Building a Pinterest Content Strategy

In my first Pinterest blog, I shared Colorado State’s rationale for reaching our fans on Pinterest. Let’s talk about what makes a great content strategy.

What’s the goal?

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.15.55 AMWe developed our content strategy for Pinterest over a few years; it’s really still developing. As a result, the overall goal changes as time goes on. Initially, my only goal was to figure it out! Now I have two goals:

  1. Reinforce loyalty among student, alumni, and community fans.
  2. Increase awareness and increase value of CSU’s research among targeted non-fan groups.

The good news is that I can accomplish both goals with one strategy: authentic, helpful content!

Do your research

When I started pinning for Colorado State, Pinterest didn’t have analytics. I didn’t know who our fans were or anything about their interests. So I conducted some informal research:

  • What do our followers pin and what board categories do they pin to most?
  • When I search “Colorado State University” what comes up?
  • What are the most popular pins throughout the platform?

I used these discoveries to develop a mix of boards and pins that appealed to our fans. Not all of our pins need to be Colorado State content—I follow an 80/20 split. Some boards, like “Green and Gold Fashion” and “DIY Residence Hall Room” include very little original content, while others like “Ultimate Ram Fan” are all CSU-related.

Curate some content!

I will explain more about the perfect pin in a later entry, but once you understand your goals and your audience, creating content will be pretty easy.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.21.42 AMFirst, create approachable boards that match the interests of your current and potential audiences. It’s important to organize well on Pinterest, as a single great pin has the power to draw pinners back to your board. They’ll want to see related pins! Personalize your board titles to match your brand. Colorado State’s sports board is called “Ultimate Ram Fan” and its outdoors board is called “Explore Ram Country.

Next, populate your boards! I generally pin 7-10 items every day; more than that and fans may experience CSU overload. On the other hand, I pin everything at the same time so that fans have all of our content at once. At first, I pinned to general boards like fashion, recipes, CSU-spirit, and outdoors. I started to notice that audiences really responded to research-based tips from our colleges, so I started to partner with those groups curate content. Since then, these pins have been our most popular.

I also re-pin strategically. At first, I used Pinterest’s search to see who was posting CSU pins. I’d either repin their pin or follow their CSU-related board. Pinterest notified the user, driving awareness to our presence on the platform. I also check my feed and occasionally repin my followers’ pins that are not CSU-related. Because swoon. Later, I realized that repining from strategic partners, like City of Fort Collins, the Denver Broncos, and Peace Corps was another way for us to share materials and promote our pins to their audiences.