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What Marcus Sheridan Taught Me at the Alaska Inbound Marketing Summit

Here are nine lessons I learned from Marcus Sheridan (aka The Sales Lion) at the Alaska Inbound Marketing Conference. Discover what it takes to make inbound marketing truly successful for your organization.

I had the pleasure and the honor to be a presenter at the first Alaska Inbound Marketing Summit in Anchorage, Alaska. This was Alaska’s first ever inbound marketing conference and it featured  Marcus Sheridan, the Sales Lion, Andrea Vahl ,(aka Grandma Mary) author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies,  Viveka Von Rosken of Linked Into Business, and Corrisa St. Laurent from Constsant Contact.

I can tell you that Marcus is an extremely passionate and energetic speaker. I couldn’t believe that he flew in the night before from Sweeden to present in Anchorage. He definitely knows his stuff about inbound marketing.

Being a Pinterest marketer myself, I truly believe that the foundation of a great Pinterest account is the ability to create great blog posts and articles that draw people into your business. While pretty pictures and visual headlines are good, it’s helpful and useful content that get people to stay on your site.

Nine Lessons About Inbound Marketing from Marcus Sheridan

Here are the 9 lessons I learned from Marcus Sheridan about inbound and content at the Alaska Inbound Marketing Summit.

Why companies fail at inbound. Right on @marcussheridan1! #alaskainbound

A photo posted by Corissa St. Laurent (@corissastl) on

 

1) Inbound Marketing is About Being the Most Helpful and Best Teacher

It’s inspiring to hear that Marcus would go on the road for 12 hours trying to sell pools and still have the energy to write blog posts at the end of the day for Riverside Pools and Spa. I’m personally not that type of road warrior and don’t always have that type of energy.

When you are creating content, you have to have a passion to be the most helpful to your customers and to be the best teacher possible. Without that passion, I don’t know if it is possible to continue to produce great content.

You have to be willing to provide answers that no one else wants to answer, and you need to create content that is in the best interest of your customers.

2) Start with “Why?”

This is a great question to ask on so many levels. But it’s important to understand why what you write is important to your customers, why your WHOLE organization needs to be behind inbound marketing. If people don’t understand why something is happening, it can be hard for them to jump on board.

You have to get people to buy into the process that creating content is important to an organization and its bottom line.

3) Host an Inbound Workshop and Ongoing Training

Marcus says that in order for an organization to have a truly successful content and inbound marketing strategy, everybody needs to understand what inbound marketing is, the benefits of using inbound marketing, and how everybody has to be on the same page.

If you can’t get everybody at the company at your first inbound marketing workshop to understand what is going on, then you’re not going to get effective results. Everybody should be there, and point number 5 is going to explain why this is vital.

I don’t think this just applies to inbound marketing and content creation, but I truly believe that ongoing training also needs to be provided in the social media sphere. Your company needs to know what type of social media messages can help drive company profit and positive public relations, and the type of social messages that could be extremely costly.

4) Who is THE content manager?

Marcus says you’ve got to have someone in charge of content. Who in your company is going to be the Content Manager? This should be, ideally, someone who is dedicated to this role full time.

You can’t three different people managing content as this can spread people to thin and at the end of the day it can be hard to move in one direction.

5) Insource (Engage Employees)

This is something that I wish more companies would do with their content marketing. It’s leveraging your employees to help you produce wonderful content. Inbound content can come in many forms including e-books, video, audio and webinars.

The goal is not just to have you and your content marketing team produce content for your customers, but to get the whole company involved. Marcus says that there are four types of people in your company right now that can help you produce great inbound content.

1) Writers

2) Actors

3) Talkers (these may be technical people who are extremely good at explaining details).

4) Questioners (usually people who do customer service and answer questions all day)

Let’s be honest, not everybody is born a writer. Some people HATE writing, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t passionate about what they do, or are shy in front of the camera. There are tons of people, within your company right now, who can jabber on like a monkey about a product or service with hot burning passion in a camera or audio interview.

And by the way if you have a small team and you don’t feel you have enough time or resources to produce great content, Marcus suggests that you suck it up and get it done anyway.

6) It’s about Sales Tools Not Marketing Tools

The way you word things is so important, and Marcus stressed this a lot during his presentation. If you want to get sales people to jump aboard the inbound marketing train you have to impress upon them that inbound marketing is a tool that helps drives sales, not marketing.

Tools such as Hubspot or Marketo are not marketing tools, they are sales tools.

When you position that inbound marketing is about sales, and that it helps contribute to sales, then this makes it easier for the organization as a whole to stand behind inbound marketing.

(Disclosure: I’m currently a investor in Hubspot.)

7) Make it Required For Marketing and Sales to Meet

Marketing and sales departments often work independently of each other creating silos of silence. Marcus suggests that it should be mandatory for sales and marketing departments to meet up at least once a month for an hour.

70% of the buying decision is already made before a person talks to a sales person face to face. By working together with sales, inbound marketers and content creators can create content that deals with everyday objections that salespeople receive, and make it easier for salespeople to close the sale.

Marcus shares one example of how one couple read over 800 pages content about swimming pools on the River Pools and Spas site! The articles were doing so much of the education and selling for Marcus, that by the time he went to the couple’s house, the deal was pretty much done. All he needed was their signature.

8) Master the Tool

Doing content marketing is great, but having a tool that allows you to show you ROI is important. This is where Marcus suggests that you receive some inbound certification that allows you to measure the results of your inbound marketing, not just in clicks, but in money and data intelligence.

For example, Marcus found out through his data analytics, that people who read at least 30 pages from Riverside Pool and Spas would have a sales closing rate of 80%, compared to those who read less than 30 pages which had an average closing of 20%.

Using inbound marketing, and data, you can use that information to help close more sales, reduce the amount of time that the sales team needs to be on the phone or in person.

9) The CEO Really Needs to Care about Inbound Marketing

I think this was probably the most interesting tidbit of all, which is the CEO has to really care about inbound marketing and needs to understand and be on board of the whole process. Marcus says that no truly successful inbound marketing and sales occurs without 100% support from the CEO.

He says it simply does not work. And that it won’t be effective.

Behind the Scenes at Alaska Inbound Marketing:

I had a blast being a presenter at the Alaska Inbound Marketing Summit, and wanted to share some great tweets and photos that were taken by people at the event. Enjoy!

Ariane Aramburo in the middle was one of our emcees throughout the event. She’s the morning anchor at NBC Channel 2. I couldn’t believe she had been up since 2:30 am that morning AND was 8 months pregnant. Big thanks also to Jason Martin who is on the left for his gracious hospitality and amazing emcee skills.

Love talking with #Pinterest expert @vincentkcng at #alaskainbound!

A photo posted by Corissa St. Laurent (@corissastl) on

Getting ready to kick it off at 1:15 in the Yukon Room! Come learn all about inbound email. #alaskainbound

A photo posted by Corissa St. Laurent (@corissastl) on

My bosses, Jen and Adrienne, rocking the stage at the #alaskainbound event! Go Beacon!

