It’s Friday Find It time again and we’re looking at how to label your pictures, particularly for use on pinterest. Una saw this labelled picture I had created for a blog post and wondered how I did it:
First of all – Why Label Pictures for Pinterest?
This picture was used as the first picture in a blog post about how to decorate a child’s nursery. If I had just pinned the picture without the text, others would have just presumed it was a picture of wall stickers – which of course it is. However, with the text, it carries the message that if the picture is clicked on in pinterest, the ‘pinnee’ will be brought to a blog post which contains many tips on decorating nurseries for young children.
People don’t just pin pretty pictures of cute dogs, inspiring interiors and pretty crockery on pinterest. They are also looking for information in the form of tutorials or tips – from how to attach crocheted granny squares to what exercises they should do to firm up their abdominal muscles. Colby Almond has called these instructographics and I think it’s the perfect description.
This labelled picture was created using pinwords which provides a few different fonts and is very easy to use. However, each picture has the Pinwords logo in the bottom righthand corner. It is free to use though.
1. Go to Pinwords
2. Upload a photo from your computer or use one of theirs. It is best to choose a photo that has some plain background so the text can be read more easily.
4. Write your text into the box on the right, you’ll see it appearing as you type. With the cursor, move the text to the preferred placement against a plain background. Click Pin It and then just right click on the image to save it to a pictures folder on your computer.
5. And this is the finished result:
How to use Picmonkey to add Text to your Photos
1. Go to Picmonkey.com
2. Click edit photo at the left side and then upload your chosen photo. Choose a photo with some plain background so the text can be seen easily.
3. Click ‘P’ on the left side which produces the choice of fonts. Then click ‘add text’ at the top which will then appear superimposed on the photos. Type in your chosen text.
4. Highlight the various words to choose from a selection of fonts if you wish. You can also change the text colour, size, fade, bold or italics.
5. Then click save (at the top), name your photo and resize if necessary. Save to your chosen folder on your computer and this is the finished product.
Pinwords is at its ‘early days’ stage and I’d imagine more functionality will be added soon. It is very easy to use. However, it doesn’t have as many choices available and the ‘pinwords’ text remains on your photo. For adding simple text, it is quicker to use than picmonkey.
Picmonkey offers so much besides adding text and is definitely worth checking out.
I’ve been blogging for Garrendenny Lane for almost five years and I know I would probably cringe if I were to dare to look back at my first posts, particularly as they were for a business blog rather than a personal one. However, one learns from mistakes or (more advisably) from reading about someone else’s errors so here goes!
Reading Heidi Cohen’s post on her reflections after two years of blogging inspired this post too so many thanks to Heidi (and her excellent blog)
Having just written a post over at Blog Awards Ireland entitled ‘How Blogging Helped Lorna Sixsmith Beat The Recession‘ outlining how blogging brought in sales for one business and became the formation of another, it seems a good time to reflect on what I’ve learnt from 4.5 years of blogging.
I also love seeing businesses grow from small beginnings, particularly if they used blogging successfully to help them grow and recently featured Hunters Lodge Living as an example in my guest blog at Tweak Your Biz. Blogging can bring your business increased sales and it can also help in more unexpected ways too.
What I have learnt from 5 Years of Blogging:
- Connections – Write about ten posts first and then start to connect with other bloggers. Find a few blogs to read regularly and write interesting comments to engage with them. Drop them an email to introduce yourself and tell them about your blog. They may have time to check out your blog and say ‘hi’. Don’t be disheartened if they don’t – emails can become buried in those inboxes!
- Blogroll – Add complementary blogs to your blogroll. You will find interesting blogs to read on the blogrolls of other blogs in your subject area and this way, you may become part of existing communities.
- Photographs – always include at least one photograph. Apart from breaking up the wall of text, they provide visual interest. Try not to use stock photographs all the time as they become boring and unoriginal. Get your camera out and take photos you might be able to use. If using someone else’s photographs, always attribute them as the source.
