Music Bloggers: Don’t Lose Your Reader’s Pinterest


Guest post by Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder and co-host, The Music Biz Weekly Podcast.

With the incredibly popularity of Pinterest, bloggers need to put a laser focus on the images they use prior to publishing a new blog post. On Pinterest, the user discovers new content (articles, blogs, books, music, videos and things to buy) by stumbling through intriguing pictures that other users post. So if you don't have a compelling image, your new blog post will make a boring Pin. And a boring Pin is a lost opportunity to find new readers or fans.

The biggest mistake I see every new blogger make is not including an image in every post. A photo enhances your content, brings attention to your article and serves as a visual summary of the topic being discussed. With an optimized image strategy for each post you write, you're giving everyone a clear indicator of what to expect before they make the commitment to read it.

Regardless of how great the content of your blog post may be, if there's no image I can't Pin it. Who cares, you might say? Well just remember, it wasn't long ago when people once dismissed Facebook and Twitter as well.

Case in point, see the image below.


This is the error box that popped up when I tried to Pin an article I was reading on Wikipedia. I wanted to share the awesome article I was reading with my followers on Pinterest. But it wouldn't let me since there wasn't a photo on the page. So despite the brilliant content I was consuming, I couldn't share it with my followers.

Could the same thing happen with your website?

Or conversely, perhaps the image that does get Pinned has no correlation to the content of your blog post. Either way, without a great image, your post may be missing out on an opportunity to connect with a new group of people.

Fans are made one at a time.

Make your content pinnable.

By having an image strategy with each and every blog post you publish, you make yourself available to potential new fans discovering you on Pinterest.

So prior to publishing…make sure you can say,
I'd Pin that.

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  1. Yeah. Uh-huh. How problematic is this strategy? Let me count the ways.
    1. Sourcing images – Writing a blog involves writing and not much else. It’s possible that a blogger is able to generate their own images (perhaps they’re a photographer or a graphic artist), but most of us aren’t. That means we need to source our images externally. So, we can pay someone to make ’em for us, we can pay for stocks, or we can look for free stocks and CC images. I’d like to remind everyone the obvious: that simply lifting an image we like off the web is a big no-no and can get you sued. Which brings us to…
    2. Licencing images – Whether you paid for it or got it for free, any image you didn’t generate yourself is going to come with strings attached. One of the key restrictions you are likely to encouter is the scope of permitted use. For example, you might be allowed to include the image in your post, but not print it on T-Shirt or publish it in the book of your blog. More importantly, most licences (CC being a notable exception) are likely be non-transferable – you are allowed to use the image yourself, but not grant third parties licences to use it. This brings us to…
    3. Pintrest’s ToS – There’s been a lot of hoo-hah online recently about Pintrest’s copyright problems, right up to the point of Flickr disabling pinning for all copyright reserved images by default. Pintrest requires its users to licence a whole slew of rights, including selling images. This means that even if you’re using CC images, you stand to run afoul of the licence terms if they are licenced under NC (non-commercial). Could you be sued for contributory infringement liability under the Grokster standard (specifically the inducement rule), or similar, if you encourage your users to pin images that you don’t have full rights to? I don’t know, but do you really want to find out the hard way?
    Lastly, I think it’s wrongheaded to jump on every single new development in the online sphere simply for the sake of being in on the ground floor. So your posts aren’t being shared on Pintrest. So what?
    Pintrest could become huge, or it could turn out to be a fad. Even if it does go mainstream, this doesn’t need to translate into any major promotional benefits for most bloggers. Just looking at my referral stats, the majority of my incoming traffic is from other blogs and news sites. FB and Twitter are signficant compared to any particular site, but not when seen as a percentage of the overall incoming traffic. Not being shared on Pintrest isn’t going to be anything to cry over.

  2. Unknown musicians should spend more time writing better songs than writing more efficient blog posts. Getting other people to talk about your songs is a hell of a lot easier if you write music worth talking about. And if people aren’t pinning it, or talking about it… I’m pretty sure it’s not because there’s no snappy (or pointlessly misogynistic) photo.

  3. Mayhap…more likely, it’s just me not using pinterest. I’m a grumpy old curmudgeon, though, so it takes me awhile to warm up to newfangled technology. I do appreciate the coverage you been running.
    And man, that photo really emphasizes the…right, my bad.

  4. You can thank Bruce for the choice of guest posts. It’s really been great for Hypebot judging from reader response and it seems to be good for the guests as well. I’m just the secretarial blogger on this stuff.
    I was both playing and being serious. Given the tone of this piece, it seems to be about reaching men. Yet, women’s fashion mags also have covers with sexy women.
    Which is interesting to consider since Pinterest looks like a women’s mag and its audience is composed of a high percentage of women. I don’t have the figures at hand but way more than men.
    Given that I’ve seen articles on men’s sites saying things like, it’s ok to like pinterest or why there are no men on pinterest, there’s a lot of gender stuff going on here.
    Which I think is one of the reasons it took so long for tech blogs to notice given that they’re strongly dominated, like the music industry, by white men.
    On a side note: I think I may have been the first or certainly one of the first music industry bloggers to write about Pinterest late last year.
    Not that I get any credit for that!
    Of course, at this point, everybody’s talking about it so nobody has to credit anybody.

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