Freelancers who are using Pinterest just for fun may be missing a trick. The site delivers eye-candy in a number of categories — and some of that eye-candy can be your own work. Pinterest reimagines the corkboard, making it easy to make collections (called “boards”) of the things you love by pinning, and to share and comment on pins and collections in a social environment.
How is this useful for freelancers? Well, when you pin an image and add it to a board, it also grabs the source link. This makes it ideal for showcasing your online work in a visually appealing way. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: The Board
Create a board or boards for your work. You might want to lump it all together in a single portfolio board or segment it according to the areas you cover. A photographer might have different boards for landscapes and portraits, while a writer might have separate boards for blog posts and online magazine features. Give the board a name that will appeal to the people you want to see it — the only limit is your imagination. To give an example, there are several boards on Pinterest which collect inspirational sayings. Some are simply called “quotes”, while others are called “words to live by”, “wise words” and “I’m just sayin’”
Don’t forget to add a description so when people click through to the board they know what to expect. Think about SEO when naming boards and writing descriptions, using relevant keywords so people can find your boards and pins easily. Pinterest profiles appear in search engines unless you turn that functionality off.
[Curtis Harris' portfolio includes a detailed board description and info on the work shown via the pins.]
If you’re working in partnership with someone, give that person pinning access via the “edit board” interface.
Step 2: The Pins
The next step is to start pinning. While Pinterest counsels against “overt self-promotion”, it also says: “If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away!”. That means that you’re free to pin your best work to the boards you have created.
Grab the Pinterest bookmarklet or the iPhone app and visit the sites where your work is on display. Clicking the “Pin it” button brings up all the available images on that page. Choose the one that best represents your work, click the button and add a description. This is where you can provide some context for the pin. You only have 500 characters, but that’s enough to say what the pin is and what creative challenge you solved.
If you linked your profile to Twitter and Facebook when you set up your account, you also have the option to share your pin on Twitter or Facebook. This is a good way to showcase your skills more widely. Each board showcases the last 9 pins, so make sure you pin at least 9 items before sharing your board with the world.
Step 3: Your Site
Now, there’s no reason why you should have to do all the work. Make it easy for people who visit your site to pin your stuff by adding the Pin It button from the Pinterest goodies page or by choosing a WordPress plugin. Remember, Pinterest only grabs images, so your site will need visuals for this work.
If you’re a designer or photographer, your site is probably already Pinterest-friendly because you work with images. If you’re a writer, it’s time to start illustrating your writing posts with pictures. They don’t have to be yours — use creative commons licensed images from Wikimedia Commons or Flickr.
[A copywriting portfolio on Pinterest]
To find out what people have pinned from your site, search Pinterest by putting the name of your site in the URL http://pinterest.com/source/SITENAMEHERE.com/ and see what comes up. You can repin anything you haven’t already pinned to your own board.
At the end of this process you should have boards that provide an attractive visual illustration of the work you can do. Now all you have to do is promote it. You can stick the Pinterest logo on your site, link to your Pinterest profile in your email signature and continue to share your pins and boards via social media.
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