Friday, February 7, 2014

How Do You Make "Long Pins" on Pinterest?

I think this is one of the most frequently asked questions I see on the TpT forums from newbie sellers. It's also something I learned from more seasoned sellers, along with so many other technology-related issues in the past 10 months. Since it keeps coming up again and again, I thought I'd write a post about it. I've added some pictures to the post since I first posted it, so if you read this previously and there were no pictures yet, I hope you'll look through it to see it complete. :)

When I first started selling on TpT I new almost NOTHING about Pinterest. I also have to admit that I had an extremely obnoxiously superior air about it: why would I need to create "Pins" for my products? Shouldn't they be able to stand on their own? Wouldn't the TpT search engine be enough to send potential buyers to my products, where they would be AMAZED by my creativity, and decide that they just HAD TO HAVE IT?

Then reality hit, slowly at first. I started as a seller on TpT in April of 2013. I only created a few products, and didn't even discover the Sellers Forum (where all the sellers "talk" to one another and help each other in any way possible) for several months. When I finally DID find the forums, I remember being absolutely shocked by a post from TpT administrator and founder Paul. In it, he shared the websites that led the most traffic to TpT. The list was long, and included not only search engines, Facebook pages, and teacher blogs, but also Pinterest. That's not all. Pinterest was at the top of the list, sending more traffic to TpT BY FAR than any of the other websites. I realized that if I really wanted to get serious about my little store, I would have to check it out.

So, I signed up for a Pinterest account, making yet another mistake. I signed up for a personal account, when I recently found out I should have signed up for a business account. (I'll write more about that some other time.)

Once I had my Pinterest account, with my very own URL, I went back to the sellers forum and read more about Pinterest "boards." It seems I needed to set up a "board" with all my store products "pinned" to it. Then I read that I could do this right from my product page, by clicking on the red-and-white "Pin it" at the top corner of the page, then adding a little description and clicking "Post."

"Woo-hoo! Did it! That wasn't too bad," I thought, but how come my pin was so tiny and there were all these other pins that were large, long, and beautiful. How did those sellers DO that?!

I went back to the Sellers Forums and read some more. For months I learned about many other things, including how it's so much easier to use PowerPoint instead of Word to create products using lots of graphics, how to protect my products from copyright infringement (while protecting the clipart from being "lifted" from my products) and so much more. Yet I still hadn't learned how to create those "long pins" and I desperately wanted to learn.

One day I saw a post asking the same question! Eagerly I read all the answers coming from a host of sellers practically falling over themselves to answer this question. There were several different methods given, but here's the one that works for me. (I work in PowerPoint on a MacbookPro, so this method will probably vary for you if you use another program.)

1. After I finish my product and all the copyright protections are attached, and I've uploaded it to TpT, and I'm ALMOST ready to move on to the next product, I realize that I need to ADVERTISE my product if I ever want to sell more than just a few digital copies. And advertising means creating a "long pin" on Pinterest, so I get busy.

2. I open a new document in PowerPoint.

3. Change the layout to a blank document.

4. Click on "File" then "Page Setup" then click on Portrait, then change the height to something much larger, like 30 inches, then click "Okay."

5. Click on "Format" then "Slide Background" then "Fill" and choose a background color for my pin. (I like to choose solid colors, but you can play with this.)

6. For this next step, I use the pictures of my product which I created before posting it to TpT. The advantage of this is two-fold. It creates a more secure form of my product before I make a PDF of it, embedding my copyright information, but it also makes creating the pin for the product so much easier.

(In PowerPoint, I click on "Save as Pictures" then change the format to PNG, then click "Save." This creates a folder containing each page of my product as a picture. If your computer doesn't have this feature, you can also create a "screen shot" of each page. On a Mac, you can do this by holding down the "Shift," "Command" and "4" keys at the same time. Then position the crosshairs which appear at the top left of your product page. Click and hold down the mouse while you move the crosshairs across to the bottom right of your product page. When you release you will hear a sound like a camera taking a picture. You will find a small icon for the screen shot on your desk top. Do this for each page of your product. Voila! You now have a picture of each page of your product, and you can go on to the next step.)

7. Since I have previously been working with the pictures in my product itself, I open my "Finder" and click on the images at the top of the window until I have all the pictures of my product open and enlarged on my screen. I don't use my "Credits" or "Copyright" pages on my pins, so I leave those pictures unopened.

8. Next, I click on the first picture I want to use, the click on "Edit" then "Select All" then "Copy." I paste this into my new "long pin" PowerPoint and drag it to the proper position.

9. If the picture is the size  I want I leave it alone, but most of the pages I have to adjust. With the picture highlighted I click on "Format Picture" then "Size" then adjust the size to whatever I want. I like to make these pictures either 2.5 or 3.5 so that I can fit several across the page, but I suggest you "Play" with the sizes until you find what works for you.

10. Repeat this procedure for the remaining pictures, formatting them in whatever way you find pleasing. If you need ideas, you might want to take a look at the other long pins already on Pinterest. There are as many different styles as there are people posting. Find what works for you.

11. Almost finished! Save this as another picture, this time leaving it as a JPEG. (Saving your file in various formats increases the security on the file.)

12. Finally, I post the pin picture to my primary store board, pinning it to other collaborative boards from there.

I hope this helps some of you. Happy pinning! Carol :)

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