Some magazine editors seem to have an edge on predicting trends and understanding what their readers will be into in the coming months. Are they tuned into some universal consciousness?
Not exactly, but they are using Pinterest to tap into the zeitgeist, especially as it relates to women’s interest publications, and it’s turning into quite an editorial boon.
“Autumn is not yet upon us, but Jill Waage, a top editor at Better Homes and Gardens, has already predicted some of the biggest trends of the coming holidays. Painted pumpkins are about to replace carved pumpkins. Snowman cookies with jiggly eyes will overtake traditional gingerbread men,” writes Christine Haughney in The New York Times. “And decorative ribbons on Christmas presents are going to get much more creative.”
Waage isn’t getting this info from highly paid consultants or outside research firms, but from a more immediately accessible source.
“Ms. Waage has tapped Pinterest, the social media site that lets its members pin, or post, images of their favorite foods, hairstyles and clothes,” Haughney notes.
“Pinterest has forged close relationships with magazines, especially those focused on women, who make up 71 percent of Pinterest users. It is a leading driver of traffic to certain magazines, and in some cases — like Self — it serves as a bigger source of reader referrals than either Facebook or Twitter.”
Editors like Waage are habitually mining the latest trends being “pinned” and can see virtually in real time what’s hot and happening. And with Pinterest growing rapidly (unique visitors spiked by 49% from August of last year to this), the appeal is enormous to publishers looking to reach new readers. And the format is picture perfect for the type of imagery in most women’s magazines.
The advantage that Pinterest has over Facebook or Twitter is its longevity. While social media feeds run by in an instant, user activity on Pinterest is designed to be curated, saved, sorted and displayed. This makes it a great place to see what’s trending and engage likeminded users.
Like any business, Pinterest aims to make money, so they are testing their “promoted pins” program to help brands increase their visibility. It remains to be seen if viewers will tune out Pinterest pins that look more like ads, as they have been doing on other social platforms. Meanwhile, publishers would be smart to get serious about a Pinterest strategy if they want to stay tuned in to their readers.