This week, we’re stepping out of the dietetics bubble and chatting with Kate Ahl, founder of Simple Pin Media.
Kate is the best of the best when it comes to Pinterest marketing.
In this episode, we talk about the latest and greatest happenings with Pinterest and get her takes on where business owners should focus in 2022.
If you hang out a lot in online business or blogging spaces, you’ve probably heard all the hullabaloo about how Pinterest has been changing and not driving traffic to websites as much as it once was, so it was very illuminating to get Kate’s take on the current state of Pinterest and exciting new ways to use Pinterest outside of the traditional pinning to get clicks.
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More About Kate
Kate Ahl is the owner and founder of Simple Pin Media and the host of the Simple Pin podcast. She teaches entrepreneurs, product sellers, and bloggers how to find and convert their perfect person on Pinterest.
Connect With Kate
- Website: simplepinmedia.com
- Pinterest: @simplepinmedia
- Instagram: @simplepinmedia
- Facebook: Simple Pin Media
Pinterest Keyword Planner
Grab Kate's free Keyword Planner for Pinterest.
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As 2021 comes to an end, it's a great time to reflect back on how the year went. Did you accomplish the goals you were hoping to achieve at the start of the year? I recently posted a prompt about this in the unconventional RD Facebook group, which if you're not in there yet go search for the unconventional RD community on Facebook and request to join. It's a super active community with nearly 12,000 people in it.
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Without further ado, let's get into this week's episode.
I am so pumped about this week's interview. This week, we're sort of stepping out of the traditional dietetics bubble. And I am chatting with Kate Ahl founder of simple pin media. Kate is the best of the best when it comes to Pinterest marketing, like seriously, it was such a gift to be able to talk with her about all the latest and greatest happenings with Pinterest and get her takes on where business owners should focus on the platform in 2022.
And if you hang out in a lot of online business or blogging spaces, You've probably heard all the hullabaloo about how Pinterest has been changing. It's all about keeping people on the platform now, and it's not driving traffic to websites as much as it once was. Uh, and so people are, you know, a little perplexed about what to do with Pinterest moving forward. So it was very illuminating to get Kate's take on the current state of Pinterest and exciting new ways that you can still use Pinterest to boost your business and make great money outside of the traditional, just pinning to get clicks.
So let's get on into this interview
Erica Julson: Hi, Kate. It is such an honor to have you on the podcast today. Thank you so much for being here.
Kate Ahl: Yeah, I'm so excited to be here.
Erica Julson: So for those who aren't familiar, Kate is an expert of all experts on Pinterest. Whenever I mentioned Pinterest resources, your stuff is always on my list.
So, um, some people listening may be familiar with your brand. Others may not, but I'm very excited to get all of your expertise on Pinterest today.
Kate Ahl: Yeah, I'm excited to share it.
Erica Julson: So, can you tell us more kind of about your background and how you became known as a Pinterest expert?
Kate Ahl: Yeah, so my background actually was with just on Facebook in 2010 and really what it was, was trying to figure out how to get engagement.
And then a friend who I was working for said, will you come work for my blog? So I started to learn affiliate marketing. In addition with Facebook and trying to get people to purchase and really understanding their needs. And then we started to integrate Pinterest into it just a little bit, but Pinterest had just started in 2010.
So it was very new for people and people were still heavily focused on Facebook because the business pages can get seen by everybody. Right. About the same time coming down from the recession, our family was super poor. We were living on food stamps and unemployment was running out. And so my friend who I was working for had just watched a Pinterest webinar and she looked at me and she was like, you should manage people's Pinterest pages.
And that was like, you're crazy. No, one's going to go for that. She was like, well, you don't have any money, so you should try it. So I said, okay, I'll try it for three months. I'll research. See if it's even possible for me to do Pinterest management. And what are the resources on Pinterest marketing and then who's teaching.
And so I spent that three months really thinking through what would it look like to be a service provider for Pinterest? And I got three beta clients in 2014, and I told them like, give me all your feedback, tell me what's working. What's not working. And they loved it because they had so many different things on their plates and they were still so focused on Facebook, even though that was the first big algorithm change.
And so they weren't getting any traffic hardly any more from Facebook. And they were getting all of a sudden this traffic from Pinterest and I just became obsessed with how could I make it work for business owners where it wasn't overwhelming, but it was really tapping into their greatest need. And so from there, simple, Penn has grown now to serving over a hundred clients.
We have a community and a podcast, and really this whole media company around Pinterest and Pinterest marketing educator.
Erica Julson: That is amazing. And it was such a good, succinct summary of everything that you do. But for today, since a lot of people in my audience are wellness entrepreneurs and are interested in starting an online business, I'd like to elaborate a little bit more on what Pinterest is and how people can use it to grow their businesses.
So maybe first, just a run down of what Pinterest is and how it's different from other social media.
Kate Ahl: Yeah. So the best way is to look at Pinterest as a search and discovery network. People who go to Pinterest are thinking of them. People who go to Instagram are thinking of you. And so they want to get caught in your life on Instagram, but they're really consumed with their life on Pinterest.
So they go there with the same intent that they go to Google or YouTube to answer a question or fulfill a future dream. So Pinterest users are very much future oriented. If they're going to be buying a product or taking action on something, they're, fact-finding, they're gathering as much information as they can about the products or the articles or whatever it is in order to take action in three to six months.
So that's the best way to see it as not social, but very much media.