A photo posted by Courtney Moses (@907g.courtney) on

And a big thank you to Jennifer Christensen and Adrienne Wilkerson from Beacon Media and Marketing for hosting Alaska’s first ever inbound marketing conference! You two are serious visionaries. Keep rocking on!

Rock on, AIMS #attitude #badass #eventdesign #rocks #toastofthetown #alaskainbound #afterparty @hrcanchorage

A photo posted by Toast of the Town Events (@toastofthetownak) on

And big thank you to Toast of the Town’s team, Carrie Shepphard and Cyrstal Swartzlander

Carrie from Toast of the Town and Grandma Mary, Facebook Expert selfiying

And the best picture for the entire conference goes to Viveka Von Rosen and Corissa St. Laurent. Those ladies know how to rock it!

We brought the house down at the #alaskainbound after party! #reallynotreally

A photo posted by Corissa St. Laurent (@corissastl) on

Most awesome picture definitely goes to Corissa St.Laurent from Constant Contact and Viveka Von Rosen the @LinkedinExpert.  Seriously, these gals know how to mingle and have fun.

Also if you happen to be looking for an alternative to a taxi while in Anchorage, Alaska and you’re planning to do some activities in advance, you can contact Beth who operates, Allow Me to Pick You Up, you can call her up at 208 631 1952. She was my driver to and from the airport and was extremely pleasant to chat with.

For more great marketing content and Pinterest tips, make sure you sign up for my newsletter.

UTM Tracking Codes and Pinterest – How They Work

What you Need to know about UTM Tracking Codes on Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com #Pintalysis
Pinterst announced that they were going to allow UTM tracking codes for pins. This is a major win for marketers and companies that rely on UTM tracking to get granular about what campaigns are working. This was a much requested feature.

What is a UTM Tracking Code?

A UTM Tracking code stands for Urchin Tracking Monitor, and it’s a type of a system that allows for bloggers, small business owners and marketers to know how well a specific campaign is doing to to drive traffic and/or lead to conversions using Google Analytics as the analytics platform.

This could be used to track Twitter ads, banner advertisements and now Pinterest!

All this information goes to Google Analytics, and so if you don’t have it for your website, and you’re a small business, you have to grab it. Extremely useful.

What’s the Benefit of a UTM Tracking Code on Pinterest

Pinterest is quite helpful in the sense that it already creates unique urls. Such as this pin’s that was created by Franscio Rosales from Social Mouths that discusses about Facebook marketing.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/226798531209235069/

These unique urls allow you to know which pins are responsible for driving traffic to your site through Google Analytics. But it can get messy since a bunch of pins get tied up together.

With UTM tracking, split testing A/B pins is much easier, because each type of pin can be labelled for a specific campaign. You don’t have to sift through hundreds of pin urls.

With UTM, you’re able to label your campaigns with the campaign source (this is generally the referrer like Google, Yelp, March 2014 newsletter), campaign medium (banner ad, e-mail, or CPC ad) and campaign name.

What You Need to Know about UTM Tracking Codes on Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com #Pintalysis

And so for me, the main benefit is that I’m able to do A/B split testing very carefully, and this way I can create two different pins and see which one converts better to drive people to my e-mail sign up page. For me this is truly exciting!

To find out more about how to create UTM for your website visit the URL Builder site.

If you would like more of visual format, I’ve explained how all this works with a YouTube video.

The Bad News About UTM Tracking…Kind Of

Rich pins and UTM don’t mix right away unfortunately. Let’s say you own a pin that is a rich pin, and you want to add the UTM tracking code.

The only way I’ve figured out how to add the UTM tracking code to a pin is to actually change it at the source of the pin. This can be done on the desktop version of Pinterest, by clicking on the pencil icon on the top right hand corner when you hover your mouse button over the pin.

If you need to know how to change the source of the Pin, the YouTube video below will explain that in detail.

What sucks about this is that once you change the source to include the UTM tracking code, your rich pin content doesn’t show up right away. It actually reverts back to a “normal” pin. However, if you refresh the pin in your browser or you wait a few minutes the rich pin will appear again.

It’s really rich pins playing possum.

Now I tried to pin directly from the site that had UTM code in the url, but unfortunately when I used a Pin it button, it stripped away all the UTM tracking code. I’m not going to lie, that made me sad, and generally I’m a happy guy.

HELPFUL HINT: I know some of you may be tempted to add the UTM tracking codes in the description area of pins, but those urls are long and ugly, and so they will work great on a desktop version of Pinterest, but in mobile it can really be annoying to read in the description.

http://www.mcngmarketing.com/3-ways-search-optimize-your-boards-within-pinterest/? utm_source=Pinterest&utm_medium=Test%20A&utm_campaign=Pinterest%20Test%20for%20Fun

And keep in mind that 75% of the daily usage is happening on mobile platforms for Pinterest.

The Good News About UTM Tracking Codes

Here’s some excellent news about UTM. You’ll be able to know how far of a reach your pinning efforts have really gone.

UTM tracking codes will be in tact when users repin your content. This means you’re able to see the success of how your original pin did when you posted onto your own Pinterest account.

Let’s say you pinned about an e-book you’re selling, like my Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis, and you attached UTM tracking. You may want to know how successful a single pin that you pinned onto your board did.

Having a UTM tracking code can help differentiate whether it was a single pin you pinned went viral, and help differentiate it from whether it was someone who visited your website and pinned from there that led to all that traffic.

This is because when people repin your pin, the UTM tracking code remains. This means if someone ten degrees down has repinned your pin that contains your UTM tracking code, you know exactly how that all started.

This is an excellent use of group boards, and you may want to use a UTM to track the effectiveness of virality of a particular group board you’ve joined. You’re not going to know the total number of repins down ten degrees, but you’ll know how much traffic goes to your site.

Feeling like your head’s spinning a bit from all this geek talk?

For another great article that explains UTM in more detail check out this blog post at HeyStephanie.com. I highly recommend you to read it.

 

What are the Best Times to Pin on Pinterest?

When are the best times to post on Pinterest? by Vincent Ng of MCNG Marketing #Pintalysis

This is a big question and people want to know. What are the best times to pin on Pinterest?

Let’s be honest, there’s no easy or simple solution to this. Pinning times are just as customized as your own business.

I’m going to tell you straight up. Knowing when to pin will require work, and it requires a scientific approach. This means that you will need to test out the times that may work best for you and the times that don’t. The easiest way to find out when your pins are getting repinned the post is by using an analytics program, like Tailwind.

Where to Start to Find the Best Times to Pin?

It’s extremely vital to to think like your customer, or else you could be using the wrong Pinterst strategy for your business.

When are they most likely going to be on their phone or tablet looking on Pinterest for the resources you’re providing? For example if you’re planning a wedding planner ask your previous clients when they’re on Pinterest the most. My hunch is that they’re going to say the weekends.

You can also send out a survey using SurveyMonkey or if you can use Google Docs to create surveys.

