Pinterest drives 35% of one blogger’s traffic [Interview]
Update 1/29/12: Mashable names Jessica the #3 user to follow on their “21 Must-Follow Pinterest Users” list!
In the first month since Design Seeds‘ relaunch in Decemeber, Jessica Colaluca expects her blog to receive over 1 million pageviews. The popular design inspiration blog has been getting 35% of that traffic from Pinterest, the social sharing network that had its own surge in popularity at the end of last year.
While these numbers are incredible, they’re not completely anomalous. In December, AdAge reported that Time Inc’s RealSimple.com received more referrals from Pinterest than Facebook in the month of October.
So how are bloggers and media publishers making Pinterest work for them? We asked Jessica about her experience with Pinterest.
How did you first hear of Pinterest and when did you start using it?
I heard about Pinterest in fall of 2010. A few people I follow on Twitter were tweeting links of images on Pinterest and it struck me as an ideal way to organize my thoughts. I started pinning in December of 2010.
Has the traffic boost from Pinterest changed anything about your blogging style?
It has not. When I started Design Seeds in spring 2009, I saw Tumblr as being a major game changer in blogging. So many design blogs at the time reposted a majority of their content and offered very little unique content. My focus with Design Seeds was to #1 offer 100% create original content and #2 bring my professional design experience and personal passion as a differentiator from other bloggers. I didn’t want to recreate anyone else’s concept. I am a fan of many blogs, but I wanted to define my own niche.
Have you noticed what type of content from Design Seeds tends to do well on Pinterest?
Design Seeds has only one type of content…an inspiration image with a palette inspired by it. I do not do sponsored posts, product placement, or re-blogged content.
How easy was it to add the “Pin it” button to your blog? Does Pinterest tell you how many people have pinned each of your posts?
Very easy…Pinterest has the code on their site. The button is convenient for people to use, but Design Seeds had been pinned at a high rate prior to integrating the button. As Pinterest is the major traffic driver outside of direct traffic for my site, I thought it was logical to integrate the button over the Google + button or other less effective drivers.
The button I have does not say how many people have pinned the post.
Do you ever pin your own content to Pinterest? If yes, how do those posts do? If not, why not?
No. I never pin my own work on Pinterest. The beauty of Pinterest is organic discovery. I believe it mucks up your pinboards if you pin your own work. It’s like putting the period in front of the sentence.
If you want to know how and if people like your work, check out the source page to see what is getting pinned. To track Design Seeds, go to http://pinterest.com/source/design-seeds.com. When you refresh your browser, you will see how quickly new palettes are pinned, and see patterns for popularity of certain palettes as you scroll down.
You currently have over 88,000 followers on Pinterest. How did you get such a big following? Is there any crossover between your blog readers and your Pinterest followers?
I have a strong following on Pinterest despite the fact I do not follow anyone back. Since I use Pinterest as a tool in my creative process, socializing or following others would distract me. Early discovery is my selfish little part of my creative process. Since I am very public in sharing my views via the blog and Twitter, I keep the Pinterest bit for myself to focus.
Based on feedback I receive, my readers are certainly avid pinners. I hear from folks that they like my taste level and that is why they follow me. I also re-pin very little. I am rarely viewing the Pinterest streams, and pin content from my latest favorite sites and blogs.
I believe there may be managed exposure through Pinterest as far as recommending pinners and boards to follow. It is in the best interest of Pinterest to have great content always visible in the stream, and perhaps I have fortunately folded into who they recommend to follow. I have never reached out or inquired as to this. Candidly, I did not know how many followers I had until just a few weeks ago. I am overwhelmed and humbled that folks enjoy following my journey.
What have been your top-performing pins?
As designers, we know what is most popular (or liked) now is not always the best indicator of where trends are going to. I don’t want my instincts to be swayed and choose not to track that.
I have all notifications turned off for Pinterest. It is a surprise when I go to my boards to access a certain image, and certain pins have so many likes, repins, and comments.
What are some of the differences between your experience with Pinterest and other social networks like Twitter and Facebook?
Each social network is so very unique, and I find limited crossover in voice or content.
Pinterest is a part of my creative process. The process is fantastically more effective with Pinterest versus how I have traditionally organized and tracked trends. If people pin well, they will get followers. Good work brings good results. Clearly I am passive in Pinterest being a major source for traffic to Design Seeds. My work goes into creating the original content utilizing my skill set and experience, not marketing it. I believe in the ethos of “build it and they will come.” Gratefully Pinterest is helping people show up.
With Twitter, I am fascinated how you can balance marketing and networking while while still creating engaged conversation and relationships. The mix of followers and peers is unique to twitter. It is the go-to spot for folks to chat with me. I absolutely love Twitter as it is a constant conversation and community there.
Facebook is an extension of the blog. 90% of Facebook content is links from the blog, with occasional news updates.