Erica Julson: Yeah. So just to reiterate, I totally agree. I think one of the biggest strengths of Pinterest is that it is much more like a search engine and people use it to discover content in a way that you just can't on other platforms like Instagram or Tik TOK or whatever.
so I would say just from working with bloggers myself as well, Either SEO or Pinterest are usually people's top two drivers of traffic if they create content on their websites. So are those the only people who can benefit from Pinterest? Like, is it only about people who are trying to get clicks to their website or to their content?
Or what if someone runs like an in-person business or just like an online service? Can they benefit from Pinterest too?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. Yeah. We see people who have a lot of success with being a service provider or a coach or selling both physical and digital products. I think probably four to five years ago. I would've said it's primarily for bloggers content-based, but it shifted so much the platform that it really can serve product sellers and people who are service providers.
Erica Julson: I'm really excited to get into that. Cause I agree. There's so much chatter and I'm not a super big Pinterest uh, hardcore user. I haven't kept up necessarily with the latest trends. So I'm excited to dive into those with you. Cause I know I've seen a lot of chatter like, oh, Pinterest is changing. And so I'd like to talk about that for sure.
But for the people who aren't that familiar with Pinterest, can you elaborate a little bit more like maybe some people use Pinterest and they have a personal account, but can you tell us more about what a business account on Pinterest would look like and why people should have that if they have a business?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. Um, so number one, Pinterest says terms of service require that if you're doing any type of business, you need a business account. Some people come to us because they hear chattering about Instagram, where like personal and business accounts have advantages and disadvantages. It is 100% and advantage for you to have a business account on Pinterest.
So when you do get that, you get access to claiming your website, which means that Pinterest knows that any content that is on their platform, that links back to your website is claimed by you. It's yours. You can also do claiming with Instagram and YouTube and Etsy as well. And then you get access to analytics, which is really, really good because that informs you as to how your content is performing.
And then you get access to ads and other features that the business that Pinterest wants to provide what they call creators. That's what they refer to as a business user. And so having a business account on Pinterest is a hundred percent the way to go because you get access to all, all those features.
Erica Julson: Yeah. And that would be definitely people who would maybe consider themselves a business and they're selling something, but probably also bloggers who maybe aren't selling anything on their website, but you're still considered a quote unquote business. If you're using it to bring people to your website that you probably monetize in other ways, like maybe ads or sponsored content or something like that.
Kate Ahl: Yeah, definitely.
Erica Julson: So for publishers, the chatter that I'm hearing right now is like, oh, Pinterest has changed so much. Like now it's not about trying to get clicks to people's websites. It's all about keeping people on Pinterest. So what are your thoughts in that arena?
Is it still helpful for publishers or is it almost like better for online business owner and models now? Yeah.
Kate Ahl: Yeah. Pinterest is definitely, um, there's been a lot of terms it's iterating into a new version, so it's either Pinterest 2.0 or the new Pinterest. And it really started at the beginning of COVID when we saw this massive surgeon users and Pinterest introduce a lot of shop features and a lot of features to help people stay on the platform longer because they're a publicly traded company.
So they also, I think, want to take advantage of this Tik TOK, Instagram real type of interest with audiences to have short form video. So they brought in what was called idea pins, that don't link. So to your point, It's not really moving people off the platform, but it's keeping them in the ecosystem. The interesting thing about these idea pins is that it does lead people to the profile, which leads people to the website because that website is linked in the profile.
So I think there's a little bit of both. There is Pinterest users still think they're going to leave the platform. So I think we as marketers see this new thing and we're like, nobody's ever going to leave, but we're still waiting for this reckoning of what is the pinner like versus what is the marketer do?
So we are seeing a decrease in traffic, but we are seeing also some of it kind of pop back up. We also see that the traffic has been all over the map the last two years with such a huge serv surge in 2020, and then kind of that dropping down. So what I would say is. Pinterest is reiterating. We really don't know what it's going to look like in 2022, but we do know some component of that is keeping people on the platform, how the pinner responds to that I think is yet to be seen.
But it's still a great place for you to put your content and still from what we see in analytics, the largest traffic driver out there. Second to Google.
Erica Julson: Yeah. So that's a good point for people listening, who maybe spend a lot of time on Instagram or something, and don't get a lot of visits to their website through that channel.
What I think you're saying is Pinterest is still worth it because probably still outperform other channels like Instagram, um, in terms of driving people to your
Kate Ahl: I think a point to that, to that I love to tell people, and even for my own business is I looked at the last year to see, okay, where did all my clicks come from?
And Google was number one, but Pinterest was number two in the social traffic at around like 33,000 sessions. Facebook was 7,000 and Instagram was 2000. So if I'm purely just looking at what my data says, why would I give up the 33,000 for a sake of the two? And what I also find is there's this time thing as well, where we spend way more, much time for engagement.
On Instagram. And there is a value in that because you're building your audience, but there's also, if you're driven by sessions to really still lean into Pinterest because the data is there. And that's really important before you make a decision, because in this culture, it's real easy to hear someone else's story and be like such and such got so much here.
I'm going to chase that. But if your data doesn't say that in your people, aren't taking that action, that it really doesn't make sense for you. So it goes back to looking at your number.
Erica Julson: Yes. Great tip. I always preach that too. Please. Don't get distracted by the next shiny thing. Like yes, like optimize one channel and then you can maybe expand.
Uh, so I talk a lot about Google and SEO and content creation with my platform. And so people listening probably know what keyword research is in the context of Google, but is there a similar thing you can sort of do to figure out what might perform best on Pinterest?
Kate Ahl: Yes. There's two things. Number one is the keyword search is really native to the platform.
We don't have anything as advanced as Google has. So we have the search bar at the top of Pinterest. So just going in and putting in words or phrases and the search prediction underneath will predict for you what you're going to search, which that typically is things that are searched the most. The second place is called trends.
