Kit and Erin met Mary of The Kitchen Paper at Go Blog Social in April. Since then, Mary has been busy traveling Asia and writing an ebook! We just knew that WCBC-ers would love to hear about Mary’s blog, her ebook “Pinterest for Food Bloggers: How to Grow your Following and Increase Blog Traffic”, and her year long trip through Asia. We interviewed Mary via email, from Vietnam to hear about how this ambitious lady wrote a book that decodes Pinterest.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, but have lived in Bozeman, Montana for the last three years while my husband went to grad school.
Where are you currently traveling: We’re currently spending four months in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos! After a trip home this fall, we’ll come back and settle in Indonesia (probably Bali) for six months or so. That said, we’re leaving everything very flexible so we can go wherever we want!
What is The Kitchen Paper all about?
The Kitchen Paper is about real food, real ingredients, and accessible recipes. I cook food with butter and cheese and sugar, but also lots of veggies and healthy ingredients! Everything in moderation, right? These days I’m also posting about our travels — sometimes updates on what we’re up to, and sometimes helpful travel posts for those looking for information on a specific place.
What inspired you to write this book?
I love Pinterest. Like, maybe way too much. After I realized I could utilize Pinterest to drive more traffic to my blog, I really set to work optimizing how I used Pinterest. I saw my rate of gaining followers increase by 700% (!!), and therefore gained a lot more exposure for my own recipes. After talking to a lot of bloggers, I realized so many people don’t realize how they can fully utilize Pinterest for their sites. It is so much more than just a fun organizational tool, and can be a great way to help define your brand and get your work out for more people to see it.
What is the process of self-publishing an ebook?
That’s a loaded question! I like to make things simple: I wrote down every topic I thought I should cover (basically made an outline), then filled it all in. That was in a word processor, but once I had the majority of the book written I put it into Pages — which is where I ultimately edit, style, and export my final version of the book. I use a pre-made template in Pages (which are so easy to find and customize), insert pictures and graphs, and do my own formatting. After many edits, getting feedback from other bloggers, and then some more edits, I save it and get it up on my site! I use e-junkie as a means of selling and sending the PDF, and also for setting up an affiliate program.
Why is it important for bloggers to master Pinterest?
Pinterest is quickly gaining steam not only as an important social media tool, but as a search engine, too! Watch out, Google! Bloggers across all categories are seeing Pinterest drive the majority of their referral traffic, and I anticipate this trend will only continue. You certainly don’t want to miss out on all that traffic!
What is one simple thing that bloggers can do to increase their Pinterest following?
Make sure you have a business account, a verified site, and register for rich-pins. This is really important! Also make specific, descriptive boards and mix your content in with content from other sites on the applicable board. If none of that makes sense, you will DEFINITELY benefit from my eBook — I have a technical section that will tell you step-by-step how to do everything!
You are currently traveling in Asia. Have you been working on this book while you travel?
I actually didn’t even start the book until after we started traveling! If we’re actively on the move we make sure to take one or two days each week as a “work day,” and we’ve been stationary in Hoi An, Vietnam for the last month. Being in one place for a month has been great for having real work weeks and getting this book done. It definitely takes some self-discipline, but being able to reward myself with a few hours at the beach is certainly worth it!