Creating Flatlay Photography for Products: 8 Insider Tips

flat lay photography on aqua background

Want to switch up your aesthetic or showcase your products and services? Flatlay photography is a fantastic way to do both!

In this article, we’ll go through the whole process of creating a scroll-stopping flatlay product photo. First, we’ll brainstorm the visual story, arrange your objects, and then edit the final photo.

And even if flatlays aren’t part of your style, this is a great process to follow when fine-tuning your photo styling skills, too!

[sc name=”ivory-mix-webinar-evergreen-text”]

What is Flatlay Photography?

A flatlay is a photo of objects taken from directly above. 

You’ll organize props and your main subjects on a flat surface, then stand directly over it to snap the picture.

The props are used to tell a story and create a feeling based on that main subject. Common main subjects of flatlay photos are books, clothing, food, art, and other small- to medium-sized objects.

Flatlay photo
Photo by @tehteredandtold on IG

Flatlay Photography Set-up: A Checklist of What You Need

Before you gather the equipment for your flatlay, here are some things to consider:

  • What color scheme do you want your photo to have? If you want some inspiration for color combinations, use the free color palette planner
  • What will the main lighting source of your photo be? Natural light is best for flatlays, so you might set up near a window or even outside.
  • What will your background be? This could be a hardwood floor, your desk, a patterned cloth, or whatever best fits the aesthetic you’d like to create in your flatlay. Make sure it’s a clean, flat surface.
  • What will you stand on to take the photo?

This may seem like a lot, but don’t let that stop you. It’s so much fun to experiment with different backgrounds, lighting, and color combinations!

Once you do one flatlay, you’ll know exactly what to do next time.

Now, let’s gather some essential items:

  • Your primary object (the “hero”)
  • Props: think about how your photo’s main subject makes you feel, and pick props that help tell the visual story.
  • Light sources: you can also “dress up” your photo by having a secondary light source, such as fairy lights or candles. 
  • Textures: for visual interest. This could be a scarf, crumpled paper, ivy vines—anything!
teacup on white surface with scattered tea leaves
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

How to Create a Stunning Flat Lay Photo (8 Tips!)

You’re ready to take stunning flatlay photos for your brand! Let’s start with the story behind your photo and create a set based on that.

Create a Story for Your Photo

A great flatlay photo is much more than throwing some objects down and snapping a picture. Each element helps tell the story of your main subject. 

The props should add to the overall vibe you want the photo to have.

If a book is your main subject, think about what objects showed up throughout the story that were important: perhaps a map or a key. 

If your focus is a cake, some measuring bowls and a spoon may work.

Set Up Your Surface

It’s time to build your set! You may choose to set up on the counter, table, or floor. Make sure to clear any clutter and give it a good wipe-down before arranging.

The background is a key element in the story of your photo, but if you don’t like it as is, don’t worry.

Example: if you’re featuring cookies but don’t want to show your countertop, you can hide it using cloths, cutting boards, or baking pans. Get creative!

journal on grey chair in dappled light
Photo by @tetheredandtold on Instagram

Check and Adjust Lighting

As in all photography, good lighting is crucial.

Like we mentioned before, natural light works best for flatlays rather than harsh, artificial light. Do you have a window that gets indirect light? Take some test photos to see how the lighting works in different places around your home. 

You could even set up outside (overcast days work best because the light is more even). Don’t forget: you can also play with shadows.

Too dark? Think about other ways you can brighten up the photo. Fairy lights and candles are commonly-used props and secondary light sources in flatlays. 

Place Your Product

It’s good for the “hero” object to differ in size and/or color from the props so it stands out. (This is called “visual hierarchy.”) The question is, where do you put it?

In the middle of the frame is a simple option, but there are so many ways to change it up while still making sure it’s the main focus of your flatlay.

One option is to use the “rule of thirds.” This means that your photo is divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically, and you place the hero object where the lines intersect. It’ll be slightly off-center.

Your hero object doesn’t have to be fully in the frame, either; it can be partially out of view as well. It might also be situated diagonally rather than perfectly straight.

flatlay photography example
Photo by @tetheredandtold on Instagram

Place Your Secondary Props and Items

Arranging your props and secondary objects may take some time, but it’ll really make your flatlay photo stand out. The rule of thirds will definitely come in handy here, as will the “visual hierarchy” we talked about a minute ago. 

Create “leading lines” with your props—that’s when they lead your eye straight to your hero objects. Your hands and arms make wonderful leading lines!

Texture is important to maintain visual interest as well. Successful flatlays contain many textures to keep the viewer’s eye engaged.

You can also put objects on top of one another. Stacked objects come closer to the camera, even being out of focus, creating depth, and making the photo seem more lifelike.

fairy lights add interesting depth and texture to a flat lay photo
Photo by @thebookaroma on Instagram

Shoot From Above

Standing on a chair might be able to get you to a good height for shooting. Alternatively, you could use a tripod or even a ladder.

Be sure to double-check that your camera or phone is as flat as possible before taking the picture. 

Include Shots That Leave Room For Text

Using your flatlay photos for other social or sales channels, like Pinterest or Facebook? If so, it’s a good idea to photograph multiple versions of your flatlay, sometimes leaving a blank space to add text or graphics later.

Like with the hero objects, you can leave that space in the middle, along the intersecting lines of the rule of thirds, or around the edges of the photo.

For tips on adding text and graphics to your photo, check out our “How to Add Text Overlay to Your Pins” article.

Edit Your Photo

Now that you’ve taken some gorgeous flatlay photos, it’s time to edit. This is the last step and it’s where you’ll make the aesthetic come to life. Oftentimes, this includes reducing shadows, increasing brightness, and adjusting HSL.

If your chosen colors are warm and cozy like browns and earthy greens, you’d increase the temperature and tune them using HSL. Or, if you’ve chosen clean whites and grays, you’d decrease the temperature, desaturate a bit, and up your highlights.

Need editing tips? Our article on basic photo editing covers all your questions.

flatlay photo of book surrounded by paper and keys
Photo by @frantargaryen on Instagram

[sc name=”ivory-mix-webinar-evergreen”]

Conclusion: How to Get Perfect Product Photography Flatlays

Flatlays are perfect for showcasing your products and services. Practicing is the best way to figure out what fits best with your brand!

Follow people and brands on social media whose photos inspire you to keep experimenting. Take loads of pictures of your set, rearranging your hero objects and props to find what works best visually. Spend a little time making new sets, and you’ll become a flatlay master in no time!

Pin Me For Reference :

Puzzling over how to make your products shine on social? Use our handy guide to take stunning flatlay photography that your followers can't resist!

How to Master Basic Photo Editing in 6 Steps

photo editing controls and picture on a blue background

Ever set out to learn how to edit photos and immediately been confused by all those fancy photo editing terms? Dreaming of a perfectly curated Instagram feed?

Or maybe your ultimate goal is to take gorgeous photos for your brand. No matter where you are in your photography journey, have no fear!

We’re about to unlock the door to photographic mastery by going through all the main features of the basic photo editing process.

Even if you’re a beginner, these tips will send you on the way to editing photography like a professional!

Let’s get started!

[sc name=”ivory-mix-photography-webinar-image-cta”]

Photo Editing for Beginners: Tips to Know Before You Start

Before we dive in, here are some snippets to keep in mind:

Which photo editing software will you start with? Snapseed and VSCO are great apps for editing on your mobile device.

I use Adobe Lightroom photo editor on my laptop for photos I take with my camera, and it also has a great mobile app.

RAW or JPEG? These are two different formats for your photography. Shooting in RAW is uncompressed, meaning that you’ll be able to edit in much greater detail.

Shooting in JPEG compresses your photo so you won’t be able to fine-tune your photo as much. If possible, I recommend shooting in RAW.

