Pinterest - Duct Tape Marketing

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7 Popular Web Apps That Can Change The Way You Do Business

In yesterday’s post I outlined the road map for building a total web presence even though you’re short on time. Today I want to share an eBook I wrote that reveals how and why I use certain tools to get some of the online work I do, done.

There should be something for everyone in this free eBook – The Productivity Handbook: 7 Popular Web Apps That Can Change The Way You Do BusinessGo get your copy here and don’t be afraid to share with friends!

In this guide I explain how and why I use:

  • Evernote
  • Dropbox
  • StumbleUpon
  • GMail
  • Pinterest
  • Delicious
  • Instagram

46 Why Pinterest Is Not the Next Big Thing for Your Business

You’ve likely heard lots and lots about a newish social network called Pinterest in the last couple of weeks.

1935 Alfa Romeo 8C - Fabforgottennobility via The Fancy

Many bloggers are talking about it in the same giddy ways reserved for the last few next big things, but let me offer some relief. Pinterest is an interesting site with some real, immediate applications for online retailers and Etsy merchants, but the site itself offers little for most typical businesses and it’s certainly not the next big thing. (I wrote about it late last year if you want some information on Pinterest for Business)

I usually know that once small business owners start asking me about a strategy for using some new tool it’s time to speak up.

In fact, it’s the search for the next big thing that is hurting many businesses. You know what the next big thing for every business is? Find a way to clearly differentiate what you’re doing and how you’re doing it and why you’re doing it from everyone else that says they are doing what you’re doing. That’s the next big thing. Pinterest then might actually be used as a tactic to support that, but never the other way around.

I think the thing that leads to so much confusion and frustration for business owners these days is that there’s an entire generation of online pundits (generation is about every three years in online punditness) that missed out when blogging tipped and that weren’t at SXSW in 2007 when Twitter raced on the scene, so by gosh they aren’t going to miss the next big thing and are willing to proclaim – “this changes everything” about any tool that gets a little white hot.

Here’s the thing. I kind of like Pinterest, I kind of like Foursquare, I kind of like Twitter and on and on, but the main thing I like about every new tool is what it can teach us once it develops buzz and users. So you see, I’m not opposed to anything other than people selling tools as strategy.

The great learning from playing with Pinterest and even exploring ways to use it to help support your objectives is that you get to witness how important visual stimulation and social sharing is in the  grand scheme of attracting interest. I’ve had the opportunity to study how some early Pinterest adopters use the tool and it’s a fascinating study in the behavior of online users.

Like the entire category of infographics has done, Pinterest has plenty to teach us about how to create interest on our own website, in our own presentations and in the stories we use to attract potential clients – that’s what makes Pinterest worthy of the investment in time and not some magic fairy dust promise of traffic and riches.

In fact, I would suggest you look into some other sites employing visual scanning and visual stimulation to actually make money. There may be greater learning to be had at sites like The Fancy, or Polyvore.

The big message in all of this though is clarity of purpose. Until you’re clear on your marketing strategy every new tactic will sound like the next big thing.

3 Free Handbook: 7 Apps That Will Change The Way You Do Marketing

The Productivity Handbook by John JantschThere’s always more to do than time to do it these days. That’s why I love discovering new tools and apps that help me get it all done.

I also love to share what I find and so I teamed up with Hubspot to write The Productivity Handbook: 7 Apps That Will Change The Way You Do Marketing.

(Yes, Hubspot asks for some information from you, but trust me, the how to use and why to use info included in this eBook will be worth it to you. If you’ve read anything I write you know I give away practical advice only.)

You’ll learn how these exciting, new tools can help you:

  • Brainstorm ideas for fast content creation using Evernote
  • Easily share large files across multiple devices using Dropbox
  • Generate more traffic to your website using StumbleUpon
  • Tell your story and share photos using Instagram and Pinterest

Download your eBook here

25 5 Ways to Use Other People’s Content in Your Marketing

You need lots of content, you know that, but you also know that content creation is one of the more time intensive marketing activities you have to tackle.

While you do need to create your own content as the foundation for your total content and teaching strategy, you can – and should – supplement your content with that from other people.