This is a new tool that Pinterest introduced and you can find it by going to trends.pinterest.com. And what this does is you put in a keyword and it tells you what's called the search volume on a zero to a hundred scale all throughout the year. So, what this allows you to do is say, if you're going to be talking about, um, a certain type of diet, or you're going to talk about how to get back into exercising, the wellness time is always going to be December 26, 2, basically March 1st.
That's when people are getting ready for a restart of the year or they're wanting to get into a habit. So what you'll most likely see with whatever term you search, especially in the wellness space is this huge search volume. That's when you want to begin to plan for your content during that time. So what we tell people too is with a static pins, there's a couple of different types of pins.
Now, static and idea, static pin is still really an important and it's about 40 days before the event. So even though right now, you might be thinking, well, I don't really want to talk about, um, habit building or resolutions or whatever right about December 1st is when you should be pinning that, so that it's into the ecosystem and ready for the person who the day after Christmas is like, I'm done.
I am ready. Your content will then be there in the search.
Erica Julson: All right. So the Pinterest trends it's you said it was a scale of like zero to a hundred. So it's relative popularity kind of like Google trends, not like an actual volume, like you might find with a SEO keyword research tool. Uh, so do you have any tips on figuring, is there any way to figure out the popularity of it besides just when it's populated or what's coming up on.
Kate Ahl: Yeah, that's the bummer part about Pinterest right now is we don't really have a whole lot, like we do the luxury with Google. So what you're really going on is a lot of your data. And then also what we see kind of in that trends search volume piece, um, we used to be able to see like repin numbers so we could see how things were performing if they were super popular, but we can't see that anymore.
So then if you search something really whatever rises to the top is really what's there all the time. It doesn't change based on person or location. It's based on that term, but there's really nothing yet. That's going to tell you, unless you go into the ads dashboard. So there's a little bit of a work around that.
If you were going to go into ads, you can see the keyword volume, like of how many searches are being searched. But again, it's not down to that ranking of like, Hey, I want to rank now. Here's the people who are in the top 10. I want to rank five. We just can't see that yet.
Erica Julson: For sure. Although, do you think there's any way, like, can you just like with Google, you can kind of like manually analyze, can you do that with the pins?
Kate Ahl: A hundred percent.
So if you search something like, um, you know, um, anti-inflammatory diet. So if you search that on Pinterest, you'll see under that term kind of who there is at the top, I would start to monitor it from like week to week, but that really doesn't change. So you could try to aim for it to try to like, get super, a lot of engagement.
And usually what those are is how many times they've been saved and clicked on. But we used to be able to see what that was so we could say, oh, so-and-so has a thousand. Re-pins I'm gonna aim for that. Now you can't see it anymore.
Erica Julson: Yeah, I, I used to food blog. That's how I got my start in the online world. And I used Pinterest as sort of in that same fashion where I look up something that I was thinking of making for like food styling, inspiration.
Cause that wasn't something I was not naturally good at. So I would totally look up, you know, I don't know, taco salad or something. And then look at who comes to the top of the Pinterest. Uh, like results, assuming that those are the ones that are most popular visually for people to click on, and then I'd be like, oh, this is a really good way to like put the fork behind the bowl or whatever.
And I just like hodgepodge my way into my own, uh, set up. So I imagine you could do. For most content, even like an infographic, you could just see who's there and get some inspiration, like, oh, this type of content seems to be what's rising to the top or what,
Kate Ahl: yeah. In a really interesting point about what you just said is that Pinterest also has a visual search component to it.
And so let's say you see this image of like taco salad. When you scroll below to the, they call it more like this. When you look below, that should all match as well to be taco salad because it's both keyword matching and image matching. So actually one food blogger that I talked with before, probably four years ago, she realized that one of her top pins was a blue bowl and it was in this image taken a certain way.
So she actually started taking all of her pictures in that way to take advantage of the visual search in the more like this to where, when somebody would scroll, it would be all of her. Even if it wasn't related to the taco salad, it would be related to the blue bowl, which is super fascinating. And another level of this search component on Pinterest that they put that there primarily for products, because if you see a lamp and it doesn't Lincoln go anywhere I can hover over.
And Pinterest will find more like this. So just something interesting that we don't see on Google, but we do see on Pinterest.
Erica Julson: That's super cool. I did not know that, but
uh, so let's see. I know you mentioned briefly that there's different types of pins. Maybe before we go too deep into the rabbit hole of Pinterest strategies. Can you give us a rundown on what, what the different types of pins are?
Kate Ahl: Yeah, absolutely. So there's static pen. That's the one we've had forever.
It's kind of like the flagship pin Pinterest started with it. And then we have a video pin which actually still does link to the website. Those are usually anywhere from less than two minutes, minute 30 ish. And then there's idea pens. And these are very much like an Instagram story, but without, without the personal component to it, they have slides in that.
So you can do a walkthrough. They often tell you do something like a five-step recipe or five steps to get in shape or something like that. And then we have promoted pins, which is the Pinterest ads version, which look like a native static pin. And then there is what's called carousel pins. You don't see those very often, but it's kind of like the swipe through static pin.
It also links. So those are the five types of pins that we have.
Erica Julson: And if someone listening here let's do two scenarios. So number one would be like the food blogger or the wellness blogger or somebody who's creating content and monetizing in more passive ways. Like probably ads, affiliate links and sponsored content, maybe a digital good, but no services or no online courses or anything crazy like that, today, or, you know, moving forward into 2022.
Where do you think they should be focusing their efforts?