Let your creativity run free. The best way to learn is by letting yourself play with your editing tool. Explore each feature, really getting a feel for which parts of your photo it affects.

Follow photographers you love. Make sure to soak in the work that inspires you to keep practicing!

If you have a brand, what’s your aesthetic? You want your photos to be instantly recognizable. The more you practice editing, the quicker you’ll figure out the style that best represents your brand and products.

Now, let’s jump into the good stuff: making stunning photo edits.

Step One: Crop and Align Your Photo

An important first step in editing your photography is cropping and aligning. This gets your photo closer to its stunning final form.

You’re probably familiar with cropping, which simply means cutting off the unwanted edges of your image.

If you take a great picture of a sunset, for example, but there’s an ugly telephone pole on the side, you’d crop that out so it’s not visible anymore.

What if the horizon in your sunset photo is crooked? Here’s where the align tool comes in: it’ll put a grid on top of your image to use as a reference for straightening that horizon line.

Using the crop, rotate and align tool for photo editing

Step Two: Adjust Exposure and Contrast

One of the first things you’ll want to adjust after cropping and alignment is the exposure. This means how bright or dark your photo is!

Before and after photo edit manipulating exposure
Photos courtesy of Syd Wachs

When your picture is too dark, it’s underexposed, and when it’s too bright, it’s overexposed. You’ll know that it’s overexposed because the bright parts of your photo will give off a white glow.

Also, pay attention to the contrast. Contrast is the difference between the lights and darks in your photo.

When you increase the contrast during editing, your brights will get brighter and your shadows will get darker.

Adjusting contrast before and after

Step Three: Play With White Balance, Temperature, and Tint

Now we’re getting a bit more into the fine-tuning of your photo editing process. Let’s talk about white balance, temperature, and tint.

White balance adjusts the overall accuracy of light in your photo, meaning that what’s white to your eyes comes out as white in the picture.

Have you ever taken a photo that ends up looking quite blue (cool) or orange (warm) overall? That’s what your white balance setting corrects.

On your camera, you can choose a pre-set white balance according to the environment of where you’re shooting, whether it’s in the sun, shade, cloudy, etc.

There’s also an auto white balance setting, but it may not always be the most accurate. Try to choose the setting that most closely matches where you are.

Every source of light has a temperature. For example, if you take a photo in the shade, it’ll come out looking cooler than in the sunlight, which will be very warm. Our eyes regulate these differences for us so we don’t notice, but the camera picks it up and can skew colors and skin tones!

Light also has a tint. Rather than being on the blue-orange spectrum, tint is on the green-magenta spectrum. Tint can sometimes swing too far in either direction, mostly if you’re shooting indoors or using artificial light.

Step Four: Work With Brightness, Highlights, and Shadows

There is a slight difference between exposure and brightness. Exposure places slightly more emphasis on brightening the areas of your photo that are already lighter and the brightness feature focuses more on your image as a whole.

If you want to adjust only the lights or darks of your photo, you’ll work with the highlights and shadows tools.

Manipulating highlights and shadows picture editing

It’s as simple as it sounds: working with highlights will increase or decrease the bright areas of your picture, and shadows will do the same with the darks.

Step Five: Toggle Saturation and the Vibrancy of Your Colors

Saturation refers to how vivid all the colors in your photo are. If you increase the saturation, every single color will get really intense.

The vibrancy tool specifically targets the washed-out colors in your picture, making them more lively.

adjusting saturation, vibrancy and HSL.

You can manually adjust each color, too. In your photo editing program, locate where it breaks down each individual color into a separate scale. This is commonly labeled HSL, and it’s where you can find the hue, saturation, and luminance tools.

Let’s say you want to increase the blue in your photo. Use hue to make the blue color stand out more, saturation to make it more vivid, and luminance to make the blues brighter or darker.

Play around with these to get the hang of them!

Step Six: Adjust Sharpness, Clarity, and Noise

Some other adjustments you might make while editing your photography are sharpness, clarity, and noise. 

Sharpening is commonly used for attempts to fix a blurry image, but it’s a finicky tool that can easily skew the texture of your photo.

If you want to clear things up, you could also try the more subtle clarity tool. Increasing your image’s clarity will increase the textures visible in the photo.

Noise is that graininess that sits over the whole image. It’s easily visible in some film photography, or in photos that were really dark and you had to brighten them up a lot in editing. 

Removing a small amount of noise is possible without ruining your photo. Your editing program will have options for “noise reduction.”

Pro photo editing tip: if overdone, it can take away a lot of the texture in your picture, giving it an almost painted look.

It’s important to make sure your lighting is good when taking photos so you don’t have an excessive amount of noise in the end.

Conclusion: How to Edit Photos Like a Professional

Remember: practice makes perfect! With these tips, you’ll be a photo editing pro in no time.

If you need some motivation to start learning how to edit pictures, follow photographers whose work inspires you to get out there and take more pictures.

Let your creativity go wild and play around with different elements in your photography editing program.

You never know, you might accidentally discover your signature style, just like I did!

Pin Me For Reference :

Longing for gorgeous photos, but unsure how to make the picture edits that matter? Learn basic photo editing and what it all means here!

6 Steps to a Simple Pinterest Marketing Strategy

Blog image - 6 Steps to a Simple Pinterest Marketing Strategy

How do I get started marketing on Pinterest? How much should I Pin? Should I Pin other people’s content, or just my own? Can someone just give me a simple strategy?

Why, yes, we can! If you have your account set up and you’re ready got GO but you don’t know what to do next, you’ve come to the right place!

Watch the Live discussion with me and co host Jeff Sieh, or keep reading!

Pinterest Strategy #1: Prioritize Your Own Content

Your content is what will drive traffic and sales to your site. AND, since you’ve claimed your website, Pinterest knows it’s your content. Pinterest loves ❤️active contributors, so by all means, create and save your content!

This doesn’t mean you can’t save other people’s content if it would be of interest to your followers and you want to support other hard-working creators. However, there is no rule that says you must save anyone else’s content and no merit in any 80/20 or 20/80 rules.

Nor is there any minimum or maximum number of Pins per day. Just remain consistently active, which might mean just 1-5 Pins per day for you, especially when you’re just starting out.

Tailwind makes it easy to never miss a day of activity on Pinterest. [sc name=”Pinterest Signup – Text Link”]

Pinterest Strategy #2: Save New Content To Pinterest Right Away

Save your new blog post and product listing images to the most relevant Board right away. So, your post on “10 healthy back-to-school lunches” fits better in “Healthy Lunch Ideas” than “Parenting tips,” but it might also belong on your “Back-to-school Ideas” and “School Lunch Ideas” Boards.

Just use Tailwind Interval Pinning to get them out to all relevant Boards. We suggest spreading them out a bit, with a default of 7 days between Pins. You can extend that if you like!

Pinterest Strategy #3: Create and Save Images That Convert EVERY WEEK

So much of Pinterest IS about the images. What makes an effective image? At its most basic level, great Pinterest images are professional-looking and inspiring. But there’s so much more to it. For instance:

  • When you can show someone using your product, you could get up to 67% more offline sales.
  • Your product or service should be the focal point of the Pin – even when you use lifestyle images.
  • Add tasteful logo placement in the top or bottom center. The corners are often used by Pinterest for engagement buttons, visual search, etc.
  • Use a vertical format (ie., 600×900) for optimal results.
  • Align with seasonal or life moments (22% online sales lift)
  • Text overlays to show product or service details (54% higher conversion to email)

If  you haven’t yet seen this video from Pinterest showing how to improve results with various creative elements, it’s worth a look!

