I’m still riding the high of the past 2 weeks when my life flipped upside down, inside out and back again. I had my last day at my day job of five years, launched the summer issue of FoodieCrush, sent Smudge to overnight Girl Scout Camp for 5 days (!) and spent the better part of last week just over the mountain in Park City at Canyons Resort for this year’s Evo Conference.
Life is starting to power down a bit now and I’m quickly acclimating to working at home, for myself, for you and for my clients.
Not one to sit and watch soap operas and eat bon bons (one of my mom’s favorite sayings) I have several new projects in production and several more on the docket. Work life isn’t slowing down at all, if anything it’s getting busier, but at least my andrenaline levels are finally evening out.
My first 10 tips are center around the Power of Pinterest. If you’ve been hiding in a cave, you may not have yet heard of the booming web application that has bloggers and even established websites rethinking their content delivery strategies thanks to the referral web traffic Pinterest generates.
According to Kelly Alfieri, Digital Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Living, even Martha has succombed and is redesigning their entire web presence to make it more Pinterest—and pinning—friendly.
Following are a few of Kelly and MSLO’s top Pinning strategies with some of my commentary popped in.
- The magic question on everyone’s lips: When is the best time to pin? The magic answer is: often. In reality you shouldn’t worry about when to pin or when not to pin, just pin. Authenticity will ring true and if you’re pinning things your followers like, they’ll organically repin you.That said, Kelly did share that according to research, the optimum time to pin for maximum repins is on Thursdays and on weekends—especially Saturday morning. Why? The busy work week is winding down and plans are being made for the weekend so people have a little more time to scout and become inspired.
- Food is the most re-pinned category on Pinterest dominating 15% of all categories with home design being the most pinned category. Below are the most pinned keywords:
- Vertical images are pinned more often than horizontal. Think about it and you’ll immediately know why. Vertical images take up more real estate and become more visually appealing, dominating horizontal images.
- Group shot photos are also heavily pinned. If you have step-by-step instructions on your blog, create a group photo of the steps to peak the curiosity of your followers to follow through and visit the blog to find out the details. And again, they take up more real estate.
- Images with text added to them are more likely to be pinned than those without. I started doing this from the outset of my blog, not for pinning purposes, but to give attribution to the blogger’s photos that I feature on FoodieCrush. The timing just happened to coincide with the explosion of Pinterest and now just about everyone’s doing it. But some are stricken with fear at the mere thought of creating layers in Photoshop or they’ve decided it takes too much darn time! Enter Pinwords, a free service with templated typographic treatments. Pinwords creates a quick labeling solution without ever having to open Photoshop, and although the font choices are somewhat limited its a great solution to graphically challenged bloggers.
- There are an emerging group of Pinterest analytic tools that will help you track your Pinning prowess, see you your followers are and discover who the influencers in the pinning world are. Here are some of the top reccommends:
- Repinly shares current trending and popular pins and categories and show top pinners and stats. And apparently the most followed pinner is a penguin (and I am grateful to Jane, Jennifer and Mike D for pinning some of my photos.)
- Pinpuff assesses your Pinfluence and assigns a score similar to Klout. And hopefully more accurately.
- Pinerly is an invite only bookmarklet that provides analytics of how many clicks, likes and repins you get on a pin. In other words, your coolness factor.
- And finally, go straight to the source. Check out Pinterest’s own board about tools designed to provide pointers for pinners who want to become power pinners. Okay, enough alliteration for today. Just go check it out.
And now, 5 more of my Evo observations.
- Get outside your cubby hole to glean the knowledge of those different than yourself. The beauty of Evo Conference is not only the inspiring landscape that its held in—thank you Utah for giving us amazing mountains, trees, and hills to climb—but the diversity in the attendees. A conglomeration of mom bloggers, food bloggers and techies, this conference is ripe for networking and learning from others outside your genre or niche. Some of my favorite moments were with bloggers, sponsors and speakers who didn’t know a lick about food blogs but had amazing inspiration to share.
1. Your guests will remember the conversation, not the napkin rings. One of my favorite sessions was led by Sandy of Reluctant Entertainer who shared her tips on creating easy entertaining without all the fuss. Forget about the rules and regulations of Emily Post and instead extend a simple invite to come on over, make some simple and good food and share in meaningful conversation and you have a memorable get together without any stress.
2. Need help keeping up with it all? Get an intern. This isn’t something I learned in any of the sessions, but rather shared from personal experience with a couple of bloggers over dinner. Both have businesses as solopreneurs but like many of us are trying to find the right balance of work and play and getting it all done in a day.
My suggestion? Work with local universities or colleges to find an intern who will work for school credit, or find a blossoming blogger who needs a mentor. Go through the selection process the same as if you were hiring an employee: set up an application an interview process, decide upon set hours and define expectations. They’ll gain the inside info on social media, blogging and entrepreneurial success from the ground up and you’ll get an extra set of hands and an eager mind to collaborate with.
I currently have an intern who helped me create some of the pages in FoodieCrush and is now working side by side with me on all aspects of the blog, the magazine and other projects as well. P.S. If you have graphic design experience and would like to work with me as an unpaid but rich in gaining knowledge art intern, shoot me an e-mail. Utah residents with design experience preferred.
3. Six degrees of inspiration. Conferences are inspiring, they teach you things that make you a better person in business, in life and in relationships. But don’t limit your learnings and exploration to keynote addresses, panels and cocktail parties. You’re there to learn but also to meet people and will naturally gravitate to like-minded souls. Sit down, get to know them and their business and brainstorm. Bounce inspiration off of one another and discover how you can help one another. You’ll be surprised at what can be created in just one sit down chat. Three impromptu meetings at Evo gave me at least three new inspirations and project partnerships that you’ll be hearing more about in the near future.
4. Glow sticks are essential. When it comes to emergency preparedness, always have a glow stick on hand. Nobody was really sure why, but the power in most of Northern Utah went out during the conference’s final night, creating a memorable maze of unlit halls and room parties. Thankfully, Canyons Resort was prepared and handed out glow sticks to anyone in need. They doubled as some pretty rad party accessories too.
5. Nothing beats speeding down the mountain. One of the special treats of Evo is the final party at Park City Mountain Resort in conjunction with Snowmamas, where the whole family is invited to try out the zip line, mountain coaster and my favorite, Alpine Slide. If you ever get the chance to visit Park City in the summer, this is a must-stop adventure treat.
Smudge, E and Leigh going up the hill for the downhill Alpine Slide thrill