We’ve been talking a lot about how to use social media to promote your freelance writing business. Some freelancers see social media as a waste of time that doesn’t convert into new clients. And some channels – such as Pinterest – are usually thought of for DIYers, rather than bloggers or freelance writers.
My guest today begs to differ. She’s here to show you how to use Pinterest to grow your freelance business – the tips, the tricks and the hustle. It’s all in there! Take it away, Cruz Santana!
Before starting Gina’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success in November, I thought Pinterest was just a cute social media platform. I wrongly believed it wasn’t much more than a hub for soccer moms and homemakers to showcase recipes and crafts.
I’ve since learned that Pinterest is a gold mine filled with opportunities to expand your online business. Here’s my six-step process to help you take advantage of every hidden nugget in the mine.
1. Set Up an Account
If you don’t already have one for your new online business, take a moment to go set up a new account. Pinterest offers an optional business account. To get one, however, you need to have your own verifiable URL.
As a die-hard bootstrapper, I haven’t yet been able to get my own. So, I setup a personal account, which works great for now.
Whichever you choose (either business or personal), take a minute or two to go set it up. Go for it! I’ll wait here… (Hums Donna Summer’s hit song, She Works Hard for the Money)
Congratulations on taking the first step!
(Side note: Gina had a personal Pinterest account and transitioned it into a business account upon launching her freelance writing business. No need to start a new one just for business purposes.)
2. Follow Like-Minded Individuals
Step two is pretty straight forward. You’ll want to start searching for fellow freelancers who use Pinterest regularly. I do! Go ahead and follow me. I’ll follow you right back.
(Gina has one, too!)
Once you’ve got this part done, you’ll want to start building up a network of people with access to the gold you’re trying to mine. Your Pinterest network will be a hub of important information.
Build it wisely.
[Tweet “Start building up a network of people with access to the gold you’re trying to mine.”]
3. Create Boards and Join Collaborative Ones
Again, all you’re doing here is expanding your network of folks who are on the same journey you’re on.
Pay special attention to freelancers who also specialize in your chosen niche.
In her post, Pinterest Tips – Create a “Best of” Blog Board, Gina writes about the benefits of joining collaborative boards. Join Gina’s and then search for other collaborative boards within your niche.
Don’t limit yourself to just one or two. Search for as many as you can find, and join them. This step gives you access to the work of other writers anytime you need it.
In addition to a Professional Writing Samples board to showcase your published works on the net, create one called, Leads to Cold Pitch. This board will help you keep track of potential cold-pitching leads. Since pitching is a numbers game, you’ll want to take advantage of every pin you save to this board.
(Gina’s list is titled, Blogs of Note.)
4. Pin, Pin, Pin
Choose topics related to your niche or niches.
Watch fellow pinners’ pins.
I jokingly call it spying, but what you’ll want to do is look for pins saved to your colleagues’ samples boards.
Pin their work within your niche to your Leads to Cold Pitch board.
(Gina’s tip: Once you start pinning certain things, Pinterest makes it easy for you by suggesting pins you’d like. You can literally take five minutes a couple of times per day to build your lists.)
Resource alert: Tailwind is like the Buffer of social media scheduling for Pinterest and Instagram. It’s super affordable and makes scheduled pinning turnkey! Start your free trial and get an extra month of Plus for free here.
This is the most important (and most valuable) step.
Make sure you go through pins you’ve chosen (your colleagues’ published works) with a fine-toothed comb. I take plenty of notes at this stage.
Here are a few things to look for when doing your research:
- Pay attention to the voice of their published article or post. Odds are they already did quite a bit of research on the company and have an understanding of their client’s voice. To get the gig, you’ll need to be able to produce a piece capturing that voice.
- Note formatting details. Approximately how many words is the blog post or article? What type of keywords did they use in the headings? Does the work take advantage of SEO optimization? Formatting has a lot to do with the success of the post. Having an example of your client’s preferences will help you both in the pitching and writing stages.
- If the post is open to questions from readers, what type of questions does it get? Use this detail to prepare for the audience. Tailor the article specifically to the reader.
- Look at the shares. What forums is it being shared on? How successful was your colleague at provoking a reader to share the piece with their friends and family? If they got lots of shares across several platforms, you know their methods proved successful.
- Obtain contact information for the editor. This one will take some digging. You’ll have to read through the website’s contact us page and/or do a Google search for the person. Once you have that, you can use this method for finding their email address.
- Think about what to write about. I keep a notebook full of ideas. If you don’t have one, read over the site and think about what’s missing. What don’t they have? Think carefully since you’ll need a few ideas to build on.
Now that you’re armed with the information, it’s time to pitch.
6. Cold Pitch Your Heart out!
My favorite part!
I love cold pitching.
There’s something about the activity that makes me enjoy it more than actually writing the article or blog post sometimes.
I used to become anxious at the thought of bothering someone. I don’t see it that way anymore. Now, I think of it as a gamble. The worst they can say is no. If that happens, I didn’t lose anything by trying.
Start by opening your well-crafted pitch from your email’s draft folder.
If you don’t already have one, Gina’s Ultimate Cold Pitching Template is great for composing one to use for this. Customize your pitch to your client’s needs. Use everything you learned from your Pinterest research.
Craft the email to reflect important details about the company. Are they celebrating an anniversary soon? Did they just recently start up? Are they expanding? Did they add a new field to write about? If so, mention it.
In the beginning, I had a vague and naive understanding of what I could do with Pinterest. I underestimated the magnitude of its potential.
Through Gina’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success, I learned that Pinterest has the second highest conversion rates, second only to email!
I can attest to that because I’ve noticed that my conversion rates have improved dramatically since I began using this process.
[Tweet “My conversion rates have improved dramatically since I began using this to get leads on Pinterest. “]
Before this, I was pitching with a 26 percent success rate.
Now, I’m at 42 percent!
That’s an increase of 16 percent!
It’s all money in the bank that I didn’t have to work very hard for. And all I did was start my account, follow a few colleagues, create and join boards, pin a few posts, research and then cold pitch. These few things have made a difference in the way I work with social media altogether!
Are you on Pinterest? If so, have you used it to mine for gold? Have you seen an increase in your conversion rates?
Cruz Santana is a cancer-fighting, professional freelance writer, editor, and mother of seven living in San Antonio, Texas. Cruz has a background in science and medicine. She’s been featured on The Write Life, in The Netherlands in English and Dutch for Period! Magazine, and on Guyvorce. A ghostwriter since 2007, she recently switched her focus to writing for the web. She chronicles her journey through this transition on The Freelance Dance. Keep in touch on Twitter.
*This post may include affiliate links. If that’s not cool with you, we might not be friends. Kidding of course, but that’s my due diligence disclosure notice.