Pinterest: The Newest Project
Recently I discovered that Pinterest provides an easy way to collaborate on projects.
I can’t claim the credit for thinking of it myself. I was talking with my daughter, an interior designer, about a new website I’m putting together.
When I asked for her help with color selection, she responded, “Sure. Why don’t we start a Pinterest board where we can both put samples?”
Imagine a light bulb floating over my head …
Now for the disclaimer — if you’re working on a project that requires a high degree of privacy or security, don’t use Pinterest. There’s no way to make a pinboard private, although Pinterest is looking into that for the future.
But if your project isn’t top secret, and you’re okay with having others see your thought process, it’s an awesomely cool visual tool. It’s also a whole lot easier than sending emails with image attachments back and forth and more fun than uploading to Dropbox.
How to Start Collaborating
If you don’t already have a Pinterest account, head over to Pinterest.com and sign up. (I described the signup process in P is for Pinterest. You no longer need an invitation to join, so just skip that step.)
Once you have your Pinterest account, start creating boards. Those are the topic-specific places where you place your pins. Think of the pinboard as a digital version of an old-style bulletin board, where you never have to worry about running out of thumbtacks or pushpins.
#1. Create a Pinboard with collaborators
- Click the Add button at the top of your screen and choose Create a Board
- Give your board a name and select a category
- Your own name automatically shows up next to Who can Pin. Look under that line to the Add Another Pinner box. Fill in the Pinterest name of another person(s) who’ll be contributing to the board. (They need to already have accounts.) Rinse and repeat as needed.
- If your collaborators aren’t on Pinterest already, you can go back and add them later by navigating to the board and choosing the Edit command.
#2. Use Pinterest’s features to respond to what others are pinning
Pinterest offers a Like button and lets you add comments. If you want to address a remark to a specific person, use the @ symbol and start typing her name. Just like in Facebook, a list of pinners you follow with that name will pop up and you can click on the correct one to complete it.
Pinterest also supports hashtags, so use them to make your pins and comments easier to search.
You can invite collaboration with the Pinterest community. Upload a pin and ask members who want to participate to type their Pinterest URL in the comments. Then you can add them as collaborators.
What Kinds of Collaboration Work Well with Pinterest?
Pinterest is a highly-visual medium — it’s not the place to edit and refine copy. But that doesn’t mean web writers have no use for it!
Design a New Website
Let’s say you’re working on a new website for your freelance business and you want input from some trusted freelancing friends.
Pinboards can help you choose colors and typography and help you work through layout and design issues.
Here are a few examples of what you can pin:
- Other freelance sites you like. Just make sure there’s at least one good graphic on the page for Pinterest to grab. They’ll keep the link intact for you.
- Color combinations you’d like to try
- Typography and fonts
- Images of page mockups
- Ideas for logo designs
- Ideas for headers
- WordPress themes to consider
Just for fun, I created a collaborative board to illustrate this process. I pinned images from several different sites I’ve created in the past, and commented on the themes used. I also pinned images showing typography and colors I like. Then I added some pins showing the ways others have used Pinterest for collaboration.
Establish Your Expertise
So you plan to establish yourself as the go-to copywriter for naked mole rats.
You can create a Naked Mole Rats board and upload images with links relating to raising naked mole rats, taking them for walks, their veterinary needs — whatever information would be helpful for another naked mole rat aficionado.
You can invite other naked mole rat experts to pin to your board as well.
Before you know it, all those companies that sell naked mole rat food, build cages and treadmills for the little critters, and knit sweaters for them to wear in cold weather will be beating a virtual path to your copywriting door.
Educate Your Clients
It’s not exactly collaboration, but it paves the way.
Use infographics and links to helpful articles to teach your clients about social media or almost any other topic. I have a board called Wonderful WordPress where I pin information about WordPress, as well as themes and plugins.
After your clients have enjoyed learning about WordPress from your Pinterest board, selling them on using Pinterest themselves — for collaboration or for their own marketing — won’t be a big stretch.
Collaborate With Clients
Here are a few ways to use Pinterest with your clients:
Find Out What Your Client Likes: Ask him to pin examples of what he likes. Is there a particular website layout he finds appealing? An e-letter format? Even an article or blog post written in a way that resonates with him can be pinned to your collaborative board.
Find Out What Your Client Doesn’t Like: Same as above, but ask her for examples of dislikes.
Create Vision Boards With Your Clients: If you’re writing blog posts or e-letters for a client, set up a collaborative vision board to help you create your Editorial Calendar.
Product Launches and Event Planning: Earlier this year, Pinterest played an integral role in disseminating information about external events, parties, and networking at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas. (Hint: You can use the same concept to plan your family’s best ever Thanksgiving get-together!)
Use Pinterest as a Visual Bookmark Database: In a project where several people are gathering and correlating interrelated information, ideas, and images, a collaborative Pinterest board can store all the information in one place.
Run Contests on Pinterest: Lands’ End asked pinners to create a board for either women’s or men’s clothing and send them the link. The winner received a $250 gift card.
Feature Pinboards in Blog Posts or Articles: If your client has an interesting pinboard, take a screen shot and use the image in a post about it.
Gifting: Clients, coworkers, friends, and family can all get into this act. Create pinboards of shopping, gift, or wish lists.
The creative ways to use Pinterest as part of your social media mix, in your marketing, and as a collaborative tool with your clients are only limited by your imagination.
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