Category Archives: Blogging

Pinterest ‘Pin It’ tip: Clear descriptions every time

A real quick little Pinterest tip for you today! If you’re anything like me, you use the Pinterest “Pin It” browser button like mad when you’re surfing the web. I use it constantly when looking up recipes and reading social media related articles. But it drives me crazy when I hit “Pin It” and the descriptions under all of the photo options that you can pin make no sense or are just gobbledygook (likely the tag or name of the photo when it was uploaded).

Pinterest Pin It tip! jessicaquinn.ca

Some blogs and websites consistently don’t rename their photos as they upload them to a proper name that would appear as a tag, even though it’s a benefit to them as well if they do (I’ll tell you why in a bit).

Pinterest Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

An example of an automatic description that appears with this photo. Obviously we don’t want to pin it as it is!

In the example from Hootsuite’s blog above, they have changed it for two of the photos, but not the one most obvious to pin (ed. note: I do love Hootsuite and their blog; this was just the first one I found when looking for an example!). I’ve seen some that don’t have decent descriptions on any.

If the description is something like pictured above, we obviously don’t want to pin it as is, and I don’t want to have to type in the article title myself (it takes precious seconds, you know!). But there is a solution! And I found this completely randomly one day when I went to copy the title so I could paste it in the description box. If you highlight the title of the article (or whatever you want the description to be if it’s on the page), then click “Pin It”, whatever you highlighted will be the text description in every single photo option to pin. Voila!

Pinterest Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

Highlight the text that you want to be the description of the picture you’re going to pin…

Pinterest Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

…and then hit Pin It!

Doesn’t that look nicer? And will save you time from having to change the description yourself!

Now, on the flip side, if you’re a blogger who wants to make sure your photos come up with a good description when someone pins them, now you’re thinking! You can set it to be whatever you want!

When you upload your photo, make sure you add an alt + tag (see what it looks like in WordPress below). This also helps with SEO for your blog post. If you don’t add your alt text, it defaults to the picture name which is usually not something descriptive enough. You can even go so far as to put your blog title or address in it (like I did), so if people don’t change the Pinterest description (and many don’t) it’ll carry your blog name through.

Pinterest Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

Changing the alt text will change the description of the photo when someone tries to pin it.

My favourite lifestyle/cooking blog, The Londoner (pictured below), does a great job – I didn’t have to highlight or change anything when I tried to pin this article.

Pin It tip | jessicaquinn.ca

The Londoner does a great job tagging their photos with good descriptions.

There. Now if everyone would do this, I’d be a happy gal!

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New blog: live, love, north

Happy Monday all! Just a quick announcement for you today. I’d like you to invite you to take a look at my new blog – Live, Love, North!

Live, Love, North

My new outdoor, food & lifestyle blog – live, love, north! Find it at http://livelovenorth.com

I’ve been blogging here at jessicaquinn.ca for a couple years now, but my topics have varied widely to reflect my range of interests. Lately, I’ve been wary of the fact that this may not be best practice for me. If you’re coming to visit for social media tips, you may not care much about my latest pulled pork recipe, will ya? ;)

So I’ve started Live, Love, North so that I can feel a bit more free with my posts over there. If you visit me here for anything related to outdoor activities, travel, food reviews or recipes, please make sure to follow the new blog and add it to your reader (like Feedly)!

That means this blog will be more strictly themed around all things social media – but don’t get me wrong – there’s still a lot for us to talk about here! You’ll see some changes in the next while – like categories to better reflect some of the narrower social media topics (like Facebook or blogging).

Please take a look at Live, Love, North – I’d love to continue to connect with you (here or there!). :)

A new northern BC blogging gig!

Balance Rock, Haida Gwaii

I <3 northern BC! Taken on my recent trip to Haida Gwaii.

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or subscribe to me on Facebook, you’ll know this already, but I want to say it again: Destination BC (formerly Tourism BC) has asked me to be a blogger for their new blog! The blog will launch in the next week over at HelloBC.com. And you can’t even believe how stoked I am!

As you know, not only do I love storytelling, but I love love LOVE food, the outdoors and northern BC – and this gig will let me write about all of that! I can write about local food and drink, hiking, snowshoeing, camping, events… it’s pretty open and I’ll be contributing between 2-4 posts per month.

I’ll be sure to post teasers here for you so you can read the whole post over at the Destination BC blog!

And Prince George/northern BC people – if you have ideas of things you think I should write about or profile in our area, let me know! It’s my goal to be your voice and let all of the great readers know how fantastic the north is! (Send me a note or shout me out on Twitter).

Stay tuned for my first post in the next couple weeks!

The five “Be’s” of blogging

Now that I’ve told you all why you should start a blog, I’m presuming you immediately ran over to WordPress or Blogger and started a fantastic blog of your own. Right?! Both platforms offer a variety of design options with ready-to-go themes; Blogger is a bit more user-friendly for the blog-newbie and definitely better for those who don’t want to muck about with the techy side, whereas WordPress offers more flexibility in terms of creating your own design.

Great! I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far! (And tell me where I can find your blog – I’d love to see it!)

