Pinterest is a treasure trove of inspiration, which is great for brand marketers and PRs. This week, we caught up with Gina Ciancio, the editor of Style Curator, to find out how her team uses Pinterest to leverage content, increase brand awareness, drive traffic to their website and stay ahead of the curve.
You’re the Editor of Style Curator and also an Interior Designer who’s just completed her dream home – what have been some of the pivotal moments in your career that have led you to this point?
It’s funny how I can now see that everything – studies, past jobs, experiences – has all guided me to where I am now. I studied Communications and Business at uni and this helped me to take the plunge to start my own business… doing, you guessed it, comms. It’s just a rather new form of it!
It hasn’t been an overnight success story, though. Far from it. I started Style Curator while working full time so in the early days would do most blogging late at night until the early morning. And there were plenty of times along the way I thought of packing it all in to return to my corporate job.
You know what they say though, things worth having are worth working for. A pivotal moment was when my first child was just six months old. Incredibly sleep deprived with a newborn, it was exhausting to also continually try to push along a new business. But right at that moment, I won an international award for Australian best interior blog. It may seem trivial, but I first saw these awards when I started Style Curator and was blown away by the calibre of blogs being nominated. To go from rookie blogger to an award recipient made me feel ‘too legit to quit’. So I didn’t and quickly afterwards huge new opportunities came in, like becoming Foxtel’s Lifestyle influencer.
The interior design aspect has been evolving organically since I started Style Curator. At first, I only shared other people’s styling and design work. But as we were building our own home, I decided to share this journey and it became the content people engaged with the most. Once we built our home, I began styling it and brands started reaching out asking me to style their products. Then I was getting requests to design kitchens and oversee home renovations. I decided to back this up with a design qualification because although I am confident making material selections, interior design is so much more than picking beautiful finishes.
My days are now a fabulous balance of blogging and content creation, styling and design work, DIY, presenting and more.
How does Style Curator continue to stay relevant?
From day one, Style Curator has been about our audience. Even when it was just me and a laptop, I had a passion for helping others create a home they love. This motto still guides us and translates beyond trends and fads. We also produce a huge amount of original content rather than simply repurposing what’s out there. It means we offer our readers something they won’t find elsewhere.
When it comes to creating this content, my team and I are constantly looking out for styling and design struggles. Whether it be keeping an eye on our socials for common questions, or deep-diving Facebook renovation groups, we want to provide answers to questions before we’re asked. We also find content ideas through team brainstorming sessions, looking at upcoming key events and how we can put our own Style Curator spin on it. And of course, I also love getting crafty so tend to always have at least a few DIY projects on the go. This content always performs well on social media, especially Pinterest.
What are your thoughts on Pinterest as a PR tool for brands? Do you have any advice for interior and design PRs to better understand and leverage the platform?
Social media, specifically Pinterest, plays a key role in helping us stay ahead of the curve. Even with Instagram, Facebook and now TikTok, I still think Pinterest is one of the best ways to build brand awareness, drive traffic and increase visibility. We have over 90,000 followers on Pinterest and consistently make over 30 million impressions each month. It accounts for the most referral traffic to our site of all our social accounts… by a long way!
Here are my top tips to help you use Pinterest for PR exposure and ROI. **Scroll to the end for more detail**
What is your vision for Style Curator in 2022 and beyond?
From growing our team size to getting our own studio, so much has happened at Style Curator in the last year and I’d like to keep growing at this pace. My main goal is to make Style Curator a destination for home inspiration and ideas. We’ve been heavily focused on creating original content, such as stylish yet achievable home improvement projects, and can see this really resonating with our audience. So I’d like to see us continue to grow in this way.
We’re also giving TikTok a go and I can’t wait to see what we do in this area!
What was the last thing you googled for work?
With spring around the corner, we’re working on home cleaning and organising content. So the last thing I googled was ‘Best essential oils to keep insects out of your pantry.’
Gina’s Top Pinterest Tips:
1. Idea Pins
Idea Pins are a relatively new feature to Pinterest, launching in mid-2021 for Australia as the platform’s then-take on ‘Stories.’ It offers Pinners a bite-sized view and can be used for just about anything, from quick tips and how tos, to sharing product ranges and telling stories.