Kate Ahl: Yeah, what's great about this is there's a lot of new options for them with the introduction of idea pins and the partnerships that Pinterest is putting in place, especially with brands and affiliates. So number one, a static pin is still going to be what you've been doing forever.
Linking back to your website when it comes to idea pins, you can now tag affiliates. So if you're talking about the five best kitchen utensils to use, you can use your Amazon affiliate. It can only work on mobile though. That's really, really important. It does not work on desktop. You can link to your Amazon affiliate link.
Now. In terms of service are accepted. There's always that gray area. If you could link on Pinterest with an affiliate link, you can now the number three is going to be sponsored content. Pinterest very much encourages you to utilize idea pins and tag the brand because brands can't get access to idea pins.
They can only get that through the person who's working with them. So some of our clients have worked directly with their sponsored partners to just create idea pins for them. That's become part of their media package and it's been great because then this brand gets exposure. Plus they get tagged.
Cause then when they get tagged, they now have access to potentially promote that idea pin, which is then giving your brand a lift as well. And then video, we highly encourage you to take advantage of short form video as well to link back to your website. So I would say. What felt limited before in just one static fit pin now feels very much diversified and it opens you up to making more money.
There also is another piece called the creator monetization program. That's being rolled out. There's a lot of rumblings about what those will be. Number one, it could be connecting with a brand. So let's say you don't have a spot. Contract with somebody, but let's say a really want to work with Robert Mondavi or something like that.
And I do this amazing, beautiful idea pen, and I tag them. They have the option now to work with me potentially, and that could be a good brand partnership. It's brokered by an agency with Pinterest, again, very new, but an option that's up and coming. And then Pinterest is now starting this creator monetization, where they're paying creators to create idea pins.
This also is something new and being rolled out. There's been only a few people. One of our directors here actually got access. And we learned today that Pinterest is only picked four people for this just yet, but apparently they have $20 million to give away to. So we're not quite sure again how that's going to roll out, but this opens up diversification on Pinterest instead of just one pin.
So we highly encourage people who are ads, affiliates, or sponsored to really dig in, to see what you can do with these new features instead of going, they don't link. I'm super frustrated with that. I'm out. Do not do that right now because Pinterest is putting efforts behind it. Take advantage of it and try to get some of that cash.
If that's what you're really looking for.
Erica Julson: Yeah, those are really great tips. I haven't heard of the, where you tag the brand and they can work potentially work. Can you elaborate on that a little? Yeah,
Kate Ahl: it's pretty new. So it's called brand sponsorship and they're wanting to do this as a way for the whole idea.
I'll say behind this Pinterest released this recently is that they want to make it a place that creators go to create. So they knew they had to have some incentives behind it. So this brand, um, create monetization kind of, or brand sponsorship program. Well, all we know right now is that if you create an idea pen and you tag a brand that you've never worked with, if they agree to work with you, Pinterest, then broker some kind of deal with an agency between the two of you to begin to work together on sponsored content.
So let's say there's a brand you really want to work with start creating idea pins and tagging them in all of them. And they might take notice. One thing we don't know about yet is if these brands already have to have a partnership with Pinterest, because we know there's some brands that we have a lot of them that are not active on Pinterest, who do not have a really great account set up.
So go look at their account first. And that might give you a little bit of an indication if they've already started working with Pinterest. If you see if they have other people tagging them with idea pins, check that out too. But this is what they're really going for in the future is they want to make sure that brands see Pinterest is a really viable place to run ads.
So the one way to get them in is for you as a creator to tag them. So Pinterest can go, aha. You want to spend money here, especially with the big switch with.
Erica Julson: That makes a lot of sense. So they basically can see on there, the brand can see on their end, who is tagging them. Yeah. And then what they just like reach out to you or, yeah.
Kate Ahl: So basically I, you know, we, haven't had a whole lot of experience with this. This is kind of what Pinterest tells us right now, but we just haven't really seen it in action. But supposedly there's some kind of connection where Pinterest can also see this and help connect with the brand. So Pinterest is trying, I believe this is my hypothesis.
If we're gonna call it that, um, I think Pinterest wants creator to tag as creators to take as many brands as possible. And then that will kind of alert and bring those brands in. So I think it's a little bit of Pinterest sees it a little bit of the brand, sees it, the brand. Doesn't see it. Pinterest is going to go after.
Erica Julson: That makes sense. Yeah. And so I would imagine so, because I'm thinking, okay, how do you get people to want to work with you on other platforms like Instagram? A lot of times, it's, you know, how big is your following? How good is your engagement? So those things maybe look at those metrics on your Pinterest profile as well.
Do follows still matter on Pinterest?
Kate Ahl: you know, they've gone through this weird iteration where they have not mattered for a long time. And I would say they kind of still don't because users just don't, they don't engage with Pinterest in that same way, because of that first thing I said, where they're really just interested in themselves, they're not really interested in following, but with idea pins, the very last slide, Pinterest ads is a call to action to follow you on your profile.
So that is increasing followers. And then. If you haven't looked at the mobile app lately, right at the top, the idea pins are showing up as bubbles or squares that keep changing what it's going to look like. Those are current. So that's just a new way to engage with people that you follow right at the top.
So if somebody wants to see those, then they'll do that there, but we're still trying to figure out how pinners are going to adapt to this.
Erica Julson: Yeah. That makes sense. I was just trying to think, like, how would you sell yourself as a partner?
Kate Ahl: You know, if you're just like, well, it shows up, right, exactly. That's I think that's probably how it is right now.
I'm going to cross my fingers and hope it works.
Erica Julson: Okay. And then the creator fund. So you're just basically like prepared to get $5 million because you're one of four people. Right.
