Pinterest is Killing the Content Game – Here’s How You Can, Too

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
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Key Takeaways
 

What? As we approach peak content, it’s getting harder and harder to earn people’s attention, clicks, shares and engagement.

So what? Content platforms like Yelp!, Quora, Reddit, Wikipedia and especially Pinterest stand apart from the sea of content by appealing to transformational​ consumers (aka people who view life as a continual series of personal disruption campaigns​).

Now what? Tweak your content to showcase how what you can do for transformational consumers. Make it about them, not you. Answer the question: How will they become better individuals if they engage? ​

July 14, 2017
 

There is a short list of things people care about, and stories about your brand are not on it

With so many different social media platforms out there, brands and companies are finding it increasingly difficult to make an impact digitally.

However, there’s one way to engage your customers more frequently and more emotionally than any platform on its own can do: with content.

But as we approach peak content, it’s getting harder and harder to earn people’s attention, clicks, shares and engagement. Pinterest is a strong example of a company that’s doing content right, and its approach holds lessons for other brands.

Pinterest is a tech company, and like most tech companies, has a majority-male employee base. But the company is fixated on its users, most of whom are women. Everything about the company’s offices reveals that obsession, from the plywood-covered walls that are an ode to its customers’ love for making and DIY-ing to handicrafts of actual users that are showcased throughout the office.

I sat down to connect with my friend and colleague, Pinterest head of communications Christine Weil Schirmer. I had gone over to Pinterest to talk to Schirmer about a particular finding of our transformational consumer research. Transformational consumers are people who view life as a continual series of personal disruption campaigns: behavior-change projects to live healthier, wealthier wiser lives. They’re constantly working on themselves, whether it be in the form of wellness, personal development or financial success. They’re doing 30-day fitness challenges, using Mint to budget or taking a General Assembly class to further their career.

 

Our research revealed that there are a handful of content platforms that are particularly beloved and constantly used by transformational consumers. We had taken to calling them the transformational platforms, and the complete list went like this: Pinterest, Yelp!, Quora, Reddit, Wikipedia and Google. I shared our findings with Schirmer. Then she shared with me some insight into the Pinterest platform and how users engage with content.

  • Pinterest content has a long shelf life. Pinners actively engage with a piece of content on Pinterest for an average of 110 days after it comes onto the site. Contrast this with Twitter, for which the average shelf life of a tweet is closer to 30 minutes. Schirmer suggests that brands learn the characteristics of content that performs well on any platform that they’re going to invest in, before making the investment. Because of Pinterest’s extended shelf life, evergreen content outperforms newsy pins, by a lot.

  • The platform has sweeping, global scale. Pinterest has 50 billion pins and one billion boards, and it grows both at by 75%, year over year. So when they talk about what content works, they know of what they speak.

  • The most engaging content holds sacred space for users’ real-life problems, dreams and the things they want to do. The content that engages users helps solve what Schirmer calls “meaningful daily problems for everyone on the globe”. Content that answers questions that everyday people experience in their everyday lives, such as “What should I wear?” “What should I cook for dinner?” and “What should I do with my kids?” is the content users care about and pin the most.

Your content and marketing can connect with your customers, too. The key is to make it about them, not your brand.

There is a short list of things people care about, and stories about your brand are not on it. People care about their journeys to live healthier, wealthier, wiser lives, and they will pay attention to content that can help them make these changes.


This means that the majority of your content should fall within a story line that either alleviates the frictions your customers are experiencing as they try to create change or inspires and excites them about the possibilities for their lives. The role you play within your customers’ stories is the role of mentor, advisor, or tool that helps them along the way.

To create engaging content, focus on your customers, their lives and their issues. This doesn’t mean that people never want to hear about your product. It just means that most of your content should be beautifully executed, high-value and effective at helping them on their transformational journeys in ways that your product implicitly and, occasionally, explicitly facilitates. 

If you do this, your content will get shared and go viral. People will open your e-mails and click on the links in them, read your blog again and again, click on your Facebook links, watch your YouTube videos and like your Instagram posts. You’ll create content that people care about, gets their attention, captures their interest, and they come back to, time and time again.


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Author Bio:

https://auth.ama.org/PublishingImages/_t/Tara-Nicholle%20Nelson%20-%20Photo%20Credit%20Bonnie%20Rae%20Mills.jpg_jpeg.jpg
Tara-Nicholle Nelson
Tara is the former VP, Marketing for MyFitnessPal and Under Armour Connected Fitness. She has been featured in The New York Times and was recently named the #1 woman Silicon Valley tech companies should be naming to their boards by Business Insider.
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