Welcome to Link Building Month on the Thunder Blog! I’m really excited to kick things off with a post about defining an audience for your linkable asset.
Before you can create that next amazing infographic or piece of content, you’re going to want to carefully study your target audience, figure out where they engage with others online, analyze the way they speak about your topic, discover their current need states and THEN start thinking about content creation. It’s also a great time to align your business goals with your link building ideas; we’re not just shootin’ in the dark here folks!
And then there’s Pinterest…oh how I love thee! I’ve been meaning to write a Pinterest post for quite some time, and I actually groan out loud every time I see a new post that should have been written by me. I’ve even created a Pinterest board about using Pinterest for search marketing (and yes, this post is totally getting pinned on that board)! While most posts I’ve seen talk about building your brand on Pinterest, followed links, and tips to get you started (all worthy topics…grrrrrroooannnn), I haven’t seen much about using Pinterest to build personas for your link building efforts. I’m all about adding value to the Pinterest conversation, so let’s get started on this Pinteresting path of perfect personification! Did I also mention I love alliteration?
Quick Competitive Research on Pinterest
Let’s say I have a site that produces really well-designed beauty tutorials. I’ve identified many of the big players in my community, and now I want to build out a few different personas for my link building efforts. These personas will not only inform my content, but they will also help me identify and target the people that are likely to link to my site in the future, shall I prove myself worthy of their link equity. Since The Beauty Department creates amazing content, we’ll use them for this example.
First, I’m going to look at what’s been pinned from The Beauty Department (TBD). The site is all about hair and makeup how-tos, so it’s no surprise that everyone is pinning these DIYs. Also, the design of these tutorials is pretty sleek, but that’s okay because ours will look incredible too.
Pro Tip: You can perform a search like this with any site by entering the following into your browser of choice: http://pinterest.com/source/YOURWEBSITE.com/
Exporting Pinterest Data to a CSV
Well that’s all fine and good, but it’s difficult to sift through each pin that was pinned from TBD, and even if we did, creating some sort of useful pattern out of the information seems impossible. However, thanks to Aaron and Josh, our sleuthing skills can take a break…at least for a few minutes.
With this awesome Pinterest tool, we can quickly export all TBD pins and pinners to a CSV and sift through the information (which includes username, board name, and pin descriptions; so this is how my link building audience talks about hair DIYs!). This resulted in over 500 different pins, which seems a little on the low side to include EVERYTHING that has been pinned from TBD, but it’s still an awesome sample nonetheless (take that, horrible business stats professor!).
Next, I’ll sort the CSV by User URL (a person’s Pinterest profile), and browse through the list for repeat offenders. I’m looking for the pinners that have pinned at least 5 different things from TBD, and I’ve highlighted their names to make it easy to find them in the spreadsheet again. In the same workbook, I’ve added another sheet to take this list of 543 down to 35 qualified pinners. Seems a lot more manageable, and now the real sleuthing begins.
(Side note: To make this tool even more powerful, I think Josh and Aaron should also pull in other Pinterest profile data if possible, like Website, Twitter and Facebook profiles, and location. For now, I’m going to have to look manually, which is A-OK because I’m trying to get a feel for my TBD Linkerati anyway.)
Analyzing Pinterest Data and Identifying Mavens
First discovery: I was surprised to see that many of these profiles don’t list a website and/or a Twitter profile. Also, since most people restrict access to their Facebook, you can’t gain too much insight, but once in a while there is some public information available, like “likes,” music preferences, photos and quotes. Thankfully, I was able to fill in some of the missing information with tools like KnowEm and basic Google searches.
After taking about an hour to sift through these pinners, I’ve found 5 different profiles that stand out to me. I’ve selected three profiles that have about 300 followers or more, and 2 profiles whose sites look like good candidates for my DIY tutorials.
Let’s even take it one step further by analyzing their Pinterest influence in PinReach, a tool I just discovered today. Now, PinReach is supposed to be a tool you use to analyze your own Pinterest profile, but I think we all have a good idea about what sticks from our boards. However, I’m interested in analyzing my 5 persona-worthy profiles, which I can easily do by selecting the option to “Change Your Pinterest Name.” After popping in any Pinterest username, I can check out each Pinner’s most far-reaching boards, most popular pins (based on repins), and even their most influential followers! I can also see the total number of repins, likes, and comments for each user. What?! This is almost too easy!
Creating Link Building Personas from Pinterest Analysis
So now that I have a good idea about my 5 different TBD Linkerati personalities, it’s time to create my personas. I’m about to make some harsh generalizations here, but stay with me! Remember, we don’t have to perfectly define our personas to the T, but we do want to get a good idea of the types of people that would link to our DIYs, and what they’re interested in. Taking cues from Justin Briggs, we’ll attempt to answer the following:
- What does this person care about?
- What are the types of things they’ll respond to?
- What’s the value add our pitch offers them?
- What are their turn-ons and turn offs?
Keep in mind that this will be a mostly qualitative process, since we’re manually reviewing the data. It’s not a perfect science (we’ll leave that up to Vanessa Fox), but it does give us insight into our audience’s sharing patterns. Thankfully, we now have lots of networks to pull from, since we’ve discovered their Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and blog.
I can even throw their Twitter profile into twtrland to get a good idea of their authority, Retweets, links they share and @mentions.
So, ready to put a name (and face and age and values) to these personas?
Up Next: Content Creation and Prospecting
Now that you’ve clearly defined your different personas, you’re ready to get started on content creation! Isn’t it much easier to build something amazing when you have someone specific in mind? The best part about this process is that you’ve actually started a mini prospect list, which you’ll learn more about next week with Amanda’s post.
So, how do (or would) you use Pinterest to build a perfect link building persona? Do tell, I’d love to hear all about it!
Editor’s Note: The fine folks at Pinerly were kind enough to give me access to their new Pinterest Analytics tool, but it wasn’t appropriate for this type of competitive research. However, I can’t wait to start testing out some of the tool’s features, like campaign tracking and pin scheduling. They’re definitely filling a void that Pinterest is misisng out on.