Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:10
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to The Blogger Genius. Today, we’re talking Pinterest and we’re talking video.
My guest is Kristen McDonnell, and she has a very successful YouTube channel called Studio Knit where she teaches people how to knit. And her YouTube channel has over 190,000 subscribers, she has over 300 videos.
Kristen has been experimenting with video on Pinterest; what’s working for her, what’s not. People complain that they get a lot of exposure with video on Pinterest but not necessarily clicks over to their site.
Well, Kristen is going to share what she’s been able to discover. I think this is a really cool interview.
So without further ado, here is my interview with Kristen McDonell.
Kristen, welcome to the show.
Kristen McDonell 1:06
Hi Jillian! I’m so excited to be on here, finally.
Jillian Leslie 1:10
Oh, I know. I know. Let’s talk about though how we connected. So we connected because you reached out to me on MiloTree because you had a question. Isn’t that right?
Kristen McDonell 1:22
I did. I did about the YouTube little pop-up. I wanted to make sure that it was pulling the correct video and you guys immediately got right on top of it. And I was so excited that I was talking to the real Jillian in that little text box there.
I assumed it was a robot at first and then I realized, “oh wait, no, this is a real human. But oh, it can’t be the real Jillian?”
Jillian Leslie 1:45
Oh, that’s so funny. It’s me. It’s me. I’m there. If anybody wants to chat with me, come chat.
And then we started talking about Pinterest and video. And you were saying that you have had a lot of success with that. And I’ve heard mixed things. So I immediately said to you, “hey, do you want to be on the show? And we can talk about Pinterest video.”
Kristen McDonell 2:08
Yes, I’m loving Pinterest video right now and I’m very excited to share my experience, what I’ve learned and to sort of inspire people that are maybe a little bit on the fence about it to give it a try.
Jillian Leslie 2:20
Okay, so let’s go back to how you started. You’re a big YouTuber, my friend, right? You are. You have like 100 and, what is it, 40,000 followers or subscribers? More?
Kristen McDonell 2:35
Jillian Leslie 2:36
Oh my god! No, not 140.
Kristen McDonell 2:37
I’m getting close to 200,000.
Jillian Leslie 2:38
Oh my god! That is incredible. First of all, let’s give you props for that. That is really hard to do.
Kristen McDonell 2:47
Thank you. In the DIY world, yes, I’m very happy. In the overall YouTube world, it’s a drop in the bucket. But, yeah.
Jillian Leslie 2:57
No. Still. Okay, so let’s talk about then how you got to… so you’re a knitter, just so everybody knows. And let’s talk about your story just briefly, how you got started, how you got started on YouTube and bring us up to today.
Kristen McDonell 3:12
Absolutely. Well, my background is in marketing communications. And on the side, just as a hobby, I love to knit. My grandmother was an amazing knitter. She since passed. And she lived on the East Coast, and I’m here on the West Coast in San Francisco.
So I never actually had the experience of learning from her. But I, you know, whenever she would visit us, she was always sitting around knitting and doing these amazing projects and entering in the New York State Fair and winning all those, you know, ribbons. And she was amazing.
But I never directly learned from her. It wasn’t until my sister got pregnant for the first time. And I thought, you know, it’s probably somewhere in my blood. Let me give this a try. Wouldn’t it be fun to knit for a new baby?
And so I started looking at YouTube videos. And slowly but surely, I started to learn how to knit, but it was a very frustrating experience.
So anyway, it is in my blood, it is in my bones, it is in my DNA. A lot of what my grandmother created, now I have a huge appreciation for. And yeah, so knitting is just a hobby, something that I love, something that I love gifting to others, charity projects.
But making a living from knitting, you quickly learn how much time it takes to make a hat and how much people are willing to buy a hat. And you are never going to make a living simply by knitting. So I never thought of it as something that would be a revenue stream for me.
So how the YouTube channel started. So I’ve had a lot of experience with creating websites, marking communication, working both as an employee and as a contractor here in the Bay Area for different nonprofit organizations, artists.
And my sister in 2013 at Christmas time, she was packing up the car from our parents’ house and she’s going back down to LA, and she goes, “Oh, wait, I have a question.”
She was working at what’s called an MCN, a multi-channel network. They’re not very relevant anymore, but at the time, they really nurtured YouTubers.
And so they would take a cut and they would help with brand deals and education. And so she was in that world, as you said, you know, we are. And they were lifestyle company, so they had a lot cooking and some DIY, and they were looking to expand that.
And she said, you know, “Do you know of any YouTubers that, you know, knitting channels that you would recommend?”
And I was stumped. Knowing the quality and the caliber that they were looking for, at the time, nothing came to me and I said, “Well, you know, I’ll think about it.”
And then that wonderful lightbulb moment a few days later just came to me and I thought, you know, maybe I could make that knitting channel.
Jillian Leslie 6:31
Kristen McDonell 6:31
That I wish existed. And yeah, so that’s where it started, in January of 2014. So I’m in my sixth year now.
Jillian Leslie 6:42
And how did you grow it? Like, how did you do this?