If your business already has a large e-mailing list consider using the survey to ask them informal questions such as:

  • Are you currently using Pinterest?
  • What do you use Pinterest most for?
  • When do you find yourself using Pinterest?
  • What type of device do you use Pinterest on?
  • What city do you live in?
  • Are there certain days you use Pinterest more than others?
  • And any other questions you feel that would be valuable. And to get people to answer your questions, offer an incentive to complete the survey such as offering a free Amazon gift certificate, or to offer a gift certificate to your business.

    Where your audience is, is extremely vital. This is because the majority of users of Pinterest reside in the U.S.A and Canada, so being aware of where your followers live can play a role in your testing. For example if you noticed that you get a lot of pinning activity during waking hours of North Americans, then it may be time to move on to testing out when it’s a good time to pin to attract a U.K. audience.

    Google analytics can help you gain insight on where people are coming from to visit your site. So this will offer some additional insight to see if your pinning strategy to reach a global audience is working or not. You can read more about that at the Luna Metrics blog.

    The number of Pinterest users by country. Created by Semiocast.

    Spread Out Your Pinterest Content Over Time

    Analytic programs like Tailwind can tell you which pins, as well as what times have generally worked best. When using these types of program you want to pin across different times equally.

    You can easily skew results with such programs if you pin the majority of pins at 1pm and don’t pin again for 8 hours. The data will naturally show that these two times are the best to pin, when in reality you need to spread out when you pin over that period to test out what times may work best.

    Be Aware of Different Content that’s Active

    It’s also important that you don’t mix up your activity with what’s on strategy. The first pillar of my Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint is to always know what your business goals are and what you’re trying to measure.

    If you find that you have a flurry of activity, but it’s all happening at 4pm for fashion, it’s important to make a note that that is the best time to pin for that subject matter. But you may find that pinning recipes at that time doesn’t work so much, so try to pin recipes at a different time.

    If you find that too much activity is going on for pins that are not related to your business goals, then it’s time to focus more on pinning pins that are related to your business goals.

    Having more activity for pins that don’t help raise the profile of your business or blog are not going to help you build the right audience on Pinterest.

    When Are The Best Times to Pin According to Studies?

    According to Ahalogy analytics, the best time to pin food related pins are between 10am to 7pm and have them spread out throughout that time. They also stated that fashion does better “later in the evening.”

    To hear more about those times you can visit the Oh So Pinteresting podcast and jump to around 22 minutes to hear Susan Wenner Jackson, VP of Content Partnerships of Ahalogy discuss more about it.

    Now according to a report by Digitas and Pinterst analytics company Curalate, here are some of the best times to pin for specific categories. For fashion and retail they found that 3PM ET was good. For people who love to share automotive pins, you may want to pin on 12PM ET on Fridays, and then there are electronics, which tend to do best 10PM ET on Mondays.

    Curalate collected and analyzed nearly 10 million pins, repins, comments, likes, and keywords from over 120 brands across the auto, electronics, and fashion/retail industries. The analysis took place between March 15 to April 15, 2013. Top images for a given industry were determined by the sum of pins and repins for each photo.

    When are the best times to pin on Pinterest? - Too many according to research.  Article by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com

    You can read more details at Marketing Profs.

    According to an article by Search Engine Journal, activity on Pinterest tends to peak at 9pm and good times to pin are Saturday morning.

    Pinerly, which changed to Reachli, and now known as 10Alike came out with an infographic back in 2012 that showed that the best times to pin during the day are between 2-4pm EST, and for 8pm to 1am EST.

    And there’s also additional data that suggests that the best days to pin other than Saturday are Wednesday and Thursday.

    Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis E-book:

    If you’re interested in taking your Pinterest marketing strategy to the next level, my wonderful e-book Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis is currently on sale for 50% off. Pre order the book before March 31st to get my special rate.

    How to Create Pinterest Newsletters with Mailchimp

    How to Easily Create Pinterest Newsletters with Mailchimp by www.MCNGmarketing.com

    UPDATE: Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my page. Unfortunately the advice that you see on this page is no longer valid, as it seems that MailChimp has discontinued their Pinterest Chimplet tool and so the following method does not work now. 

    Welcome back to MCNG’s blog, if it’s your first time here then you’re going to love reading this because I have something awesome to share with you. Not only for Pinterest users, but users who are into MailChimp. I’m going to show you how to easily integrate pins from a specific board with your newsletter.

    I’m not going to lie, this is not perfect solution, but it’s a beautiful solution for people who are looking to promote their Pinterest pins in a highly visual fashion to their newsletter subscribers and hoping to get more repins.

    So without further ado, let’s talk about how to create a Pinterest newsletter with Mailchimp.

    How to Integrate Pinterest with Mailchimp (Fast, Easy and Lazy)

    1) To integrate Pinterest with Mailchimp visit http://pinterest.chimplets.com/

    How to Integrate Mailchimp with Pinterest by www.MCNGmarketing.com

    2) Put in your Pinterest username.

    Choose the board in which you want to feature your most recent pins from. If you don’t choose a board, the tool will just take your most recent pins in general.

    3) Choose the style that you want for your Mailchimp newsletter campaign.

    If you’re planning on doing it as one time thing, or something you’re going to do every few weeks then choose classic or mobile. The classic version will look more like a Pinterest feed where pictures are side by side, while the mobile version will be a vertical version that is just one pin after the next.

    I pulled the latest pins that was from Francisco Rosales’ Pinterest Board, SocialMouths. This is what the mobile version looks like on my Android.

    The “chimplet” pulled a total of 21 of Francisco’s latest pins to put onto the Pinterest feed, and so it was a lot of scrolling.

    How to Integrate Mailchimp with Pinterest by www.MCNGmarketing.com

    For these two versions, Pin it buttons are included with each accompanying visual. When people click on Pin it buttons they’ll load up a pop screen asking you to log in. After logging in you will be able to choose which board to pin the visual on.

    The other option is to actually auto generate Pinterest type newsletters and choose and RSS Feed on a regular basis using the RSS feed options. What this will do is that it will auto generate e-mails based on your latest pins from the account or board. This way you can generate a newsletter that can be sent out every day, every week or every month.

    The downside of using the RSS feed is that the pins inside the e-mail don’t have an actual Pin it button, so readers won’t be able to pin directly from within the e-mail.

    How to Customize Your Pinterest Integration with Mailchimp

    The above instructions were designed to get you warmed up. I highly suggest that you play around with the basics of integrating Pinterest with Mailchimp to get the hang of things. Once you’ve got the hang of things then you’ll want to move on to customizing your e-mail to help you drive even more traffic to your website.

    Once you’ve set up a Pinterest Mailchimp newsletter, Mailchimp will hold it as a campaign that will be on hold. This is where you’ll be able to make some adjustments to the one time send offs.

    Question: I don’t want so many pins showing up for the newsletter?

    Answer: The good news is that when you go in and edit the newsletter where the pins are located, you’re able to take out the pins that you don’t want simply by highlighting the pin, the Pin it button, and the text and pushing backspace to delete the whole area.

    What will happen is that pins will naturally move up from that point.

    Question: Can I move the order of the pins around in the Mailchimp Newsletter?

    Answer: Technically…yes. But it’s a lot of hassle. You can actually move each element, meaning that the visual, the Pin it button associated with the pin, the description, and the date element, but they must all be moved separately into the same area. I’ve tried moving one and it was a lot of work. Re arranging 5 of them would be a nightmare.