Pinterest Strategy #4: Write Descriptions that Motivate

Pin descriptions add context to your image and they can impact where your content shows up on Pinterest and who sees it. They can also help build brand awareness and motivate Pinners to action. In fact, using your brand name in the first sentence of a Pin description can increase your conversion rate to email signups by 54%!

Pinterest Pin Description Tips:

  • Use relevant keywords in your description, but write in natural sentences and never keyword stuff.
  • Include in your description anything that might help people decide if your Pin is relevant to them. The more details, the better.
  • Use clear, actionable wording and strong call to action in description (“sign up,” “get yours,” “discover” for 70% higher conversion rate to signup).
  • Use up to 500 characters and put the most important part first, since the first 30 or so characters are what people see in the feed.

While a Pin description can feel like an afterthought, give it the time it deserves – it can make a huge difference in your success.

[sc name=”create-cta-blue-bloggers”]

Pinterest Strategy #5: Use Your Keywords

Keywords on Pinterest help your content appear in relevant searches. Pinterest looks for cohesion between the keywords used on the text:

  • In text on your image,
  • In your Pin description,
  • In Pin titles,
  • In Board titles and descriptions,
  • On the website to which you’re linking

The interesting thing about a Pinterest search is that you won’t always see a direct correlation between what you searched and all of the results you get. Pinterest is trying to help us discover related ideas. So, think of Pinterest SEO as part science, part magic…and that just makes it even more fun! ✨

But, back to keywords! You can start with your keyword list for Google if you have one, but know that on Pinterest, people are not search for brand names – in fact, 97% of searches are unbranded. They are often searching for ideas and tips, which you’ll see if you start to enter a search in the search bar. Let’s use “running” as our starter key word.

Hit “enter” and you’ll see even more ideas:

This is Pinterest telling you that Pinners use these words and searches when looking for content related to running. Incorporate these in all the important spots!

Pinterest Strategy #6: Analyze, Tweak, and Repeat

Now it’s time to see what’s working to bring traffic to your site. Pinterest’s own analytics are great for that! Keep in mind that it can take months to see a considerable increase in Pinterest traffic once you start really trying. When you’re ready to look:

  1. Simply go to Analytics > Overview and change the drop-down option to link clicks,
  2. If you’re advertising, change Content types to Organic,
  3. Change your Claimed accounts to your URL (to exclude your Pins to others’ content),
  4. Change Devices to All and Source All, so you can see the impact of your own activity and that of others on clicks.

What can you learn from this? See which Pins have the highest click rate. What do they have in common? Is one particular style or topic recurring in the top ten? Is that Pin you thought sure would do great falling flat? Redesign it and try again!

Get Pinterest-Specific Content Ideas from Analytics

Now, change the “Claimed accounts” option to “Other Pins” to see what Pins to other people’s content is getting clicks. What can you adopt from their Pin topics to get some of that action for your own content on Pinterest?

It looks like content about Etsy, graphic design, and time-saving Pinterest strategies are really resonating with our audience. We should consider adding that to our editorial calendar!

Recap: Steps to a Simple Pinterest Marketing Strategy

You wanted more? It’s really pretty simple, and your success will have more to do with your content strategy than with anything else you do. Follow these steps:

  1. Prioritize your own content.
  2. Save your own content to a relevant Board right away.
  3. Create and save new images WEEKLY.
  4. Write motivating Pin titles and descriptions.
  5. Use your keywords.
  6. Analyze, tweak, and repeat!

Still, if you want more in-depth information on setting up your account, keyword research, and lots more, check out our Getting Traffic From Pinterest Guide. [sc name=”CTA – Image – Pinterest Traffic Guide”]

Was this helpful? Please Pin it!

Blog image - 6 Steps to a Simple Pinterest Marketing Strategy

Share The Love ❤ Double Referral Credits Through February!

Share the Love of Tailwind

We love our members. We love learning about what they’re passionate about. We love hearing comments and suggestions about our tool (in fact, that helps plan our roadmap). We just really love getting to know them. And now we want to share the love.

Current Tailwind Members: Until the end of February we are offering double referral credit to all users to help you share the love! When you give $30 of Tailwind to your friends (at no cost to you) you’ll get $30 for yourself when they upgrade to Plus.

Get Your Tailwind Referral Link

New To Tailwind: If you’re new to Tailwind, this is the perfect time to get started! Start your free trial and receive $30 credit – that’s two free months of Tailwind! 

Get 2 Months Of Tailwind Free

❤ Twitter Love from Tailwind Members

What are you waiting for? Join the more than 100,000 members who love using Tailwind!

Get 2 Months Of Tailwind Free

7 Yuuuge Pinterest Tips in 7 Minutes

For many Tailwind members Pinterest is their largest, or second largest, source of traffic.

Did you know that clicks from Pinterest often generate more dollars than clicks from Google organic search?

We all know someone who could benefit by learning how to market through Pinterest, and if we’re honest with ourselves that someone maybe us.

We thought we’d make it as simple to get started as 7 great pieces of content from the Tailwind back catalog.  It’ll take you 7 minutes to glance over these so that you know enough to dive deeper when you have the time – so here we go!

7 Huge Pinterest Tips in 7 Minutes

The Basics


Getting serious


New users get $30 Tailwind credit – offer ends midnight Friday Oct 21st!

That’s two months free!

Start Free Extended Trial


Share this post with a friend in need

If you know anyone who just needs a nudge to take the plunge with Pinterest marketing please share this post with them.  One day they’ll thank you for it.


7 Huge Pinterest Tips in 7 Minutes

Yes, Keyword Rich Descriptions Still Matter for Pinterest SEO

Writing keyword rich descriptions for your Pins has been of the most important things you can do to attract traffic to your website from Pinterest. But with Pinterest changing the way it displays Pins and cutting off descriptions, is spending time writing descriptions still worth it?


Example of Pinterest truncating descriptions.

Example of Pinterest truncating descriptions.

Although what we’re seeing on Pinterest has changed an unbelievable amount lately, the way Pinterest works when it comes to keywords and search engine optimization (SEO) is still relatively unchanged. As an SEO expert and Pinterest aficionado, I’m putting my money on descriptions still being important for a long time to come on Pinterest.

Pinterest SEO Still Essential

If your goal is to get more traffic to your website from Pinterest, you want to give your content as many opportunities to be clicked as possible. That means optimizing your Pins to make them show up in Pinterest search, appear in the Smart Feed, and making them as Repinnable as possible both on your website and on Pinterest.  In short, it means Pinterest SEO.

While it’s a long laundry list of things you want to do on Pinterest, writing descriptions can go a long way towards helping you get your desired results.

Descriptions Tell Pinterest What You Want it to Know

Pinterest is, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, a search engine (although it’s definitely not Google). Like other search engines, Pinterest uses contextual clues to understand what your Pin is about and whether it’s something other Pinners would like to see.

How Pinterest Knows What your Pin is

    • The description
    • The image
    • The Pin’s link
    • The boards it is Pinned to
  • Pin engagement, including Repins and likes

Images are and will always be the most important part of Pinterest from a Pinner’s perspective. After all, we’re on Pinterest to discover new things visually. But images aren’t the only thing Pinterest looks at to determine if your Pin is valuable to other Pinners.

Although Pinterest can use image detection tools to identify the image, it is still imperfect. Try visual searching a picture of frosting. It’ll likely turn up Pins of ice cream, bread dough or even mashed potatoes!

Pinterest can’t figure out the meaning of a Pin from the image alone. That’s where words come in. Pinterest looks at the words in your Pin, like the description, Rich Pin information, board title and other words to understand your Pin.

Even though Pinterest is truncating descriptions, descriptions are still there in their entirety. They’re functioning much more like meta data behind the scenes of a website that Google or other search engines read to understand more about a site—but that doesn’t show for you or I looking at the website.