Kate Ahl: I told her, I was like, you should be prepared. It's not that much money, but basically I think what Pinterest is doing is they're paying you decree.
Top production value content. So think of it as similar to sponsored content. That's what Pinterest is looking for in their creator monetization right now. And it's there, you know, just a few things that we're still learning, but they, it sounded like it was going to be open to everybody. And now we're feeling like it's a little more thread the needle than we think.
Erica Julson: And they would reach out. I mean, as of right now, it's like you have to be contacted by them.
Kate Ahl: Um, actually, no, they, um, there has been forms that have circulating, so Pinterest has this great community. I would highly encourage everybody to join. It's called the Pinterest business community, the PBC and it's biz.pinterest.community.
I believe if you Google Pinterest business community, you'll find it. So they have a special section for creators. And what they're doing is they're releasing some of these beta features to them. And they also have moderators in there from Pinterest who will help answer questions. So this is also a great place.
If your account ever gets marked as spam or anything happens and you lose features. Don't email, the help desk go straight to the Pinterest business community, and people will help you there. In addition, there's people like myself and my team who will help be like ambassadors for you, who are also working with people in there as well.
So that's where we're getting most of the information from, and some of those forms to where Pinterest is then saying, Hey, we want creators. In fact, their latest is Pinterest TV. So this is their new live feature. And they have just sent out an email to creators that they're asking for submissions. And then I think there they'll review and then take people from there.
Erica Julson: Interesting. Lots of changes
Kate Ahl: a lot.
Erica Julson: I'm sure as you said, because they're now kind of keep up their profits since they're publicly traded. Got it. Got to stay of with the money. Yeah. All right. Well, I don't know about other people listening, but I feel a little more positive after hearing all these potential opportunities then, uh, maybe the general vibe has been,
Kate Ahl: yes.
Well, I'm happy to help bring the positivity to you.
Erica Julson: And then what about on the other side of things for people who maybe don't do a lot of content creation, but they, they have a community, maybe they have a Facebook group, or they have a really strong Instagram following and they're more selling stuff.
I would say most of the people in my community are selling either services or they're selling an online course or group coaching program, something like that. Um, more so than like a physical good, but, how could those people utilize? Pinterest?
Kate Ahl: Yeah, I think that's exactly my model. So I have services and edgy know podcasts, education and courses, and I'm a B2B.
So it's even a little bit harder for me, but we've realized that the Pinterest people that come to us are really the, how tos. So we're at the front door of like that education. And that's really where I tell people, that's how you can get the Pinterest user is what are your people asking you? What are common?
FAQ's it doesn't have to be a lot of content. Cause I realize people are focused on the coaching and the. Uh, services, but one of the things you want to be thinking about as somebody on Pinterest is asking, is this right for me? Or they're asking how to do something. That's where you want to try to get them in to then book a call with you.
We have a framework here at simple pin where we call the Pinterest user goes through three stages, inspire, inform, and decide. It's very hard to get them to decide on a services, a bigger purchase. And so you want to get back at that phase of. Spire the Pinterest user to see that you're even an option.
Like what is it that you need to talk to them about in that inspire stage? And then when you're into inform what's that secondary level of education that you can provide so that they can come to your website and then decide, so your website becomes the decision maker. And so that's really how we tell service providers, coaches, or people who do more intimate stuff, courses, memberships, they have to approach it that way instead of just going from pin to sales page.
Erica Julson: That's a great tip. I mean, I would say it's probably like that for all the platforms. Like if you're just trying to like rank a sales page or like just send out a link to your sales page on other social media platforms, you're probably going to get the same.
Kate Ahl: Exactly. Yeah, yeah,
Erica Julson: yeah. Yeah. So definitely, uh, focusing on the earlier stages of the sales process.
So if they. Aren't necessarily creating a lot of content on their website. Should they still be doing static pins or should they maybe focus more on the up and coming features like
Kate Ahl: the idea pins? Yeah. So I would say static pins are still good. So you can probably do four to five different images for one post, which is great.
Cause you have a lot of diversification in your image options for the static pins, but then yeah, Pinterest has said, Hey, when it just create content on Pinterest, because these idea pins, they live forever. They're not 24 hour. Time-based like we see with Instagram. So that's great because then people will save them, come to your profile and then you can get future engagement.
Plus they're pretty easy to create, especially if you map them out. We just did a whole idea pins class, and we told people start with really what your topic, what's your message. How many slides is it going to take you to reach that? Um, you know, to tell the message and then give them a call to action. If that can take you an hour or 30.
Just do that because then you're not having to worry about creating a blog post, if that's not something that you want, but I would always tell people if your future, you know, business includes SEO. I mean, don't go down that road too far with, you're just creating content on Pinterest, unless you want to use that as maybe ideas for later.
You know, if you do, if you just don't have the time, create 10 idea pins, and then in a year from now, you can go back to those idea pins and then create longer form blog.
Erica Julson: Yeah, it, it sort of sounds similar to the Google stories situation that was happening. I mean, those are pretty hillbilly to
Kate Ahl: figure those out,
Erica Julson: but I imagine if you already have a system in place for doing something like Google stories, uh, for those who aren't familiar with, what Google stories are, it was sort of like Instagram stories for Google.
It it's really, really hit or miss, like some people yeah. They'd create, especially in the food blogging space, they'd be like, they'd create a little how to set of images for their recipe. And it was similar where it was like you were trying to put the content out there directly in, in the story, not. You know, teasing it, it had to be like actual, helpful piece of content for it to get promoted.
