stuff, Gini. I’ve started to pin images I use in my blog posts, especially if they are custom, and then use a combination of the embed code for those images with a custom pin it button for the image to display the image rather than just upload it via WordPress. It puts a link to the blog on Pinterest and helps referral traffic while at the same time making the image more shareable with a built in link back to the blog.

    • ginidietrich

       @TedWeismann I do that too…and then I watch the traffic come in. I love it!

      • @ginidietrich @TedWeismann Dang, that’s smart Ted… I wish I knew how to do that fancy embedding stuff!

        • ginidietrich

           @SociallyGenius  @TedWeismann That Ted is one smart cookie!

    • John_Trader1

       @TedWeismann Any chance you can illustrate this with step by step instructions on a blog post? Sounds pretty cool. Or, does a post already exist that spells it out?

      •  @John_Trader1 Sure thing, if the good citizens of Spin Sucks Nation don’t mind me leaving a link to my blog. Here you go:

  • That’s really a fantastic, multi-topical list Gini… Almost as cool as my “Top 7 Tips on How not to be a Jackass” list I did yesterday!

    I’ve got quite the Pinking reputation over there… But I won’t be able to live up to the one pin that had almost 15,000 Repins so I’ve been rather dormant to ensure my legend goes untarnished! Great stuff here Gini, thank you.

    • ginidietrich

       @SociallyGenius HAHAHAH! I’ve been on the road so I’ll have to stop by. I definitely want to read that. And, while I have you, go into your Livefyre settings and click the box that pulls up your latest blog post when you leave a comment. Please and thank you.

      • @ginidietrich You know what, I thought about that but I’m not sure that it would help because I have boring old disqus on my blog. It’s alright, but maybe I’ll see if I can figure out how to install livefyre instead!

        • ginidietrich

           @SociallyGenius No, no. It doesn’t matter which commenting system you use. It gives a link to your blog under your name so people can click on it and visit you. It’s a great way to promote the blog without being self-promotional.

        • @ginidietrich Yeah, I was always jealous of people who had that. But I’m a moron because only option I saw was for a link to latest conversation.. I bet it will be here! Testing 1-2

        • ginidietrich

           @SociallyGenius  OK. Click on your photo, click full profile, click settings (far upper right-hand corner), click sites, click linkback box.

        • And nothing… Maybe I’ll get to a PC and play around with it

        • ginidietrich

           @SociallyGenius Grrrr!

        • @ginidietrich that’s exactly what I did! I’m a lost cause, you still have time to save someone else!

  • Nice job and I like @TedWeismann idea for a custom pin it button to make sure images get displayed and linked back to blog. Thanks

    • ginidietrich

       @annelizhannan  Nothing you’d add?!?

      •  @ginidietrich I would like to find a way to validate photos that are on google or other websites that I would like to upload but can’t find source. I do use google image frequently but can’t locate photographer or originator.  I end up not using a lot of good quotes, photos etc. Any suggestions from the gallery? Thanks

        • ginidietrich

           @annelizhannan Ohhhh. Great question! You have to be really careful because you don’t want to violate copyrights. I’d err on the side of caution on that one, even though Pinterest changed their terms of service to protect its users.

  • Your title caught my eye, as my first though was pr as in page rank… I didn’t think pinterest would be a first option for page rank. However, I saw that you meant pr in the traditional sense, which makes much more sense. Pinkest, being a very visual tool does seem ideal for public relations. A picture says a thousand words Afterall.

    • ginidietrich

       @richescorner Wow. I’d be a miracle worker if I could figure it out from a page rank perspective!

  • John_Trader1

    Since I’ve yet to dive fully into this platform I really appreciate this post Gini. I always find it interesting that it seems as if even the least savvy Internet users in this world know about Pinterest and love it. It’s truly a powerful platform for a society that favors the visual. Always surprised that someone didn’t come up with the idea sooner.

    • ginidietrich

       @John_Trader1 I like to tell the story of how I knew this was going to be a big deal…my mom and sister were talking about it and NONE of my social media geeky friends knew about it. I think that’s why I like it so much. It has real sticking power because you don’t have to be a social media geek to use it.

  • I like pinning videos- very useful way of telling a story. Just remember that if you don’t own the video it can get pulled down in which case you are linking to a hole.

    • ginidietrich

       @TheJackB Yeah…I only pin the videos we create. Don’t want to mess with the copyright issues.

  • I have tried pinning videos but hasn’t been working. Does it need to be on You Tube or Vimeo vs imbedded on a web site.
    I started this for a client to see what would happen and it has garnered some traffic. But the pinterest demographic isn’t the customer demographic.
    Great tips @ginidietrich thanks for that last one on measurement.

