If you’re more of a visual learner, we also recorded a great YouTube video about the Creator Inclusion Fund program. Watch here!
In this podcast, Kate talks to Chantel Rodriguez of Choose Love Blog. Chantel is a content creator, consultant, and co-owner of a video and photo production company.
Kate and Chantel met when they were guest panelists together at the Tastemaker conference. They had such a great time together, that they decided to move their conversation to the Simple Pin Podcast.
In this conversation, they talk about how Chantel got started blogging, got started monetizing, and the Pinterest Creator Inclusion Fund. She also shares why she thinks Pinterest is for EVERYONE.
getting started with pinterest
Chantel has been making waves in the blogging world for some time now. She initially started her blog to share her passion for wellness and natural remedies. After awhile, it evolved into more of a lifestyle and travel blog. The idea that blogging would make her money or turn into a career never occurred to her in the beginning. She really just wanted to share what she knew and help others.
She started out with ads on her website and affiliate marketing, but moved into brand partnerships. This helped her get paid to post on social media, write blog posts, and more.
Chantel started to notice that her audience was moving towards a more visual medium. They were less likely to read a long blog post or a written recipe, but engaged more with visuals or video content. Throughout the conversation, she shared that she would just move with the flow of what was engaging her audience.
RELATED: How to Upload Video on Pinterest (blog post)
using pinterest for business
Her eye for visual storytelling and ability to adapt to the changing demands of her audience, led her to explore Pinterest and its potential for growing her business even more.
Although in the beginning, Pinterest had definitely been on the backburner for her. She knew how to use it personally, to search recipes or birthday ideas, but not how to use it for business.
She didn’t know how to use it from a creator’s point of view.
About 3-4 years ago, Chantel found a creator that was getting a lot of traction on Pinterest and growing her email list. Watching this person gave her the push she needed to dive in and figure it out.
She started by switching her personal account to a business account, because it comes with so many more resources and access to analytics.
Fast forward a few years, and inside the Creator Hub in her business account, she found a program called the Creator Inclusion Fund. She filled out a questionnaire for her niche (travel and lifestyle), and was accepted!
NOTE: The Creator Inclusion Fund is NOT the same as Creator Rewards. This program was discontinued recently and is no longer available.
what is the creator inclusion fund?
The Creator Inclusion Fund is a program designed to uplift creators in under-represented communities. It’s a 6-week intensive, where participants meet once per week with Pinterest’s top experts. Chantel described these meetings as in-depth courses, all about how best to use the platform.
If accepted, participants can also receive monetary grants, ad credits, or equipment to help with content creation. You are obligated to make a certain number of Pins while in the program, so Pinterest can review them and give feedback.
NOTE: When Chantel was in the program, it was called the “Creator Fund”, and has now switched to the “Creator Inclusion Fund”. It was also a 5-week intensive, and has since changed to 6 weeks.
will you learn anything new?
Chantel said she knew all the basic foundational elements of Pinterest marketing, but learned SO much more in the Creator Inclusion Fund program.
The program gave her a unique perspective on how to optimize her content for the platform.
is the program open for new applicants?
Pinterest offers a few cycles of the Creator Inclusion Fund each year. To find out if application is open for a current cycle, head here.
The program was previously only offered in the United States, the United Kingdom, but they’ve expanded to five new countries as of April 2023! More info can be found here.
additional specifics learned from pinterest
One specific thing she learned about is Unpinned Spaces. This is information directly from Pinterest on topics that are trending on the platform, but don’t have a lot of competition in terms of content. To say another way – a lot of people are searching for a specific topic, but there is minimal content created around that topic or on the platform.
If you find something that can fit your niche and create content around it, you’ll already have a leg up in search!
Chantel also talked a lot about visual storytelling on the platform. Idea Pins are a way to tell a “story” with the different slides, and she says there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It all depends on your audience and what type of content they like to engage with.
We know that people really want a simple, cookie cutter formula for how to market on Pinterest, but it truly does depend on your specific audience.
Do they prefer lots of slides with just images and little text? Do they engage more with a mix of video and still images? How about music or your voice in video? These are all things you can test!
For Chantel’s audience in the travel niche, she’s found that they respond and engage to content with audio.
editing on your mobile device
While she was in the Creator Inclusion Fund program, Pinterest really emphasized using mobile to create or edit your Pins. This gets you access to all their editing features, including their music library that is continuing to grow. Chantel noted that you can choose royalty-free music for your content, which is important when you’re working with sponsors or brands.
Inside the mobile editor, Pinterest also has a bunch of great sticker options. You can add a “follow” sticker or your own choice of call-to-action.
Similar to Instagram Stories, you can add a “sound on” sticker, so your audience knows there is audio. Pinterest users aren’t entirely used to video or audio on the platform, so this can help them tune in.
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does pinterest work for everyone?
Chantel says she thinks Pinterest can work for everyone! You don’t have to just be a blogger or content creator, or an influencer. If you have something to share, want more visibility or brand awareness, to grow your email list, or sell more products, she believes Pinterest can be a great platform for you.
RELATED: How to Build a Personal Brand (podcast/blog post)
Once you understand how the platform works for business and how to leverage it, she believes it’s an amazing (and under-utilized) tool.
With social media and content creation, there always seems to be some shiny new platform or hack to figure out. It can feel so overwhelming! With Pinterest, your content lives on the platform forever, so it’s worth your time to figure it out.
Pinterest told participants in the Creator Inclusion Fund that the absolute minimum you should be pinning is just 2x per week. Easy enough, right? If thinking about video or Idea Pins feels overwhelming, start with just regular, static Pins. Start slow, learn the platform as you go, and work up from there as you feel more comfortable.
It’s important to understand the tools available on the platform, and use trending topics to help get your content seen. This can also help you better connect with your audience, as you see what they like to engage with.
If you’re struggling with design or creating Pins that reflect your brand, Chantel recommends Canva hands down. You truly don’t need any design training or expertise with Canva. It’s super user-friendly, and they even have the recommended sizes for different social media platforms built right in.
Looking for even more help with Pin design? Grab our pre-made Canva Pin templates in our Simple Pin Shop!
additional tips and final thoughts
Chantel did note that with the way Pinterest works, repurposing video on the platform isn’t the best idea. You CAN use the video you use on other platforms, but on Pinterest, make sure to start with your original recording. Upload your video to Pinterest directly so you can use their editing features.
Pinterest has something called the visual search tool, which can literally read text on images. This helps the platform know where to show your content. When you edit and add text on mobile, Pinterest can “read” your content. This helps your visibility and exposure on the platform even more!
a note about working with brands
Many brands are realizing that advertising on social can be really effective. If our audience trusts us, they’ll listen to our recommendations and tips more than a brand they aren’t familiar with.
With Pinterest, more followers doesn’t necessarily guarantee more monthly views, which makes the platform really favorable to smaller Creators who want to work with brands.
Both Kate and Chantel feel that increasing your monthly views on Pinterest is way easier than other platforms. This number doesn’t necessarily matter a ton otherwise, but some brands will look for a specific number of views.
RELATED: Why Use Pinterest in 2023? (podcast/blog post)
We’d love to hear what you thought of this episode! We are excited to share more information about the Creator Inclusion Fund with you. But this was also a really great conversation around how Pinterest can work for business, and why we think it’s still an amazing platform.
If you’d like to share your thoughts, leave a comment on this blog post or send us a DM on Instagram.
Additional Resources Covered in Podcast:
- Pinterest Creator Hub (inside your business account)
- How to be a Creator on Pinterest
- Apply for the Pinterest Creator Inclusion Fund
- InShot video editor
Simple Pin Products and Resources: