Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to use Pinterest to enhance your articles

Here's a quick and practical way to use social media newcomer Pinterest to add images to specific parts of your story. This is helpful if your Content Management System is limited and doesn't let you add images to specific parts of your story.

Obviously, you'd need to have a Pinterest account. 

1. Find or create the images you want and upload them into a board.

Create your board. Give it a name. Then find or upload your images. You can also add images with   the 'Pin It' button.

Example: I wanted to write a column about Google search auto-complete fails. So as I was performing searches, I took screenshots and saved them.
(Tutorial within tutorial! To save your screenshots, press CTRL+PrintScrn on PC, and paste (CTRL+V) in Paint or Photoshop. This is Command+Shift+4 on Macs, you select the area and you have an image on your desktop.)

2. Grab embed code. The next step is easy. Once your image is pinned, you can just grab the code and post it in the code (HTML) part of the story on your content management system.

3. Paste code wherever it fits in the story. 

What you get is something like this:

Note that I took the liberty of cleaning out the credit paragraph in the code to make the column flow better. (In the code, that's all the stuff starting right at "<p style=" ).
If you click on the image, you are still sent to the pin. But You should only do this with your own images, otherwise it's just not nice.

If you are using a web-first CMS like Wordpress or Blogger, you are probably scratching your head, because you can already do this (or use Picasa or Photobucket albums and embeds to do similar things). This is primarily for those CMSs who don't allow for this. But there are some added benefits.

Why Pinterest? 
  1. Because it also allows you easily add more submissions into a neatly organized board. Again, I understand that you can do this with other sharing sites. 
  2. If done right, it will increase the visibility of your site. And you can showcase some of your other and even older work posted in other boards. 
  3. You can also crowdsource images before and after a story, add Pinterest contributors.
  4. You can also make boards with your old photos and offer prints for sale (just put some low resolution images of your scans). 
Ideally, you could open up your newsroom's library in your Community Media Lab, scan your old photos (or images from old pages from microfilm), upload them or have your fans do so — as payment for access and high res versions of what they want — and then offer your old images for sale while you are digitizing your old archives.


I should stress, this is just one way of doing something you can do with other third-party platforms. And obviously, if you have your own proprietary software, you should use that.

Some things to know:

Source: mashable.com via Ivan on Pinterest
Source: dl.dropbox.com via Ivan on Pinterest