    • ginidietrich

       @HowieSPM I always pin from the video I’ve embedded on the blog or our website. I’ve never tried pinning from YouTube.

      •  @ginidietrich I just checked you can pin from youtube,. But I tried pinning a video from a website that wasn’t hosted on you tube and it didn’t allow me to

        • ginidietrich

           @HowieSPM Interesting…

  • BethMosher

    Great article. I did PR for IDOT for 5+ years – all surrounding a huge construction project and I WISH I had pinterest then to help tell the story. Asphalt is boring, but a series of progress pictures of construction can be (dare I say) cool, and especially to the community in which construction is happening. Just a matter of finding the right audience and connecting to them and engaging them. Wow…you can take the girl out of IDOT, but you can’t take IDOT…lots of great ideas for so many industries. 

    •  @BethMosher Beth, I had to look at IDOT twice because I could have sworn there was an ‘I’ in there. Not trying to be cute, but I can’t be the only one to have thought that, can I…

      • BethMosher

         @TheJackB Yes, Gini was referring to the DOT in Louisiana and my client was Dept of Transp in Illinois. I guess I don’t follow the rest of what you’re trying to say…

      •  @TheJackB  @BethMosher I must be in idiot too …. I read it the same way 🙂

        • BethMosher

           @penneyfox  @TheJackB NOW I get it, and ok, I’m officially an IDIOT. 

        •  @BethMosher  @TheJackB we weren’t saying you were the idiot, we were just saying that we both read it wrong. And then I was thinking that it’s tough to work for an IDIOT – I’ve had some pretty crappy bosses in the past – and then like @TheJackB, I re-read it again and realized I WAS the IDIOT and took it the wrong way. Sorry about that @BethMosher 

      • ginidietrich

         @TheJackB  @BethMosher BWAHAHAHAHA!!! LOL!!

    • ginidietrich

       @BethMosher LOL! That is what the audience told the attendee yesterday. Same kind of ideas. I love the creativity!

  • I saw the word PINTEREST in your FB posts and clicked right over!!!! I was just asked last week to pull together a Pinterest for Business workshop and was starting to work through some ideas. Thanks so much for the great list – it’ll be VERY helpful for my workshop!

    • ginidietrich

       @penneyfox Oh good! I’m glad it’ll be helpful!

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  • TracieBertaut

    Gini – We loved having you and have gotten some great feedback from the luncheon!  Thanks again for sharing with us.  FYI – the link to our chapter is  Thanks!

    • ginidietrich

       @TracieBertaut And thank YOU for the ride to the airport…and the fun story that I now get to tell my friends who complain about being stuck in their lives.

    • ginidietrich

       @TracieBertaut P.S. I changed the link to direct to your chapter instead.

  • Gini, you took me from “what’s Pinterest?” to “I need a 12-step program” in 30 minutes. Thanks for the great insight. I can’t wait to share what I learned and some great ideas with clients.

    • ginidietrich

       @amydnolan A 12 step program. LOL!! It’s addictive for sure. Hopefully I’ll see you in rehab!

  • I love these suggestions! I work for an organization that supports NC manufacturers and we are planning to start a “Made in NC” board to highlight the diversity of products made in NC.

    • ginidietrich

       @KeAnne LOVE THAT! And it fits the “don’t be blatantly promotional” rule.

  • Interesting list.
    Love the idea of client stories – that’s fun … 
    I personally think that there is a fine line for posting videos on pinterest – isn’t that what YouTube and Vimeo are for?
    I think sometimes, like any social media platform, your community can cause us to get a skewed view on what is working. 
    I recently had to unfollow a whole bunch of people using pinterest as an opportunity to post logos, promo videos and infographics (please no!!) 
    We don’t have to use every channel available to us – that’s for sure … personally I love pinterest but I am not yet going after it as a marketing/pr channel … I guess it’s the shoes that distracts me, and the food! 

    • ginidietrich

       @Ameenafalchetto OMG! I should have added #17: DO NOT PIN INFOGRAPHICS! That drives me nuts, especially when I’m on my phone and they take up my entire stream. 

      • projecteve1

         @ginidietrich Oh dear I’m addicted to Infographics and have had some monster repins from posting them….

  • jennimacdonald

    Somehow I just saw this but @ginidietrich you must have been in HEAVEN when they asked you talk about this. I know I was when a bunch of ladies at FranCamp asked me to talk about it, and my Video roundtable turned into a Pinning table! : ) Thx DebCE 

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  • bloftus

    Great perspectives on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing!

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  • If you are looking for detail on using Pinterest for PR, this article on Convince & Convert might also be of interest – “5 Ways to Use Pinterest and Expand Reach of Your Press Release”

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