But people were doing that and then linking to their website at the end. Uh, well, it's slightly different, with the, with Pinterest. Um, but yeah, if you already are making kind of like full content slide based stuff, it seems like you could just kind of replicate the same thing potentially for Pinterest just without the link at the end.
Um, but yeah, I like, I like that that point that you made that it lives on forever as well. That is a really important distinction because even with Google stories, they're kind of like flash in the pan, you
Kate Ahl: know, all that work.
Erica Julson: Exactly. Uh, so that is a good point. I think that sets it apart. I had somebody in my community ask a question specifically about maximizing their affiliate revenue on Pinterest. So it sounds like. Obviously you can now use your Amazon affiliate links on idea pins, which sounds really exciting. Cause, uh, I don't know if all my is aware, but if you use an Amazon affiliate link and someone goes to Amazon, even if they don't buy that thing that you were talking about, if they buy anything on Amazon in the next 24 hours, you get a commission.
So especially during this holiday season, people can earn a significant chunk of extra change, um, just by using Amazon affiliate links throughout their content. So,
Kate Ahl: yeah, there's two others that you can use rewardStyle and shop style.
Erica Julson: Okay, cool. And those are those harder to get into?
Kate Ahl: I think so. Yeah. I mean, Amazon's such a quick win.
I mean, anybody can become an Amazon affiliate link or Amazon affiliate, so, um, yeah, they're a little bit tough and I will say too, um, they're a little bit clunky to add right now. They're added through like a sticker feature. So I tell people like play around with idea pins, cause you can do them all in draft and then just never publish them.
But it's a good way to learn and just troubleshoot and see what what's hard. What's easy. We have several Instagram reels that we've done that do. Quick thing, quick poppy things about idea pins. And we have one about adding affiliate link.
Erica Julson: Do you have any personal stories or things that you think like, is it working for people?
Kate Ahl: you know, it's hit or miss right now, it's really just released within the last four weeks.
And it was super clunky and we haven't gotten a lot of data yet. So even just today with our collective group, we were talking and people are like, I can't get it to work. And so that's kind of been the story over the last four weeks is either it works or it doesn't work, but I would suggest, um, I'm going to try it a little bit with B2B stuff, as far as like best business books and some other things.
But I think one of the things you should do is create a unique Amazon affiliate link in Amazon. You can do that, create one for Pinterest, because I think that's a better way to track to see if you're getting any conversions off of that. Just using your general. You're not really going to see if it's working or not.
Cause you're probably using it on other places on your web.
Erica Julson: That's a really good tip. Definitely. Someone was wondering if you had any insight into other, they might be expanding the options for the types of affiliate links you can use and they've yet since in the future?
Kate Ahl: I don't know.
Um, I would think so, but Pinterest has have this weird relationship with affiliates, to be honest, like they really had it hard running like 20 13, 20 14, 15, and then they shut it down completely and said no affiliates at all. And then in 2018 they added affiliates, but they were. Like really at a distance from it, it didn't really work.
Right? Cause you only had static pins and people weren't primed to buy. And then it was a really gray area with Amazon and it was kind of like, it would, it looked against the terms of service with Amazon. So people just didn't want to risk it. So they drove people to their website instead. Whereas now just four weeks ago it was like, Hey, here's the three companies that we're working with.
You're more than welcome to use it. And for Amazon, it's important that you don't use like amazon.com links. You have to use the actual true affiliate link, which is, you know, AMZN dot io and then your stuff. That is the one that works. So if anybody runs into trouble, but I think they might. But I think when we see new features on Pinterest, they're very slow to change.
They are not quick starts. So it might be a, probably about a year before we see them open up to any more.
Erica Julson: All right. So I'm thinking about what we covered so far. So we talked about static pins talked a good amount about idea pins. What about the video pins? How does that integrate?
Kate Ahl: Video pins are, you know, what's interesting is video pins were like the first thing on Pinterest that was different than a static pin.
And it was like uproar. People were like, this feels like a speed bump. I don't know what to do with it. And now we've realized the idea pins are very much like those tasty style videos that we used to see on Facebook real short, real quick, not really any sound you can put sound to it, but it doesn't.
Auto-play um, it's great for showing the dimensions of a product. A lot of product sellers do great with video pins, less than a minute 30, it cannot be long form at all. You can do vertical. There was a great tool that we used for awhile and it shut down, but in shot is another one that a lot of people like, or even canva.
For that as well. But yeah, video in a vertical format is the best, but people are seeing good results. They are a little hard to click. So the user it's not as easy, but video views is kind of what you're looking for. But I would say with the introduction of idea pins, it's kind of like video had a bump and then kind of got passed over by idea pins, but we still see cause idea pins utilize video.
So you have that 15 seconds slide card that can have video. So that's where we're seeing it more instead of standalone, but you should still do it, especially if you're a video creator and you have that
Erica Julson: option. And if you're a product creator possibly worth dabbling in. Yeah, that makes sense. Because you want to like see the product.
No, what it looks like or how it functions. Yeah. Seems like that would be helpful
Kate Ahl: Really helpful. And especially even, I know you don't have a lot of design people, but if people can see the space like, and design or like a product that needs context, it's definitely great to use a video because then you can kind of tell the story in a different way than just a static pin or a static image.
Erica Julson: And then the last category, I think, was the promoted pins, basically Pinterest ads. I have zero experience or knowledge on that area. So I'd love for you to walk us through, like who is using promoted pins as, should you be using that as a blogger or an online course creator or something, or is it more like big brands that do that type of stuff?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. How are they used? Great. So Pinterest ads are fantastic for anybody. What's great about them. And the way that they have really grown up with Pinterest is before you used to have an organic strategy before you did Pinterest ads, you don't have to have that anymore. So if you just want to jump into ads, it's great.