Other people's content

Image hazel.estrada via Flickr CC

One of the best services marketers can provide these days is to act as a filter for all that’s being produced out there and aggregate the best of the best on behalf of our communities.

Finding and sharing consistently high quality, relevant content and adding insight to this information is not only a great way to increase the volume of your content, it’s a great way build trust in the value of your content.

Here are five ways to add other people’s content to your routine.

Cobrand a winner

Lots of people produce great content in the form of downloadable white papers and eBooks. In some cases they do this to attract newsletter subscribers and links, but quite often they do it because they know something about a topic and want to document it.

With just a little bit of searching you can probably turn up a great eBook that your network would love to get their hands on. Now, some people might simply link to this content, but I’d like to suggest another way.

What if you approached the eBook author and asked if you could send it out to your networks, with full credit to the author, but with the ability to add one simple information page about you or your company at the back?

With this approach you could potentially build a library of content overnight with the right topics and content.

Here’s how to get started.

Use the Google filetype operator to find lots of potential candidates on just about any topic you can imagine. Here’s how it works. If you want to find PDF documents and eBooks about content curation, for example, you would type: content curation filetype:pdf into a Google search box.

This tells Google you are looking for content related to content curation, but you only want results that are pdf files. This way you’ll probably turn up any number of candidates for cobranding projects.

Email newsletter snacks

Publishing a weekly email newsletter is a proven way to stay top of mind with your community. Of course, offering a great free eBook as mentioned above is a great way to build that weekly newsletter list.

As you compete for inbox space you must keep in mind that your newsletter content must be consistently useful, relevant and convenient.

One of the best ways to meet these qualifications is to produce high quality content filtered from other sources and delivered in snack-sized bites. Think in terms of an email newsletter that might contain 5-6 great articles presented with abstracts that lay out in about 100 words with someone might want to click through and read the rest.

Using tools like AllTop, GoogleReader, NewsVine or PopULRs you can easily locate and aggregate content related to topics of interest to your readers. You may also be able to locate local bloggers that could be great candidates for guest content and strategic relationships.

Curate a magazine

The idea of curating content is very hot right now, but in order to really make it pay you’ve got to also be ready to add insight. So many people look at curation as something more closely aligned with republishing.

Republishing content you find does have value, but narrowly targeting a very specific topic and becoming known as a trusted source of insight on the vast array of information being published on any topic is how you take content curation to a new level.

Below are some of my favorite tools for creating your curated online content magazines.

You can also use tools like Delicious, Evernote, Pinterest or Pearltrees to simply clip, bookmark and organize content you find for republication.

If you want to really know how to get great at this follow Robin Good – Here’s a great place to start – What Makes A Great Curator Great?


This technique is perhaps a bit more technical, but it also allows you the greatest control.

Just about all online content these days comes powered by RSS making it easy to convert whatever find into a feed that can be converted to HTML code and displayed on any page we like.

For example, if you wanted to publish positive mentions of your firm on a new page on your site you simply set up Google Alerts so that you received notice that your firm was mentioned. Click through to the page and assuming it’s something you want to publish to your site you would bookmark the content using PinBoard and tag like “ournews.”

PinBoard creates tag based RSS feeds so anything you tag with ournews can be displayed in a specific RSS feed. This gives you total control over what you want to appear in the feed.

Once you create the feed you can take it to FeedBurner or RSSInclude to convert the feed to HTML code that you can embed on a page or widget to easily display the content from the feed wherever you choose.

Then any time you bookmark a new item it will publish to the page.

Ask little things

One of the best ways to get lots of people to create content for you around a specific topic is to ask lots of people to answer one very short question.

This can be a great way to collect lots of suggestions, opinions and insights to support or start a topic of interest to your readers.

The other powerful thing about his approach is that you can often get higher profile contributors to participate if all you are asking them to do is answer one question or finish one statement.

Once you collect all of your answers you simply collect them and add context and analysis.

It’s time to make other people’s content one of your content foundation planks.

32 How and Why to Use Pinterest for Business

These days we get a new “it” thing every few months. Right now a newish service called Pinterest qualifies as next year’s Google+ or Twitter.

Pinterest for BusinessEssentially, Pinterest is a social bookmarking site that focuses on images. So, it’s a bit of a mashup of sorts between Delicious and Flickr.