Blogging is a great outlet whether you’re sharing it or not, whether for business or personal, but no matter what, the fact that you’re writing online means you want other people to read it, right? There is definitely a thrill that runs up my spine when I look at my visitor stats or get a new comment – and disappointing for sure when there’s zilch!

I wrote a post last year on blogging and brevity that I invite you to check out, but I wanted to share something new – a few tips to keep you going with your writing, in both business and personal, which will hopefully get you some new visitors to your blog.

The Five "Be's" of Blogging

The Five “Be’s” of Blogging

Be conversational
Nobody said a blog post has to be expertly written. Now is your chance to be less formal, and write more like you might talk to a customer or even a friend. Even the major grammar nerds (like me) will forgive the occasional fragmented sentence when it’s on a blog! And for bigger organizations, blogs provide the opportunity to move beyond the “corporate” image and present a friendlier side to the company. (This isn’t license to be unprofessional though, of course.)

Be personal
Remember how I said in my last post that people love a personal story? Well share it! Create that connection – show them who you are. At the very least, write in the first person, and if this is your business, share a picture of yourself with your readers!

Be snappy
People don’t always want to read long, rambling posts. Instead, they’re looking for short, snappy, to the point messages, but with substance. Keep it succinct. Even use bullet lists and subtitles for the reader that just glances through. Keep it to under 500 words.

Be share-worthy
What makes you want to share a post? It’s fun(ny)! It’s interesting! It’s practical! Anything else? On your post, share tips about something you’re good at, share links to other resources, share an awesome picture you took (or found, giving credit of course).

Be inviting
Always invite your readers to share back with you. This is how you get the conversation flowing! Make sure your online voice says you’re approachable. End your post with an open-ended question, letting them know you want to hear back from them. And always accept other points of view with class.

So tell me, what tips have you learned while blogging?

Why social media? Six reasons to start a blog

I sat down to write a post about the benefits of using social media to promote your business, but quickly realized that there are so many, and they can differ entirely depending on what platform you’re trying to use. So I thought it might be best to step back and start a “Why Social Media?” series of posts, starting with the simple blog*.

I’ve been blogging since 2005. I started a poetry blog in my third year of university; I thought I needed a creativity outlet, turns out I was just procrastinating about the piles of papers I had to write about the mountains of novels I was reading. No question blogging can be fun, but there’s real value behind starting a blog for your business.

Six reasons to start a blog

Six reasons to start a blog

Blogging creates an engaged customer or public, and that translates to a positive opinion of your brand, good word of mouth, and an increase in sales or reputation, which ever you may be aiming for.

Let’s break that down. Here are my six basic reasons to start a blog:

  1. People love a personal story – Sharing a personal story about yourself in your blog creates the opportunity to connect with your audience on a more direct (and personal of course!) level. When you reveal your own thoughts, opinions, ideas, you can give your readers the chance to identify with you, thereby creating a familiarity. So just think: when they go out to find a coffee/new pants/lawyer/photographer/insert your product here, don’t you think they’re more likely to go with someone they identify with over Random John they know nothing about?
  2. Provide transparency – Blogging about yourself or your business gives your audience a “behind the scenes” look. What really happens during that 9-5 day, or when customers aren’t in the store? What are your thoughts about it? What are your opinions about your neighbourhood, the city, the latest big issue to arise in your market? People want to know.
  3. Create dialogue – Providing these transparent, personal stories doesn’t just create a connection – but it creates a two-way connection. When that sense of familiarity is achieved, people feel the need to share back. Blogs provide this option for interactivity, which is one of your goals as a blogger. You want people to hit that share button, or that Facebook like button, and you especially want them to leave a comment and engage directly with you. This of course gives you the chance to chat back with the feedback – and boom! – two-way dialogue.
  4. Educate the masses – If nothing else, writing on your blog provides you with the opportunity to share your knowledge about your product. Even if there isn’t much engagement with your target audience, you’re still proving you’re an expert and know whatever it is you’re selling. Do it smart, and people will remember. It also doesn’t hurt to get your info out there to make it more accessible via Google searches!
  5. Employee engagement – You hire your staff because they’re good at what they do right? They’re experts in something. Why not let them show it? Celebrate your staff! Showcase them in the blog, or even better yet, let them write some posts for you! I recently read a great article that applied the theory of cognitive dissonance to employee social sharing. When they share your company’s messages, they come to believe them on a more personal level, and will become your own brand ambassadors, beyond the call of duty.
  6. Practical value (tips, tools, ideas) – I recently heard a “web expert” say that in general, folks don’t visit websites to find information. … What?! I call bullsh*t on that one. How many times have you gone to specific site with no intention of engaging, but just to find tips or ideas? Who doesn’t do that almost every day? How to eat healthier; how to cook pork properly; what do I need to build a birdhouse; where do babies come from… the list goes on! If you have any kind of practical value to provide someone – share it! Useful knowledge is a great gift, so if you can share that with someone, your credibility will skyrocket. And you’ll keep them coming back for more.

You don’t have to do all of these in one post – a good blog builds a solid foundation of these qualities over time. It’s what keeps people coming back.

Did I miss anything? Do you have any good reasons to start a blog to share with me?

*Check back over the coming weeks for more posts in this “Why social media?” series, focusing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.