Vertical Pins: How Embarrassing

Everyone says, “make tall pins.”  I say it in class.  I show examples of tall pins when I teach.

I wrote a post about creating “before and after” pins that stack vertically because they are more visible than side-by-side images (which look better in a blog post).

I repinned rugs for exposure.

I got traffic.

I wasn’t happy with how my “Rag Rugs, Hand Made in America” board looked, but it was my work and it was colorful.

And one day, I realized that I could rotate most of my rugs 90 degrees and make tall pins.

OMG.  I am embarrassed.

Red Rag Rug pins, showing the difference between horizontal and vertical image alignment.

Red Rag Rug pins, showing the difference between horizontal and vertical image alignment.

The longer the rug, the worse it looked before the rotation, and the better it looked after. Seascape was so bad before I removed all of its horizontal pins across my account before I thought to write this post.

The round rugs will take a slightly different approach. I haven’t finished processing and uploading them.

Here’s another example of the difference between vertical pins and horizontal pins of the same images:

Gold rug pins, showing the difference between vertical and horizontal image alignment, and cropping a round rug to fill the space.

Gold rug pins, showing the difference between vertical and horizontal image alignment, and cropping a round rug to fill the space.

In this set, I have zoomed in on Red and Gold Spiral and cropped it to a rectangular shape so it fills more of the image space. Will probably do this will all of the spirals; not sure about the triskeles (triple spirals).

I will be deleting the horizontal pins over the next few days.  By the time you read this, the boards will all look different and only the screen shots will document my lesson learned.

How to Backup Pinterest Business Boards

If you have important business content on your Pinterest boards, create a backup file of your pins for your own reference and peace-of-mind. Making a backup copy of your business boards protects you from someone hacking into your business account and deleting content.

Another reason to print your boards is so you can cross-check board content against an inventory list. Verify that you have pinned everything you want people to know about.

The current best / easiest way to save your pins is to create a PDF of each board.

First, install a “Print to PDF” driver for your printer, if you don’t have one installed already. (Search on “free PDF converter” and follow the instructions.)

Display the board. Make sure all your pins have loaded and are visible in the browser window. (Scroll down to make sure you don’t see a “loading pins” message.) Schedule backups in the middle of the day, when fewer people are pinning and the Pinterest servers are not as busy as they are before and after work hours.

Next, Select Print from your browser window, and under Print options, select Print to PDF.

Print to PDF Option in printer window.

Print to PDF Option in printer window.

 

Select OK and wait. You will see a pop-up window asking for the name of this file. Name the file with the board name. Add the account name if you have more than one Pinterest account. Some people include the date in the file name and some people let the file metadata provide the date.

File name printer window

File name printer window

Because I am backing up two Pinterest accounts to the same directory, I add account name prefixes so I can sort the backup files easily. I could also save the files into different directories.

If you need to crosscheck against an inventory list, printing the board file can make it easier. Some PDF programs allow you to write in the PDF itself.

Humor Stash board backup

Humor Stash board backup, in PDF format

Repeat with your next board.

If your boards have commercial value to your business, you will want to repeat this process at some regular interval, perhaps monthly. Recreating a board from memory is way less fun than creating and loading it the first time around.

(Real world update: Pinterest is not sending ALL of my board content to the print file–only the first page and the last row of pins. I have a request in to several other services, but the output is incomplete on all of them. Pinterest says it is working on a print upgrade.)

How to Make Cover Pins for Your Pinterest Boards

Board “cover pins” are the pins you select to be the largest image on a board in your Pinterest account’s Board View. Setting board covers can help to identify the content of a board.

If you don’t set a board cover image deliberately, the first image you pinned will be displayed as the largest image under “Boards view.” Sometimes, this works, but more often,

Board title + the first image pinned = random = confusion

“Confusion” is not a good state for a Pinterest business account’s visitor. As the owner of a business account, you want to help a visitor understand what each of your boards is about.

Look at how the cover pins on the labelled boards below help explain what the board is about, compared to the boards that don’t have a branded label:

Cover pins from Small for Big

Cover pins from Small for Big

I help my clients create specific board cover pins, with text that provides more information than the board name can provide by itself.

You don’t have to create covers for all your boards. Title the boards that are most important for your business, as well as those on the top two rows of boards, which is your best Pinterest real estate.

Here are three ways to create cover pins for your Pinterest boards:

Use a Photoeditor to Make a Board Cover Pin

  • Use your favorite photo editing program or application.
  • Select your own photo for the background.
  • Add a frame.
  • Fill the inside of the frame with a contrasting color.
  • Add text that describes the contents of the board. Make the text large enough to be clearly visible when visitors view the image on the “board view” display.
  • If your account and/or website have a clear graphic style, make the colors and fonts match your business’ graphics. My art site is brightly colored and I can use different colors for each board and still “fit.” I am use the same font for all of the board labels; the same font I use on the website header and my price tags and other collateral.
Rug Board Cover Pin, created in Photoshop Elements

Rug Board Cover Pin, created in PS/E

  • If you don’t have a strong color sense of your own, select colors from the background image using the eyedropper for the frame and font. This will make a more cohesive board label than selecting random colors.  Both the purple and the green in the frame above were eye-droppered from the image in the background.
  • Save the completed image with text as a jpg.
  • Load it to the correct board using the Upload image feature. After you load this image as a pin, edit the pin to point the URL to a useful page on your website.
  • Set the board cover. Add a few more pins to push the cover image off the front row pins and hide it a bit lower in your collection.

