A Guide to Pinterest for Fiction & Nonfiction Writers: 15 Best Practices

By France Caballo (@caballofrances)

Caballo_Header2Pinterest and SEO

It can be tempting to get lost in the floral images, funny quotes, and pictures of dreamy kitchens on Pinterest, and that’s okay. However, there’s more to Pinterest than collecting DIY, wedding, and craft images while you sip a cup of tea or glass of wine at the end of the day. Pinterest is also a powerful network that can improve the SEO of your blog and website. Here are some tips:

  • Always categorize your pinboards. Pinterest has gone to great lengths to assist search engines that crawl the Web looking for new content. By using the platform’s own categories, you will alert search engines to the content of your boards.
  • A common pinboard title is Favorite Books. Search engines crawling the Web will notice the word Books and tie some of your entries to the more general category of books. For example, if your book cover is on your Favorite Books pinboard, search engines may link your book to the category of Books and in turn index your book, improving your SEO.
  • You can drive traffic to your blog with Pinterest. Use the Pin It Button in your browser to add images from your blog to your pinboards. When another user clicks on the image, they will immediately be directed to your blog.

Best Practices

When you first start to use Pinterest, have fun and don’t worry about using it to optimize sales of your books. Enjoy this social media network as a restful voyage away from the text-intense nature of other social media channels.

While it’s nice to enjoy Pinterest and use it as the “fun” social media network, don’t forget that you can also use this channel to promote sales of your books and the popularity of your blog. To do that, here are some suggested best practices.

  1. If you wrote a book on photography, by all means upload your own photographs and be sure to watermark them. Let the world know about your expertise and your book. Even if you aren’t a photographer, you very likely have some great photos that you’ve taken. When you add your own photos, make sure that the file name is keyword enriched. Instead of naming the photo “,” use this: “Barcelona, Spain” or “Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.”
  1. To broaden your reach, pin from a variety of people. On Twitter, your following will never grow if you retweet the same people regularly. Similarly, on Pinterest make sure that you repin and “like” the photos from an array of users.
  1. When you upload the cover of your book, add the link to your blog or your website or, even better, link the photo directly to Amazon where users can buy your book.
  1. Keep your comments short. We have definitively entered the world of microblogging on the social Web. Although you can use as many as 500 characters in your comments on Pinterest, less is more.
  1. As with other social media channels, you will lose followers if you constantly broadcast messages about yourself. Communicate with your followers. Send them comments about the photos they uploaded. In short, be social.
  1. Add the Pinterest “Follow” or “Pin It” icon to your website or blog.
  1. Consider creating a weekly pinboard around certain topics, and drive traffic to those boards using keywords and notifying other writers on the social media networks you use. If you wrote a book on hiking, create a pinboard of pictures from a recent hike. If you wrote a grammar book, pin humorous examples of poorly used grammar. If you wrote a gardening book, upload your favorite floral images.
  1. Reveal your personality, and add a splash of flair to your selections.
  1. Designate a few pinboards for the sole purpose of having fun.
  1. Invite your Facebook fans—and even your Twitter followers—to engage with you on Pinterest.
  1. Drive traffic to your pinboards when you post a status update on Facebook.
  1.  Create a pinboard of images from the towns where the characters in your novel live.
  1.  Create a pinboard of visual writing prompts.
  1.  Create a pinboard of book jackets of your colleague’s books.
  1.  Did you write a historical romance? Create a pinboard of the clothing and jewelry they wear.

When you feel like you need a few minutes away from heavy blocks of text or when you just want to take a break during the middle of the day, Pinterest can be the perfect social media network where you can seek refuge. Spend a few minutes creating boards that are purely for fun. Scoop up those images of chocolate fudge cake or rest your eyes on cool ocean scenes. But don’t forget that Pinterest is also a powerful SEO engine. So upload your books, images from your blog, and pictures that will attract the eyes of other users and drive them to your website where they will learn about you and your books.

Frances in curls 7-30-14

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.