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    October 28, 2013 // 2:00 PM

    How to Create a Pinterest Board for Halloween

    Written by Ginny Soskey | @

    jackolantern

    Guess what, guys ... it's October 28. I know, today's date isn't all that surprising, but it means that Halloween is on Thursday

    I don't know about you, but realizing that kinda freaked me out. For all of us who haven't planned our costumes (cough, me, cough), you have less than a week to get one. For all of us who haven't bought Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters (cough, me, cough), yeah, we gotta get on that. And for all of us who haven't planned marketing activities around Halloween, we definitely need to get on that. 

    If you're a B2B brand, you may be asking "How could doing Halloween marketing help me reach my goals?" It's simple: taking advantage of Halloween is just like newsjacking a story in your industry ... but it has a wider appeal.

    In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, nearly one in 10 people in America (9.3%) will scour the visually appealing Pinterest for costume ideas, up from 7.1% last year. So, with such a huge audience interested and engaged with Halloween on Pinterest, there's a huge -- and easy -- opportunity for you to plan some last-minute marketing activities for Halloween on the platform.

    Bonus: You won't have to drop everything you have going on or inject any budget into the campaign -- we've got all the resources you'll need to build your board and we'll walk you through how to do it in the post below. So read on to get the lowdown and then start whipping up your Pinterest campaign. 

    The Resources You Need to Build the Perfect Halloween Pinterest Board

    Because we really love being meta (hey, that could be a cool costume, right?) we decided to put together a Pinterest board with allll the resources you need for Halloween Pinterest boards. Here you go!

    How to Put Your Halloween Board Together

    Need help putting together your Halloween Pinterest board? All you have to do is follow the steps below.

    1) Pick your board topic -- DIY-esque themes can work for any brand. 

    You don't have to be a B2C brand to rock Pinterest. The good news is that Pinterest users love DIY content ... which is likely what you're providing in your inbound marketing.

    For example, if you're a finance company, chances are you're writing about how to put a budget together on your blog. So, why not take it to the next level and create a Pinterest board about it? You could pin a free online calculator, your free budget template on your website, and some people to follow on Twitter for budgeting tips -- but give it a Halloween twist.

    Okay, you want a real life example of how this works? Our friends over at AmeriFirst created an awesome Halloween-themed board called Zombie Home Buyers. Yep, a home mortgage company embraced Halloween and taught its Pinterest followers something new. 

    Moral of the story here: Get creative! There are lots of ways you can incorporate Halloween into your Pinterest board -- so whether you decide to compile a list of supplies for Halloween office parties or make a Ghoul's Guide to Gardening Supplies, it's up to you.

    2) Wrangle your content.

    Okay, you've got your board idea. Now, you've got to figure out what content you should be pinning. Just your own company's blog posts and marketing offers? Influencer posts? Content from your community? Random images and articles?

    You should have a mixture of all of the above, but how much content from each category depends on your goals.

    If you're trying to get leads from this Halloween board, for instance, you should have more lead gen content. If you're trying to strengthen ties with influencers, try pinning more of their content. Want to engage your community? Repin more of their content. And if you want to get more followers, random images and articles that are relevant to your board topic are the way to go. 

    Figure out your mix, find all the links you want to pin, and organize them in some way. I'd recommend an Excel or Google spreadsheet -- that way, you can get a good understanding of the content source balance you're trying to achieve. 

    excel_pinterest_organization

    3) Get or create the right imagery.

    You've got your theme, your links ... now you want to make sure your images are top-notch. You can't always rely on the link you're pinning to pull in the right image -- maybe the link isn't written specifically for Halloween, so it doesn't have great images, or maybe it just doesn't have great images at all. Since images are the crux of your Pinterest board, you need to make sure every image is awesome

    But how do you do that if you don't have budget to buy high quality photos or design time? You just gotta know which resources to use. There are lots of helpful resources, tutorials, and free tools to help you create or find images. Here are a handful that we offer:

    4) Brand original content with watermarks.

