content curation

How to Use Pinterest to Create a Community

Pinterest is a visual way to share, collect and curate information. You can bookmark, or pin, interesting content, how-to articles, quotes or even places you’d like to go. Pinterest isn’t just a great way to showcase your business, your products and your creativity, it’s also a great way to to share great ideas beyond the scope of your speciality with your audience. Finding interesting and relevant information and images for your audience and putting it together in one spot, not only helps to drive traffic to your website but it can also foster good relationships with other, complimentary businesses. And really, that’s what using social media effectively for business is all about: creating relationships.

Curating content on Pinterest means creating specific topic boards. It’s about pinning interesting and complementary information together in one spot for your audience to see. Here are two businesses we think use Pinterest exceptionally well, creating a whole visual story and really engaging with their audience:

Onya Baby

Even though Onya Baby sells baby carriers, they do a great job of building their community with boards that speak to their audience about a lot of different topics that are not directly related to baby carriers. Parents have learned that when they visit Onya Baby on Pinterest, they will always find interesting and relevant information, which, of course, keeps them coming back.

Notice that while only one of their boards focuses on their product, many others feature content that parents are likely to find interesting.

Mabel’s Labels

Another Pinner we think is pretty awesome is Mabel’s Labels. Like Onya Baby, they showcase their labels but also create a community where parents can find birthday party ideas, lunch ideas, recipes, pregnancy and parenting tips and ways to organize their homes.

While there are still many more ways to use Pinterest, what we want you to take away from this is that even when you think that it would be hard to draw in your audience with your products or services using beautiful and striking images, by creating a community that provides your audience with a place to go for tips, information and advice, you will ensure that they come back time and again to see

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption illustrates this point well.

Plus, as a bonus to creating your own community resource centre, you’ll be creating a business networking community that will, hopefully, share your Brand with their own audience, too.

The process of curating content - where, how and why

This picture may seem funny, but this genuinely happens more often than I like to admit.Every once in a while, I get asked how I find so much good content to use for reference - particularly because of the weekly post I do here on The Media Mesh summarizing the week’s top news and general brilliance. What I do with the Buzz and Brilliance is content curation.

What is content curation?

This definition from sums it up well:

Content Curation is the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter.

We’re all content curators. Check out your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Blog feeds if you don’t believe me. (You DO share stuff that isn’t your own, correct?)

Today on Twitter, @PamInOttawa asked:

I started by throwing out a couple of ideas that came to mind - Alltop and Facebook Interest Lists. But Pam came back at me and asked what my process is, which isn’t easy to explain in 140 characters, so I said I’d write a blog post. I don’t use Alltop, though I think it’s a really interesting tool (and seeing it again today has piqued my interest). I haven’t really jumped into using interest lists much, though they show up in my Facebook newsfeed and I really like the idea of them, too.

RSS is Alive and Well

My process is far more basic and lives mostly in Google Reader. I keep hearing that RSS is dead, but I rely on mine to keep up with reading all 161 blogs I’m subscribed to. Within Google Reader, I’ve set up folders by subject, from General topics where things like Lifehacker reside to Social Media where I get my SM fix every day. I also read blogs about blogging, business, technology, photography, web design, SEO and my free-time fun blogs are the ones that are about everyday life. I try to read through the unread posts daily so it doesn’t get too overwhelming, but in a pinch, I can weed through well over 1,000 in an hour or two.

How do you find blogs to follow?

When I first started subscribing to blogs, I subscribed to a few big names first. Then I checked out their blog rolls and subscribed to everyone they listed. I visited each of those blogs and checked out their blog rolls if they had them, though I did get pickier about who and what I chose to follow. I wanted a good mix of news stories, commentary and general business insight. I’ve achieved that balance to my satisfaction, though I’m constantly tweaking what I read - subscribing to new content and unsubscribing blogs that I’m not getting as much from. Chris Penn once wrote about finding five new blogs to subscribe to every month and I’ve been doing just that ever since. I even subscribe to more than five occasionally.

