In April I received an invitation to attend Pinterest's first conference for content creators--called In The Making. I promptly texted my Mom, "can you watch our kids for a few days? I need to go to California in June!" Arranged logistics, and asked my husband for style and weather advice (he visits San Fran frequently for work).
So last week I flew to San Fransisco. I don't mind flying by myself as long as I have things to do. I brought my kindle with several book rentals (thanks, library!), podcasts on my phone, and my laptop for watching movies. It was my first time to visit San Fransisco and I was instantly mesmerized by the hills, water, and architecture.
I have been a fan of Pinterest platform for years. From a business perspective I get a high percentage of traffic to this website through Pinterest. And traffic to my site is a good thing because it translates to ad viewing and clicks on affiliate links. Traffic to my site means I get small monthly paychecks = helpful to our family's bills AND keeps this website going!
Pinterest is my strongest social media platform. I currently have 1.8 million monthly viewers, and over 6,000 followers.
Unlike other social platforms like Twitter or Instagram, where a brand shares something and it gets viewed for 24 hours--content and images live on Pinterest for a long time and are reshared for years.
Meeting with Pinterest and attending their conference gave me a better understanding of how I can best engage with my readers & potential readers successfully through the platform. Algorithms change over time. I learned that Pinterest prefers a 2x3 image aspect ratio. And as content creators Pinterest wants us to think more about our readers, pin less to group boards, and focus more to our personal boards.
The Day of the Conference
The conference was hosted at California College of the Arts. It was a beautiful facility and had the space for hundreds of content creators. The conference itself was free, but I paid the travel expenses of getting to the conference.
There were famous people there, y'all. Speakers included founders Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann, Joy Cho, Brit Morin, and Camille Styles...just to name a few. I spotted Emily Henderson there with her team. And chatted with Gabrielle Blair.
While I enjoyed listening to the guest speakers, my favorite part of the event was talking with Pinterest employees. They had a help desk set up and I walked up with a long list of questions regarding using Pinterest for business. Things like "if I archive boards will I loose followers? Is there a benefit to pinning from strong websites & blogs?" I also received advice on flagging websites who have stolen my imagery and are using it as their own on Pinterest (sad that this happens!)
Pinterest hosted sessions with tips for partnering with brands, running ads on Pinterest, and previews of new Pinterest analytics. I appreciated them revisiting the fact that Pinterest should be focused on what our readers want. We should be focused more on engagement and less on growing followers. And start to use hashtags on Pinterest (I'm still getting used to this!)
My last day in San Fransisco I was invited to tour of one of the Pinterest buildings. Enid Hwang led our tour and shared about the history of the company. They got their start in 2010, have over 1,300 employees, and over 200 million monthly users. Crazy! Their building was everything you would expect of a creative business. A lego wall, fun quotes on the bathroom mirror, a bike covered in succulents.
I enjoyed extra discussion time with some Pinterest employees over breakfast because I had an afternoon flight. And appreciated how open they were to listening to my story, and were helpful in educating me on some strategies I hadn't considered prior to our discussion.
Oh and we decorated doughnuts!
Pinterest gave us cute pink boxes to take them home. But I most definitely ate one of my designs as part of my breakfast. When I showed my daughter the pictures of this, she liked the idea so much we are planning a donut decorating party for her 9th birthday!
I love to travel for events like this because I get dedicated connection time with other bloggers. The day of the conference I went to dinner with new friends Eliesa of a Pinterest Addict (Eliesa was my roommate for the conference), Scarlet of Family Focus Blog, Anika of Anika's DIY Life, and Vineta of The Handyman's Daughter to an Italian restaurant called the Stinking Rose--so fun! Garlic everything.
I also enjoy traveling so I can think about my brand at a higher level. More strategy and less day to day work. I have some time to evaluate where is it growing and how I can hopefully work smarter.
All in all it was a wonderfully refreshing trip (except the jet lag the next day--ROUGH!) . Next time I definitely want to stay longer in San Fransisco to explore more of the city!