Should you publish on Pinterest?


Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn garner most of the attention from publishers looking to expand their audience engagement and reach through social media. More recently, Tumblr and Google+ have been grabbing a growing share of publisher activity. Now, it may be time to make room for yet another social sharing site as a destination for your content: Pinterest.

Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard” that lets brands and individual users share articles and photos around a particular topic. The pinboard metaphor gives the experience a more personal feel, particularly for lifestyle and other enthusiast publications that cater to women (70 percent of its “pinners” are female). Think of the kitchen corkboard cluttered with recipes, health tips and home décor suggestions clipped from print magazines.

Pinterest is “a logical fit for most of our lifestyle brands,” said Deborah Curtis, director of audience development for Time Inc.’s Lifestyle Group. Five of Time Inc.’s nine Lifestyle brands, including Real Simple, Cooking Light and Southern Living, have Pinterest accounts.

Pinterest is a natural for the type of content published by Real Simple and other lifestyle brands – decorating ideas, color palettes, recipes, etc. “A lot of our brands are all about beautiful imagery, and that’s what Pinterest is all about,” said Curtis. “It’s much more visually engaging and more stimulating” than other social media sites, she added.

Early returns are promising. Last month, Pinterest was second only to Google for referral traffic to – surpassing Facebook, Twitter and all other social media sources, Curtis said. Mashable reported last month that Pinterest has 3 million users and passed 421 million pageviews in October.

“We’ve been posting on Pinterest and have seen some increase in visitors and fan page views,” Kaelin Zawilinski, digital editorial manager for Better Homes and Gardens, said in a recent interview.

Pinterest lets members (currently invitation-only) create their own pinboards and browse other boards based on their interests. Browsing, Pinterest notes on its website, “is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” For publishers, this discoverability can also attract new readers.

Pinterest currently has pinboards across 31 categories, ranging from architecture and art to travel and weddings/events. Martha Stewart, Better Homes and Gardens and Real Simple made Mashable’s recent list of the top brands on Pinterest – based on the types of content, range of topics and other “best practices” cited by Pinterest.

Pinterest presents yet another way for publishers to increase digital traffic, as each pinboard features links back to a publisher’s website and Twitter account. Some brands, including, are adding a PinIt button to their article pages, alongside other social sharing buttons, to encourage new “pins.”

Content on Pinterest can go viral quickly within the community, as well, when members “re-pin” items. Curtis said Time Inc. is just beginning to explore the various ways in which content can be shared.

“We’re seeing a lot of diversity in how people are using it, including pinning items from our site, creating their own boards, and re-pinning our boards,” she said. “We’re proactive, but there’s so much organic activity as well – we’re excited about that.”

Time inc. and its Lifestyle brands will continue to test new ways to use Pinterest, including integrating pinning activity into their magazine sites. They’re also experimenting with ways to measure Pinterest activity, looking at everything from referrals to engagement to SEO value, said Curtis.

Here's some additional reading for publishers interested in Pinterest:

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