- Calls to Action – I received many queries via phone calls during the first six months of my blog’s existence. These calls came because people had found my blog but weren’t sure if I sold the product I had blogged about or where they could get it. Initially I thought the blog was working extremely well as people were calling but then the penny dropped! I needed a call to action so that people would know where they could purchase the product and/or what services I offered.
- Goals and Objectives – Every so often (once every six months), review the goals for your blog and rewrite your objectives. For example, one of the goals for this blog is to promote the blogging training and work we provide to businesses. One of my objectives then is to ensure that readers know we can teach people how to blog effectively and that they can outsource their blogging to us. Hence, I need to show my expertise by writing about blogging in an knowledgeable and informed method, including a call to action.
- A Store of Topics – Keep a record of your ideas in one place. Keep them in evernote, a diary, a notebook, started as a draft in your dashboard – it doesn’t matter where but keep a list of your ideas. Even if you seem to have more ideas than you’ll have time ever to write, I promise that there will come the day where blogger’s block strikes and you will so grateful that you have a list to choose from.
- Jumble it up – Don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit. We often do a ‘Find it Friday’ post on this blog whereby people email us questions and we answer them in a blog post but if the questions don’t arrive, we just write a different post.
- Community – try to become part of even one community – be it another business community or one that is more suited to your subject area e.g. interiors. Comment on their blogs and strike up a friendship on twitter or facebook. Don’t become disheartened if you don’t get many comments compared to others – that takes time and it also needs you to take the time to comment on other blogs.
- Other Social Media – when I started blogging in early 2008, I only had the blog to contend with whereas now bloggers are expected to spread their content amongst linked in, twitter, pinterest, facebook, google +, stumbleupon and more. If it all seems too much, just choose one or two. Measure the results and see if it is working. If not, add another platform and measure again. Don’t let them bog you down – use what you have time for and what you find works for your business.
- Spelling and Grammar – I tend to type quite quickly and although my spelling is quite good, typos do occur. I also skim read very quickly (I actually find it hard to read slowly) which means I sometimes miss typos. Get someone else to check your work if you need to – offer to check theirs if they check yours.
If you are debating starting a blog for your business, don’t delay – do it! Businesses that blog get more business and leads than those who don’t! Get help to set one up or with the writing. Remember we offer one to one training as well as teaching courses so do get in touch with Marie or I if you’d like to know more.
We have both mentioned the benefits of blogging in the past which include improved SEO, increase brand awareness and as a method to gain free press coverage.
I also find that things seem to happen in threes and I’ve recently been interviewed for three different publications – partly as a result of my blog for my other business at Garrendenny Lane. On Monday, a journalist from the Irish Times phoned me asking if I would take part in an article on ‘mumpreneurs’ / mums working from home. She had heard of me from someone who said I was the first person came to her mind! Hopefully that will be out next Monday or the following week. I was also contacted regarding an article in a similar theme for a business banking publication. Some time ago, I was contacted for an interview for the Digital Hub website and am delighted to say that it was just been published and I’m the first in their ‘Winning with Web’ series. In the interview, I explain the benefits of blogging as I have experienced them.
The Digital Hub are looking for other businesses to take part in this series so if your business is registered in Ireland and has survived, grown, expanded and/or transformed because of your use of the web, then do get in contact with them.
We see blogging as being the core of any social media presence and one of the services we offer is we can take care of your blog, from writing your posts and spreading your wisdom across other social media channels to creating a social media strategy for you to work towards. Running a business is time-consuming and many people feel that adding social media to their to-do list is just one thing to many. Outsourcing your social media leaves you time to get on with running your business. Blogging will get your business noticed, it’s not going to happen overnight necessarily, it does take time but a quality blog will reap rewards, attention and sales. Do contact us if you feel the time is right to outsource your social media.
