Archive for year 2012


Pinterest drives enormous blog and business success


Guest Post by {grow} community member Lauren Schaefer

This is Kate.

She’s a hairstylist, jewelry maker, and all-around crafter based in North Carolina. Kate started her blog (thesmallthingsblog.com) exactly one year ago. And like most of us, it was a labor of love without a whole lot of “community.” In fact, for the first eight months, she had a grand total of seven readers.  But between August of 2011 and today Kate has had over 10 million page views!  How did she achieve this amazing success in just five months?  Pinterest!

Pinterest is the hottest social media platform around right now. Created in March 2010, it’s still only available by signing up for a waiting list. Pinterest is probably best described as a “virtual pinboard.” Based on the idea that many people have magazine clippings of their dream vacations, weight loss goals, or perfect weddings, Pinterest allows users to create “boards” and share content by uploading images, “pin” from other sites, or “re-pin” from other user boards.

And there is an important social element too as you can comment, like, share, email content, and search based off of your customized interests.

If you snoop around Pinterest, for a little while, chances are you’ll run into a high-quality image of a beautifully coiffed hairstyle from Kate.  “My whole goal behind the blog was to share my ideas and information,” she said, “so I thought Pinterest would be a great way to share video tutorials of my hairstyles.”

“I pinned a photo of a completed style, which directed Pinterest users back to my blog to watch the tutorial video. And then I sat back and watched as the numbers rolled in.  I was stunned as I watched my blog quickly approach the first 100,000 page views! My husband and I sat at the computer, hitting refresh over and over until it hit 100,001. We were amazed.”   Since then, Kate’s success with Pinterest has continued to skyrocket. Thanks to Pinterest, Kate has now gained 16,000 blog subscribers and 14,000 Pinterest followers in just a few months.

“Almost daily I get a comment or email saying ‘I found you on Pinterest!’,” she said. “My top 10 traffic referring URLs are all Pinterest.”

Kate believes her success comes down to a careful balance between her original content and self-promotion for her blog and business.

“I think there is a fine line between self-promotion and obnoxious self-promotion. I decided to only pin hair photos to my own boards [from her blog], and a maximum of two per week.  The rest of the week, if any blog readers want to pin things from my blog, it’s up to them.”

“What I don’t want is for my 14,000 Pinterest followers to log on to Pinterest and see all the photos from my blog. I think that would be obnoxious,” she continued.  “I had one instance where I was following a blogger on Pinterest and she would pin things from her posts multiple times a day. I stopped following her.”

Beyond the blog numbers, Kate is also obtaining new business due to her Pinterest success.  In September, she took on her first blog sponsor. She also has had interest in her private hairstyling business. “It’s brought so many people to my blog who now want to be my clients!”

One of the reasons for Kate’s Pinterest success is that her hairstyling photos create intrigue.  If you pin an image of a dog, you know it is a dog. But with a hairstyle, a recipe, or a DIY project, there is a backstory.  You need to keep digging if you want to know how to do it. That “intrigue” is an opportunity to drive people back to your blog or website.

How about you?  Do you have an opportunity to create intrigue for your blog or business through Pinterest?

Lauren Schaefer is a recent college grad, NYC resident, and nonprofit event planner with an interest in all things social media. She documents her new journey as a young professional at her blog From the Fifth Floor. Twitter: @leschaef

7 reasons every job-seeker needs to blog

 

Have you ever considered the ways a blog can help you get a job?  I meet a lot of young people entering the work force and I always recommend blogging as a way to get ahead … in almost any career. Here’s why:

1) Show what you’re made of.  In any interview, you normally have to try to convince people that you know what you know.  In a blog, you can SHOW them.  Blog about current events in your industry, your view on trends and developments and demonstrate your areas of expertise.

2) Build a professional network.  There are lots of examples where people found jobs through connections in a blog community.  Just last week I helped connect a young woman into the professional marketing scene in Chicago because I was impressed with her blog. Your blog community can certainly become a professional network.

3) Engaging versus advertising.   Let’s face it. No matter how creative you get, a resume is still an advertisement. I struggle reading carefully through a lengthy resume. However, I will read interesting stories on a blog all day long.  Compelling content is a way to engage prospective employers in a way that will hold their attention.

4) Point of differentiation.  In today’s world, blogging may be an expectation of many entry-level jobs. Demonstrating an ability to create content may just be the difference that gets you the job over a non-blogger.

5) Sharpen your professional skills. If you’re going to blog about a subject, you need to know your stuff. Putting out thoughtful content requires that you stay on top of your game, which will certainly be an advantage to you, especially if the job-hunting process is a long one.

6) Expand your reach. Building your personal brand means showing up in all the places a prospective employer might find you. Of course that usually means LinkedIn.  But having a link to a blog on your profile, as well displaying a feed of your recent blog posts, gives a potential employer stalking you on LinkedIn more ways to connect with you and learn about your skills.

7) Extend the interview. Here is the last thing you say to your interviewer: “I’ve enjoyed our time together but there is so much more I could tell you about my abilities. I hope you’ll take a look at my blog (the web address is on my resume) so you can see for yourself the way I think about things.”  And you know what? They’ll do it.  You have just extended your interview by another 15-30 minutes and that may make all the difference!

What do you think?  How has blogging helped you in your professional life?

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