Um, they've really stayed out of the whole. Like the Facebook tracking and how their ads were a mess. Pinterest went the route of first party data, which means the tracking dashboards on there is exactly what you're going to get. And that's how you're going to have to be able to track. You can add other things obviously, but they're saying this is what you can depend on.
So that's number one, number two, they have a lot of different options now. So we tell people if they're going to run ads, they need to have a specific goal. You need to have a conversion in mind. If it's an email list growth, you need to have a product sale or potentially like a course membership. We never ever tell people to run an ad for traffic.
It is a horrible idea and it's not worth it cause you can't track it. So in that sense, um, we have a whole membership, the ad society where we are troubleshooting a lot of that too, because with the introduction of idea, pins comes the future of idea pin ads. In fact, before I got on this podcast with you, we had discovered some new ads placements in idea pins, and we were geeking out over it because we see a lot of future in ads.
So if anybody that's listed. Has been doing Facebook or Instagram, it is really important that they diversify with Pinterest ads, but note they're very different. So the optimization time for Facebook is like an hour. The optimization time for a Pinterest ad is like a week. So it's very different in the way that you approach it with spend, because you're going to have to spend some money in order to let Pinterest really qualify where they're showing your content and you can do it by keyword.
You can do it by interest. You can do a lot of great keyword targeting and retargeting over there and it's getting better. That's the thing that they really lacked all these years was that they were just so far behind Facebook. But now that we see this huge uproar and Facebook ads have this huge shift with the iOS.
Pinterest is really starting to win with the diversification of ad dollars. So you can do as little as 10 to $15 a day, and then you can go as much, you know, even higher up to a hundred and 150. And Pinterest is pitching a lot of people. So I wouldn't be surprised to people in your community, if they are using Pinterest, they might get pitched by an ad rep from Pinterest.
They want them to spend $3,000 a month. You know, that's kind of where they're going. It's never bad to take the phone call. Just know if you do get an email from Pinterest, it isn't. They do want to meet with you. They do want you to spend money.
Erica Julson: Of course. Yep. Uh, yeah, that's a really good point though, about, uh, using the first party data.
That is, if you, I don't know if everyone listening to this episode is aware of these changes, but basically long story short, um, platforms like Facebook relied a lot on like cookies to track people's behavior, um, and their, their pixels and things like that. And then they would look like, that's why you would see, oh, I Googled, you know, I don't know.
Moccasins or something that I wanted to buy. And now they're showing up everywhere on my Facebook ads. It's like, cause they were, they could track like your behavior and serve you ads based on your behavior. Um, but it sounds like Pinterest never really went that way. They're just using the data that they already collect when you voluntarily log in and create an account and give your information on Pinterest.
So, you know, if it's all staying in the Pinterest ecosystem, I imagine they can kind of get a good sense of you based on your search patterns.
Kate Ahl: Well, they can, what's great is they can get an even better sense of you because they can look at your board names. They can look at your interests, they can look at the categories of your boards.
They can look at who you follow. There's a lot of information about your search habits that already exists in there. Whereas when it came to Facebook and Instagram, there was just never a lot of that stuff in there because you didn't search the planet.
Erica Julson: Exactly. So they kind of have a leg up in that scenario.
I haven't dabbled in my own business, uh, yet in ads, but it's on my to-do list. So now you're inspiring me. So yeah. How can people, if they want to learn more about ads from you, is there a place they should come?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. And you can put this link in the show notes too. It's our simple pin ad society.
It's only open three times a year. It'll be open in January, but you can get on the wait list right now. And we do a full training so that people can go through that training and see if ads is right for them. And it's really how to set up your first Pinterest ad and then going deep in there. And Pinterest ads is one of those things where it requires a lot of troubleshooting.
So we do a lot of hot seats. We do some workshops in there and it's only $47 a month. And we do that. People have to spend money on ads and it doesn't make sense to buy a $2,000 course just to have something change. So for us, it was really a big thing to be able to teach people how to navigate Pinterest ads is changing.
Plus like we said, all this change from all these other platforms and people spending money and Pinterest is behind, you know, like they were created later than Facebook. So they do have some catching up to do, but I think they've done a great job when it comes to their ads platform.
Erica Julson: For sure. Yeah. It feels like maybe an opportunity to be on the leading edge of something rather than the back edge.
So, you know, that that could be a benefit. Yep. Yeah, I know. I've, I've been keeping my eye on the whole. Cookie less future scenario, even with just display ads.
Kate Ahl: It's like, ah, yeah, it's a very interesting world we're headed into. Yeah.
Erica Julson: Okay. So great suggestions with strategies for promoted pins. This might be a really basic question, but w for promoted pins.
Can they be any of it? Like it could be static or it could be a video,
Kate Ahl: not idea. Yes. That's, that's what we were geeking out today. We're like, wait a minute. How did this get? So we know there's we, we like to be investigative about the beta testing that is happening. So idea pins can't be promoted yet, but what we see the future is if you have a product, a, the verified merchant program is connected in with Shopify.
So if anybody has a Shopify store, they can connect that in. Or you can upload your catalog. If you use big commerce or something like that. And then those people could potentially get access to idea pins where their ad is being or where their product is being tagged. So I think. There's a lot. We saw us even speculation today.
This idea, pins tracking, pop up in the ads dashboard, but nobody has access to it yet. So there's just a little bit of things going on in the background that I think they're trying to push out in Q4 that nobody really knows about yet. So static pins are the only way to do ads right now. Video pins are the only way to do ads look in the future.
I think we're going to have idea pins coming down the pike.