As with all social media tools, there are written and unwritten rules as to how you use them. Pinterest isn’t any different and we’ve come up with our suggestions to ensure you know what you’re doing when you go to use it and you don’t break any pinetiquette rules.
- Pin Little & Often – Don’t spend an hour pinning and auto-tweeting as it will annoy your followers on twitter for a start. If I go to my pinterest page and see that one person I follow has pinned so many similar pins that it almost fills the page, I am likely to unfollow them so it is best to pin 2 or 3 of your own images, repin a few and leave it at that and then come back to it two or three times a day.
- Don’t Self-Promote – Don’t fill your boards with your own products. True pinners love visuals so they fill their boards with pictures they enjoy and love and this shows their personality and that of their brand. Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% other people’s products, 20% your products.
- Credit the Source – If using a pin on your facebook page or within a blog post, always always always credit the source. You can use the embed button on pinterest to insert the pin in your blog post.
- Personality – Show the personality of your brand by creating boards that enhance or complement your services or your products e.g. a photographer could have a boards on wedding dresses, exotic locations, kids and gardens – to bring his/her business to the attention of engaged couples but also to show their personality and passions.
- Your Reputation – If you are a business pinner then bear in mind the reputation of your brand when repinning or pinning images, for example, while many fashion pins may include women or men in scanty lingerie or underwear, a board containing such pins may not be expected by your audience and may damage your online reputation particularly if you are selling homewares or children’s furniture.
- Reciprocate– Follow back those who follow you.
- Twitter – if you are auto-tweeting from your pins, remember to check into twitter too to see if you’ve received any responses on your pinning.
- Interaction – According to Repinly, we spend 0.5% of our time on pinterest commenting so it seems that we’re mostly interacting there by repinning rather than having conversations. Leave a comment on the occasional pin and if someone comments on one of your pins, do respond – it could be the start of a beautiful friendship 🙂
Have you decided that it has become a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ with regard to Pinterest but you’re a tad baffled by it? Here’s an explanation of many of the Pinterest terminology.
Pin – A pin is a picture that is ‘pinned’ to pinterest. When you decide to ‘pin’ a picture to Pinterest from your website or another website, you will be asked to choose a pinboard to post it into, and to write a descriptor.
Pinterest Board – a board is a virtual pinboard, resembling a scrapbook. You can ‘pin’ as many pictures as you like onto a relevant board and you can create as many boards as you like. Popular titles for boards include ‘My Dream Kitchen’, ‘My Wedding’, ‘For My Home’ and ‘Recipes’. You can pin as many pictures as you like to each board.
Repin – to repin means that somebody pins a pin that they see on pinterest – partly to share it so their followers can see it and partly because they want to include it on their boards. A pin can always be linked back to its original source by clicking on it. When you repin, you can change the descriptor of the pin if you wish.
Like – Liking a pin means that it isn’t added to your boards or your collection of pins but it will show on your profile as one of your ‘liked’ pins. The originator of the pin will receive a notifcation that you have liked it.
Comment – As with so many other social media tools, one can comment on other pins. However, very little time is spent doing this. People tend to either like or repins pins they like, rather than commenting. Hence, is pinterest going to be the place to develop relationships? Time will tell if this changes.
Following – You can follow all of another pinner’s boards or you can choose to follow selected boards. Following all means that you will see new boards as and when that pinner creates them.
Because my boards are set up in my personal name rather than for each business, my boards tend to be a mixture of social media, interior design and farming along with other things I like so I have noticed people following selected boards rather than selecting ‘follow all’.
You can unfollow someone and they won’t be notified. When you follow someone, they will receive an email showing a number of your pins to encourage them to follow you back.
Sharing to Facebook and Twitter – note that you can choose to have your pins coming through to facebook but that it is to your personal facebook page, not your business page. I tend to let the very occasional pin go to my facebook page, however, I let all of my pins and repins update my twitter stream, being careful to do so ‘little and often’.