Use PicMonkey online photoediting to create a cover pin if you don’t have Photoshop Elements.

Make a Board Cover Pin with Quozio

If you don’t have a useful image of your own, create a cover pin using Quozio. I don’t own the copyright to the images I pin on my teaching boards, so I can’t modify the images for my own purposes.

For example, I created a pin in Quozio (see Use Quozio to Create Text Pins for instructions) to explain that the pins on the Cancer Care board were examples of what you could pin if you were pinning for a health care practitioner in a specific condition-related field.

Cover Pin for Cancer Care board, created in Quozio

Cover Pin for Cancer Care board, created in Quozio

I allowed the title pin to point back to Quozio. When I write the blog post explaining how readers could create similar boards of their own, I will edit the cover pin to point to that blog post.

The board description also points out that this is an example of possible Pinterest Marketing information for a health care provider, NOT a board about any type of medical care.

I scrolled through the images available at Quozio to find one that was appropriate for a board about cancer.  Not all of the images worked as well as this one.  Quozio doesn’t offer any good “sky” or “cloud” pins. I can’t use Quozio to make a title pin for a flight school.

Select a Pin That Contains Text

Select a pin from the board that clearly explains what the board is about. I did this on the board I use for Accountants and CPAs. I found a pin of a book that teaches accounting. The book cover clearly explains the content of the board. I simply selected this with “set board cover.”

Accounting Board Cover Pin

Accounting Board Cover Pin

When you look at the RedTux Board view, it’s easy to tell what’s on this board.

Labelled vs. unlabelled boards

Mix of labelled and unlabelled boards on the Red Tuxedo Pinterest account.

First Row, Left

From the upper left, you can see that the first two boards are clearly identified. Residential Real Estate needs a better cover, with less overlap at the margins. It’s not at all clear what the three boards on the right are about (pins from the businesses of people who have taken my class) and they all need attention.

Second Row, Left

First board is clear enough; second and third need help. Four on the left are either labelled or clear. The text for the Flying board seemed big enough when I made the pin but it’s harder to read than its neighbors. May increase the size next time.

Third Row, Left

The image for Golf is reasonably clear. “Transferring” is a board I use to move pins between accounts, and is labelled as such. The other boards all need cover pins but may be left as is for teaching purposes.

Use Quozio to Create Text Pins

Quozio is a bookmarklet available from Quozio.com.  Intended to create pinnable quotations with attribution, I use it for much more than quoting other people.

First, install the bookmarklet onto your browser toolbar.  I keep it right next to the PinIt bookmarklet.

Quozio Bookmarklet on my browser toolbar

Quozio bookmarklet on my browser toolbar

When you have something to quote, click on the bookmarklet.

Quozio Pop-up

Quozio pop-up

 

Type your quotation or text into the large field, and the person who said it into the smaller field.  See the Quozio how-to if you need more information.

Quozio background and font choices

Quozio background choices

Scroll through the background and font choices till you find a combination that works for the message you want to share.  You can probably get close, although I wish they had a few sky-cloud backgrounds.  Don’t use the casual handwriting fonts for serious messages, and be careful about the black backgrounds–they can look very serious.  You’ll know when you get it right.

(Notice that the thumbnail second from the left in the screen shot above is the US Flag.)

Quozio will pin to your open Pinterest account (or most recently-opened) and your most recently pinned to board.  You can change the board on the fly.  Unless you edit the link, the pin will point back to to the Quozio site.  You can open the pin from the “Success” pop-up window and point the link to a page on your own website that fits the text.

I use Quozio when I hear a useful business idea, or when I find a quotation in a book that I want to share.  (Add book and page information to make the pin more useful to other people.)  But those aren’t the only ways to use the tool.

Other Ways to Use Quozio Beside Quotations

  • (Links in these bullets all go to pins and boards within Pinterest.)
  • Create cover pins for your boards—pins that explain what the board is about, better than the board title can do.  (I use Quozio for a board cover when I don’t own m/any of the images on the board itself, esp. for my teaching boards.)
  • Post text-based information, such as an announcement about a class that would interest people looking at the board.  (Be sure to include a year, because calendar-based information gets old fast.)  Point these pins to the website for the class or event.
  • Passing comments on Pinterest itself.  (Why do they keep showing me boards about Vegans when I have never pinned any food-related content at all?)
  • Live pin-journalism, from an on-going event.  I will point these pins either to the speaker’s website, or to the website for the event itself.  (Article about pin-journalism in process as you read.)

If you find Quozio useful, be sure to like them on their FB page!

 

PinIt Bookmarklet Passes Alt Tag

Inquiring minds want to know:

What image meta tag gets pulled into a pin?

Does it matter which pinning tool you use?

Your personal Pinterest Investigative Reporter to the Rescue.