The best way to tell Pinterest what your Pin is about is through words. Why leave Pinterest to its own devices when you can better control how Pinterest understands your Pins?

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”Words are the best way to tell #Pinterest what your Pin is about #SMM” display_tweet=”Words are the best way to tell Pinterest what your Pin is about.”]

Including keywords in your description and board name can go a long way to helping Pinterest understand why your Pin is relevant and that it should be shown to more Pinners.

What’s the Deal with Truncated Descriptions?

Even though behind the scenes Pinterest is still using words to create their platform, users have always focused on the images. Today’s Pinterest design is a much less noisy space with a tighter focus on the visual aspects of Pinterest.

When testing on the iOS app:

    • In the feed or search, descriptions are 3 lines of about 26 characters
    • Rich Pins don’t show a description until you click on the Pin itself
  • On an individual Pin page, descriptions are 4 lines of roughly 40 characters

Example of Pinterest truncating descriptions in Pinterest iOS app.

Example of Pinterest truncating descriptions in Pinterest iOS app.

So with the renewed focus on visual, do Pinners still read descriptions?

Think of it this way: if you’re on the fence about clicking on a Pin, what do you look at to decide to click? Personally, I look at the description to see if it looks spammy, broken or irrelevant to what I want before clicking through. There’s little more frustrating for a Pinner than clicking through and ending up on a spam website or something that had nothing to do with the Pin.

Even though they’re shorter, descriptions are still valuable for your website beyond keywords. A good description might be the nudge someone needs to click through.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”A good #Pinterest description might be the nudge someone needs to click through #SMM” display_tweet=”A good Pin description might be the nudge someone needs to click through.”]

Put your Keywords at the Front of your Pinterest Descriptions

It’s still worth writing Pinterest descriptions. They can result in more exposure and a higher click through rate (CTR).  But now that Pinterest is truncating descriptions, it’s more important than ever to place keywords at the front of your descriptions and keep calls-to-action short and sweet to increase clicks.

SEOs know that search engines attribute more relevance (importance) to keywords that users can actually see (and read) on the page.  They do this to stop spammers from hiding keywords in non-visible parts of their content (like the now truncated part of your Pin’s description).  Following that logic, you’ll want to use your most important keywords in the visible part of your Pin description.

You have less time to capture a Pinner’s attention with a description now. So how do you capture attention, get in your keywords and encourage action with less of your Pin description visible?

Make descriptions shorter

Now that descriptions are truncated, you want to make your descriptions short and to the point. Treating them like a descriptive subtitle is a great way to think about how to write better descriptions.

Put keywords towards the front of your description

When people are searching for particular ideas or concepts, they’re trying to match up what they want to what they see. The easier and quicker you can help people make the connection, the more clicks your content will likely receive.

Add a call-to-action at the end, if space allows

Calls-to-action can help you gain more click-throughs from your Pins, both in the image itself and in your description. But now that we’re short on space, a call-to-action in your description is less important than making sure your description accurately describes what’s behind the Pin to encourage click-throughs. If space allows, you can add a call-to-action as the final phrase of your description that will show if someone clicks through to see the individual Pin before clicking through to your site.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”A call-to-action is less important than keywords that accurately describe what’s behind your Pin” display_tweet=”A call-to-action is less important than keywords that accurately describe what’s behind your Pin”]

No matter what your perspective on Pinterest’s changes, it’s important to stay the course and keep up with best practices. Write descriptions, create great graphics, and keep on building your Pinterest profile up with curated content your audience loves. You’ll be well on your way to Pinterest success, no matter what changes may come.

You may also enjoy Pinterest SEO: How to Build a Strong Foundation

How do you feel about the truncated descriptions? Let us know in the comments! 

[sc name=”pinterest boilerplate”]

What’s Up With Pinterest’s New Group Board Messages?

If you’ve been on Pinterest recently, you might have noticed something a little different about your account:

New: Group Board Messages on Pinterest

Messages alerting you to new Pins on group boards in Pinterest

You’re getting a lot more messages. This is due to a change in how Pinterest alerts users to new Pins on their group boards.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”‘What’s Up With #Pinterest’s New Group Board Messages?'” display_tweet=”‘What’s Up With Pinterest’s New Group Board Messages?'”]

What’s Happening?

With this change, your fellow collaborators are sent a message when someone saves a Pin to the group board. This is done when you Pin organically, use a third party scheduling app (like Tailwind), or when you drag a Pin to the chat bubble on a group board:

Adding a Pin to a group Board Message

New ‘Try sending the group a message or dragging a Pin’ message on Pinterest

The Pins will show up both on the collaborative board and in your group message. This change only effects group boards with fewer than 20 collaborators.

Why The Change?

Pinterest activated this new feature to help facilitate conversations around Pins on group boards. For example, if you’re Pinning about an upcoming vacation with friends, you can all automatically discuss the options for activities, hotels, and restaurants right on Pinterest.

Using Group Board Messages for Planning

Example of a group board message on Pinterest

By having the Pin show up as a message, you can bypass creating a separate thread to have a discussion around the topic.

What If I Don’t Want to See Group Board Messages?

Right now, there’s not a way to specifically opt-out of this feature. You can leave the group board, block certain collaborators, or add people until your board has more than 20 collaborators. While there is not a way to leave group chats yet, Pinterest is looking for feedback on the feature here.

What do you think about group chats on Pinterest? Let us know in the comments!

What's Up With Pinterest's New Group Board Messages?

Pin this post!

Pinterest Advertising: Make the Most of Your Promoted Pins Campaign

This post is based on a Facebook Live Q&A about Pinterest advertising and Promoted Pins. Watch the first 10 minutes below or check out Launchpad for the FREE full video:

Tired of hearing all the hype about Pinterest’s advertising platform, Promoted Pins? Maybe you’ve even considered launching your own campaign but held off to see if it’s worth the investment.

Pinterest advertising is gaining steam. Now is a good time to see how these Promoted Pin campaigns can move your business forward.

In fact, Pinterest is expanding the Promoted Pins option internationally. You can now run campaigns from the UK. We are anticipating other countries are on the horizon. More importantly, our users have recounted their results as, “Stinking awesome.” Quite an endorsement if we say so ourselves.  

Well, we’re here to encourage you to throw your hat into the ring.

Don’t worry. We wouldn’t advise doing anything that we don’t do ourselves. We continually run our own campaigns to increase brand awareness and lead generation. That’s probably not a surprise as we continually proclaim that Pinterest is the most robust and effective social media platform around.

The good news is that we are opening our playbook to showcase the best practices and tips for running your first Pinterest advertising campaign.

First Things First

In order to run a campaign, you have to have a business Pinterest account. If you have a personal account, you can easily convert it to a business account. You’ll keep all your boards and followers. This unlocks the ability to use Pinterest analytics, rich pins, link your account to your website and run campaigns.

Before starting your campaign, we highly recommend confirming your website on Pinterest. This is particularly important if you chose engagement campaigns. Long term the benefits keep adding up for having your website verified, even if you don’t use Pinterest advertising.

Types of Promoted Pins

There are two types of promoted pins campaigns you can run, a traffic campaign or an engagement campaign. Here is how Pinterest describes each of them:

“Engagement campaign: Pay when people engage with your Promoted Pin (closeup, repin and click). You should run an engagement campaign if your primary goal is to reach a wider audience on Pinterest.

Traffic campaign: Pay when people click on your Promoted Pin to visit your website. You should run a traffic campaign if your primary goal is to drive sales on your business website.”

Think of Engagement Pins as a strategy to reach people early on in their buying process. Pinterest is the perfect platform for “future intent,” or for creating recognition with clients who are not ready to buy today. This campaign creates brand awareness, boosts account engagement and gets your content in front of more users.

