Are You Breaking Your Promises on Pinterest?

Are you breaking your promises on Pinterest?

I was searching Pinterest to repin content for a client’s account, and I was frustrated by attractive graphics with catchy titles that led to lackluster content that wasn’t worth repinning.

That experience is probably what made me zero in on a single phrase from Demian Farnworth in a Hangout on Air with Jason T. Wiser. He said that a headline is a promise.

Yes! That was exactly my frustration with Pinterest.

Those bloggers with the sub-par content have mastered the art of the pinnable image. They take a bright photograph or a snazzy vector background from a graphic subscription site and overlay a catchy headline in pretty fonts.

The image draws you in to click and repin. But if you visit the article, you are left disappointed because the content is no where near the quality you expected from that spiffy image and headline. Sometimes the article doesn’t even parallel what the image portrays at all, and you feel deceived by the virtual bait and switch.

Bloggers, your headline is a promise, and your pinnable image is a promise, too. If it doesn’t deliver, then you have disappointed a potential reader and harmed your reputation.

If people repin your broken promise image without clicking over, what have you gained? More people on Pinterest will have a chance to be disillusioned by your broken promise now.

What if someone is enticed to click? When they discover your broken promise, they will simply hit the back button. Sure, they are a blip of traffic (with a high bounce rate). But what good is that blip in your overall strategy? You have not gained a follower, a subscriber, or a customer.

Blog with integrity. Make sure that the quality of your written content parallels the beauty of your pinnable image so that you are not breaking promises on Pinterest.

Jimmie Quick

Jimmie is a veteran homeschool mom and empty nester who works from home doing digital marketing in the homeschool niche.

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Jennifer Lambert - January 27, 2014 Reply

Whoa. Thank you for your timely message. I was just discussing this with my husband that I would rather grow slowly, with integrity. Quality over quantity. I have friend bloggers who focus on freebies and deals, and they’ve grown exponentially with little effort. And I’ve dabbled in that to try to monetize and see if it was ok for me. Deal blogs certainly have their place, but it’s not me at all. This is confirmation for me!

Cindy - January 27, 2014 Reply

Amen, sister! Can I mention another pet peeve? The posts that do nothing more than gather everyone else’s great posts – using the other people’s images to bring people to their own site. I know that’s hugely controversial, but to me it’s cheating. Gathering great posts to help your readers is one thing, but grabbing their images to use in your own post – end even using those images in a pinnable image seems super-fishy. I even have to wonder if those posts aren’t walking on the copyright line.

    Sarah @ My Joy-Filled Life - January 27, 2014 Reply

    I can see how those kinds of posts are controversial Cindy. But as a reader, I personally like those kinds of posts. Instead of me having to hunt down a bunch of ideas on a certain topic, that blogger has already done the work for me! As a blogger, I have done only a few posts like this, but only when I found that I had a hard time finding what I was looking for, for example – last Easter I wanted to find Christian Easter crafts and activities to do with my kids but I really had to search hard for them. So, I decided to make a round-up post with the great ones I did find. For the crafts and activities I linked to, I didn’t use any of the images in my pinnable image, but I did include an image in my post for each link, but only with the blogger’s permission. It also helps drive traffic to other blogs. Just my two cents.

      Kara @ ALLterNATIVElearning - January 29, 2014 Reply


      I am the same way. I have done I think 3 posts like that but I only did them as a resource and I also put my own information in with the links, I got permission to use images in a collage, etc.. It is really great if you do it the right way because it does help with SEO and it helps build the blogger community. Since most readers aren’t bloggers, they may not know where to find great resources so I do think that doing round-ups occasionally is wonderful!

Elaine Hansen - January 27, 2014 Reply

Agreed. We’ve had to slow down with the amount of pinning to guarantee our pins actually have real value and in the process of going through older pins to make sure we have a) secure website and b) quality content. When I started out on Pinterest, I just pinned away (rabbit hole!) but now that I’ve learned the ropes I’ve discovered pins that definitely were not what we thought they were when originally pinned. Especially for children/education, you have to be extremely careful. Great piece, I enjoyed reading and agree 100%.

Nicole Beard - January 27, 2014 Reply

I’ve never looked at it that way but you are so right! This year I’m really focusing on content and just letting the Lord grow my blog or not. It’s more fun to produce quality posts you are truly proud of. Thank you for your post!

Michelle Cannon - January 28, 2014 Reply

Amen! I’d rather see a low-quality image with great content. If someone is spending more time on their images than on the quality of their content, they’re not doing themselves any favors.

Great post, Jimmie!

Annie Kate - January 28, 2014 Reply

Now I feel better about not having pretty pin-worthy images with fancy lettering. I’m not breaking any promises there! LOL

Christin - January 28, 2014 Reply

I have noticed this, too. Great advice and I agree.

