How Your Pinterest Descriptions Can Attract Customers If you want to increase traffic to your Pinterest account, follow these tips for writing compelling pin descriptions that will pique your audience's interest and optimize your pins for search.

By Karen Tiber Leland

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The following excerpt is from Karen Tiber Leland's book Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

One surefire way to optimize your pins for search and attract more traffic is by giving each one a spot-on description that includes your relevant keywords. There is a 500-character limit for descriptions, so be deliberate in what you write -- and follow these guidelines for making your descriptions count:

Provide a context. Images without descriptions leave it to the user's imagination as to why you pinned that particular item or what point you were trying to make. Granted, some images are so breathtaking that they need no explanation. However, in most cases, a clear, concise, and specific description of a pin can help pique a user's interest. Items to consider when writing a description include:

  • What you specifically liked about the image
  • Why you pinned the image
  • What idea the image represents
  • What tips you have that go along with the image
  • What opinions you have about the image
  • Additional information related to the image

Spell out the specifics. Images that have vague descriptions are less useful for the viewer than those that spell out the specifics. For example, let's say you have a pin showing a selection of great office gifts to give clients. A description that reads, "These are really great to give as client gifts," is less impactful than one that says, "These five gifts, all under $30, can be used by a man or a woman and are something every small-business person needs. For this reason, they make great holiday client gifts. Here's a link to where you can buy them." Now that's a useful description.

Link to your website. You can add live links to the captions below your pins simply by adding a URL to a pin's description and clicking the red "Save Pin" button. Adding a link to the description encourages people to click through and drives traffic to your website and/or blog.

Include a call to action. According to a study by Reachli.com, descriptions that contain a call to action see an 80 percent increase in engagement.

For example, let's say you've pinned an image for tax season that shows a small-business owner pulling out his hair in despair. The description explains that there are five ways a small business can avoid stress at tax time and provides a link to an article on the topic. That's a good start, but you take it one step further by encouraging viewers with a specific call to action with a simple sentence or two. Here are some suggested call-to-action phrases you can incorporate into your pin descriptions as appropriate:

  • Download the free ebook.
  • Read more ways to...
  • To learn more...
  • Sign up online.
  • For more details...
  • Please submit ideas and questions to...
  • Call for a complimentary consultation.
  • Get a free quote.
  • Tell us what you think.
  • Watch a video of...

Add testimonials. A good strategy for both product and service businesses is to include testimonials in your pin descriptions. For example, if you have a pin showcasing a garden your landscaping company overhauled, you might want to place a short quote from the happy homeowner in the description.

Use keywords. One important aspect of search engine optimization is the inclusion of keywords and phrases your target audience is searching for. By using these sparingly and strategically in your pin descriptions, you can increase your Google rankings but also be more discoverable by users searching Pinterest for a particular topic.

Be mindful of description etiquette. Bear in mind that the description etiquette changes depending on whether the pin is yours, a repin, or sourced from somewhere on the web. Whenever you repin an image, Pinterest automatically brings the description over as well. If that description fits, fine -- you can leave it as it is or even just add a few words of your own to personalize it. However, in some cases, you may find it more advantageous to write a new description.

When pinning from a specific blog post, permalink URL, or website, avoid copying and pasting the given description verbatim to avoid copyright infringement. For example, some pinners have violated food bloggers' intellectual property by copying and pasting the blogger's recipes into the comment box. Be original and write your own descriptions, while being sure to credit and link back to the original source.

Karen Tiber Leland

Author and President of Sterling Marketing Group

Karen Leland is the founder of Sterling Marketing Group, where she helps entrepreneurs and executives build stronger personal, team and business brands. She is also the best-selling author of The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand.

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