What does it take to succeed on Pinterest? Some Viraltag users with serious Pinterest mojo are taking us behind-the-scenes of their daily routines. Today, we meet Houston-based Stephanie Manley, who shares recipes that taste just like your favorite restaurant dishes on CopyKat.com.
Stephanie Manley has been sharing recipes online since the mid-’90s.
Maintaining that kind of Internet longevity means being adaptable and receptive to new tools.
“I think you have to be,” Stephanie said. “You absolutely have to adapt, or you’ll get pushed by the wayside. You need to be wherever is relevant.”
That’s why Stephanie got involved in Pinterest early in the social network’s life — back when you still needed an invitation to join. She saw the potential of Pinterest to help people organize things they love online and keep them accessible.
Of course, her Internet presence now looks far different than it did back when she first went online. Her earliest efforts — carried out via dial-up Internet access — were about capturing her recipes for posterity, not building an audience. But her versions of beloved restaurant dishes began to attract a following. Adding an image of a cat’s footprint to her site (to signify her “CopyKat” recipes) counted as major web design back then.
Stir In Plenty of Pins
Although she has a huge following now, Stephanie says that getting started on Pinterest was a learning experience.
“I probably had a pretty weak strategy, honestly, to start out with,” she said. “I didn’t realize that you needed to try to aggressively market yourself on Pinterest.”
Talking with other bloggers about how they used Pinterest helped her adjust her approach. Stephanie now shares about 75 Pins a day, staggered throughout the day so that there’s fresh content for her followers in different time zones. She’s noticed that her Pins perform best on the weekends, so she reserves the Pins she wants to have the greatest reach to appear then.
Her most popular Pins are the “CopyKat” restaurant recipes. One that’s doing especially well on the hot summer day when we spoke was the CopyKat version of Cold Stone Creamery cake batter ice cream.
Stephanie added that her Pinterest followers also go crazy for cupcakes. “I don’t blog about cupcakes, but I do re-Pin a lot of cupcakes because I think that gets me followers,” she said. “I’m very happy to re-Pin popular content.”
Stephanie loves it when followers leave comments after they try one of her recipes.
“They’re definitely very passionate people,” she said. “I’m fascinated when I talk to people and they tell me how much time they spend Pinning each day. Your average Pinner is very enthused about Pinning.”
Inside Stephanie’s Kitchen
You can get a look at one of Stephanie’s important workspaces, her kitchen, in her videos.
“I have a really big kitchen — I’m very lucky in that respect — with a nice, big island in it,” she said. “One side is camera-ready at most all times. The other side? I’d probably be horrified if someone looked at it. It’s a little less organized!”
For computer work, she has an office, but “a lot of my work is done sitting on my couch,” she said.
She likes to work alone when she’s on the computer, but welcomes having family and friends around in the kitchen.
“Those are very different modes,” she said. “I’m a lot more social when I’m cooking than when I’m working on the blog.”
More Than a Pinch of Productivity
Stephanie estimates that she spends about four to five hours a week on Pinterest.
“I’m Pinning at very odd hours,” she says. “That’s why I like to schedule it. I’m probably Pinning at 5 in the morning and like 10 o’clock at night. There aren’t a lot of people on Pinterest at those times.”
“You have to use a tool to schedule. Otherwise you’re never going to be able to spread yourself as much as what’s needed.” For Stephanie, that tool is Viraltag.
With a day job outside of her booming blog and social media accounts, Stephanie is definitely busy. (“I don’t know how to do it any other way,” she said).
How does she get it all done? Work-flow charts help her Pinning go smoothly. Evernote is her tool to keep things organized. She also tries to take advantage of the times she’s feeling extra creative to produce a lot of content, which helps when she’s feeling less inspired or when she needs to take time off. Then she gets an extra hand from a virtual assistant.
The Sauce That Started It All
Although Stephanie is constantly creating and sharing new recipes, her favorite creation is one of her earliest. Because Stephanie grew up in the country, far from restaurants, dining out was a big deal. She fell in love with Olive Garden’s Alfredo sauce and was determined to re-create the recipe so she could enjoy it home.
“Back then you didn’t have the Internet,” she said, so her recipe research meant trips to the library and poring over cookbooks. The results were more than worth it, though. Discovering that she could make her own versions of restaurant dishes led to everything Stephanie has accomplished on her website and in social media. And it all started with Alfredo sauce. “That’s the one that changed my world,” she said.
Stephanie’s Tips for Bloggers
If you’re a blogger looking for Pinterest success, Stephanie shares some of the key ingredients.
- On Pinterest, look at what’s popular and what resonates well with the audience you want to attract.
- Join group boards to increase your Pinterest reach.
- Read and learn. A couple of Stephanie’s favorite resources are Social Media Examiner and Quick Sprout. You can also check out Stephanie’s Pinterest board with blogging tips.
- Go to conferences to meet other bloggers and learn about their best practices. And join Triberr or groups on Facebook of like-minded bloggers who come together to strategize about Pinning and who help share each other’s Pins. “When you’re doing 75 Pins a day, you might as well pick the people that you know,” Stephanie said.
Sarah Beckham is a freelance writer and editor based in Austin, Texas.