By Nicole Kohler published September 3, 2014

The Powerful Content Curation Tool You’re Not Using

cmi pinterest exampleContent curation, the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest, is all the rage right now. Today, 68 percent of B2B content marketers use articles on websites other than their own as part of their content marketing strategy. But finding all this great content is time consuming.

Fortunately for content marketers, there’s an incredibly powerful social media tool that doubles as a search engine for finding new, potentially untapped content to curate (and no, I’m not talking about Bing). This powerful content curation tool is Pinterest.

Pinterest may seem like just another fluffy, feel-good website full of cupcake photos and endless boards of shoes, but beneath its soft exterior lies the makings of a powerful content curation machine. If you know how to use it in the right ways (and I’m hoping that after this post, you will), it can help keep your curation duties running smoothly — with the added bonus of making you appear incredibly active on social media.

But isn’t Pinterest just for photos and ecommerce websites?

Not necessarily! Just look at CMI’s own Pinterest board. It’s full of graphics from blog posts, all of which link back to the content for further reading.

Anything visual can be pinned, and for any purpose. Although Pinterest was originally created with wedding planning, recipes, and home re-decorating in mind, a board can be used for any reason. Due to its ease of use, the wide availability of browser and mobile phone plug-ins and applications, and its flexibility, Pinterest has gained popularity as a collection tool — not just a place for photos, coveted products, or the occasional viral infographic.

This is why we’re seeing an increase in the number of boards dedicated to topics outside of the norm, and why share-worthy content is now migrating to Pinterest right beside other social channels. This increase in content means one thing for you, as a marketer: You have more quality content to pull from, and it’s often content that hasn’t gone mainstream yet.

Here’s how content marketers can use Pinterest to supplement their curation, find new sources, and gain an advantage on the competition.

Pinterest’s guided search for curated content

recipe example-pinterest guided search

Earlier this year, Pinterest introduced a “guided search” option to better direct mobile phone users to the exact kind of pins they were looking for. In June, guided search was rolled out for desktop users. This makes using Pinterest as a content curation tool an even more viable option for two reasons:

  • Marketers will be able to fine-tune their search results quickly, and…
  • Fine-tuned results mean they’ll spend less time on Pinterest (rather than endlessly scrolling until they either find something worthwhile or get distracted by a picture of food).

Let’s say you’re looking specifically for some fresh, B2B marketing content to share. From the “B2B” search, you can narrow your options down to the following topics.

example topics-b2b search

I picked “Design,” and the first thing that caught my eye was the top of this infographic on B2B storytelling.

example-effective storytelling infographic

From there I was able to click through and find the original infographic and blog post from LookBookHQ — an ideal piece for a marketer looking to cover storytelling in their content curation efforts.

You can repeat this process for as many terms and phrases as you want. To put it simply, the process should go something like this:

  1. Search for a general term or topic.
  2. Use guided search to narrow down your options.
  3. Select an interesting pin.
  4. View and attribute the source as part of your curation.

One caveat: At times, you may have to make a few hops to find the original source of a pin. However, you can right-click on images and select “search Google for this image,” or use a tool such as TinEye, to find the creator and provide proper attribution.

example-original image google search

Supplementing your curation with evergreen content from Pinterest

Most content curation thrives on articles, blog posts, videos, and infographics that are relatively new, surfaced through other sites, feed readers, or email updates. The half-life of content on the internet — that is, the time it takes to accumulate 50 percent of its total lifetime views — is usually very short. For example, for Facebook content, it can be as short as 90 minutes.

However, the half-life of a single Pinterest pin is a whopping three and a half months. This is due to its presentation of content through boards and search, which gives pins an opportunity for exposure far beyond what you might get out of other websites.

Ignoring the implication this has for brands utilizing the platform for social media purposes, Pinterest gives marketers an opportunity to discover content that might not be brand new but is still relevant and recent enough to be shared as part of content curation efforts. Also, due to the “off the beaten path” nature of Pinterest, it’s a prime opportunity to discover new websites that can also serve as a great resource for content curation.

example-website results-pinterest

For example, I searched for “Pinterest tips” while pursuing content for this very post. Some of these blogs were very new to me, yet had a wealth of information and sources of data that have proved invaluable. I also found a new tool for scheduling pins that I had never seen before.

The “Pinterest pool:” How to utilize secret boards for future curation

If you’re a regular content curator, you know that the process can feel very much like a roller coaster: On some days, my feed reader feels like a barren desert. On others, I have so many options that I don’t know where to start.

When you encounter content that is perfect for a particular content campaign, but the timing isn’t right, you can set up a secret board to save it for later. There are a variety of other applications that allow you to save web pages for future reading, but if you are already sourcing from Pinterest, it might be easier to save the content within a pinboard, itself.

Creating a secret board is easy. While viewing your profile, simply scroll to the bottom and click the “Create a secret board” link.

example-secret board-pinterest

If you find something on Pinterest that looks promising, requires further investigation, or that you’d like to schedule for future sharing, simply pin it to a secret “curation” board of some kind, and then it will always be easily accessible if you need to re-visit it later.

A secondary perk of using a secret board as a curation tool: You can later move a secret pin to your non-secret boards simply by editing it. To do this, simply click the pin, click “Edit” on the top right, and change the board location. This won’t cause the pin to re-emerge as new in the feeds of users, but it will at least make it visible for future viewers of your board.

edit pin example-pinterest

Using Pinterest for curation means you’re using Pinterest for social

If you play your cards right, you can accomplish two tasks while using Pinterest as a content curation tool — that is, if you re-pin the content you’re also planning to curate elsewhere, you’ll be providing those who follow your brand on Pinterest with a steady stream of updates.