While verifying your URL with Pinterest is considered best practice, it’s even more important when launching an engagement campaign. When you have a verified URL, each pinner who interacts with your ad will get a notification to follow your boards. All engagement with your other pins is a free byproduct of your campaign.  

Traffic campaigns are designed to reach people ready to act now. They are more expensive but better at driving targeted traffic to your website, selling a product, moving customers into your sales funnel or capturing an e-mail with a lead capture. When running a traffic campaign, it’s important to use super targeted traffic suggestions.

Defining Campaign Goals

Most likely your next question is, “What content should I promote?”

That’s a great question, which we’ll cover in-depth in the next section. But it’s not the most important question. Before launching any advertising campaign, it’s essential to have specific and measurable goals. This not only influences which type of promoted pin you use, it also defines how you will evaluate how successful the campaign is.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”Before launching any advertising campaign, it’s essential to have specific and measurable goals. #SMM #SMMeasure” display_tweet=”Before launching any advertising campaign, it’s essential to have specific and measurable goals.”]

Typical engagement campaign goals include:  

    • Growing your Pinterest following;
  • Reaching broader audience with pins;

Traffic campaign related goals typically include:

    • Driving traffic to your website;
    • Selling products and increasing revenue;
  • Growing your e-mail list.

Once you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish with your campaign, and which type of promoted campaign you want to use, it’s time to move into selecting pins that are going to drive results.  

Choosing What to Promote and When

Pinterest has specific guidelines on what you are allowed to promote.

First, know that you can only promote your own content that is on a public board. Hopefully it’s pretty obvious why promoting content on a secret board might not be the best use of your money, and why Pinterest doesn’t allow it. This also means that you can’t promote other account’s pins. For example, you can’t promote an affiliate that has an excellent pin highlighting how awesome your product is.

Pinterest has specific guidelines on the type of content you can promote. You’re not allowed to promote gifs, videos, or images with prices or discounts. They also prohibit certain products, such as tobacco, weight loss pills or online gambling. You can check out Pinterest’s advertising standards here.

Pro pinner tip: If you want pricing information to show up in your promoted campaign, use a Rich Pin that has the price embedded into the description.  

Phew! Glad we got all of the logistics out of the way. Now to the good stuff, the pins you can, and want to, promote.

As a general starting point, it’s a good idea to promote a pin or blog post that has already done well. There’s no use investing into a pin that doesn’t resonate with your audience. Our Tailwind dashboard can help you evaluate which content has performed best and which pins to avoid putting money into.

For future campaigns, we suggest that you organically pin related content one to two months before you start your paid campaign. This gives you the ability to gain some initial traction, determine which pins are worth investing into and make the most of the organic traffic before hand.

If all of this seems a little overwhelming, don’t despair! We created a robust, yet easy to use, content calendar. This resource outlines suggestions on the type of content you should be pinning, promoting and creating each month of the year. It’s the calendar you wished you had when you first heard of Pinterest. Grab our FREE content calendar here.

Creating a Campaign

On the Pinterest toolbar in the right-hand corner there is a button with a +. Click on that and scroll down to “Create ad.” If this is your first time, Pinterest will walk you through several initial questions. Once you finish the slideshow, you will arrive at the ads dashboard.

Create a Promoted Pin

Here you select either an Engagement Campaign or a Traffic Campaign.

Once you select the campaign type, you will need to enter the campaign details. This will include outlining the date range and the lifetime budget or daily budget.

In this section you can also name your campaign. This is for you to keep track of your campaigns. We typically include the goal of the campaign in the name, such as “Lead Generation.”

Choose the type of campaign and name it

The next step is to select your pin. Pinterest will auto populate this screen with a selection of your pins. They have different filters, such as “30-day most repinned,” to help you select. You can also search for a specific pin by URL.  

Select a Pin to promote

Then you can build in your targeting options. This is setting parameters around who will see your pin. You have the option of including “Your audiences”, “Interests” and “Keywords.”

Audiences are a brand new addition to the Pinterest’s Ads dashboard. This allows you to specifically target an email list or an audience similar to your email list (called a lookalike audience), or retarget people who have visited your webiste. This is a more advanced tool, so unlesss you have an email list already built up then you can skip this step.

We recommend including a few relevant Interests.  This helps your ad populate when users browse through the interest selections. Interests are broken into broad categories. Make sure to expand the sub-categories and deselect any that don’t apply to your business.

If you have predetermined keywords, you can copy and paste those into the keyword section. Keywords help narrow in on your audience and we recommend using no fewer than 30. You can research keywords through Google’s Keyword planner.

The last targeting options are locations, languages, devices and gender. Pick the selections that mirror those of your target demographic.

How to Price Your Pins

The final section on the “Add more details” section is the “Maximum bid.” This is where you tell Pinterest the most you want to pay for a click or engagement, depending on your campaign type. Once you enter a number, Pinterest will tell you if it is a low, good or strong bid.

Bidding suggestions for Promoted Pins

Underneath the bidding box you will see a suggested price range. If it’s not there when you start, enter in a number. It will pop up once it registers your bid.

We recommend choosing a bid in the middle.

As you become more proficient with your ads, you will be able to pinpoint a better range for your unique demographic. There are some campaigns where we maximize our budget by going below the recommended bid as well as other times where we need to be a stronger bid.

It’s more of an art than a science. You can monitor throughout the life of your campaign to adjust as necessary.

If you find that you aren’t using your entire daily budget, it’s likely one of two reasons. First, review your pin to ensure that it is attractive, will captivate your audience, and has all of the hallmarks of a great Pin. If you are sure that you have a strong pin, it’s time to up your maximum bid.

Often times when we have a pin performing well, maxing out the daily budget, we move our maximum bid down a little. We then wait to see if we are still able to maximize our budget.

Measuring Results

We wouldn’t leave you without your most powerful asset when running ads. Yes, these are the numbers, metrics, and analytics. Any marketing campaign isn’t worth its salt if you can’t tell how you did.

In the Pinterest ads dashboard, you can see how many clicks, engagements and impressions you received. If you are running multiple campaigns, you can also evaluate which pins are performing better.

Promoted Pins Campaign Metrics

When you pair the Pinterest dashboard with our robust Tailwind dashboard, you can gain a clear picture of your campaign results. In our dashboard you can see the performance of individual pins, including a history of how it’s performed over time. This is found under the “Pin Inspector” page:

See how a Pin has performed over time in Tailwind's Pin Inspector

We also have tools to help you determine your website traffic numbers from Pinterest. This helps you track what is working.

Track the performance of images from your domain in Tailwind

Was it Successful?

Now that you have all the data, it’s time for the big question. Was your campaign successful?

Many pinners want to know industry standards or what to expect for each bid range. To be completely honest, it varies dramatically by industry, targeted audience, and interests. There isn’t a cut and dry template to measure your campaign against.

We suggest you measure against yourself, evaluating your campaign against your goals. At the end of the day, success is as variable as your unique goals for the campaign.

Did you drive more unique visitors to your website?

Did you capture more e-mail addresses?

Did you sell products?

Did the campaign help grow your business or bottom line?

When you use that as a measuring guide, you’ll be able to use promoted pins to drive success for your unique business.

Tell Us About Your Promoted Pins Campaigns

Have you run a promoted pins campaign? Let us know what you found successful or areas that you are struggling in. Maybe we’ll even do another Facebook Live event 😉 

Pinterest Advertising: Making the Most of Your Promoted Pins Campaign

Share this post on Pinterest!

Pin Curation: The Cornerstone of a Strong Pinterest Strategy

What’s the cornerstone of any great Pinterest strategy effort? Great Pins. However, there’s more to a great Pin than you may realize, and an effective, engaging Pin doesn’t happen by accident.

Pin Curation: The Cornerstone of a Strong Pinterest Strategy

In this post, I’ll talk about how images, descriptions and source links combine to create engaging and effective content for reaching your audience. I’ll guide you through the fundamentals of Pin curation, and how to tell a compelling brand story by weaving your Pins’ messages together. In fact, I’ll even show you how to tell the difference between the high-quality Pins that your followers will love, and the Pins that you’re better off ignoring.

In this post, I’ll talk about how images, descriptions and source links combine to create engaging and effective content for reaching your audience. I’ll guide you through the fundamentals of Pin curation, and how to tell a compelling brand story by weaving your Pins’ messages together. In fact, I’ll even show you how to tell the difference between the high-quality Pins that your followers will love, and the Pins that you’re better off ignoring.

What will not be covered, at least not in this post, is how to create your own Pins. While creating great Pins will absolutely help you build your brand on Pinterest, it’s not the most important part of Pinterest marketing. If you want to grow your brand, you first need to understand how engagement works.

Believe it or not, you can build a huge Pinterest following and build your brand identity simply by curating great content.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”You can build a huge #Pinterest following and build your brand identity simply by curating great content” display_tweet=”you can build a huge Pinterest following and build your brand identity simply by curating great content”]

If you’re a Pinterest newcomer, it helps to spend a little time building up your Repinning muscles first. Try our how to repin to Pinterest guide.  Once you’ve learned to recognize great Pins, and learned how to engage your Pinterest audience, creating your own eye-catching content will be much more intuitive.

This also means you’ll be spending less time and money from your marketing budget while you’re mastering the basics. But don’t worry, we have plenty to teach you about creating great Pins!

To see great results from Pin curation, you first need to develop an eye for those high-quality, attention-grabbing and relevant Pins that will resonate with your audience.

Recognizing Great Pins

Building your presence on Pinterest is easier than you probably think. If you’ve looked at tutorials on Pinning, you might have gotten the impression that you need a ton of original content before you can start building your all-out Pinterest strategy.

Are you ready for some good news? You don’t need original content when you’re starting out. It’s great if you have it, of course, but it’s far more important to spend your time cultivating great Pins than waiting to get started on Pinterest until you have your own library of Pins.

You might be asking yourself, “What’s the point of being on Pinterest if I don’t have Pins to promote my business?”

One of the first lessons you’ll learn is that sharing and community building matter on Pinterest. If you only Pin your own content, it’s pretty tough to build a following. This means you will always need to be on the lookout for great Pins to share. Plus, how your followers react to the content you Repin can also help you understand the most effective kinds of original Pins to create.

So, what makes a good Pin? Why do some Pins go viral? How can a Pin someone else created be relevant to your brand story?

The first thing to understand is that quality is key.

You might be saying to yourself, “Ok, quality is key. But what does that actually mean?”

A quality Pin is actually easy to recognize. It has a visually pleasing image, a description that provides great information, and it’s linked to a reliable website, social media account or other credible online source. If the Pin you’re curating and Repinning has these elements, it’s probably a good quality Pin.

You’re looking for the kinds of things that people in your audience would find interesting and exciting enough to like or Repin, which helps build your engagement.

At the same time, if you’re curating Pins with low-quality images, uninformative descriptions, or linking to a low-credibility site, then your audience will be far less likely to engage with it. Bad Pins are also ranked lower in Pinterest’s search algorithm, making them less likely to be seen.

Now, let’s dive deeper into these elements and learn how to find the Pins with the best quality!

Let’s start by talking about what makes an image great.

With over 50 billion Pins on Pinterest, you can feel pretty confident that there will be some great content to add to your boards. But how do you know what qualifies as a great image?

Take a look at these two Pins for example. They are very similar, but one looks a little better than the other, doesn’t it? The difference is that the more appealing photo is in a portrait style. Portrait style simply means that the photo is longer than it is wide, which is the opposite of landscape style.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 1.25.08 PM

Pins that are in portrait style perform better on Pinterest. Why? One reason is that they take up more of the screen’s real estate, and as a result they draw the eye in more than landscape posts. This is particularly relevant when you think of mobile. Most people use Pinterest on thier mobile device and By using profile style images, you are occupying a larger portion of their screen, and increasing the chance of that content being seen.

Here’s another example. These two Pins are also fairly similar, but again one looks more refined than the other. What’s the difference?

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 1.25.18 PM

This is a great example of why it’s important to pay attention to image quality. One image is sharp, crisp and vibrant, the other is pixelated and low-resolution. The better the image quality, the better the Pin.

Avoid Repinning images that are too small, highly pixelated or low-res whenever possible. Not only do they tend to perform badly, but they can also make it seem like you don’t care about the quality of the content you’re Pinning

Image quality is only part of the equation, however. It’s just as important to Pin the most gorgeous, powerful and exciting images you can find. Always keep an eye out for inspiring images.

The next element of a winning Pin is the description.

A great image by itself doesn’t make a great Pin. To be meaningful, that image needs details to provide context, give additional information, and help to build your message and brand.

Pinterest highly encourages people to create new descriptions for each Pin that they create or save. By writing your own description, you are giving that Pin a new meaning and making it more relevant to your audience.

For instance, let’s say I’m looking at a Pin of an amazing bag from Lululemon. I see that the existing description simply explains the name of the bag. Although it is a real cute, bag – there is more to be excited about.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 10.11.15 AM

I’m thinking about how this bag has great pockets, it looks good, and – Wow! – it also turns from a side bag to a back pack. To me, this screams it would be the perfect traveling diaper bag, and I think my audience would love this!

Now I’m all excited, and I want to save this Pin to my “Functional Accessories” board. That board has plenty of followers, and I want them to see this pack in the same way that I do. Instead of keeping the original description, it’s time to write my own.

I might say something like “This is the perfect diaper bag for women on the go. It is functional fashionable, and quickly turns into backpack … perfect for my next family vacation!”

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 10.14.14 AM

You’re clearly stating who this Pin is for, describing what it is, why it’s great, and how you’d use it, for example. Compare that to the last Pin description, which was only telling Pinners the name. This Pin is much more compelling now because you know why and how you’d use it.

By changing the description, I’ve made the Pin completely relevant to my audience. It didn’t even need to be a Pin I created, I just had to make a simple change to an existing Pin.

This brings us to the final element of a great Pin, the source.

A Pin’s source is the website where the image originated. Users interact with Pins by saving them to boards, but they also engage with them by clicking Pin and following it back to the original domain.

Unlike many other social networks, these links play a big role on Pinterest, helping to establish the credibility of the content. A good source will always lead back to a reputable website that’s relevant to the Pin’s content.

What makes a high-quality source? If the link leads back to the original source of that Pin, that’s a good start. If the website it’s linking to is well designed, and includes great additional information that’s relevant to the Pin, even better. If your audience would appreciate the content of the site the Pin is linked to, it’s probably a good source.

When a source sends you to a false URL or redirects you to less-than-reputable site, that’s a red flag that the Pinner isn’t trustworthy.

This is a good time to mention that Pinterest views good quality sources as one of the most important aspects of the Pinterest experience. It’s not just about maintaining a high level of quality within the community, it’s also about keeping Pinterest users safe.

In fact, Pinterest actively blocks URLs that use sneaky tricks, like page redirects, in their pin sources.

Other elements of a low-quality Pin source are spammy, misleading or inappropriate content. You can check the source of a Pin by clicking throughout the Pin to the domain it is assigned to. Once, there you can look at the site and judge it based on the relevance and quality of the site and content.

