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BEA Show Notes : Pin This: Pinterest A Great Tool to Drive Traffic, Build Fans

June 5, 2012 By James Sturdivant
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Even with all the recent hype over social networking site Pinterest, many publishers may not be fully aware of its enormous potential for book and magazine marketing—or even what, exactly, the service is all about.

Looking to remedy that state of affairs, "Pin it on Pinterest: Driving Traffic to Your Brand," proffered insight and advice to a standing-room-only crowd at Book Expo America (BEA) in New York yesterday. 

Kathleen Schmidt, president and CEO of book publicity firm KMSPR, presented numbers behind the popularity of Pinterest, which allows users to share and organize images uploaded or found around the Web. In May 2011 there were 418,000 users of the site, she said; by January 2012, that number had jumped to 11,716,000.

"Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined," she said. The site is also very "sticky": users spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes browsing the thousands of pictures of clothes, recipes, travel destinations, arts and crafts, a myriad of wish-lists of consumer products and miscellany both popular and obscure.

Many use the site as an organizational tool or even a way to research purchases, decorating or entertaining ideas and how-tos. Eighty-seven percent of users are female, Schmidt said; most are between 25 and 54 and a majority come from the Midwest, South or Central U.S. 

Early and successful adopters on Pinterest were Etsy, Whole Foods, Real Simple and furniture company West Elm. Especially successful book publishers on the site include Random House, Crown, Vintage, Penguin, Harper Collins and Scholastic.

Scholastic is "probably are the model I would look at if I were a publisher," Schmidt said. "They really know what they're doing on there." 

Wall Street Journal reporter Katherine Rosman, an early Pinterest fan, uses the site both personally and professionally. 

When reporting, Rosman asks permission to take pictures of a subject and make a Pinterest board to go along with the story. "I'll put in information in the caption that's not really anywhere in the story, and when you click through the pictures it goes through to the story on WSJ.com. Those things have gotten tons of traffic," she said.

Bethanne Patrick, executive editor of Book Riot and principal at Book Maven Media, also spoke about the site's ability to add a backstory and other elements of interest to a published work.
 

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