June’s Pinterest for Authors Winner
Each month I do a random draw on my email list and pick a #PinterestForAuthors monthly giveaway winner. The winner gets free Pinterest support and consulting for a month, and the Pinterest Winner for May was Sharon Smith.
Sharon is a Canadian Author who is living a full-time RVing lifestyle. She is currently living in Mazatlan, Mexico and is working on the 3rd book in her “On RVing Time” book series. Sharon asked for help relaunching her first two books on Pinterest, so that she could use the same strategies for launching her 3rd.
Sharon was in a bit of a social funk when we started working together, so we used our collaboration to reinvigorate her interaction on Pinterest.
I knew from experience that Pinterest would be an ideal social network to showcase Sharon’s travels using images. I use Pinterest for my Bodrum Peninsula Travel Guide series, and my images are constantly getting repinned by travel bloggers and visitors adding them to their “Must Visit” and “My Travel Bucket Lists” boards (to name a few).
Although the tendency is to start pinning without a strategy, Sharon and I began our month together by setting some visions and values to build into a Pinterest strategy and goals.
Who is your Pinterest Audience & What do you want to give them?
Before anyone starts using Pinterest to build their brand they have to know who their audience is, and have a clear idea of the content’s intent. So here’s some questions I posed to Sharon, that are relevant to any author using Pinterest:
- What’s important for you to deliver to your audience or readers?
- Are you trying to inspire them? Educate them? something else?
- Do you have a target audience in mind?
Like many other authors, Sharon admitted that she was feeling overwhelmed:
I’m not sure where to start. I’ve created a Facebook page, an author page in amazon, a twitter account, a website and a pinterest presence. I find it all a bit overwhelming: Sharon
If this happens to you … STOP!
Take a look at what you’re trying to achieve and who you’re trying to reach and then set some goals and identify activities to meet those goals, and ways to track success.
STOP. Breathe and ask yourself the following 4 questions:
- Is there a social media network that you prefer or like to use more than any other?
- Where do you get your most social media engagement?
- Who are your target audience?
- What are your goals … going back to the earlier questions … “what’s important for you to deliver to your audience or readers? Are you trying to inspire them? Educate them? something else?”
As a writer, if you haven’t got a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you’ll end up trying to please everyone one, and it’s impossible to appeal to everyone.
The key is to define your niche and set your goals, and then put a plan in place to achieve them. When you have a plan, your social media activity has intent and can help drive you towards your objectives.
You hit the nail on the head: Sharon
Sharon Identified her Target Audience:
People who want to live the adventure from the comfort of their own home. People who have camped for fun and are thinking about the full time RVing lifestyle. People with a five-year plan. “When I retire in five years, I’m going RVing.” People who RV and stay fixed in one campground and are thinking of traveling to Mexico.
Sharon then Identified her Content Vision:
My goal is to share our experience with as many people as I can. When we first started our adventure, I scoured the shelves for books about changing lifestyles. I wanted to know the truth. Most books glamorized the lifestyle. We had trials and tribulations when we started this lifestyle and I think people should know about these insights, without it being a “how to” book.
With these two simple bits of planning, Sharon identified her target audience and what her content vision what. With these two bits of information, she is able to start working on a content strategy to create some targeted Pinterest Boards.
Providing insights and the “real story” is a compelling approach for framing and sharing your experience with others. You could come up with a series of boards that answer the key questions you had a the beginning of your adventure, or questions you’ve been asked along the way. It would basically be a consolidation of educational and informational resources from the web, and from your website or book excepts. You could even create quick reference infographics that consolidate key information.
Are there key chapters in your books that would create engaging content for a Pinterest board, that you could ask external content too as well?
Two things I’d like to accomplish:
- Relaunch my first and second book.
- Launch my third book.
Sharon Asked: Have you had experience launching books using Pinterest? Could you provide actionable steps for using Pinterest to accomplish these tasks? Do I need to set up a business pinterest account?
Pinterest: here’s the best ways to increase your reach to raise your profile:
Join Group Boards
- there’s lots of Book promo boards out there that you can add your book too
- the best place to look for the group boards is: http://pingroupie.com This site lets you know how popular the board is. There’s book promo boards out there, or ones about reading or writing. e.g.
I post pins to my personal boards AND to community boards – and the level of engagement I get through the community boards is ten-fold, and as well as having my images repined (that point back to my website and increase my inbound traffic) I also get followers from these community boards.
Add relevant descriptions to your Pins and Boards (and profile)
- As well as pinterest news streams, the main way people find content to pin is via the Pinterest search.
- People can filter by board, pinner and pins, so by ensuring each of these areas has good keywords you increase your chances of getting discovered.
If you haven’t already, just define what you want to be found for, (e.g. RVing etc.) and make sure those words are in your descriptions.
- The more frequently and consistently you pin, the more your pins will appear at the top of the search results.
- If you haven’t already, convert your personal account to a business account and verify it with your website, so that you get a checkmark by your website name. This increases the validity of your brand and instills a greater level of trust with your audience.
Here’s some suggestions I provided to Susan for using Pinterest to promote her RV books:
1. Create FABULOUS landing pages for each of your books on your website.
Create a single landing page for all of your books, including a compelling summary and a MORE link that you to the individual BOOK pages on your website.
In this description/intro … indicate what’s in it for your audience. How will they benefit? What will they learn? How are you going to compel them click on your more link and then buy your book?
Before you start trying to drive traffic from Pinterest, these pages should look great and have a strong look and feel. You can also include reviews from Amazon or any other positive press or blog reviews you received (or a link to the page where you have reviews listed — but it’s best to have a one stop shop for your audience). These pages are your showcase so should shine.
2. Create a Pinterest Board for each of your books (even your third one)
- Post relevant content from your website, using the strategy I defined in my IndieReCon Pinterest for Authors strategy.
3. Link any of your images that you post to these boards back to your Book Landing Pages.
- When you pin directly from your website landing page, it will add the url link automatically.
- For pins of images that aren’t from your website:
- Pin image(by uploading it)
- Save it to your board
- Then select EDIT on the pin
- Add your url
4. Create Pinterest boards covering specific RV topics. Your
- https://www.pinterest.com/sasmithauthor/on-rving-time-the-road-less-traveled/ board is very general and specific boards do better on Pinterest.
- e.g. RV Interior Design or Interior Decorating
- e.g. RV Kitchen Tips
- (Or RV recipes, or RV Shopping lists etc.)
- e.g. RV Furniture
Pinterest is popular for cooking and designing, so you can leverage that popularity but target it for your RV niche.
5. Follow relevant RV boards so that you get a constant stream of content to repin.
6. Create a RV Library of books Board that lists all the books available at RVing, plus yours.
7. Create location specific boards (e.g. Country boards or Town boards), and pin interesting and relevant pins of things to do, or local information.
- Whenever your pinning or creating boards, just do it from the perspective of how can you help your audience.
If you focus on how you can give and provide value, rather than how you an sell more books, you’re doing Social Media right. You won’t be an overnight Social Media Sensation, but you’ll build a loyal following and will be well on your way to becoming a subject matter expertise in your niche.
It was really rewarding working with Susan. Her travel inspired niche overlaped in places with my Travel Guide Pinterest profile, so it was interesting to see what strategies could be applied to another non-fiction author, and which were really niche specific.
I’ll let Sharon have the last word, on this month’s Pinterest for Author’s Sweepstake experience.
Words can’t express how grateful I am for your help: Sharon