    Question: Do the pins have to link back to the Pinterest pin or account, or can I customize it to a web address?

    If you have a bit of time, you can actually get people to click on the pin inside the e-mail and have it go directly back to your site instead of the pin’s unique url. To do this, go into the edit section under “Design” and then when you click on the pin a menu will show up where you’ll be able to customize the web address

    How to Integrate Mailchimp with Pinterest by www.MCNGMarketing.com

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    How to Integrate Pinterest with Mailchimp by www.MCNGmarketing.com

    Question: Can I change the description in the pins in the e-mail?

    Answer: You can change the descriptions to whatever you like in the e-mail. But once someone pushes the Pin it button, it will pop up the original description of the pin that was used.

    Question: Can I change the design of the template?

    Answer: You can change some elements of the template design but unfortunately you won’t be able to make it nice and fancy to completely match your brand. :(

    That’s how you can start a newsletter just using your pins from Pinterest. If you really enjoy using this feature, you may want to start a board on your Pinterest account that’s titled Newsletter or start a newsletter that features your most repinned products from your Pinterest account.

    So will you be testing out this method of sending newsletters? Feel free to leave a comment.

    NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT:

    I’m happy to announce that I will be assisting Cynthia Sanchez of Oh So Pinteresting with her upcoming Pinterest for Business Workshop Series. This is an amazing live online workshop series, where you will have access to two Pinterest experts. Something that has never been done before! The course is half sold already and starts January 29th.

    If you’re looking to get your Pinterest marketing to the next level then check out Pinterest for Business Workshop Series.

    Pinterest Workshop, starting January 29th, 2014 by Cynthia Sanchez and Vincent Ng.

    Enjoy this Story? Get More Like it On Pinterest

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    You’re Invited to Our First Ever Pinterest Link Party for Professionals

    You are cordially invited to a link party for Pinterest professionals by MCNG Marketing. Get your marketing blog exposed to thousands.

    Are you here to join the link party? Here’s the site for the link party.

    What is a Link Party?

    Now if you’re wondering what a link party (aka linky party) is, then you’re not alone. When I first heard of the concept from a podcast from Cynthia Sanchez, I didn’t quite understand what it was.

    Simply put, a link party is a place where other bloggers can freely add their blog posts on someone else’s site. The person that has all the links on a particular blog post is known as the host.

    The host of the link party sets up a designated time for people to start adding their articles on their own usually through programs like Inlinkz. And there is a time restriction as well, so posting can only be added during that time frame. It’s not uncommon for some bloggers to host weekly link parties, while others may do it monthly.

    Every Link Party has Guidelines and Rules

    The host is responsible for setting up guidelines. Some link parties require that you like the host’s Facebook page, or that you follow them on certain social networks. Others require that you put a badge of the host’s website before participation is allowed. It’s proper etiquette to ensure that no matter what link party you go to that you follow the host’s guidelines.

    Link Parties are About Helping Each Other Out

    The goal of a link party is to help both attendees and the host promote each other. This way almost everybody benefits from the link party. Community guidelines may require that you visit two additional blogs and comment on them, while others may ask you to Pin the article if you found it useful.

    Link parties have been extremely popular among mommy, craft and food bloggers, but for some strange reason, and I don’t know why, there seems to be a lot of resistance from the social media marketing community, even though it’s been shown to drive more traffic to both the host’s website and those of that participate.

    I believe creating a professional link party is fun, it’s different, and drives people to a host’s site.

    Here’s a picture from the blog, The Girl Creative, this is what a bit of what a link party looks like.

    Professional Pinterest Link party hosted by MCNG Marketing. www.mcngmarketing.com

    Some link parties have only a few dozen, while I’ve seen others have up to 300 participants. And it can get a little crowded.

    Proper Etiquette for Link Parties

    When you attend a link party, it’s rude to do a link and run. Adding your link and not participating according to community guidelines.

    Most link parties require that you have a thumbnail ready to go, so make sure you know what the exact size is. The link party I’m hosting will allow for 200X200, also be aware of the character limits allowed for the description. For the party I’m hosting, I’m limiting it to 50 characters.

    Since the host has been gracious enough to host your link and help you drive traffic, it’s important to do what they’ve requested. If she’s asked you to like their Facebook page, please kindly do so.

    And remember to send a thank you either by e-mail or in the comments. Remember it takes time to host these parties, and since anybody can come to the party, they are taking a leap of faith that you’ll be adding your best article or blog post.

    Don’t add more than one article to the link party unless the host says it’s okay. Remember it’s about building a community, not a one person show.

    And lastly, no spam, selling or any of that junk. Having a good relationship with the host and his or her readers is vital. And if a party is successful you can guarantee that the host will run one again. But don’t jeopardize that relationship for the quick sell.

    How It’s Beneficial for Marketers and Bloggers

    1) It gives smaller audience bloggers a chance to expose themselves to a larger audience. So if you just started a social media blog and want to get new readers, this is a great way to go.

    2) It reaches a different audience. Each blogger will have a different audience and readership than yours, and this allows you to reach that new audience. I was able to reach a whole new audience by guest blogging with PinLeague.

    3) It helps build relationships. At the party you’ll be required to interact with others, whether it’s through commenting, or repinning. This will help you engage with others in your community and develop relationships with influencers and like minded people. This could lead to partnerships and guest blogging opportunities.

    4) It’s faster than guest blogging. Don’t have time to spend 3-5 hours guest blogging? Link parties are a good solution for the time strapped marketer.

    I decided I wanted to host my own, and went to Linkedin to see if there were any responses from Pinterest marketers and enthusiasts. Though it wasn’t much it was a start, but Julie Gallaher from Get on the Map, Melissa Megginson from Pinleague, and Penney Fox from Inner Socialmedianess thought it was a great idea. We want to extend an invitation to all those that do blog about Pinterest as a marketer, or blogger to join us.

    How do You Add Your Link to a Link Party?

    Depending on the type of program the host is using, all you need to do is click on the add link button. You’ll see it on the bottom left hand side. From there there will be instructions on what to do next.

    How to add a link to a Link Party using Inlinkz by MCNG Marketing.

    When does MCNG Marketing Host their First Official Link party?

    The party officially starts on Sept 4th (Wednesday at 5pm PT) and ends at Sept 11th 5PT, and you can participate by visiting our blog (remember, the people that come early get to be in the top spots of it). This means during that entire week people can add their own site.

    To do this you must have a 200X200 pixel thumbnail ready, as well as 50 character description.

    Each guest is allowed to only link one article that must be related to Pinterest marketing, (I will most likely open up one for social media in the near future). I highly encourage that the article be the best one you have, since peers may be repinning it. Now you’re probably wondering what’s the catch? You’re right to assume there is one. This is a party after all, and you can’t just link and go, that’s just poor etiquette.

    Rule 1: You must Pin the featured picture of the blog post that the party is happening, that states that you are participating in a Professional Pinterest Link Party.

