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To Pin or Not to Pin — Does a Blogger Need to be on Pinterest?

bloggers-on-pinterestI know I am not alone. I know there are other overwhelmed bloggers out there who have watched the Pinterest explosion, overwhelmed not only about establishing a following on yet another social media platform, but about being sucked into a tempting time warp.

However, just like I resisted skinny jeans, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to pull them off (pardon the pun,) and then wondered why it took me so long, I am finally giving in to Pinterest.

My twin sister and co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom, Susan Carraretto, started a Pinterest account for us the past month as well — one that includes both of us as 5 Minutes for Mom. (You can follow us at http://pinterest.com/5minutesformom/) But while we both signed up several weeks ago, we are still trying to get a feel for it and are definitely not pinning experts yet.

But the other night, with a bowl of popcorn and Kelby Carr on Skype giving me a personal Pinterest tutorial, I made my first boards, did some re-pinning, and tried to move past my Pinterest hesitations.

But the question remains: DOES a Blogger Need to be on Pinterest?

Yes, I am giving into Pinterest. But should every blogger be on Pinterest? Why should a busy blogger add one more social platform to their crammed online schedule?

I asked four top bloggers who are Pinterest lovers about the benefits of Pinterest for bloggers. Does a blogger need to be on Pinterest? Here is what they told me:

kelby-carr-pinterestKelby Carr aka @TypeAMom

“I definitely believe bloggers benefit from being on Pinterest.

Besides being pretty, entertaining and mesmerizing, it also serves practical purposes. For one thing, it is great inspiration for blog post ideas (or even ideas for your life, from recipes and home renovation project ideas to craft DIYs and must-have gadgets).

Beyond that, it is proving to be a great traffic generator. Real Simple Magazine, for example, says it is driving more traffic to their site than Facebook, which is pretty impressive. (See this AdAge post about Real Simple Magazine’s Pinterest traffic.)

Also, at least for now, Pinterest’s links are dofollow, which means you will get Google juice (or credit for having inbound links) for any pins linking to your site. Pinterest is a PageRank 6 site, quite high for such a new site. That means those links are pretty high-impact.

In fact, your blog might already be pinned. You can find out by visiting pinterest.com/source/INSERTYOURURL.COM.”

Follow Kelby Carr on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/kelby/

allison-mcdonald-pinterestAllie McDonald – aka @noflashcards

“I have found Pinterest is great for bloggers in three ways:

The first is links — this is true for bloggers like myself who work hard to be a resource of ideas for our readers. Tutorials, DIY and tips are all passed around like wildfire on Pinterest. So craft, design, food and DIY bloggers really need to be using it, but even personal bloggers can benefit in big ways.

The second main area in my experience is using it to build community — the same way that Facebook and Twitter gives bloggers another avenue to connect with refers Pinterest does the same. I pin all sorts of things from crafts that I wish I thought of to Jake Gyllenhaal who is not at all related to my blogging niche, although maybe we could figure out a craft for him? I see it as another social media tool.

And the last way I think bloggers can really benefit from it is as a gauge of what works. What I mean is that I check to see what posts of mine are being pinned and repinned and adjust my planning as needed. If everyone is already pinning Halloween things, I start making sure I have some Halloween crafts to post ASAP. The same way many people check keywords it’s another tool to provide readers and future readers with content they are looking for.

And yes, you may waste a lot of time — it will suck you in. But at least if you are a blogger you can tell yourself it’s for work!”

Follow Allie McDonald at http://www.pinterest.com/noflashcards

Jill-Krause-PinterestJill Krause aka @babyrabies

“Pinterest has helped me in a lot of ways. It inspires me (it really does!), it gives me a place to catalog ideas, and it’s a fantastic time waster — but none of that is really blog specific.

Have I seen an increase in traffic from Pinterest pins to my blog? Yes. Does it change the way I blog now? Yes. Take this photo post for example:

Before Pinterest, I would have just posted the picture and written a clever caption under it. Now, I try to make my posts more “pinnable” or more visually appealing as a thumbnail. In this case, I made the caption part of the picture (really easy to do in PowerPoint, no Photoshop required!). I’ve noticed that quotes as pictures like this are shared often on Pinterest.

Pinterest, to me, isn’t another overwhelming social network. I do my best to follow people back, but I don’t feel the pressure to interact on there that I do on Facebook and Twitter.

And it’s much easier to repin other’s ideas than to engage in a conversation. Of course, you’ll get out of it what you put into it, and it’s possible to find new readers there by following them and sharing your posts with them, but I think that’s a little spammy for Pinterest.

Can you just make your posts more pinnable and let others pin and share them for you? Sure, but you’ll never know what’s working and what isn’t. You won’t see new trends come across your feed, and, I’m telling you, you’re seriously missing out on some real inspiration.

Not to mention, Pinterest plays blog muse for me quite often! I had a great time making fun of myself and my inability to complete some pins in this post (and my readers really liked it, too.)

Follow Jill Krause at http://pinterest.com/jill_krause/

angry-julie-pinterestJulie Dance aka @AngryJulie

“I was an early adopter to Pinterest. I started at the beginning of the year in 2011 with an invitation to join via a friend.

As an avid stalker of HGTV and Craft Blogs, Pinterest was like paradise for me. I think my husband hates Pinterest because of me though, my honey-do list is getting a mile long.

But Pinterest has become my #2 for blog referral traffic. I’ve gotten new readers because of some of my projects going viral on there, and they have stayed. I also receive some of the nicest emails thanking me for doing the tutorial or comments on how much their child loved it, etc.

At the beginning I compared Pinterest to Stumbleupon, and never posted any of my own projects. I’ve never stumbled any of my own posts, and didn’t want to give any bad karma to my Pinterest boards either.

But then I saw some other bloggers doing it, and created a board titled, “My Projects”. This board has revived some of my older posts from a few years ago, which had helped with traffic, subscribers, and comments also.”

Follow Julie at http://pinterest.com/angryjulie/

Tell us your thoughts: Are you on Pinterest? Do you think it is critical for a blogger to have a presence on Pinterest?

Read more of Janice’s posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

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