When you “pin” something you share an image and link to the original content you found online. You can surf the web and pin just about anything you find. You can also create related collections of things called “Pinboards” – a bit like tagging. Visitors to the site, and of course, followers of your pinning activity, can discover new things grouped into a variety of categories.

Brides to be have embraced the site, graphic designers, hand made artists, fashion designers and really anyone with goods and services that show well visually have found new sources of traffic via the site. (Word is Pinterest has become the #1 source of traffic to Etsy.)

There’s something very compelling about the visual aspect of the presentation that has turned Pinterest surfing into somewhat of an addiction for brides, designers, foodies, students, fashionistas and those in search of the latest trends.

Personally, I think Pinterest has taken off due in large part to the fact that we’ve all become so overwhelmed with information that anything that is easy to scan with little to no mental engagement is what gets our attention. Stunning images certainly fit that requirement.

Smart marketers are starting to wake up to the buzz and branding power of the growing Pinterest community.

As I write this, the site has lurched from out of nowhere really into one of the top several hundred most visited destinations online and tracking services suggest that it could outpace Flickr and Google+ in some important metrics.

Pinterest has enabled self-expression in a way that few other social networks have captured and in return has become one of the biggest sources of traffic to businesses that deal in visually oriented goods.

It’s time for businesses to take note and start paying attention to Pinterest.


Engaged users

Unlike many social sites, where the game is to get followers, Pinterest users seem very content to simply find stuff and share it with small groups. Pinterst users are keenly interested in what’s hot and what’s cool – a behavior that translates well into the kind of influencer marketers desire to attract.

Real time trending

Pinterest has turned into a bit of a style beacon and is a great way to keep tabs on what’s about to get hot. Anyone designing anything would be wise to dig in and search Pinterest for related elements and cues.

Visual link building

Links build through images are some of the best links you can acquire when it comes to actual engagement. Pinterest images automatically link back to the page of the originating site so they create visual links.

Branding style

Pinterest is a great way to say your brand has style, class, hipness, hotness or whatever the personality trait that suits. Having your products raved about and pinned by the community says a lot about your brand at the moment.

Local SEO

Local links, the kind that say Fargo SD bridal store, are pure gold for local businesses and smart marketers are embedding these kinds of local links in their descriptions and comments.



First you have to get an invite – I have a few – and then you should search around and see if any of your products have already been pinned. I was quite pleased to see some folks already talking about my books.

Then you should start pinning some things you like. Be strategic about creating boards that make some sense to your business. For example, if you are a local business create a board of “Kansas City stuff I love.”

One word of warning: as in most all social sites, don’t simply pin your products and start trolling around for ways to self promote. This is about building some cred first through pinning, commenting and sharing.


Use the search function to get over the “this is just for chicks” thinking. Yes, there are lots of women pinning cool home furnishings and the latest shoes, but just like Twitter in the early days, Pinterest gets a lot more interesting when you start to focus on the stuff that matters to you and your professional interests.

Create you own categories and search and create your own boards.


Pinterest will pay off for most only after you invest some time in pinning. I would suggest that you add the Pinterest bookmarklet to your browser so that you can easily just click Pin It to add something you’ve found.

You’ll start to develop followers based on your body of pinning work – those that see you discover stuff they are interested in as well. Very product heavy businesses should consider adding the Pin this button to their product pages making it easier for surfers to share – much like the Facebook Like button.


Once you become a member, make sure you invite as many people in your address book or from Facebook as you can. This is how you start developing a following the quickest.

Focus on inviting your customers too as many of them love your products already and might be a great way to introduce your products to other Pinterest users.


Search and find products you love and make comments. Pin items and comment back when others make comments. Follow people that are active in areas that interest you and make comments on their pins.

If you find things you like that are linked to a blog post, but not the original company, add a comment that points to the original – Pinterest users love this kind of behavior.

Remember, you can point to your products and even add links in your comments when and only when it makes sense. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage your many raving fans to pin your products!

Pinterest won’t be for everyone, but the current crush of people using the site makes it hard to ignore and for some brands an absolute must if they want to be seen as making “to die for” kind of stuff.

Oh, and one last thing, Pinterest is a great way to find your Christmas gifts if you want to be a trendy kind of giver.

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