    Rule 2: You must Pin content from two other party participants that you believe have great content. Try to pin stuff from people you haven’t connected with before if possible. This way we’re all pinning it forward. This way everyone in the community benefits.

    Rule 3: Kindly link a blog article from MCNG Marketing on your next blog post. So this can be about the one where you participated in a link party.

    Feel free to give it a test run right now! Add one of your previous post to it and see how full of awesomeness a link party can have.

    Krishna De of KrishnaDe.com had a wonderful suggestion about providing the blog link ahead of time. Here’s the link to where the party will be hosted, but it won’t be ready until the morning of September 4th. For now it will lead to a blank website (404). But make sure you put this down in your calendar.

    http://www.mcngmarketing.com/pinterest-link-party

    [inlinkz_linkup id=310870 mode=1 pageSize=300]

    Pillar One of Pintalysis: Create a Kick Ass Pinterest Strategy (2 of 2)

    Executing the First Pillar of Pintalysis

    Find out how to supercharge your Pinterest Marketing using Pintalysis. This first pillar discusses about business strategy and how to measure the success.

    Welcome back, I hope you enjoyed the first blog post about the first pillar of Pintalysis, where I discussed about business goals, knowing your target audience’s persona and being aware of how they interact with Pinterest on a daily basis.

    With the first part establishing being about you’re trying to accomplish, the second part discusses how to execute the first pillar of the Pintalysis marketing blueprint.

    I’ve mentioned several times in previous blog posts about the single biggest Pinterest mistake businesses make, which is creating too many random boards for what’s hot, but not good for business. Strategically what you want to do is create a Pinterest account that’s aligned with what your business goals and your target audience.

    Here’s what a little planning and business strategy can do for your site.

    Now let’s talk about executing the first pillar.

    Deciding What Boards to Use for Your Pinterest Business Strategy

    Now that you’ve clarified your business and marketing goals. Here comes the fun part with the Pinterest marketing strategy for the creative types on your team.

    Before you finalize any types of boards, write down all the types of boards you believe your audience would be interested in. Go nuts and think of anything, just let your creative mind flow. (This is how good print advertising is often done.)

    Seriously go nuts, write down as many as you want. Now that you’ve executed this fun part, look over your list. How many of those boards are truly relevant to your target audience. Scratch off the ones that don’t work.

    Which Pinterest Boards Will Help You Achieve Your Primary Business Goals?

    The next step is then to ask yourself what types of boards will meet the business goals set out for your organization. Circle those and keep them in mind.

    If you’re not in a complete rush, I would highly suggest that you actually leave that list alone for now and come back the next day to see if they still make sense for your Pinterest goals and strategy.

    Narrow down the boards. Now if you had to choose three boards as the ones to prioritize and help you drive your business goals, which ones would they be? Really ask yourself WHY are these boards the most important?

    What’s interesting about Pinterest accounts is that often you’ll find well known boards such as Bike EXIF or Yahoo! Sports who have one dominant board that accounts for an overwhelming majority of followers.

    Get good with a few boards first as this will help you focus and not go nuts trying to populate 40 different boards at once, which will become a big headache and time waster.

    Choose Secondary Boards that Will Help Assist in Your Business Goals or Brand Building

    Now choose your secondary boards that will help with secondary business goals such as increasing brand awareness and web traffic.

    I would encourage any business not to set up more than 15 boards to start. These boards, may include behind the scenes of how your product is made, testimonials from customers, or highlighting some of your favourite customer photos.

    Visualize the Boards with Post-it Notes

    Once you’ve finalized all the boards. Grab a set of Post-it ntoes and look for some space to post them on. Imagine what your boards would look like on a desktop , tablet and mobile so that you fully understand how your boards will look to your target audience.

    This will help you understand how a user experiences the social media networks are different channels.

    Once you’ve done that and have organized you boards, now you can begin to go to the next level of fun and choose some of the best pictures from your website to pin to certain boards as you will have a much more solid idea of what type of pins to pin.

    Choose Pins that are Relevant to Your Target Audience

    Remember that the pins you post should relate to your target audience in some way, whether it’s to entertain them, add valuable information to their life, like a DIY project, but your least goal should be to get your target audience to start developing an emotional relationship with your brand.

    This is especially important for brands and e-commerce sites that are looking to build up their brand and make it go big. There’s been no other social media network that has been allowed to do in the history of the Internet.

    Sephora is probably one of the BEST self contained (they don’t join nor create community boards) companies on Pinterest, hands down. They may not have millions of followers, but when you click on their pins and see that many of their pins have been repinned over 100 + times on a regular basis, you know they’re doing something right.

    Sephora changes the format of their boards from time to time as well. They know that travel season is about to burst, so they highlight a board that’s about cosmetics for travel. When it was around Mother’s Day, they highlighted their Mother’s Day board to the top of the page.

    Sephora does an amazing job on Pinterest with relevant boards and pins for their targetted audience.

    It can be very hard to know what works. This is why it’s important to keep track of what pins are successfully helping you accomplish your goals. I’ll be talking about metrics later in this post.

    Keep an Eye Out for Your Competitor’s Pinterest Pages

    You’re probably having a wonderful time deciding what types of pins to place onto your boards, but there’s still more to it then going at it free for all. You need to study your competition and see what they’re up to.

    This is one of the most crucial elements for your Pintalysis business strategy. You want to see what type of content is doing well for them and what doesn’t seem to go well (which boards aren’t getting repins).

    If you find that they’re getting tremendous amounts of repins for certain types of pins, try to find out why they are so successful, and take elements from it without exactly copying them. You’ll also be able to find out ideas that they use to generate more sales that would fit perfectly into your business model.

    Keep an eye out for them on a monthly basis so that you’re not copying the same Pinterest marketing strategy that they are.

    Measuring the Success of Your Campaigns

    Avinash Kaushik is my analytics hero in so many ways, and his passion for finding analytics that lead to outcomes is what inspires me. Your business needs to focus on outcomes.

    I’m not an analytics ninja or guru, but there is no doubt that no Pinterest marketing and business strategy would be complete without knowing what you need to measure for success.

    Every business will have different metrics and KPI’s, so it’s important to consult with your analytics team to find out what metrics are best suited for your business. The following is just a guideline.

    If you’ve done your proper planning with Pintalysis then you should have a good idea of your business goals and your KPIs. From there it’s time to find out what should be measured.

    In the world of analytics, you can be swamped again with too much data, without using that data to apply actions and determining the outcomes. Remember to measure outcomes and only select a few that will allow you to make improvements to your overall strategy.

    The rest of the blog focuses a lot on analytics and is meant for people who have an intermediate understanding of analytic tools like Google Analytics.

    Metrics and Outcomes for an E-commerce Site

    For an e-commerce site you’ll be looking at the number of sales that were referred to you by Pinterest.
    After all, the ultimate outcome for an e-commerce site is to drive sales, not necessarily just traffic.

    1) Find out how often Pinterest plays a role in the purchasing path as a medium. If a lot of people are clicking on your pins, and you notice that conversions of goals are higher for Pinterest compared to other sources and mediums, then you can safely assume that it’s vital in the purchase path.