    If you're creating any graphics for Pinterest, don't forget to brand it with your logo or website URL as watermark. The tough truth is that images regularly get stolen from Pinterest -- so, if you want to defend your content, be sure to watermark it. It's super simple to do: Just add text or logo at the bottom of your image. (If you want to get especially Halloween-y, you can use black and orange for font colors!)

    With a watermark, wherever your graphics travel outside of your Pinterest board, people will know your brand created it -- which could be direct traffic and leads down the road for you, too. 

    5) Add a shortened URL with UTM parameters to your pin description. 

    Editor's note: Since publishing this post, Pinterest has allowed UTM tracking codes to be included on pins. If you need a refresher on UTM codes, click here.

    Alright, you're all done fighting back prematurely against Halloween content thieves. What next? Go ahead and post already, right?

    Nope, you've gotta do one more thing before pinning. If you want to track the success of this Halloween marketing campaign (and prove to your boss that you should do something even better next year), you should include a URL in each pin's description -- that way, you can actually track clicks. And, if you include links back to your website, you should add UTM parameters as well to track this campaign's success.  

    To be clear, URL you add in a description is different than the URL you add to the pin -- the URL in the description is in the text below each pin. The reason you want to include a shortened URL in the description of the pin is because the URL attached to the pin won't allow you to use shorted URLs or UTM parameters.

    While not everyone will be clicking on the link in the description, that extra link gives you a chance to collect more specific information from your Halloween Pinterest campaign.

    6) Add relevant Halloween keywords to your pin descriptions.

    You want to make it as easy as possible for people to discover your pins -- so add popular, yet relevant, keywords about Halloween to your pins.

    They don't necessarily need to be hashtags -- though hashtags do help people discover additional content when viewing individual pins. Ones you should start with? #Halloween (obviously). Just be sure to do some Pinterest keyword research before you post so you can attract even more people to your pins through relevant, popular search terms.

    7) Strategically post your pins.

    Now, we're ready to post. And this is where I'm going to get real with you. Lots of people will say that you should be adding one pin every hour on the hour so that you get more exposure in your followers' newsfeeds. That strategy can work ... that is, if you have all the time in the world and no meetings or obligations you need to do during your day.

    Yeah, exactly -- that's definitely not my life, and I doubt it's yours either.

    Because of these time limitations, be realistic and strategic about your Halloween campaign. Think about your end goal before you start posting. Are you going to syndicate or embed this board elsewhere? Well then, just do it all at once since the board is the focus of your campaign, not individual pins. 

    If you're not going to embed this board elsewhere, block off three chunks of time throughout the day to post: once in the morning, once before lunch, and once in your mid-afternoon break. You could even set a calendar invite so you can be reminded to do it. Because you have planned out all the content already, it probably won't take too long.

    The reason you want to spread out how often you'd post if you're not syndicating it elsewhere? Individual pins are how you want your followers to discover your content. Make sense?

    Of course, it should be said that there are paid tools out there that can schedule pins for you: Curalate and Viraltag are two of the top options out there. 

    It's up to you whether you want to spend money on a one-off Halloween Pinterest board, but keep in mind there are definitely other (free) ways to make it all work. 

    8) Brag about your success to your boss ... through data.

    So you put your board up and watched the followers, website traffic, and leads pour in through your closed-loop analytics? Awesome! Make sure your boss know how awesome you and your campaign are -- objectively, of course. 

    Compile a little campaign report that documents the key metrics and successes from the campaign. Be sure to talk about your overall growth numbers (followers, repins, comments, traffic to your website, and leads), but also consider including standout individual pin metrics.

    For example, let's say one pin drove an insane number of leads. In this case, you'll probably want to show your boss and explain why you think that pin performed well.

    If you want a simple way to show this campaign and the rest of your monthly metrics to your boss, we have a free downloadable template here

    And that's it! Once you have your campaign metrics in-hand and made your boss proud, you can use those learning for next time. It's never too early to start planning for next Halloween. :)

    So go forth an have a pintastic Halloween campaign! If you want to share your boards with us in the comments, we'd love to see them.

    Topics: Social Media Design

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