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How to use Pinterest to Develop your Author Brand

Claire Wingfield Winner of Jay Artale Pinterest for Authors SweepstakeMay’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 Claire Wingfield. She runs her own editorial and literary consultancy, and only just got started with Pinterest.

Claire was inspired to start pinning after reading my IndieRecon presentation!, but had a couple of questions about how to develop her brand using Pinterest.

Claire Wingfield Pinterest Board

Claire and I swapped emails during the month, and she fired all sorts of questions at me about setting up and optimising her boards and pins, and below is a summary of our activities to help her achieve her Pinterest goals, and a selection of some of the questions that were raised during the month, that are relevant and useful for other authors and Pinterest users to bear in mind.

Claire’s Pinterest Goals

It’s essential to set Pinterest goals. Not only does it help to keep your pinning on track and consistent, but it will also save you time. When you find yourself getting lost is a sea of pins, distracted by pages and pages of glorious pictures to pin — you can ask yourself “am I working towards my goals?” If the answer is no, then it’s a sure sign you’re procrastinating and you need to get back on track.

Claire had clear business goals for her Pinterest account:

  • sell more books, and
  • publicize her editorial and consulting services

This is a brilliant start for any pinner using Pinterest for their business or brand, and here’s some recommendations I made:

52 Dates for Writers by Claire WingfieldSell more of Claire’s book “52 Dates for Writers”

Set up a Pinterest Board for your Book “52 Dates for Writers” and use it as a promo vehicle:

  • add pins for all on-line retailers available at
  • add any links to press releases
  • add links to guest blog posts that feature it
  • add head shots
  • add an author bio
  • add reviews

Set up a Pinterest Board for each Date listed in the book:

  • Pin a snippet from the chapter (e.g. the opening paragraph and the date idea)
  • Repin all of the relevant links from your main “52 Dates for Writers” Board (to make it easy for people to know where to buy it)
  • Pin other people’s content to the board.
    • The first date about cooking something, is an ideal Pinterest topic (it fits in the most popular category of Food and Drink), and there are lot’s of potential pins you could add to the board — great recipes, food porn shots, luxurious ingredients…. anything really that would inspire the person on this date, or even educate them or entertain them.
  • These boards could be fodder for a blog post and showcasing on social media.
  • You can also turn these into collaboration boards and encourage writers who have bought your book to join your boards to pin their versions of the date.

This approach allowed Claire to promote her book without selling, by providing inspiration and educational value to her followers.

Branded Pinterest Board Covers

I used Canva to create a branded Pinterest board cover design for each of Claire’s 52 Dates for Writers boards. We chose yellow for the date description background because Yellow represents original thought an inquisitiveness.

52 Dates for Writers Board Design by Jay Artale

Claire has already added the first few dates onto her Pinterest profile, and is actively pinning content. The rest of the boards will be drip-fed in over the rest of the year.

Pinterest Board Descriptions

Claire and I collaborated to create a standardised approach for creating the 52 Dates for Writers Board descriptions so that they provided all the key informational in a standardised format, as well as including some unique text to brand and personalise each board, and the key search terms she wants to be discovered for.

52 Dates Pinterest Board Description Visit an Exhibition

52 Dates Pinterest Board Description Cook Something Luxurious

Pinterest Questions

Should you mix Personal and Business Boards on your Pinterest Profile?

Absolutely! Pinterest is a social network, and the best way to connect with people is through topics you care about. There’s no better way to connect with other pinners than over a shared interest, this is how connections are made when you’re engaging face-to-face, and it’s not different for Pinterest.

These personal content boards show a little of your personality and individuality. They also help to establish a level of trust. You’re putting yourself out there on a personal level, and not just trying to sell services.

Secret Boards

If there are particular boards that you’d rather keep private, you can always set up a secret Pinterest board. You can keep it secret, or set it up as a collaboration board for other invited people to see, but it won’t be public.

You can create a new secret board from the bottom of your profile. To create a secret board:
  1. Scroll to the bottom of your profile
  2. Click Create a secret board – the Keep it secret? setting will already be set to Yes
  3. Choose a name and category for your board and click Create Board

Note: You can make a Private board Public at a later date, but you can’t make a Public board Private.

Does every Pinterest board need a Description?

Discoverability on Pinterest isn’t something you should leave to chance. In order for your content (pins, profile or boards) to get found they have to include descriptive key words in order to be discoverable.

Without good keywords Pinterest is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

The Pinterest haystack consists of 30 billion pins and 750 million boards, and that’s why Pinterest introduced the ability to filter the search results by Pins, Pinners and Boards and provides the option of the guided search feature for pins.

Pinterest Board Description Tips

  • Add a description to each Pinterest Board. It doesn’t have to be a long description, but it should include the key words that people will be using to find the content you’ll be pinning.
    • Who are your target market? (e.g. Authors, Writers, Indie publishers etc.)
    • Add in the relevant keywords and you’ll increase your chances of your boards showing up in the Pinterest search results.
  • If you do this when you set your boards up, then the boards and content you’re pinning will have a higher ROI. The time you spend pinning should reap bigger rewards of raising your brand profile.

Why doesn’t my website url show up as an active hyperlink in my Pinterest board description?

  • A Website URL only shows as text, but it’s important to have it there and visible so visitors can just cut and paste it. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to head to your website.

Q: Are the new board descriptions an ok length?

A: All look good to me. It’s optimal if the entire description is visible. Sometimes that’s not possible, but as long as you have the keywords and main topic visible .. that will work.

The Hashtag in my pin descriptions doesn’t seem to be working

  • Pinterest uses hashtags differently, and it’s not the same as using a hashtag on Twitter, where you could click on #52Dates and all content containing that hashtag would show up.
  • When a hashtag is clicked, it shows all 52Dates and #52Dates content.
  • Your hashtag doesn’t provide any search results because Pinterest haven’t indexed it yet, and they don’t index all hashtags.
  • If you get enough traction on your tag they will end up indexing it. But it’s good to have it there from a branding perspective, and be sure to include “52 Dates for Writers” in your relevant Board and Pin descriptions, and people are more likely to type in a description than a hashtag.

Publicise Clarie’s Editorial and Consulting Services on Pinterest

Rather than trying to hard-sell a product or service on Social Media, you should identify ways to raise the awareness of it, while at the same time making sure to provide value to your audience (and potential customers).

The value you provide as a Pinner is to inspire, educate, inform or entertain your audience. By shifting your focus from “what’s in it for me” to “what’s in it for them”, your social media activity will be more authentic and approachable and avoid looking overly promotional or spammy.

Rather than just touting Claire’s Editorial Services, we balanced out the board that featured a Portfolio of the books she’s worked on, with some educational and inspirational boards to help authors.

Claire Wingfield Pinterest Boards


When I started working with Claire, she had 5 boards with a few pins on them, and now her Pinterest presence has grown from strength to strength.

Claire Wingfield Pinterest Boards

It was so much fun building Claire’s author brand on Pinterest with pins and boards, and I look forward to seeing how her Pinterest activity grows and flourishes.

Feedback from Claire on Facebook

If you have a dual purpose for your Pinterest profile (e.g. author and consultant) – let me know how you’ve succeeded in building your brand and post a link to your Pinterest profile in the comments section below.