Last week, I was confronted with something horrible. Somebody that I follow on Twitter had re-tweeted a blog post by a mutual acquaintance. Someone whose posts I love to read.
There was nothing untoward about the tweet. Nothing to suggest anything out of the ordinary. Just the title, a link, the attribution and a qualifying statement. So far, so normal. So I did what anyone would do in this situation.
I clicked. I took one look at the post, and hammered the back button. Then hit unfollow.
I’d just had my first real introduction to Pinterest.
Like you, your grandmother and anyone else who’s been within twenty feet of a computer since Christmas, I’ve seen all the hype about Pinterest. How it’s the future of human communication. Why it’s the antidote to the social failure that is Google+. Why if we don’t all embrace Pinterest right now we might as well go live in a cave because we’ll be rendered unable to function in the bright, shiny future.
I don’t buy the hype. And neither should you. Because Pinterest is bad for your blog, and it’s an irrelevance for your business.
Why Pinterest is Bad for Your Blog
How do you judge the success of a blog post? Is it page views? RSS subscribers and email signups generated? The amount of traffic that it drives to converting parts of your website? A combination of the above?
If you’re judging success on those metrics (and you should be), then you really need to add the following meta tag to your website and ban people from ‘Pinning’ your content:
<meta name="pinterest" content="nopin"/>
Because when someone sees your blog post and ‘pins’ it, they’re stealing visitors from your site and handing them over to Pinterest. Sure, they’ll still do the nice thing and promote your post for you, but you’ll see no benefit.
In fact, the Russian spinners who habitually lift, tweak and republish my content (Здравствуйте господа!) do more for my blog than Pinterest does, because they at least accidentally leave in a few dofollow links.
Because while people might read your content on Pinterest, they’re not going to sign up for your email. They’re not going to read your other content, buy your ebook or drop you an email. They’re just going to move on to the next piece of pinned content and forget all about you.
“But…” I can almost hear the Pinterest fanatics cry; “Pinterest is brilliant for your business! It’s the future of marketing!”
It’s not. Grow up. Get a grip.
Nobody Ever Buys Things From a Scrapbook
Pinterest, when you strip away the hype, is an online scrapbook. Only instead of pictures of celebrities, pretty dresses and nice furniture, scrapbooks occasionally feature something newsworthy.
If you’re targeting Pinterest with your marketing campaigns, you’re on a fool’s errand. Because, as I’ve mentioned above, all that putting content on Pinterest delivers is traffic for Pinterest.
Unlike the share button on Facebook or the RT button on Twitter, Pinterest doesn’t pass on the all of your carefully-crafted your marketing material. It just lets people crib the bits that they like.
There’s a reason nobody’s ever built a marketing campaign around giving people pictures torn from an Argos catalogue. It’s because nobody’s ever going to be convinced by one section of your advert, out of context, in someone else’s scrapbook.
Unless you’re selling clothes, or at a push, furniture, you’re not going to generate any interest on Pinterest.
In fact, there’s only one reason I can see that anyone in marketing would need to have one.
It’s a Swipe File
If, for some inexplicable reason, you want to make your swipe file public, sign up for Pinterest. Use it to collect those straplines, opening paragraphs and snarky rants that you turn to for inspiration in dark moments. And then file them next to longcat and that chaise longue with the pattern you like.
Just don’t waste your breath telling us that it’s the future.
And don’t steal my content.
Whether you agree (correct) or disagree (wrong) with my views on Pinterest, share your thoughts in the comments section, or on the Unmemorable Title Facebook Page.