The growth of social media has allowed content marketers to overcome one of the biggest hurdles in marketing – brand visibility. By enabling viral sharing of content, it is possible for businesses to very quickly grow their following and presence online. In this article, I want to talk about how I nearly doubled social sharing on one of my blog posts, almost by accident by using a simple technique that most bloggers aren’t using yet.
On my blog, I created a large list post entitled 101+ Sources for Blog Content Ideas. To promote the post, I used email outreach to inform other bloggers and influencers to share the post with their followers.
About half way through my email outreach, I had my graphic designer add a text based header image to the blog post. It basically contained the title of the post, the site’s home page URL, and some images. The reason for this was to make the post more appealing and sharable.
Although my original goal was to drive traffic through Twitter and get links to the page, I noticed that Pinterest shares accounted for nearly half of all social shares. And this occurred after I added the image.
Why Many Bloggers are Ignoring Pinterest and Why You Should Care
It’s the end of 2013 and many bloggers don’t even have a Pinterest share button on their posts. There are a few reasons that bloggers aren’t too concerned about Pinterest yet:
1. No Graphics – Most bloggers are writers and don’t have any design skills. And quite frankly, they probably don’t want to be bothered with such things because it is outside of their skill set or interest. But creating a graphical header is actually not too difficult with the tools that are available today.
2. It’s Too New – Pinterest is still in it’s infancy, although it is growing rapidly. But it is still fairly new and some people are probably wondering if it’s even worth learning about at this point. Having grown to over 70 million users in only 3 years, it’s definitely worth a look.
3. Is it Effective? – Finally, many people are probably wondering if Pinterest is effective for promoting content. A lot of people don’t want to be overwhelmed with yet another social media channel.
Here are some interesting statistics about Pinterest:
– According to Shareaholic’s Social Media Traffic Report, Pinterest sharing is up 66.5% over the past year, beating out all other social channels in growth.
– A recent Comscore study showed that Pinterest users spend more money and buy more often than users on other social media channels.
– 80% of Pinterest pins are repins. Which means that once something is pinned on Pinterest, it continues to get shared even after the original pin. When I initially launched my blog post, Pinterest shares went up to 18, but when I checked it a few months later, it had risen to over 50.
With Twitter, tweets seem to become popular and then as they move to the bottom of the feed, they disappear. The same goes for Facebook posts. Pinterest pins, on the other hand, tend to get pinned over and over again, even long after they are originally pinned.
And yes, people are pinning and re-pinning content related pins as well as creating Pinterest boards to bookmark these resources. Pinterest is no longer only for pinning pretty pictures.
I used my own graphic designer when I created the header for 101+ Sources for Blog Content Ideas since I have my own web design company. However, if you don’t want to spend money on a designer, there are some free tools that you can use to create a nice blog header image in under 30 minutes.
How to Create Your Own Pinable Header Image
There are several free tools that you can use to easily create header images for your blog posts, but one of my favorites is PicMonkey. If you search on YouTube for PicMonkey, you will find some useful tutorials, but here’s a quick overview:
1. Drag a Photo that you want to edit onto the “Upload Picture” link at the top of the PicMonkey home page. Make sure the picture you use has some space for the text that you want to add. You can also start with just a simple background.
2. Use the links on the left side to add text and other image effects to your image. You can play around with the left menu bar to see all the options.
3. When you are done, click the “Save” button to save the image to your computer.
Things I Like to Include
There are two things that I like to include for blog header images:
1. The title of the post
2. The URL of my website
The title of the post is obvious, but also be sure to add the URL to your website. That way if someone sees the image later or it is copied somewhere, they will know how to get to your site.
PicMonkey is actually fun to play with, so the one thing to be careful about is not spending too much time on there. But taking the time to add text based header images can increase social sharing from your existing traffic with little extra effort.