12 Pinterest Tips from Magazine Pros

As a way of continuing the 12/12/12 theme this week, we’ve compiled 12 tips for using Pinterest based on the collective expertise of two magazine brands that have enthusiastically adopted the platform: Real Simple and Glamour.

At the MPA Digital: Social Media conference on Thursday in New York, Kathleen Harris, managing editor of RealSimple.com, presented lessons learned over two years of using Pinterest. She also noted that it’s “where the bulk of our referral traffic comes from.”

Later Mike Hofman, digital managing director at Glamour.com, appeared on a panel about Pinterest. He described it as a “vehicle for lifestyle inspiration, and said Glamour even “re-engineered our website to be more like Pinterest.”

“If you’re not on Pinterest as a magazine brand, you’re not relevant.” That was the assessment of another panelist, Dick Porter, EVP of media sales at Meredith Corporation. Pinterest isn’t a fit for every company or brand, but others can still learn from these magazine brands’ experience.

The advice below makes it appear easy, but applying these tips may prove more elusive. While the examples concern brands that almost exclusively target females, these pointers can also be adapted by gender neutral and male oriented brands.

Our twelve tips:

  1. Images rule: rethink the brand content in terms of images. That’s why Pinterest has taken off in visual areas like design and fashion. Glamour said shoe walls are a big hit.
  2. Deliver on the brand’s personality: for Real Simple it’s easy, clever, unique and cool.
  3. Cut through the clutter and don’t over-clog the feed–pin only a few times per day.
  4. Pin like a person, not like a brand, and stagger your content. As RealSimple learned, viewers will be overwhelmed by 35 chicken recipes pinned at once.
  5. Incorporate non-branded content: At least some content should be category related, per RealSimple. Otherwise it all looks too much like a brand promotion.
  6. Create selected boards on new topics, but don’t do it too often since each board requires ongoing support and fresh content (which is time-consuming).
  7. Quotes attract attention and can also be built around themes. RealSimple pins a thought of the day, and Glamour has a theme board titled “Hey, It’s OK.”
  8. Do-it-yourself tutorials such as DIY hair braids from Glamour drive interest.
  9. Archival images can be buzzworthy, thanks in part to Mad Men mania and the return of retro clothing trends. Glamour often uses vintage photos from Conde Nast’s archives.
  10. Original infographics such as Glamour’s “Will he text?” board are popular.
  11. Contests and awards can be effective in engaging the community. RealSimple created a “hub of interest” by featuring a pinner of the week.
  12. Photo rights: Last, but certainly not least, make sure you secure digital rights globally.

The images of Gotham Bar and Grill appear here to underscore the 12 theme and a lost Pinterest opportunity. The iconic, top-rated restaurant doesn’t have an official Pinterest board, though they’ve been pinned frequently. Still, the restaurant missed a unique pinning occasion this week. They’re located at 12 East 12th Street in New York, and on 12/12/12, several groups of diners, (some arriving in groups of 12), had lunch there so they could celebrate at twelve past noon. If the restaurant hosted a Pinterest board, they could have captured that exceptionally rare moment, maybe even a dozen times.

PR pros: do we have more Pinterest tips?