I find new blogs and content from Twitter. When I see one that’s really good, I’ll favorite the tweet or clip the article to Evernote. How I decide depends on how I want to use that content. Sometimes I want it for reference - that always goes to Evernote, in the applicable notebook with tags to help me find it later. I clip stuff all the time because it’s triggered a blog post idea. It sits in my Evernote until the idea fizzles out or I get around to writing it up. I have dozens of post ideas and the list keeps growing.

If something catches my eye on Twitter when I’m short on time, I will favorite the tweet. I have If This Then That set up to send all of these tweets to Evernote as well. Twitter Favorites are a bookmarking tool for me that can mean anything from idle curiosity when I have no time to genuine interest with intent to act.

What do you do with all that content?

At the end of each week, I take all the posts I’ve starred in Google Reader and sort them. A handful go into the Buzz and Brilliance. A handful I’ve starred to go back and comment, Stumble or Pin. A handful I star to clip to Evernote. A handful get tagged into topics I collect right in Google Reader for reference later. Anything that’s leftover after I’ve finished those tasks gets unstarred and I’m reset for the next week of reading.

It’s an involved process, but I’m learning so much every single week and part of the learning is streamlining the overall process as I go. The Buzz and Brilliance now takes me half the time it did when I started it, but I can get through more content now. It’s all about learning to spot the good stuff quickly and efficiently.

Most of all - be nosey and ask these questions when you want to find more content:


  • Who do the people you respect follow?
  • Who are the experts in your field of interest learning from?
  • What blogs and websites do they quote or link to regularly?


The beauty of social media is that you don’t even need to ask. You can just observe and get the answers.

What tools do you use to curate content or generate ideas for content?

She said /She said : Pinterest

She said She said

Karen from The Media Mesh and I run a monthly series called She said/She said. Once a month we will cover the same topic on the same day from our individual perspectives. Sometimes we’ll probably have similar views, sometimes we  definitely won’t.


We chose this topic because Karen has not been convinced on the merits of Pinterest yet and we can’t always be agreeing in these she said posts now can we? :)

I’ve written about Pinterest before, so for this post I am simply going to delve further into why I think Pinterest is worth spending some time with.  If you haven’t read about Pinterest before, please go read my first post.

I mostly think that Pinterest is fun and a great place to find ideas on everything from food to home organization, and crafts to do with the kids to how to clean the grout in your bathroom. I will also say that I believe the primary audience of pinterest is women looking for these types of topics. Given that, I probably wouldn’t say a high tech firm should rush out and start trying to use Pinterest, but there are definite business uses I can see for the tool and I am listing several for you here.


If you have a membership, or a lot of staff that could share ideas with each other, curating a Pinterest account, or even just encouraging members to use the tool could be an great tool for people to help each other with ideas, tools, guidelines, etc

The types of professions I could see doing something like this:

- Teachers and early childhood educators (or daycare providers)

- Photographers

- Direct sales companies

Inspire people into needing your product

People are constantly looking for inspiration, for cooking, for their homes and for their crafts (to name but a few).

Create a Pinterest account for your business and start curating inspiring ideas for your customers. Some of them could be ideas that you’ve had, from a portfolio or blog, and others can just be things you’ve seen other people do.

A few examples of businesses I could see doing something like this:

- A fabric store

- A paint store

- A professional organizer

- A hair stylist

- A producer of food




If you have a business that requires you to keep people motivated, curating a Pinterest board with motivational quotes and meaningful thoughts could be something your customers put a lot of value into.

A few examples of businesses I could see doing something like this:

- A life of business coach

- Weight loss/Fitness businesses

- Healthy eating businesses


Source: via Mary on Pinterest




A Pinterest board of just your work in certain field would be a way to share what you’ve done with your followers and potentially have them forwarded on.

A few examples of businesses I could see doing something like this:

- Photographers

- Event planners

- Cake decorators

- Graphic designers

- Fashion designers



There are many ways that Pinterest can be used for business (here’s a post about what some companies have been doing) - have you seen any interesting ones?

