BlogCamp: Learnings and friendships

Saturday I headed to Birmingham for BlogCamp, my train left Euston at 8.03am so it was an early start for a Saturday.  It was worth it though as not only did I learn some stuff, I also got to renew existing blog friendships, meet some bloggers who I chat with online for the first time, and meet some new to me bloggers too.  I realised afterwards I hadn't managed to find everyone I'd hoped to, so if I didn't speak to you - sorry.

For me the highlight of the sessions I attended were the Pinterest ones.  Sarah from Taming Twins was so enthusiastic and informative about Pinterest - something I love - that as well as going to the 101 session, I also went to the advanced session in the afternoon.

If you don't know Sarah or her blog then you might know of her Creme Egg Cheesecake recipe (see the pin below), which is also the cheesecake that broke (and fixed) the internet.

If you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, it's "a visual discovery tool that helps people find ideas for all their interests and projects" and I'll warn you now it's addictive!

The sessions were well timed for me as I've got a bit of a focus on Pinterest right now. And while I heard Sarah say most traffic comes from search so it isn't all about followers, I'd still like to get to a thousand (or more) followers.

So what did I learn?

  1. Get pinning early for seasonal events. Pinners start their hunt for ideas at least two months beforehand, which makes sense really as no one wants to find the perfect Christmas thing on Christmas Eve do they?  And no I'm not talking about Christmas already, it's just an example.  But in October I very well might be talking Christmas!
  2. Content on Pinterest is evergreen. So your pins have staying power. The half-life on Pinterest is 3 1/2 months, compared to 24 minutes on Twitter and 90 minutes on Facebook.  So it's worth putting in the effort for the right kinds of posts - future orientated and actionable works best. 
  3. Making your blog more Pinterest friendly is more valuable than spending time on your Pinterest profile.  Of course you'll still want to do some of that, but if it's easier for people to pin your posts and increase your engagement, which as we all know is way better than a large following.  I do know this, but you see I'm less than fifty away from a thousand followers!
  4. Don't use hashtags, instead use longer, thoughtful descriptions which will increase your chances in search results. But don't make those descriptions spammy and stuffed full of keywords.
  5. Be selective and decide which content is right for Pinterest and when and spend time on making that as Pinterest-friendly as possible. You don't need to do long pins for every post (phew).
  6. It's perfectly ok to change the description of the pins you pin. 
  7. Promote your Pinterest presence, but don't tweet every pin. That's just annoying.
  8. It's all about the search. UK pinners search for key life moments: weddings, homes, baby and travel.  And it can be broader than you think - wedding cakes, wedding decor, wedding invitations and wedding flowers and so on.  They also search for seasonal events such as Mother's Day, Glastonbury (yes really), Back to School, Halloween and Christmas.  
  9. Make use of widgets, see the Creme Egg Cheesecake recipe above and my profile below.
  10. Add descriptions to all of your boards, because otherwise they're not going to show up in the search are they?
  11. Include your keywords in your profile, that helps people find you too.
  12. Pin regularly and consistently, consider scheduling pins using Tailwind, which analyses your pin and decides when's best to pin - clever hey?
  13. Use Pinterest Analytics, they're a great starting point to understanding your audience.  You have to convert to a business account for this, that's free so what are you waiting for?
  14. Optimise old posts, whether that's your popular posts or they types of post you expect to do well on Pinterest.
  15. Don't delete pins. There's a big debate at the moment about this, but Sarah's advice is don't do it.

There were of course many more sessions that I haven't mentioned here, I've yet to absorb and work through most of the information from those.  Unusually for me, I took very few photos on the day and the ones I did take were of the presentations to save me scribbling down all the gems they contained.  

As I can't quite bring myself to post this without a picture, below are the early birthday flowers from MOH which were waiting for me when I got home.  And he cooked me dinner when I got home just before 9pm, he's definitely a keeper!

Thank you

Thanks to Sally and her team who made BlogCamp happen, to everyone who led a session and to the event's sponsor Wood Window Alliance.  I hope to be able to attend next year, as I've still lots more to learn and even more blog friendships to renew. If you want to find out what other people thought of BlogCamp, there's more posts here


So taking Sarah's advice, it'd be great to see you over on Pinterest...