I’ve been working on becoming a power pinner on Pinterest for a few months (in our industry, who isn’t eh?). I define a power pinner as someone who’s efforts have resulted in a vast number of followers. Fortunately, I did find a formula that seems to be working. To illustrate that I thought we would talk about two of Pinterest’s most prolific power pinners and how they achieved it. You’ll be surprised at their completely different paths and the one thing that makes them similar. Let’s start with:
There is no way Sherry thought about becoming a power pinner on Pinterest when she started her blog YoungHouseLove.com. In fact, there’s a good chance she didn’t plan on making the blog as big a success as it is. But what her and her husband have built is nothing less than an internet Juggernaut.
Sherry and her husband started YoungHouseLove on October 5, 2009 on a part-time basis. Through unbelievable content and dedication to their craft they grew the blog into a full-time gig now receiving more than 70,000 visitors per day. Today’s blog post, for instance, has 332 comments already, yesterday’s 7,102 and 2 days ago 236. You don’t get that kind of love without working for it for sure.
They’ve built their Pinterest following by leveraging their web traffic. In the last couple years they’ve featured their own “Pinterest Project Challenge” on their blog asking readers to undertake a new “Pinterest-worthy” challenge, blog about it, pin it and then upload that pin to their site. I looked at one of the challenges and 688 readers had shared their project. What are you going to bet they followed Sherry’s Pinterest account as well? They merely had to share their love of Pinterest with their community to grow in on Pinterest as well.
And they didn’t have to pin 10,000 things to get to the top. Nope. As of today, they’ve only pinned 574.
Some would call that the iceberg syndrome. What’s visible above the surface doesn’t come close to describing the work that went into it behind the scenes. As bloggers yourselves, I’m sure you can relate to the amount of work they put into their site. That community is the bottom half of the iceberg.
Erin took a different route to becoming a power pinner on Pinterest, though it’s not apparent from the surface whether she fully intended to do so. Erin is an artist who sells her wares on Etsy.com and last year finished making fake silly beards on IMadeYouABeard.com.
Unlike Sherry, Erin hasn’t amassed an enormous 70,000/day following – in fact she just has a respectable 500 or so followers on Twitter. But like the rest of us, she’s started to build a “raving fan base” on etsy and her site, she just hadn’t hit super stardom prior to Pinterest.
An early adopter of Pinterest Erin started paving the way for Pinners yet to come. Because her boards were edgy, purposeful and smart, they often got noticed. In fact on August 26th, 2010 (2010? Hmmm. . . she’s been at this a while, eh?) Erin was interviewed by Pinterest on the Pinterest Blog. She didn’t get that honor by knowing the “higher-ups” at Pinterest. Nope. Someone liked her board and recommended to Pinterest that they interview her about it.
That same attention to great boards is what made her the winner of the Pantone Color of the Year Contest held on ChronicleBooks.com, a site that gets 50,000 visitors per day by itself. Similar to the Pinterest interview, she won that not by knowing someone who knew someone, but by creating a quality and engaging board called Tangerine Tango.
Constantly sharing her love of Pinterest with others (back before it was big) landed her interviews or mentions on sites like mademoisellecrankypants.com, juliacantor.com and PinterestPower’s “most followed pinners” board. And all of those interviews centered on her love of Pinterest.
The bottom line is Erin rose to the top because of her taste and dedication to creating engaging and quality pin boards. These mentions, interviews and contests got her in front of thousands of people she didn’t have access to alone. But there is a similarity between Erin and Sherry as both have about 500,000 Pinterest followers and both were early adopters.
For them becoming a power pinner on Pinterest meant not giving up, creating great quality pin boards, and having faith that their readership would grow over time.
Which brings me back to my goal of becoming a power pinner on Pinterest. I’m still interested in the viral approach that I wrote about in my recent article “How to make your photos go viral on Pinterest”. But I think quality, patience and hard work, exhibited by Erin and Sherry, are a much stronger community building strategy to get there than viral is for anyone.