Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Pinterest: A New way to increase revenue

Ad departments seem to be remaining on the sidelines, once again stumped as how to monetize this new social networking site. However, it can be done, and it could prove very beneficial to the ad department and the newspaper’s advertisers.

Facebook, Twitter, Foursqaure, and now many newspaper professionals are talking about the next big social networking site: Pinterest. Pinterest — a virtual bulletin board that allows users to “pin” images of food, weddings, home decorations and the like — is growing in popularity at astronomical rates. Editorial departments of newspapers have made a fairly seamless transition on to the site by posting images of local restaurants or a scene from last night’s sports game, and then linking to a corresponding article on the paper’s website. There’s even a collaborative pin board for newspapers called “Newspapers Pinning.” However, ad departments seem to be remaining on the sidelines, once again stumped as how to monetize this very new, very popular social networking site. However, it can be done, and it could prove very beneficial to the ad department and the newspaper’s advertisers.

Pinterest has seen extraordinary growth for a social network that is still so young. According to Mashable, it has grown 429 percent in visitors from September to December 2011. Retailers also saw a 389 percent increase in referrals of online traffic from the social network to their own store websites from July to December 2011. These are statistics you and your advertisers will not want to ignore. Below are some ideas on how to advertise with Pinterest, and how to do so effectively.

Promoted Pins

Offer your advertisers the opportunity to put an image of their product or service on your Pinterest board. For instance, local real estate agencies could purchase space to pin a photo of a house that just entered the market. The pin would then link back to the agency’s website. This plays off of what is so beloved about Pinterest: it acts as a board of inspirational and aspirational photos. A user may see a photo of a house and say, “That’s something I aspire to own or buy.” However, when they click on your paper’s pin, they could then discover that it’s more attainable than they previously thought. This reinforces the idea that newspapers and ad departments need to be more hyperlocal. Pinterest users and newspaper readers will be more attracted to images and information from their area.

Pin Boards

Pin boards, which are themed collections of pins, are another important feature of Pinterest. Boards are sorted into categories such as weddings, home decorations and recipes. So, when you are setting up your account, make sure to categorize and label your pins into the correct boards and do so every time you pin something new. If you want your ads and articles to be found by users, they must be accurately labeled. Likewise, when describing your pin, make sure to use keywords similar to your board name. Things like “wedding,” “recipe,” or “home” are geared towards the audience that uses Pinterest and will be certain to garner more views.

Integrate With Editorial

Create a unified pin board with your editorial department, thus avoiding splitting your readership. While some photos of restaurants will link back to a review on your paper’s website, other promoted pins featuring a local business will link back to the advertiser’s website. A reader’s experience with the newspaper should be cohesive, both in print and online. This also offers advertisers a chance to blur the lines of the traditional notion of advertisements. Using Pinterest this way will give users the feeling of a fully integrated and engaging experience, thus breaking the perception that advertisements are a nuisance or something to be avoided.

Images, Images, Images!

When using Pinterest as an advertising platform, keep true to what makes the site so great: photos. Pinterest relies heavily on the visual element, so make sure the photos you use are clear, crisp and alluring. If advertisers want to use that space effectively, they should offer users the best pictures of their products or services. Pinterest users want to see something that attracts them to the point of inspiration, so make sure the quality of your photos is on that level.

Brand Opportunity

If you do integrate editorial pins with advertiser pins, Pinterest will prove to be an excellent branding opportunity for your newspaper. It will not only strengthen your advertisers’ brand image, but it will also bring users to your newspaper’s website, thus offering them a more dynamic way to experience the newspaper. However, you must keep in mind that one of the most important rules of social networking is integration. So when you pin something from an advertiser or from the newspaper, offer your Twitter and Facebook followers a link to it as well. This continuity and connectivity will broaden your audience.