In early 2012, all of us at BlogHer saw that Pinterest was becoming a powerhouse tool for the blogs in the BlogHer Publishing Network. A short time after our bloggers had adopted it, Pinterest supplanted Facebook and Twitter and became the leading source of traffic from social referrals.

BlogHer’s 2012 “Women and Social Media Study” further corroborated our belief that Pinterest was a game-changer. Our audience reported that it far outweighed Facebook as a platform that inspired purchase. Now in 2013, our network growth on Pinterest has reached 22 million followers a month. It is clear that Pinterest is much more than pretty pictures.

For consumers seeking inspiration for everything from decorating a kid’s room to choosing a new hairstyle (my first searches), Pinterest quickly became irreplaceable. But what can Pinterest do for the brand that wants to get in on the action and reach highly influential women online? And how can brands partner with female digital influencers on this remarkable platform?

We set out to learn the answer. For the past year, BlogHer has actively built branded campaigns with Power Pinners, leveraging their content and influence to help tell brand stories. And this summer, we partnered with Ahalogy, a full-service optimization technology built for Pinterest, to further augment our success. Our program pinpoints a brand's need on this platform and then provides a custom solution addressing the right content, pinning timing and frequency, and optimization, to create a brand's most successful Pinterest strategy.

The insights we gained from this partnership have provided the basis of our Pinterest Master Class — a series of three videos equaling an hour of content -- all focused on getting the most out of Pinterest. We want to share the expertise we’ve developed with digital influencers — and with brands — who want to learn how to better leverage the enthusiasm of the powerful female consumer for this digital marketing space. 

Pinterest Master Class

In the first segment, we make the case for brand marketers for why they need to prioritize Pinterest in their marketing strategy. I sit down with Ahalogy Co-Founder Bob Gilbreath to look at Pinterest from the marketer’s perspective. Because so little in the way of Pinterest best practices is widely known, many brands apply a search-engine or Facebook marketing strategy to their Pinterest program, avoid Pinterest, or worse spend time and money doing things that ultimately won’t make an impact. But if you know how Pinterest compares to other platforms and how to build its proper role in your marketing strategy, you could have the wind of millions of influencers at your back.

In segment two, we get down to brass tacks, looking tactically at what works on Pinterest, what doesn’t work, and what works sort of but could be done much better. Spoiler alert: "Pin It to Win It" contests are not as useful as you might think. It's all about the re-pins baby! And, even more important than a perfectly curated board is having an ongoing stream of relevant content to pin from--Pinterest truly is all about the content. It's the primary currency for establishing your brand using this tool.

BlogHer Pinterest Master Class

In the final segment, I explore best practices from the lens of Power Pinner Jill Nystul of One Good Thing by Jillee. Jill is what I call a “Pinterest Native.” She started blogging at the same time as she started pinning, meaning she didn’t have what we blogging natives might consider a bit of a retrofitting moment with our content, where we had to start thinking differently about how we posted. To Jill, posting is pinning, and everything she does is optimized for Pinterest. Just some simple shifts in thinking can help you generate considerable traction.

We are at a pivotal moment in the life of Pinterest--one similar to when Facebook marketing started to take hold with brands, and much like it's predecessor, blog marketing--when interest and test budgets are surrounding it, and the marketing community is trying to find the best way in. Hopefully, our Master Class will show you some inroads.