Sharla - January 28, 2014 Reply

This is so true. Some of the best writing has the worst pinnable images and therefore may not see as much traffic as some of the worst. I’ve often been disappointed by an eye-catching pin with a great sounding title and having the post not live up to the hype. I also have had the opposite happen where I take a chance on clicking on an image that doesn’t look polished and find a beautifully written or extremely helpful article on the other side.

You’ve also given me a bit of a reminder to consider my titles more carefully and ask myself if readers are getting what they expect (or better) when they click over to read.

Aadel - January 28, 2014 Reply

Too true. Now I’m thinking of a couple old posts that I went back and made pinnable images for that might need an update on content as well.

Another thing that bugs me is a gorgeous pinnable image that leads you to a promo post – guest posts promos are one example. I don’t want to go to your blog and then have to click over to a guest post.

Lisa M - January 29, 2014 Reply

I so agree! To be honest I need to go through the hundreds (OK more) pins I have repinned for me and check they actual go somewhere. When I am in a hurry looking for something I can pin quickly and then when I go back it is not what I was expecting and it’s frustrating!

Kara @ ALLterNATIVElearning - January 29, 2014 Reply

Fabulous post Jimmie. I definitely feel like it is very true that you get rewards where you put your time and too many people have focused on photography without understanding that while pictures are beautiful, it’s not authentic without a story. That’s why I don’t stress if I don’t get the “perfect” picture, but know I really invested my heart into what I wrote.

    thrive themes - January 29, 2014 Reply

    I love that, Kara! A picture does still need a story!

Michelle @ Delightful Learning - January 30, 2014 Reply

Good stuff, as usual, Jimmie! I only very recently started pinning my own posts… I have plenty of my content pinned, but I’ve always let my readers do the pinning. Then, I learned that it’s “okay” to pin my own stuff, and that I should even be using “pinnable” images to promote my content. It’s fun, but I agree ~ the content should deliver and I take that to heart.

What is your take on pinning your own stuff? and when did Pinterest become “social media?”

    thrive themes - February 1, 2014 Reply

    I think Pinterest was always social media, Michelle. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to use it to market something. I think it is more important to create quality, pinnable content rather than pin. There’s only one of you and millions of potential readers! The key is optimizing your site so that people know you encourage pins (installing a pin it button maybe) and making sure your alt/title tags are very keyword rich. I know that I’m already using Pinterest as a visual search engine. I’m not the only one! So what’s in the description field is very important. As the content creator, you have a lot of control there because most people are lazy when it comes to pinning. They will pin whatever the default description is. You control that default!

Becky Marie - January 31, 2014 Reply

Yes! I think this is part of the pinterest burnout that I hear many talking about. People are getting so disappointed in the content they are not really wanting to pin things anymore. Thanks for the reminder that’s its always about quality content!

    thrive themes - February 1, 2014 Reply

    Yes, always about quality content.

Jackie Ryan Masek - February 10, 2014 Reply

I’m a newbie and am still learning what makes a great post and how to create a pinnable image. I feel like I have to have a featured image to pin in order to drive traffic to my post. But no one is going to click on my image to read my great post if the image is awful or not up to par. So, what makes for an image that matches the post? Im learning how to pin things, when the best times are, how to label my boards, etc. but would love to hear what people think makes for a great Pinterest picture. I’m a newbie so don’t have a DSLR or a Royale PicMoneky account. In the same vein, what makes for a Pinterest image that doesn’t deliver? Thank you!

    thrive themes - February 10, 2014 Reply

    Great questions, Jackie. I think the point is to be honest with your pinnable image. Don’t use an exaggerated title that the post doesn’t deliver. (Some people call that link bait — a sensational headline with the sole purpose of getting people to click.)
    A simple formula for a pinnable image: clear/bright image with text overlay and your branding (URL) on it. Many people encourage a tower shape 600 x 900, but you don’t have to do that. It works! But some blogs (like this one) require a landscape orientation for the featured image. Using a landscape image doesn’t mean you won’t get pinned.

Joann Woolley - July 6, 2015 Reply

Such a valid point! I’m tired of hearing “the 10 best” or the most delicious – these are claims and often not true. I’ve had several pinterest fails where I’ve pinned something and later make the recipe and it just falls flat and I think I was suckered into pinning it because of the image or title.

Kela Nellums - August 14, 2015 Reply

Thank you for bringing this post back up on Twitter (even though I’m up way too a.m., but for good reason).
I think about that often when I’m writing and making pinnable images.
I don’t FEEL that I’m breaking my promise, but I should always pause and think about just that. I’m always willing to learn and correct!

    thrive themes - August 22, 2015 Reply

    So glad you found the post, Kela. I am frequently disappointed by a glossy image and then a thin post of 250 words with no real content.

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