Newspaper headlines are designed to grab a reader’s interest, and make them want to learn more. You catch, or lose, readers in mere seconds, depending on how sticky your headline is. At Pinterest, images replace headlines. So a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Social media encompasses a lot more than just Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest is growing by leaps and bounds, and it offers something that others can’t: a massive visual element.
It started as an invitation-only platform, but has grown from a collection of personal, digital bulletin boards where people could save and share inspiration, to a new way to engage your audience and grow your brand.
It might seem unlikely for newspapers to make friends with the Pinterest trend. After all, the news is written word sprinkled with images, and Pinterest is filled with images and a bit of written word. It’s what you can do with those images that make it special, and the newspaper industry is catching on.
How Pinterest Works
In case you’re not familiar with Pinterest, here’s a primer. Users create their own digital bulletin boards, and then pin things to those boards. A board is really just a collection of pins on a page, and a pin is an image.
The image might be uploaded by the user who pinned it, or it might be linked to the original image offsite. If it’s uploaded, the image doesn’t lead anywhere besides the user’s Pinterest board. But if it’s linked to an original offsite, clicking the pin takes the user outside Pinterest to where it’s originally hosted.
Users can add identifying information about each pin and board, which makes everything on Pinterest potentially searchable. Looking for an idea about a purple shoe? Chances are Pinterest users have uploaded hundreds for you to look at. If you find one you like, you can pin it to one of your own boards, and click it to go to the website where the shoe lives.
Once users discover others who pin interesting things, they can follow them. Similar to the way Facebook sends new friend updates to your newsfeed, Pinterest sends new pins from the people you follow to your main feed.
For newspapers, this means every image that you pin is searchable, accessible, sharable, and can lead Pinterest users directly to your online publication.
How Newspapers are Using It
Plenty of major newspapers have figured out the benefits of Pinterest. The Wall Street Journal, Denver Post, L.A. Times and USA Today are among the top names that you’ll find with an expansive presence at this platform. But each one uses it a bit differently, and that’s part of the beauty.
For example, The Denver Post focuses on category boards. Each board is like a section of their newspaper, such as Gardening, Outdoors in Colorado, Restaurants Worth Visiting, and Sports. On each board, you’ll find vivid images, each with a story teaser. Click the image, and you’re taken to the whole story at the Denver Post website.
At USA Today’s Pinterest account, you’ll find links to their publication, but you’ll find a bit more. They collect pins from other publications, too. There’s one special board that features profiles of personalities making the news. Whatever they think you want to know, USA Today has a board, and a pin, for it. They expand on their audience base by offering more than what’s covered in their paper.
The possibilities for brand promotion and audience engagement seem almost limitless. Some publications, usually magazines, pin an enormous volume of content at one time. This clogs up everyone’s feed, but it also gets the publication out there. Great images mean someone will click, pin, share, and continue on to the main website.
You can also promote your staff. Imagine one board devoted to profiles of each person who brings those readers the news. If you can attach a relevant image to draw in the audience, you can create a pin to promote it.
What’s better than a lot of exposure? A lot of exposure that doesn’t cut into your revenue. Pinterest, like other social media platforms, doesn’t cost a penny. They do require businesses to open a business account, but for now, it’s free. If you’re wondering how they make money, they don’t. Investors got Pinterest off the ground and are sustaining them, which will likely change in the future.
As with any other outlet with a lot of exposure, Pinterest offers a wealth of possibility. The audience keeps growing, and you can reach more of it. From its meager beginnings as a way to share shiny things to its latest evolution as a business tool, Pinterest is proving to be the next great thing for growing your brand.