Storytelling with Pins

Let’s review one of the most important aspects when curating content – storytelling. Pinterest allows you to weave Pins together to tell a story about your brand, ideas or products. So how do you weave Pins together?

I like to think of boards as the chapters of a story, and the individual Pins as the words. By grouping your Pins together, you’re doing more than simply organizing your content. You’re telling a story.

A great example of visual storytelling is Madewell’s Pinterest account. Madewell is a big clothing brand, and you might expect them to Pin their own items. Yet one of Madewell’s most popular boards, “paris / j’adore“, hardly contains any of their own items.

Instead, this board is really focusing on the story. As you scroll through their board, you can see the same evocative images of Paris that inspire Madewell’s lines. It makes you feel the same emotions as their designers and helps you understand their products in a new way.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 2.02.09 PM

This is a fantastic example of Pinterest storytelling because it allows Madewell to connect with their audience on a deeper level. Instead of just selling products, they’re sharing a sense of place and time, creating a kind of engagement that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

Let’s look at one more example, this time from Lowe’s “Bold Style” board. While there are plenty of Lowe’s product images here, the products themselves aren’t the focus. Instead, you see a beautiful collection of interior design ideas.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 5.12.32 PM

These Pins aren’t trying to sell anything directly, but more trying to inspire lifestyle ideas that just happen to be made with Lowe’s products. These Pins have far more value to their audience than just a picture of a lighting fixture or a wallpaper design. They inspire ideas and encourage people to share these ideas on their own boards.

So it’s OK if you don’t have original content to Pin, particularly when you’re starting out. Other people’s Pins are a great way to build your boards, to develop your audience, and to start telling your story.

However, it’s imperative that your Pins do more than just serve as an ad. They need to be inspirational, evocative or entertaining. Your Pins should complement each other, and they should speak to the interests and desires of your audience.

The lesson? Don’t be reluctant to share other people’s content or other brand’s products. You want to have a well-rounded and interesting collection of Pins to tell your story – and that includes curating great content.

For more lessons on how to grow on Pinterest, Check out Tailwind’s education platform, Launchpad.

Pin Curation: The Cornerstone of a Strong Pinterest Strategy

Share this article on Pinterest!

Creating Pinterest Boards: Your Complete Guide (+ a FREE Worksheet)

Creating Pinterest Boards: Your Complete Guide

What are Pinterest boards? Most people will tell you that Pinterest boards are simply groups of Pins arranged by a topic. That’s true, but boards can also be so much more. Boards allow you to organize your content in different ways, enabling you to use your pins to tell the story of your brand.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”#Pinterest boards enable you to tell the visual story of your brand” display_tweet=”Pinterest boards allow you to organize your content in different ways, enabling you to use your Pins to tell the story of your brand.”]

This post will show you how to use boards to inspire your audience. We’ll share some techniques for creating great boards that speak to your brand’s strengths, and provide a few tips and tricks along the way for keeping your boards organized and optimized. Once you understand the basics, creating and managing boards is easy to do. You’ll have the hang of it in no time!

Let’s start by taking a deeper look at what boards are, and how they work.

1. Boards?

In some ways, a Pinterest board works very much like a corkboard. You can think of it as a place where you stick your Pins together, just like you would stick magazine clippings and photos to a real-world corkboard.

If you’re browsing Pinterest and you see a Pin you love, Pinning it to a board allows you save that Pin to look at later. There’s much more to boards than just having a place to store Pins, of course. Pinterest allows you to have as many boards as you like, meaning you can create truly specialized boards around a single topic.

Boards provide you with a place to curate images that inspire you. They let you create a kind of collage made from images and ideas. Your boards can be filled with images that you find evocative, inspirational, or thought-provoking. In other words, you can use your boards to tell a story.

You could create a board of your dream vacation, for instance. Perhaps it includes some shots of a remote mountain villa, a quaint village, a luxurious spa, a stunning vista just outside the bedroom window and an entire menu of gourmet meals. Soon, this board becomes more than just a collection of images. It tells an evocative, visually compelling story in the same way a magazine photo spread or travel brochure can.

You could almost compare this experience to reading a book. The Pins are the words, and the boards are the chapters. By curating those Pins together in a board, you’re creating a brand new, completely personal kind of story.

For brands and companies, boards can also help you associate your products with specific emotions. You could make a board of static product images, but it would be a missed opportunity.

Why not create a board showing your product being used, solving the customer’s problem, or enriching their lives? Why not use boards to show your audience how it feels to use the product? Boards are a great way to connect your product with their day-to-day lives and their future aspirations.

On a practical level, boards also provide a powerful SEO opportunity. Remember that almost everything on Pinterest is searchable and you want to give your brand every opportunity to be found in a search. A great board brings additional keyword opportunities, allowing you to cast a wider net. Boards let you showcase your brand in as many ways as you can dream up.

Many Pinterest newcomers struggle to come up with their first few boards. What topic do you start with? What do you call your first board? How many starting boards should you create?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s walk through the process of creating your first boards. It’s easier than you think.

2. Planning Your Boards

Before you start creating boards, it’s helpful to spend a little time thinking about the story you would like that board to tell. Who is your audience? What do you want them to think or feel when they browse your board?

Don’t worry if great board ideas don’t immediately spring to mind. That’s normal, and you’ll get the hang of it in no time. In fact, you can do some research and brainstorming to help you out. The key thing to remember is that your boards need to both represent your brand and reflect the interests of your audience. Every Pin you add needs to have a place in the story you want that board to tell.

To make things a little easier, we’ve created a quick-reference guide to planning your boards and a brand brainstorming exercise, which we’ll get to later in this post. You can download the PDFs here.

Download The Pinterest Boards Guide

Let’s start with a look at both the community you want to build, and then we’ll take a quick look at how your competition tackles the same ideas.

The first step is to find two boards from people or brands that you admire. If you don’t have a favorite collection of Pinterest boards, now is a perfect time to start building one.

Spend a little time searching Pinterest topics you find interesting, compelling or inspiring. Once you’ve found a few boards you love, take a moment and think about why they resonate with you. Try to answer a few questions:

  • Is it how they arrange their Pins?
  • Is it the mood their boards evoke?
  • Is it how they write their descriptions to provide context for their images?

Feel free to write these observations down on your board planning worksheet.

Now it’s time to take a look at two boards from your competitors. Competition can be one of the best motivators, after all.

If you represent a brand, try to find boards from brands that are similar to yours, even if they represent much larger companies. You can also look for brands that are in a different niche, but are similar to you in terms of their audience. Try to answer a few questions:

  • What is this brand doing well with their boards?
  • What story are they telling?
  • Are they inspiring you, or boring you?
  • What ideas could you borrow or adapt?
  • What mistakes would you avoid?

As you examine your competition’s Pinterest boards, take plenty of notes. Pay attention to how their followers react to specific content, and what Pins and boards seem to be the most liked.

The more you explore other people’s boards, the easier it is to notice how small differences can create completely different results.

For instance, board names matter more than you may realize. The name of a board tells the Pinner what kind of content they can expect to see when they browse that board. If the name is boring or vague, they will be that much less likely to check it out.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”The name of a #Pinterest board tells the Pinner what content they can expect to see.” display_tweet=”The name of a board tells the Pinner what kind of content they can expect to see when they browse that board”]

You can see this for yourself as you browse other people’s content. What kinds of board names make you want to click on them? Chances are that you prefer boards with names that are interesting and catchy, yet also clearly indicate what the board is about.

Remember Pinterest is a search engine, so you want to make sure that your board’s names are searchable and recognizable. Board names need to be enticing and informative if you want your audience to visit them.

The next thing to consider is the board image. Every board has a primary image, and the goal of this image is to represent the tone and feel of the board’s contents. It’s the first impression your audience will have of the board, so the image needs to be clear and representative.