Erica Julson: Great. So as we close out this interview today, if you had to give someone, you know, maybe someone who's brand new to Pinterest, they haven't even started their profile yet. And they're thinking about doing it in 2022, maybe what are their like top three things to focus on for like the biggest bang for their buck?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. So number one, I would make sure your person is there. That's a big thing. I would do some market research on Pinterest. I would play around with the app for about an hour one. See if you like it to search exactly what it is you talk about or what you create content for. And see if it's on there, search your own name.
Are people already sharing stuff from your website? If it's a yes, to all of those things, then take the next step and begin to create your profile, you know, go through all the settings, make sure that your business name, all of that is all set up. You've claimed it. And then from there create at least five boards that have the name of things that you're going to be talking about.
So those are kind of the first three steps that I tell people to take. If they're going to begin on Pinterest, because that's going to set you up well for the future. And if you go onto Pinterest and you don't see anybody pinning your stuff, you don't see anything populate underneath what it is you're talking about.
Then it might not be the platform for you. And I think that's okay. You just have to realize that your person might be. Well on LinkedIn, I don't know, or tick tock, but it's, I think it's really important before you lean in to see it, like a pinner sees it, because I think, I think then you'll be a better marketer to your people.
Erica Julson: Great tip. And I'm not a hundred percent sure if everyone knows what boards are. So, just to be extra clear, basically, if you have a profile, you can create boards on different topics, which are sort of like, I dunno, how would you describe what a board is?
Kate Ahl: Yeah, we kind of describe them as like buckets, like picture these different buckets that, um, if personally you're searching for things, you want to make sure you save like your bathroom remodel to all your bathroom remodel board.
So it's kind of like this place that holds all these ideas. And as a business, you want to think of the top buckets of content you have. So if it's Pinterest marketing, Or if it's Pinterest marketing for e-commerce or even social media tips or something like that that are creating Pinterest images, we create the buckets around those because we know we're talking about these things.
And so boards are really a way for Pinterest to categorize your content, to know where to put it.
Erica Julson: And is it important to try to put search keywords as boards, titles?
Kate Ahl: Absolutely. In fact, you can take, if you are already really good at Google, what's interesting is that Google will index boards from Pinterest and they will also index pins.
And so oftentimes in fact, one time, I think I searched like what to do with leftover baby cereal. And the top board was leftover baby cereal recipes, or the top search results. Was it a board from Pinterest? And I was like, no way. And this board had thousands and thousands of followers because it was being indexed by Google.
So it is really important that you use some of those same keywords. Cause the search habits are almost identical.
Erica Julson: So basically as a business, you want to try to make these boards or content buckets around what you specialize in. And then also as the user. With personal profiles, they can create their own boards to organize the things that they're saving so that they can come back to it.
And like you said, like bathroom remodel, inspiration or something. They have a whole board, like, I do this for haircuts all the time. Like haircut. Totally. I wouldn't do that on my business page page. I do. So I love the tip of, to think like the user and be like, okay, what would they be saving? How can I reverse engineer my content to be the thing that someone would want to save on?
Do the board that they might
Kate Ahl: have? Yes.
Erica Julson: Yeah. Obviously highly applicable for people who are like food bloggers or craft bloggers or fashion bloggers or whatever that stuff gets saved all the time. Maybe a little trickier for business like B2B.
Kate Ahl: Yeah. It's tend to, it tends to be like more article based content, you know, like people come across it or it's the how to, or yeah.
It's, you know, it's just takes plane around six months is what we tell people to invest into Pinterest marketing in order to see. Great.
Erica Julson: Yeah. And then just personally, I've had pretty good success with like, for health related content doing kind of like trendy infographic style things where it's like, oh, I want to save that.
And like, go back. Like, I don't know, top X, Y, Z. Supplements for migraine or something. I don't know. I just made that up, pops off my head, but something where it's like something where somebody is like, oh, I might need this information later and they want to save it versus the ones that I may have done in the past where it's like a picture in a title.
Like that's not that compelling, you know?
Kate Ahl: Yeah.
Erica Julson: So, I mean, yeah, I'm pretty out of touch with like what's popular in Pinterest right now, but those were, that was my experience in the past. Creating content. So that's super helpful. Thank you so much for being here and giving us your time.
If someone was to follow you and maybe learn more from you, where should they go?
Kate Ahl: Yeah. Simple pin media.com is where you can find to everything. I have a podcast too, and, um, you can follow me pinterest.com/simple pin media, to see what we're doing and testing to where you can kind of get some inspiration.
Erica Julson: Great. And then if you also have a keyword planner that people
Kate Ahl: do, yes. Yes. So we've talked a lot about keywording and making sure that you're doing that right. So we have a 20 page keyword planner that we'll have linked in the show notes, and that gives all the ideas throughout the year.
Pinterest is very seasonal, so also has a lot of those ideas as well. So you can download that and just have it at your fingertips for when you're trying to come up with things to search. Great.
Erica Julson: So anyone listening, just go to the unconventional rd.com and find this episode, episode 71, and the link will be right there in the show notes.
So thank you. And I appreciate all of your time today. This was super enlightening. And like I said, Very upbeat and positive about the Pinterest future.
Kate Ahl: Yeah. I'm so happy to help and be positive about the Pinterest future.
Erica Julson: Yes. Yes. I know. There's a lot of people in my audience. Like I can't wait to hear the tips I'm feeling
Kate Ahl: so stuck, so yeah.
Erica Julson: Well thank you again, and I hope we can connect again in the future as I'm sure things will change and we'll need an update. So
Kate Ahl: thank you. You bet. Happy to help.