    2) Find out how much the average customer spending is compared to other mediums. Some e-commerce sites, like Bottica.com have found that users on Pinterest spend more than their Facebook counterparts. Knowing if Pinterest is doing the same for you business can mean a HUGE difference to your bottom line, and a strong refocus to ramp up efforts on Pinterest marketing.

    Bottica Infographic of Pinterest versus Facebook
    3) Find out which pins specifically are driving sales traffic. If you use Google Analytics you can use the Full Referrer feature and narrow it down to Pinterest.com and know exactly which pins are helping convert the goals.

    What may surprise you is that it’s not a pin from your own board that’s driving sales, you may find out it’s a pin from an influencer that did. If that user is helping you out get sales, you may want to reach out to them and send them a nice gift as a thank you. (This is the power of social media combined with the use of analytics).

    4) If you haven’t verified your website yet with Pinterest, I highly suggest you do.

    This is because you want to be able to use their analytics tool (which is free) to measure what actually is being pinned directly from your site. And on top of that, find out which pins are being repinned the most and providing a level of engagement. What’s also amazing about this is that you can see if the pins that get repinned the most have any correlation to the ones that are driving sales.

    Remember, just because a pin is getting repinned a lot doesn’t mean it’s the right type of engagement.

    Metrics and Outcomes for Lead Generation

    1) If your business goal is to generate leads then your most important metric is the number of people who have signed up for you e-mail list through Pinterest.

    2) The second important metric is to find out how many people clicked on your pin that led to your e-mail sign up. Knowing this metric is extremely helpful because it will tell you if the pins you are creating are getting enough interest for people to click on them in the first place. If you notice that nobody is clicking on them at all, then there may be some problems with the visual optimization of the pins, or the lack of virality with your community.

    However, if people are clicking on them, but aren’t signing up, then there’s issues that need to be fixed with the landing page for the e-mail sign up.

    3) Find out which pins are leading to more sign ups. Nobody said you can’t do A/B split testing with pins. A misconception is that you need to use a picture that’s on the website as the the actual pin. You actually don’t.

    As long as you’ve uploaded your photos onto Pinterest you can choose the URL that the pin needs to redirect to. If you get more clicks for one pin compared to the other…booyah you’ve found a winning pin.

    Here’s a trick that Sephora used to get more clicks. On the left hand side is the pin, and on the right hand side is the actual image once the pin has been clicked on.

    Notice how Sephora optimizes their Pinterest photos, but it redirects to to their site image after. This is a smart Pinterest marketing technique.

    Metrics and Outcomes for Brand Awareness and Engagement

    1) Find out which pins are driving high levels of engagement by looking at the number of repins for those pins and find out why this may be the case. But don’t mistaken repins as a solid measurement because it still needs to be in context with your business goals.

    For example, one of the most pinned images I have on one of my boards is a beautiful vacation spot. It has been repinned directly from my board 101 times and liked 20 times. That might sound good, but when I started that board I suffered from the “Go with what’s popular syndrome.” And I’ll be deleting that board within a week after doing some auditing on my own strategy. Vacations have very little to do with my digital marketing company or MCNG’s brand.

    What you want to be able to do is use analytics tools like Pinleague to examine what content on specific boards are being repinned and notice if there are any common patterns or themes that reappear within those pins.

    Pinleague can also tell you engagement levels, such as the number of repins per pin per follower. So if you get a high engagement level, then the content on your particular board is engaging and viral. Low levels of engagement indicate that the board is not worth sharing with others.

    Other analytic programs like Curlate and Piquora can provide helpful assistance for this area.

    Pinleague has a 14 day free trial, and I highly encourage you to sign up for an account to see what their different analytics are like. Piquora and Curalate are focused on enterprise level management.

    2) How many people are visiting your site because of Pinterest? You want to be able to know if people are willing to click on your pins to visit the site. This will determine whether someone was truly interested in your visual content.

    From that point on you can also discover the bounce rate, pages they visit, and time spent to truly understand if the pins are meeting the intent of the clicker.

    The number of new visitors will probably be a good metric for brands that are looking to increase awareness of their site. This can be especially helpful for bloggers.

    3) Measure the number of followers for your branded boards. The number of followers can be very tricky to measure and often misleading in terms of total followers and here’s why.

    The number of followers that a person has on Pinterest doesn’t mean that that person has that many people following all their boards, that’s the number of people who have followed at least one board. They could have followed one, two, or five. So this isn’t a perfect metric to use.

    If we used the above method and metric, community boards, indirectly, add followers to your account as well. But Pinterest can’t tell you if there’s an overlap of followers.

    Here’s what I mean. At this moment it’s reported that I have 560 followers for MCNG’s Pinterest account. In reality, I also have an additional 3945 followers for the community board “Words of Wisdom” because that’s how many people follow that board, I have an additional 691 followers for the Digital Marketing blogs, and I have another 1727 followers for the Creative Ads board. So I have approximately close to 7000 followers.

    Here’s the rub with community boards, if someone follows a community board through your Pinterest account, it doesn’t register as your follower, it registers the follower for the creator of that account. This leads to some inaccuracy regarding the number of followers that you have.

    With some margin of error (because some of the followers may actually overlap with your boards) your total follower count should actually include the community boards, because the moment you post something on those community boards, you’re exposed your pin to that many more followers.
    This is not a perfect calculation and should be taken with a grain of salt. You should include your followers, and the followers of different community boards.

    In my opinion, the better way to go is to count the number of followers that you have for each niche board that matters to your brand engagement, because I know that a vacation board doesn’t help drive the targetted followers that I’m looking for. But my board on Pinterest Tips, Social Media Marketing, and MCNG Marketing blog posts, those follower counts do interest me, because these are brand building boards.

    I know that’s a lot to take in, but I want your businesses to use Pinterest the right way from the very start. Pillar 2 of 5 of Pintalysis will be discussing visually optimizing your boards and your pins for engagement.

    If you don’t want to miss out on this information, then sign up for our e-mail below. And feel free to leave a comment about the post.

    Pillar One of Pintalysis : Create a Kick Ass Pinterest Strategy (1 of 2)

    Pintalysis, The Ultimate Marketing Blueprint for Marketing

    Start Your Pinterest Marketing Off Right with Pintalysis

    With any social network, there are fundamental elements that don’t change and have become part of the Internet marketing world. In this blog post I’ll be going more indepth into the first of the five pillars of the Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint, which is determining your marketing and business goals. Now let’s dive into the world of Pinterest and Pintalysis.

    Pillar One of Pintalysis: What’s Your Business Goals with Pinterest?

    It’s very easy to get caught up in a hot social media network like Pinterest without actually doing any planning. The Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint focuses on creating a solid business goal and strategy as the very first step. If you’ve worked as an entrepreneur then you’ve realized that the “no planning” method isn’t the best method to use. With Pinterest, I’ve discovered that businesses use Pinterest for three primary goals, these goals may not be independent of each other, and often work hand in hand.