When looking at other people’s content, pay attention to those boards that immediately catch your eye. Take a moment to consider what made you notice them:

  • Are the board images engaging and interesting?
  • Do they represent the brand?
  • Do they all have a common color scheme?

These are elements that you will be able to incorporate in your own boards.

Another often-overlooked element of boards are the descriptions. Board descriptions can be a little tricky because they need to be both informative and concise due to the 500 character limit.

The description needs to have just enough information for the audience to understand what they will find on the board, but short enough that you can read it at a glance. It needs to pique their interest, and sometimes that’s easier if the descriptions are short and sweet.

There are times where it’s better to have a description that is more descriptive and explanatory – but don’t go overboard. Keep it succinct whenever possible.

The final thing to look for as you browse other boards is the content. What’s actually Pinned on the board? Take notes on what works, and what doesn’t, as you explore the board itself:

  • How well do the board’s contents reflect the name, image, and description of the board?
  • Was it what you were expecting to see?

Audiences don’t like being misled, and this is something you definitely want to avoid as you create your own boards.

Now that we’ve spent a little time researching other people’s boards, it’s time to apply what we’ve learned to your brand.

3. Brainstorming Boards & Branding

Your audience is drawn to your brand for a reason. Your brand isn’t just a collection of products or services, it’s a story. That story is created out of real-life experiences and memories as much as any marketing image, and it represents something bigger to your audience than just a well-composed product photo.

The more you can tap into the things that your audience finds interesting, appealing and inspirational about your brand, the better your boards will perform. In marketing terms, this means better engagement and higher conversions.

As we explore a wide variety of ideas tied to your brand, don’t get too hung up on getting it “right.” This is practice and the more you can trust your instincts the better your results will be.

You can find the printable brainstorming sheet in the worksheet package you downloaded above.

A brand brainstorm a simple, effective way to find the ideas, images, emotions and inspirations most associated with your brand.

The goal here is to reflect on how your audience perceives your brand. By writing down all the words you can associate with various elements of your brand, you can start to see how those ideas can apply to Pinterest boards.

This brainstorming process is helpful, as it allows you to clarify the big themes you want to highlight through your Pinterest marketing. By focusing on specific topics, and by associating your content onto boards based on those topics, it helps create a strong, effective message.

Let’s take a look at the brainstorming PDF. It will help you understand the basic process of brainstorming.

Do you see those three columns? They are where you will write down your products and content, your brand’s themes, and your brand’s inspirations.

Let’s walk through this together. For this example, I’m going to talk about a fictional e-commerce clothing brand called “Wind.” Wind is the perfect intersection between comfort and functionality, inspired by young professionals. Its pieces can be worn at the office, on the go, or and at your favorite bar. Wind caters to men and women from the ages of 18-30.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 12.14.51 PM

That’s not a bad description for an imaginary brand, right? Just imagine how much easier this is when you’re talking about a real-life brand.

Let’s walk through the “word” section together. You are going to write down words that come to mind when you think about your brand’s products or services. Don’t worry about finding the perfect words here. Just write down everything that comes to mind.

What are Wind’s product words? Shoes, bags, purses, jewelry, socks, belts, and sunglasses all come to mind. These words reflect Wind’s products, but you can just as easily swap out products for services.

Next, let’s talk about the themes. What adjectives apply to your brand? What concepts help describe the kinds of products you sell? What categories does your brand fit into?

For Wind, I see themes like seasons, modern, young, fresh, local, travel, versatile, young, and professional. These words give a context for the product ideas, placing them into specific genres and categories.

We’re circling in on the kinds of boards we need to create to communicate Wind as a brand to our target audience. But we’re still missing one final piece.

The last thing we need to think about is what inspires our audience, and what inspirations we share with them. Pinterest is all about sharing inspiration, after all.

You can incorporate words the that inspired you to start your brand or business. You can talk about the ideas or emotions that helped you create specific product lines or services. Think about the ideals that keep you motivated, and keep your brand moving forward.

For Wind, our fictional example, I might use words like modern, functional, comfortable, and affordable. I might also list highly specific inspirations, like “great threads for busy professionals” or “my super fashionable mother.”

Some of these words may overlap with your theme list, and that’s totally fine. The goal here is to come up with as many creative, evocative words as you can, and to get your creative juices flowing.

Let’s take a look at our worksheets. The brainstorming session has given us a wide range of ideas, phrases and concepts to use as we build our Pinterest boards.

The next step is to turn this swarm of ideas and words into compelling board names. Again, this is just an exercise. It’s practice, and nothing has to be permanent. If you don’t like what you come up with, you can always change it later. The goal here is to build up your “board naming muscles,” and to start thinking creatively about your Pinterest boards.

The naming process is simple. From the list of products, themes, and inspirations you wrote down, create a dozen or so board names. For Wind, these might be:

  • Fall Travel Bags,
  • Day to Night Looks,
  • Functional Professional Accessories,
  • Versatile Style for Men, and
  • Inspirations for Wind.

These board names are all tied to the brand, and they’re taken directly from the words, themes and inspirations I wrote down.

Next, pick five of your favorite board names from your list. Choosing a small number of boards is a great place to get started because it won’t overwhelm you.

When you’re just getting started with your Pinterest boards, it’s better to keep things simple. The more boards you create, the more content you will need to curate for each board. It’s better to focus your efforts on maintaining a few high-quality boards with a consistent flow of great content.

Are you ready for some exciting news? Now that we’ve done the hard work of brainstorming about our brands, we have some great ideas for boards. With that out of the way, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff! Let’s head over to Pinterest and create our first boards.

4. Creating Your Boards

Now that you’ve done the heavy lifting and brainstormed some ideas for boards, actually creating the boards themselves will be a snap. Pinterest has made it super easy to create a new board.

Let’s get started! The first step is to log into Pinterest and click on your username in upper right-hand corner. This will take you to your profile page. On your profile page, just below your account stats like “Followers”, “Pins” and “Likes” is the section where your boards will be displayed. On the far left of that section, you will see a grayed-out box that reads “Create a board.”

Click on "Create a Board" To Create a Pinterest Board

After clicking on the box, a pop-up window will appear. From here, it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks. If you did the brainstorming exercise in the last lesson, this part should be easy.

Fill in the blanks to create a Pinterest board

The first field is for your board’s name (1). Remember that you want the name to be both instantly recognizable and searchable. Look back at the words, themes and inspirations you wrote down during the brainstorming exercise, and use one of the names you created.

Next is the description field (2). As I mentioned earlier, the description is extremely important. Pinterest is a search engine, and your description should say exactly what a visitor will find on the board.

The next field is the drop-down menu for your board’s category (3). Categories are important for Pinterest features like Smart Feed and Guided Search. You always want to add a category to your board, even if it’s not a perfect fit with your board’s theme.

Next, you will have the option to make a board secret (4). This will hide the board, and its Pins from your audience – this can be helpful if you are still working on your board, and don’t want to make it public until you are ready. You can always make the secret board public later on.

The last option is to add collaborators (5). This is where you can invite your friends to your board so they can add content to the board with you. You can ignore this for now and come back later to add collaborators.

When you’ve filled in the name, description, and category fields, simply click the “create” button (6). Voilà! You’ve created your first board!

Now it’s time to fill these boards with Pins. But to do that, you are going to need to know what kind of content to Pin, where to find content, and then how to decide what boards to Pin them to. Check out launchpad, our free education hub, to learn more about getting starting creating an effective Pinterest marketing strategy.

Did you create a Pinterest board using our guide? If so, leave your board URL in the comments below!

Related: How to find, join, and use Pinterest group boards.

Pin this post!

Pin this post!