Like all other pins on Pinterest, they require a little time to grow but serve as an excellent form of content that has high ROI. For example, one of our Idea Pins ‘How to: Square panel feature wall’ has achieved over 170,000 organic impressions and this continues to grow without any further effort. And zero spend.
Of course, some Idea Pins will perform better than others. There are so many different types of Idea Pins but let me share with you some of the key lessons we’ve learnt.
- Lesson 1: Add video. Consistently, we’ve found Idea Pins that incorporate at least 1 video slide perform far better than static image only Idea Pins. For example, starting the Idea Pin with an attention-grabbing video that quickly shows the process and then stepping the audience through the tutorial with text and image slides. If you’re re-using content, such as an Instagram reel or TikTok video, even better! This allows you to make new content with minimal effort, saving you time and energy.
- Lesson 2: Keep it bite-sized. Idea Pins flash quite quickly, so if you’re using text, keep it to one or two sentences per slide. It’s also important to keep your template simple and easy to read. Think screen-friendly fonts, good contrast between text and background, and other readability best practice. With so many templates available on sites like Canva, you should be able to find a ready-made design that you can adapt for your brand.
- Lesson 3: Finish with a call to action. If people make it to the end of your Idea Pin, they’ve clearly enjoyed what they’ve seen so use that moment of audience attention with a call to action. Whether that be to follow your account, visit your website for more information, save the Idea Pin for future use or something else. However, if I could pass on one important snippet of information, do not write out your URL on either the Idea Pin slides or in the description. Pinterest algorithms will punish this by minimising the reach of your Idea Pin. Instead use your logo and be sure to have your website linked in your Pinterest profile. If you do your call to action properly, your followers will see more of your work through standard pins where you can add links.
2. Shoppable pins
If you’re a business or organisation looking to encourage more people to a purchase, product pins are the way to go. Pinners use Pinterest as a source of inspiration, browsing and discovering ideas and products. Product pins can help you get your products in front of a waiting audience, and they offer excellent filters to organise your product pins.
All you need to do is upload your catalogue and get pinning!
3. Use Pinterest analytics as a guide and invest time in the pins that are performing
There’s a goldmine of information you can gather by diving into your Pinterest analytics. For example, you can understand which pins are generating the most traffic, the pins that are most engaging, top performing boards and more.
We’ve used this information to understand what images are most popular that we could leverage further elsewhere. A singular, high-achieving pin can be inspiration for an Idea Pin, a new blog post, a TikTok video, Instagram ad, and even an e-book cover image, whatever you want.
There is so much you can do once you understand why a pin is doing well, and Pinterest’s in-depth analytics are an excellent tool to help you do exactly that.
4. Trend forecasting
Of course, analytics are not the only thing that’s provided us with valuable insights. Utilising Pinterest’s trend tools like Pinterest Predicts and Pinterest Trends keeps us ahead of the curve, ready for any emerging trends.
Pinterest Predicts is an annual trend report that provides us a glimpse of the future. From consumer behaviours to expected design trends, there is something for every organisation. As an interiors blog, we saw an increase in most of the design areas Pinterest predicted and allowing us to be prepared with timely articles such as our check home décor round up.
But this isn’t the only forecasting tool we use. The Pinterest Trends tool allows you the opportunity to explore what’s trending in the moment by looking up keywords.
Keywords play an integral part in the success of your standard and video pins. Keywords are ultimately what pinners are using to search for content and having as many as possible in your pin descriptions can significantly increase your chances of going viral.
This tool allows you to look up a keyword to see what similar keywords are available, as well as how they are trending. Currently, these statistics are only available for the US, UK and Canada, but even as an Australian company it has been incredibly helpful.
5. Be patient
What makes Pinterest different to other platforms is that it’s not overnight. If you were to publish a post on most other social media platforms, it’s a very quick rise and fall with minimal reach after a week or two.
Pinterest is the opposite. All pins are discoverable over time. If you’re just starting a Pinterest account for your brand or organisation, it may take months before you see a pin take off.
It’s all about building that platform for the long-term. Consistently publishing original pins, engaging with other pinners, and curating quality boards is so important, but take it one day at a time.
If you’re adding original pins, utilising your analytics, and making the most of your keywords, it’s only a matter of time before your Pinterest grows. And remember, your pins will only grow after they’re published, so just be patient.