I tested Pinterest’s PinIt Bookmarklet (first option on the list) on my Rugs from Rags site (better image collection) to see which of an image’s metadata fields was passed to the Description field on a pin.

It’s the Alt Tag.

PinIt Bookmarklet passes Alt tag to pin description.

Test of PinIt Bookmarklet


When you load images to your website that you want other people to pin, make sure you have useful content in the Alt field. Some pinners will delete this and add their own description (often lame, unfortunately) but if you offer good content, you have a better chance of your words making it into the pin flow.

I’m off to review all my alt tags. (Will test other WP plugin pinning options as I come to them. I use NextGen to manage a lot of the images on Rugs from Rags and I don’t like the way any of the Pinterest plugins work with NextGen.)

I’m writing a separate post about using Pinterest’s image-specific PinIt button (third option on the list).

Don’t stress over your precious images

I have heard people say that they “don’t want to go near Pinterest because of their Terms of Service.” Hum, I thought. That’s your choice.

Pinterest’s terms of service (TOS) are shifting and changing frequently, by the way, so I can’t be sure which version anyone saw when they made that decision. The TOS on the site as of today are the most clearly presented I’ve ever seen. Pinterest has good graphic designers.

But later, I wondered. I run a site for a balloon twister. As a rule, event planners don’t exactly Search for these entertainers. They see a clown working one party, and they save the idea, and then they try to find the person they saw at the last event, and if they miss or lose the business card, they get whoever shows up in Google.
From a balloon twister’s point of view, being seen by an event planner, working parties in Pinterest, is almost the exact same thing as being seen working a real in-person event.

Ubi the Clown

Ubi the Clown’s Pinterest Account

What’s so bad about letting people copy your images, if you’re a balloon twister? You’ll be in the picture. Most balloon animals are stock items, known to all in the trade. Twisters have to be seen. Why not be seen in Pinterest? An image of a line of children waiting their turn for their own balloon animal, –what twisters call a “45-minute line? THAT’s good marketing!!

The problem, I believe, comes down to a mistaken evaluation of the dollar value of images.

Few pictures are “worth something.” The photographers who create images with resale value work VERY hard to market and sell them. I am not talking about professional photographers or their work in this post. I’m talking about pictures taken of balloon twisters at work entertaining children or convention-goers, when the photographer is the spouse or partner, and the camera fits in a pocket, and the lighting is ambient. What we used to call “snapshots.”

Understood, “Pinterest wants GOOD images,” but “good” is defined by your market. Trust me, the balloon twisting market will accept snapshots. If you’re marketing to the wedding crowd, God bless you; you need good photography. Child’s party planning? Not so much. You can go a long way with a well-planned snapshot. (Photoshop Elements helps. Crop. Crop. Crop.)

I can drive 100 visitors to a clown’s website because they saw a picture of him twisting balloons at a church picnic. If one of those people calls him and book a party, the picture is worth the party fee, which is 100% MORE than he would have been able to sell the image itself.

I don’t know about you, but I do not search the web so I can decorate my home with pictures of balloon twisters working at parties. For that matter, I don’t print and frame pictures of granite countertops, or place settings, or chimineas.

But really: what are you worried about losing if someone repins your image?

Caveat: I am NOT writing about professional photographers, fine artists, or jewelers, or anyone else whose work can be knocked off by a factory in China using only an image.

I’m talking to the balloon twister here. The professional seamstress selling steam punk. “They’ll copy my ideas.” Yeah, somebody will. But anyone who can sew that well would have copied them anyway once she saw the dress at RenFaire. Just as many might want to buy one for themselves, and they might find you through a good image on Pinterest.

So go ahead. Don’t put yourself in Pinterest. I can use all the lack-of-competition I can get.

Better Before and After Pins

I created a before-and-after pin to illustrate photo cropping for my Improve Pinterest Images post. In order to manage the way text flows in a WordPress post, I created a one side-by-side image image with both the before and after versions in Photoshop Elements. That way, I didn’t have to worry about how WordPress would align the images and the surrounding text.

Horizontal Before and After Pin

Horizontal Before and After images in pin format.

I pinned the image to the Pinterest Photography board so it would point back to the blog post. The pin looked pretty insignificant on the board, because it was wider than it was tall and Pinterest formats all pins to be the same width.

OK enough, but not really eye-catching enough to drive traffic to the blog post, which was the point of creating the pin in the first place.

The next morning, I thought about the problem while I was writing my Daily Pages.

Because you can edit the link in an “uploaded by user” image to point anywhere you want, you don’t HAVE to use exactly the same images on both sides of a Pinterest board-blog post pairing.  I could create a vertical before and after pin, load it to the board, and edit the link to point to the blog post.

The new pin is shown below.  It stands out much better on the Pinterest board.

Vertical Before and After Images

Vertical Before and After Images in Pin Format

Here’s a picture of the board before I deleted the horizontal image:

Pinterest Photography Board

Pinterest Photography board, showing both versions of the before-and-after cropping pin.

Understood, this exercise took way too much time for the potential value. I’ll know better next time. Stack images vertically for pins; horizontally for WordPress. Edit the link. Repeat.