Sharing a pin with another user – if you want to bring a pin to another pinner’s attention, you can comment on the pin and by using the @ symbol with the pinner’s username (you need to be following that pinner) , that person will be alerted to your comment and hence, the pin.
Sharing a board – you can share a board with other users so that they can also pin to that board and it will also show up on their page of boards. (See our post on how to share a board)
How can your blog work more effectively to generate more credibility, more brand awareness and more sales for your business? Yes, we all know blogging delivers in terms of improving your website’s search engine optimisation and thereby, improving the ranking for your website. However, blogging can also improve your brand awareness by providing you with free press coverage in various magazines and newspapers.
I’ll start off by providing you with a couple of examples of how blogging helped me to achieve considerable PR with my online business and how your blogs can have a synergy between them which means that one blog can improve the recognition and scope of another blog.
My Garrendenny Lane blog was less than a month old back in early 2008 when I received a telephone call from a journalist writing for a national weekly newspaper supplement (Irish Country Living of Irish Farmers Journal). Initially she was wondering if I could provide her with some of my photographs but during the course of our conversation, she realised that I was married to a dairy farmer and within 3 weeks, she had visited to interview me and the photographer had called and I was featured in a full page spread. That call came because an influential interiors blog at the time had placed me on her ‘Favourite Blogs’ list and the journalist followed the link. It was my first piece of free press coverage.
Sending out a press release giving news of a new exclusive wallpaper supplier resulted in press coverage in a number of Interiors magazines but perhaps more importantly, it meant that I could now build a relationship with these journalists, sending them information of new products that I was stocking, products that were not available elsewhere in Ireland and as a result, many of my products were featured in various Interiors magazines and weekend newspaper supplements.
Journalists are constantly looking for news angles for stories hence, try to phrase your blog topics or blog pages in such a way that they will find the answers to the questions they are asking. I recently delivered a talk on my use of social media to a business group in Wexford and during the course of my presentation, I mentioned my three blogs. Last week, I received a phone call from a journalist at the event, she had visited my Irish Farmerette blog and read my page ‘Why Farmers Should Blog’ and felt it fitted into an article she is writing for the international edition of the New York Times and rang me for a telephone interview. That page could have been written for any business type but I had moulded it to suit my personal blog and it spelt out something I felt strongly about which happened to suit the angle for this journalist’s article.
10 Tips – How To Get Free PR Via Your Blog
- Write about newsworthy topics.
- Think ahead – what events will be covered in the news in the coming weeks? Do you have a story that can be manipulated to tie in with a newsworthy story or event – write about it in your blog.
- Report on important events so that you become the go-to blogger for that particular event. This will strengthen your credibility as an expert in that area and you will be contacted for your opinion.
- Posit interesting angles on topics.
- Be slightly controversial.
- Write about a product that you are stocking that is exclusive or not readily available within your area.
- Promote your blog post on other social media channels – you never know which journalists might be following you.
- Identify questions that customers and journalists may ask and answer them within your blog posts.
- Use good images, particularly if your product/service is visual.
- Ensure your contact information is easy to find.
5 Tips For More Press Coverage
- Remember to thank them. Just as everyone does, journalists appreciate being thanked and they will be more likely to remember you and use you again.
- By sharing links to the press coverage, the journalist will know you are also working to ensure their piece is read by a large audience and is successful.
- Maintaining a good relationship with even one or two journalists will mean that they will refer you to others.
- Following journalists on twitter and engaging in conversation with them will get you noticed. However, ensure your replies or comments are meaningful and never overdo it.
- Be helpful. Journalists are often working to a tight deadline and need everything within a short space of time so by providing them with high resolution images or quotations quickly usually transfers into a higher likelihood of being included in their feature.
Has a journalist contacted you after finding your blog? I’d love to hear more stories of how blogs generated free press coverage.
If you are struggling to think of newsworthy topics for your blog, why not book a ‘blog consultation‘ with Marie or I where we can help you come up with a blogging strategy for the coming months.