Maintaining a presence on Pinterest, along with a presence on other social media networks, can be time-consuming. However, if you already have a Pinterest profile, and begin to use the site as a curation tool, you can supplement your activities by making new boards or simply by ensuring that you re-pin everything you’re planning to use elsewhere.

For example, if I was planning to write posts like this over an extended period of time, I could create a “Pinterest Statistics” board and pin links to all the articles I’ve cited. That would make it very easy for me to go back and find them, as well as giving those who follow me a steady stream of pins to pursue.

Give it a try

It’s very easy to assume that Pinterest won’t have much or any of the content in your niche that you want to curate. However, with more than 70-million users, and the amount of available pins increasing each and every day, it’s likely that you will find at least a few gems among the recipes and photos of high heels you’ve come to expect.

Have you used Pinterest to supplement your content curation efforts? What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback or ideas for expanding the use of this powerful tool!

Looking for more insights on content curation and other powerful content marketing tactics? Check out our guide to Building the Perfect Content Marketing Mix: Execution Tactics.

Author: Nicole Kohler

Nicole Kohler is a Web Content Strategist for WebpageFX. When she’s not at work, watching the Orioles, or cruising around in her car, you can catch her on Twitter at @nicoleckohler.

Other posts by Nicole Kohler

  • Cristine McCauley Balda

    This is great advice! I started pinning infographics and other content I found useful, but didn’t want to keep adding to my bookmarks (after all how many bookmarks will you really go back to). Creating boards specific to topics also allowed me to keep things organized. Your tips will help me take this idea even further… who knew Pinterest was more then just fluff!

    • http://twitter.com/nicoleckohler Nicole Kohler

      Thanks, Cristine! I have to admit there are times that I prefer the visual appeal of a secret board on Pinterest to bookmarks — plus there’s more space to add notes to myself with the links, ideas as to when I can use/reuse the content, etc. Best of luck! :)

  • http://www.clickwebdesign.com.au/ Chris Finnegan

    Hi Nicole,
    The “half life” stats you mention comparing Pinterest and Facebook are interesting. I’m becoming more of a Pinterest fan, and plan to increase my time on it,

    Cheers
    Chris

    • http://twitter.com/nicoleckohler Nicole Kohler

      Cheers Chris! Yes, when I first saw those stats I was blown away. Content really does live SO much longer on Pinterest. Guided search has probably had an effect on it as well — might be interesting to see a second study factoring that in.

  • T60 Productions

    Love your post Nicole. I’ve been struggling with how to use Pinterest for my business and you really opened my eyes. Thanks!
    –Tony Gnau

    • http://twitter.com/nicoleckohler Nicole Kohler

      Thanks, Tony! Best of luck :)

  • Dan Bischoff

    Shhhhh … I’ve been using Pinterest in secret as a content curation tool for a long time now …

    • http://twitter.com/nicoleckohler Nicole Kohler

      Oops! 😉 me too, actually, which is why I wrote this. I thought it was more common until I mentioned it offhandedly to someone and got a “huh?” reaction.

  • http://www.revsquare.com/ jeffmignon

    This is a great idea but… filtering results is a key feature for an efficient content curation. You can’t do that with Pinterest. Also, it works for general interest type of content but when you start to want more specialized content, no that great. Last but not least, you can publish on your site / blog directly from Pinterest (except if I missed something). So for good curation hard to avoid more specialized (but not free) platforms. My 2 cents. like Opentopic or Curata.

    • http://twitter.com/nicoleckohler Nicole Kohler

      Great counterpoints, Jeff! I wouldn’t be surprised if Pinterest made it easier to publish content directly from the site in the future, or tried to create some kind of program to put publishers more directly in touch with the source of content they want to republish. But if you’re out of ideas and want new sources, and really don’t mind a little work, IMO Pinterest is great. It’s helped me a lot when feedly runs dry. :)

      To your point about filtering results, I think Guided Search has helped make BIG strides in that direction — same with specialized content. It’s much easier to find the specific things you want with that option. I’ve heard from a few people now that it’s not 100% rolled out yet, so if you’re not yet seeing it on your account, it’s worth a try once you have it.

      Thanks again for your input!

  • hdc77494

    For a small business w/o a dedicated staff or budget for tools, Pinterest is a very powerful tool. Graphic artists, web designers, packaging design, marketing data, social media, and any component of the visual arts is represented. Jeff, if you want better filtering, search boards rather than pins and follow pros instead of moms, or search for industry content creators by name rather than subject. Their numbers speak for themselves.

  • Joe Waters

    Good one, Nicole! I use Pinterest to curate cause marketing campaigns by type for my readers. Also, in my last book I included a QR Codes at the end of each chapter that link to a Pinterest board with more examples of the chapter topic.

    It’s interesting because I really don’t spend much time looking at other Pinterest boards, but my boards have been a great help to me and others.

    http://pinterest.com/joewaters

    • http://twitter.com/nicoleckohler Nicole Kohler

      Hi Joe, love the way you used Pinterest with your book! That’s a creative (and useful) use of QR codes, too! Thanks for your input :)

  • Roger C. Parker

    Welcome introduction to overlooked tool. Helped pull several ideas today for me.

    • http://twitter.com/nicoleckohler Nicole Kohler

      I’m so glad to hear that Roger! Thanks for your comment :)

  • Zoe Arch

    Love this post, it’s great to read how others are using Pinterest. I’m a massive advocate and I’m on it for home and work projects. Here’s a link to my white paper, Pinterest for Business: http://craftcandy.co.uk/reports/grow-your-business-on-pinterest I’d be interest to hear what you think of it.