Now go see what Karen has to say! :)

What is it and why should I care: Pinterest

What is it?

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. ~Pinterest

When you click on a pin it will bring you through to the original place on the web that it was found.


There are different ways to use Pinterest

1) Follow lots of people on Pinterest and then see what they are pining. Repin what you find interesting to your own boards for future reference and to share with your friends.

2) Pin things you see online that you like to your pin boards with an easy to use button you can add to your browser’s tool bar, to go back to for future reference and to share with your friends.

3) Browse through the most recent and most popular pins without following strangers, but to see the neat and fun things they pin. Repin as above.

Why should you care?

I think there are a lot of different reasons to use Pinterest.  Most of them are not business related, but sometimes things just need to be for fun don’t they?


I can spend huge chunks of time just browsing through other people’s pins looking at beautiful things. It’s like looking at a magazine put together by your friends… the chances of there being things you like to look at are even higher than in a regular magazine (and it’s easier to save the ideas than to tear out a page from a magazine and shove it somewhere you may or may not ever look in again).



There are all kinds of great cooking and organizing ideas, decorating ideas, ideas for activities with kids of all ages, weddings, etc.


I have run into several community run pinterest boards which I think are phenomenal. It is a great way for a group of people to share a common interest by sharing pins.  A couple of examples of such boards are:

Curvy Girl

Apartment Therapy


Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Pinterest as something that should be in your top ten things to do for your business online, if you are already pinning for fun then pinning some of your own content can be useful.

If you have tutorials, images, tips, etc, pin them into a business account for people to hopefully repin. Because Pinterest brings people back to the original site for more information, it could drive more traffic to your site and to your products and services.

Are you in pinterest? Do you use if for business? (If you aren’t and would like an invitation, I can invite 6 people per day. Leave me a comment and I’ll invite you)

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What is it and why should I care: Tumblr

This is icon for social networking website. Th...  Image via Wikipedia

What is it

Tumblr, sometimes styled as tumblr., is a microblogging platform that allows users to post text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio to their tumblelog, a short-form blog. Users can follow other users, or choose to make their tumblelog private. The service emphasizes ease of use ~Wikipedia

In my words

Tumblr is a somewhere you can post short bursts of content (just an image, just a video) very easily.  It makes posting all kinds of content really user friendly; you can do it from your phone, by email, you can even post audio by calling it in on the phone!

You can also have it link to twitter and facebook (and toggle it on or off on a post by post basis).

Why should you care?

If you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You want a blog (or think you’re supposed to have one?) but  you don’t have a lot of time, or only have a variety of short content.


  • Your content is more often not text based (videos, images, audio, etc)


  • You are creating your content from a mobile device and want to get it online quickly (video and photos of events, things happening around town, etc)

  • You want an online space for something that isn’t going to be long lived

then Tumblr. might make a lot more sense for you than creating a traditional blog.

Here are a few examples of how I think a Tumblr. site could be an effective (possibly business) tool:

- An artist who wants to post images of artwork but doesn’t really have anything else to say about the piece.

- An event could have a Tumblr. page and people could post photos and videos from the event from mobile phones as things are unfolding.

- You want to chronicle a specific project - like a 365 photography project or the creation of something, or you want to journal (and amplify) your dealings (and complaints) with a company.

- You want to have a user submitted interest page - maybe photos of Ottawa in the summer, photos of your favourite meals, pantry disasters or like this page by Ottawa Start about interesting and exotic cars in the Ottawa area you can easily set up a submit page . You can also let viewers ask questions to help guide your content.

I think Tumblr. isn’t really for people who are regular bloggers (I have one set up, but it’s more so I could try it out so I could talk about it than out of any specific need) but I could see possibly setting one up for an event, a  fun contest or a sharing space with friends.

Have you tried Tumblr.? What do you think? Have you seen any other creative uses for a Tumblr. page?