    1) Pinterest can be Used to Increase E-commerce and Brick and Mortar Sales

    Two examples of E-commerce sites that have adopted this particular business goal have used Pinterest to increase sales are Sephora and Etsy. Sephora focuses on cosmectics and Etsy.com is a website that focuses on selling arts and crafts. Sephora has reported that Pinterest users spend 15X more than their Facebook users.

    Did you know that Pinterest referrals spent 15X more than their Facebook referrals for Sephora? That's the power of Pinterest for e-commerce.

    Etsy added a Pin It button to all their different items, and has reported sales massively increasing. As an example, Rachel Ball of Elepantine who uses Pinterest and Etsy reported that sales increased by 20% after analyzing patterns of pins, repins and likes to focus more creating pins that consumers were more likely to buy and have interest in.

    2)Pinterest can be Used For Lead Generation

    If you’re wondering if Pinterest is the right type of business for lead generation, I can tell you that Hubspot, a leading inbound marketing software company has been using the social median network to help generate more leads and visitors to their blog.

    They get more referral traffic from Pinterest than they do from Google Plus for their blog. During a two week period back in February 2012, they noticed that close to 700 links were generated by Pinterest (unfortunately these links are no follow) but from a small sample of visitors taken they were able to find that about 6.4% of visitors converted to leads.

    Here’s another interesting case study with Petplan Insurance. One of their major goals was to “Attract new audiences through compelling and relevant content.” Not only did they use Pinterest to attract new crowds they reported that requests for insurance quotes rose up by 12.5%, and they hit a home run with new visitor to their website rose by 87%.

    3)Pinterest can be Used for Customer Engagement and Brand Awareness

    If your business goals aren’t about getting more prospects and direct sales, then you’re more likely interested in taking more of a “public relations” stand point with your Pinterest marketing.

    You are using Pinterest because it offers a great space to advertise what you do and to increase brand awareness. As a marketing company, I use it to drive traffic to my blog and to use it further to establish myself as a knowledgeable person about Pinterest.

    Yahoo Sports which has over 1.3 million followers (mostly for their Sports News and Update board) which isn’t in the business of generating revenue but driving traffic. It’s not uncommon to see many of their pins repinned 40+ times, some of them reaching up to 100 +. So if you thought that Pinterest was just for women, you need to think again.

    Yahoo! Sports has over 1.3 million followers on their Pinterest page. Pinterest is no longer just for women. Find out how to maximize your exposure on Pinterest with #Pintalysis.

    Here's an example of a great business to business pin from General Electric. This is engaging content that anybody can appreciate. General Electric is a good example of this as well. It takes the time to create entertaining content. One of my favourites is they “Hey Girl…” spoofs that star Thomas Edison. Chances are I’m not going to buy one of their heavy machineries, but there’s no doubt that it has increased my awareness and purchase intent when I decide to go buy a washer and dryer now.

    Who Are You Trying To Attract Using Pinterest?

    The next consideration with the Pintalysis model is to know who you want to attract as followers and brand ambassadors. It’s easy to inflate followers by creating boards that are of no interest to your target audience. Big woop if you have ten thousand followers following your recipe board. If you’re a banking institution, you probably don’t want to go there.

    But as a bank, I’m probably going to display pins on how to save money, or inform customers on how to plan for their retirement. Canada’s largest credit, Vancity Credit Union, isn’t on Pinterest, which is a total shame. They do a lot to contribute to local community projects, and create highly visual content on their website that can grab a person’s attention.

    They hold a variety of events that are of interest to the target audience they serve, and should create pins that attract customers that focus on sustainability and wanting to invest wisely. They know who their target audience is, and there are many pinners who also believe in their social and community values.

    It’s important to think like your target audience. How would a pin that’s being posted relate to business goals? Why would a pin be of particular interest to click on for your target audience?

    If you’re able to incorporate popular topics like fashion, food, and do it yourself projects into your pins that makes sense to your target audience, that’s great. TOM’s Shoes is an excellent example of this. Weddings are popular subject on Pinterest, and so their business has a dedicated Pinterest board for pictures that show their shoes being worn on wedding days.

    But don’t do it just for the sake of gaining more followers. When you create great niche Pinterest boards, and you continuously post and engage with others that are similar in thought on Pinterest, you will attract more of your targeted audience.

    Also try to find out what the travel path of what your target audience is like, and when they are most likely to use Pinterest. For many fashionistas, Saturdays are a good day to pin as this is often their down time, and can increase their purchase intent. Find out whether your audience is more inclined to use tablets, smartphones or desktops when searching on Pinterest.

    More About Pintalysis To Come

    I will be discussing more what boards to choose and what pins to share, why Pinterest is amazing for competitive analysis, and how to measure your business goals for Pinterest. Come back to our blog to read about the second part of the first pillar of Pintalysis.

    Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture Next to Search Results

    Want to improve your #SEO? Then you definitely need to add Google authorship to your blog or website. Find out how, and see up to 35% spike in your websites traffic.

    Ever search for results on Google and found faces next to them on the left hand side? This is no random coincidence. Those photos are placed next to those results because they’re the authors of the content. When an author is credited and linked to a specific blog post, or website content, then their picture shows up beside it.

    Google Authorship looks like this in the results pages. I decided to use my friend, Vancouver marketer, Kelvin KC Claveria, as an example.

    Google Authorship Example using KC Claveria, a Vancouver Marketer.

    What are the Benefits of Having Google Authorship?

    Google Authorship Establishes Trust:

    Since we are such visual creatures (look how big Pinterest has grown), any time we see a face in the middle of a sea of text, we’re most likely going to look at the photo first and not the text. Throughout human history, we’ve always had a subconscious trust when seeing a human face. Placing a human face on products and brochures have been known to increase the purchase intent for a service or product, compared marketing material that don’t use faces.

    When we see a photo next to our search results, we often automatically give it credibility. This face next to the website gives it an extra boost in the trust factor.

    Helps with Click Through Rates:

    The benefit of Google authorship is that it allows search results to stand out and increase click through rates to your particular site compared to one without a Google Authorship photo.

    One informal study done by Cyrus Shephard, showed how using the right photo for Google Authorship (which is linked to your Google + account) can increase click through rates for a website by 35%.

    And you can easily see why with the example below, if your eyes are scanning, which ones are brought to your attention first?

    Google Authorship is vital to ensuring that your click through rates improve, as well as standing out in search results.

    It Helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Results:

    Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, was quoted saying this:

    ““Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

    It May Play a Role in AuthorRank

    AuthorRank doesn’t exist yet, but there has been a lot of buzz about AuthorRank. The concept is the same as PageRank, in which a webpage is assigned a numerical value for its authority and relevance to users of the Internet. For example the Wall Street Journal has a high page rank compared to my local newspaper the Vancouver Sun, because the Wall Street Journal is seen to have more authority than the Vancouver Sun.

    It’s believed that Google AuthorRank will play a role in the future, in the sense that authors that are tied to specific content and have established authority through writing for different sites with high page ranks, or have a lot of social activity, will be a factor in ranking higher for search results. At the time of the writing of this blog post AuthorRank hasn’t been implemented, but this shouldn’t hinder anybody from signing up for using Google Authorship.

    How to Implement Your Google Authorship:

    Step 1: Verify Your E-mail Address

    If you don’t have a Google Plus profile, then you need to set one and up go through all the necessary steps. You can learn how to set up your Google + profile here with a step by step guide by Wordtracker.

    The first step to starting your Google Authorship is to ensure that you have a verified e-mail address for the website that you are writing your content on. Mine is vince@mcngmarketing.com.

    Ensure that the name you use for your Google Plus account is also the same name for the byline author of the content you create. You don’t want to have the dreaded, by “Anonymous” tag in your content. The name you use should be consistent across all the content you create across the web.

    To verify your e-mail, make sure you are logged into your Google Plus account and then visit this site and follow the steps: https://plus.google.com/authorship

    Step Two: Add Your Websites to the Contributor Section

    When you’re logged into your own account, click on “Home” and then right below it you should see “Profile.” Click on that, and then on the top bar near the left hand side you should see the “About” tab. Click on this. Scroll down to the section titled, “Links.” When you click on it, a pop up will appear. Go to the middle of the “Contributor To” section. This is where you can add custom links and tell Google what websites you write content for.

    Contributor for Google Authorship. Ensure that you add the websites that you write for in this section of Google Plus.

    What if you don’t have a verified e-mail on the domain?

    It’s important to add the websites that you are a contributor to mentioned in Step Two. If you don’t have an e-mail address at that website, then this can easily be solved by using the rel=”author” tag.

    If you write a blog post, then ensure somewhere on the blog, or in a designated author box, that you link back to your Google + account. When you do link, you want to include the rel=”author” tag and so your link back to your Google Plus page should like like this.

    https://plus.google.com/108571815996159278806?rel=author

    The numbers will be your profile ID.

    A common practice is to put the link in the author box, so that you don’t always have to do it manually. An example is in the picture below.

    Author Page and how you can use it it link to your Google Authorship.

    If there are two rel=”author” tags on a page, Google will only take the firs one. I’ve had this problem guest blogging, and since mine is second, my picture won’t show up in the rich snippets of Google.

    Also if you are guest blogging for a site, you need to add the specific blog post added to the contribution section. This is probably the best way to guarantee you will receive credit for the work. The downfall is that you can have a very lengthy list if you’ve written a lot of different content.

    For more info, or to find another helpful guide to authorship, feel free to visit our friends at MKG Media, their blog post, Google Authorship: A How-To Guide.

    If you need to test out to see if it works then visit Google’s rich snippet testing tool to see if what you’ve implemented now works.

    Why Businesses Need to use Rich Pins for Pinterest Immediately

    Nordstroms Pinterest Pinterest has recently been working with some companies that provide online e-commerce sales. What’s fantastic about this is that it provides information about the product without actually requiring them to be typed into the description and therefore you never have to worry about another pinner changing the description without listing the vital information (a concern for major brands).

    This availability of information is vital and is known as rich pins (most likely taken from the term rich snippets, a common term used when marketers talk about search engine optimization.)

    Pinterest has allowed for three different categories of rich pins, and they are, movies, recipes, and products, and will definitely be a great add on to the Pintalysis, a Pinterest marketing blueprint for businesses.

    Rich Pins for Products Will Change E-commerce

    Probably the one that will interest most readers is the rich pins for product because it affects many e-commerce sites. Rich pins has already been used on Pinterest pages like Sephora and Etsy’s.

    Rich pins will be able to tell a viewer on Pinterest real time pricing, whether it’s available in stock, and which website to buy it from (or that it’s available in stores). The other nice feature is that a businesses logo is now added to the side. But you do have to apply to Pinterest to be able to offer rich pins for your account, so whether you run a store that’s dedicated to shoes like Zappos, or run an online store dedicated to aprons, rich pins are vital.

    No More Price Tags in the Top Right Corner

    Another change for pins is that pricing used to be tagged automatically on the top right hand side of a pin when a dollar amount was listed in the description. This is no longer the case. A user can still post pricing in the description but no more price tags will show. In the case of rich pins, the pricing will show at the bottom of the pin at the left hand side, but only after the product pin has been clicked on.

    Why this is of particular help to businesses is because it used to be difficult to provide all that data in the description of the pin without worrying that the information would change after being repinned a few dozen times.

    Now if an item is listed as out of stock, then users will most likely know not to click on it, because there’s the potential that it’s going to lead to a broken link, but at least the user has been “warned” in some fashion so it doesn’t disrupt the user’s expectation.

    Since this rich pin data can’t be changed by users, that means that when any Pinterest user pins from a Pinterest approved e-commerce site, that specific rich pin data can only be changed by webmasters or developers.

    The problem for businesses before was that when pins were taken off a site or repinned their descriptions could be changed, and tampered with. So people could purposely put the wrong price if they wanted to in the description and then go to the site, and realize that it was much more expensive. Now with rich pins, a user can trust that the price listed is most likely the right price.

    Another great feature is that it also allows users to know that this pin is officially from the site, and that it doesn’t lead to copycat retailer that’s making fakes of a brand. If you haven’t verified your e-commerce or business site on Pinterest yet, then I highly suggest that you do.

    The good news is that when you do put a price for your product in the description of the pin, it will still automatically go into the Gifts section of the Pinterest search.

    If you want to implement rich pins, then scroll down to near the end of the article.

    Rich Pins are Available for Movies

    Rich pins are also available for movies, and is able to offer details such as the appropriate viewing age for the movie, as well as information such as who the director is, and who is starring in it, and rating for the movie. For Netflix’s Pinterest account it gives you some great details before you click to visit their site.

    Now Pinterest allows Rich Pins for movies. This is an example of one used by <a href=Netflix. It has information about the director, actor, as well as the rating for the movie by users that have seen the movie.

    Recipe Pins Will Do Wonders for Food Brands and Bloggers

    With a little creativity, you can get your food brand to be on Pinterest as well. Here’s an example of a recipe for oven fried chicken from Chobani (a yogurt company.) As you can see the rich pin for recipes offers a lot of great information that ranges from how many people it serves, what type of ingredients you need, and how long it takes to cook.

    What’s really smart about this for food brands is that rich pins don’t tell you step by step on how to cook the food, so viewers that are interested in executing the recipe have to click on the pin, which will lead back to the main website.

    Looking to add your recipes to Pinterest and create rich pins. Click on the pin to find out how to do this.

    How To Implement Rich Pins for Your Site

    Most of Pinterest has been fairly non technical I would say, and now with the options of rich pins, you’re most likely going to need your developer to help you out if you’re not technically savvy.

    I want to make it clear that I’m personally not a developer, so I won’t be able to offer technical advice. They are scraping data from sites that use oEmbed, Shchema.org tags, as well as Open Graph tags.

    But if you would like to get all the details of how to implement the technical work, Pinterest has a post dedicated to developers regarding rich pins. And you still need to go through the approval process with Pinterest before you can do what the other brands like Nordstroms and Sephora have done. Pinterest has provided a rich pin tester to test out your code to see if it works.

    Also if you find yourself wanting to listen about the changes that have recently happened, Cynthia Sanchez from Oh So Pinteresting, created a podcast about the changes.