Kristen McDonell 6:47
Well, a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work while working full-time.
Jillian Leslie 6:52
Kristen McDonell 6:54
Because there is not money in it. YouTube exclusive, the way that I was doing it for the first few years. So I was working full-time and my idea that January was, well, let me get good enough. So maybe in two or three years, a company like my sister’s company would want to sign me.
Within a month, they signed me. Yeah, I was very, very fortunate. The only influence my sister had was that she let the vice-president of programming know that I’d started a channel.
And that woman, many of your listeners might know her, she is the creator of Entertaining with Beth, a wonderful food… She has an amazing YouTube presence and blog, and she is a marketer. And so she was doing both at the time. She since also is now exclusively working on her own Entertaining with Beth empire.
But at the time, she was their vice-president of programming and she saw my first couple of videos and she thought that I was onto something and they sort of treated me like as they had like a little incubation center where they gave me a lot of education, a lot of education and tips.
My first few videos were filmed on my iPad. Very out of focus. I had this weird cardboard box contraption with my iPad so that it could look down onto my hands.
My sister gave me great advice. She said just, you know, “you’re seeing a lot of amazing production quality out there. Don’t reach for that. Just use what you have. Get started.
And it is so true. Because there’s a huge learning curve with video and the only way you’re going to start climbing it, is to start doing it.
Jillian Leslie 8:49
I love that.
Yes. It’s not taking courses. I mean, again, that’s helpful, but it is actually doing it and doing it badly.
Kristen McDonell 9:06
Jillian Leslie 9:11
Kristen McDonell 9:13
The worst ones sometimes become the most popular.
Jillian Leslie 9:17
Kristen McDonell 9:17
You can’t get rid of them. Both on YouTube and on Pinterest, I’m like, oh, you know, you cringe but it resonates with people. And that production quality is not always necessary to, you know, reach out and share your message or your education with others.
Jillian Leslie 9:35
I couldn’t agree more. Okay, now, did you start making videos like one a week from two? Is that what you do now? Do you still do this?
Kristen McDonell 9:46
Okay, well, right now we’re in the spring season, which is a very low point for me. So I’ve allowed myself to not be so stuck to that schedule this year. But for the first five years, it was every single week.
I’m expanding more into my blog and doing education and different products right now. But I do my email list, is always once a week, because that’s that’s my favorite part of all of this, that direct contact with my email list.
But, you know, they recommend that whole YouTube algorithm, if you want to feed it the way that it wants, regularly posting is what’s recommended. But I’m shying away from, you know, being so tied to all of these algorithms and just doing what makes me happy right now.
Jillian Leslie 10:41
That’s great. Now, let’s talk about Pinterest and video. So Pinterest looks like they are very excited about video. And rumor on the street is that while video gets good, what would I say, ‘reach’, people aren’t necessarily clicking on video.
Some people are watching video on Pinterest, which is great for engagement; however, if you want to get traffic, that might be more difficult. And what would you say to that?
Kristen McDonell 11:16
That’s not my experience.
Jillian Leslie 11:18
Kristen McDonell 11:19
And I’m curious to know how much blood, sweat, and tears have gone into people that feel that way, of trying to make video work on Pinterest.
For me, I’ve been very focused on Pinterest and video since December. So let’s say for the past five months. And I’ve seen amazing results. I mean, right now, just a quick little look before we connected. And out of the top 20 pins that are driving traffic, 18 are video.
Jillian Leslie 11:57
No! All right, let’s break it down. Let’s talk about what you are doing. What is your process? How are you creating these video pins?
Kristen McDonell 12:07
Okay. First off, I want to say that the impressions are really high, and so maybe looking at that click-through rate is disappointing to people. But I’m not spending ad money on it. I’m just playing around for free on my own time.
So I actually have pulled back from advertising because all advertising really promises you are impressions. Video is absolutely promising these days. Lots of impressions.
Because Pinterest is, you know, they have three goals this year: IPO, video, and creators. And if they’re identifying that video is a priority, then I don’t think that’s something to run from.
Jillian Leslie 12:50
I agree. When Pinterest comes out and says something, listen. That’s what I always say.
Kristen McDonell 12:56
Jillian Leslie 12:57
Just one quick question. How do you monetize your business?
Kristen McDonell 13:01
Oh, sure. Oh, one of my favorite topics.
Jillian Leslie 13:05
Because that way, we can talk about both your Pinterest strategy and how you monetize YouTube and that kind of thing, because I think that would be very enlightening to our audience.
Kristen McDonell 13:15
Okay. Yay! Alright, so the majority, about 50% is my website ad revenue.
Jillian Leslie 13:24
Got it. And who’s your ad network?
Kristen McDonell 13:27
Mediavine. And I love them, big shout out to them. And I actually reached out to some fellow Mediavine creators last night to help me with some information that we’ll cover in a bit.
So shout out to all of Mediavine creators and the people behind it. And I’m very happy with my revenue stream, as well as my revenue stream from video.
I’m sure this is the case across the board. But, you know, on Mediavine, they’re very focused on video. And I track my RPMs, YouTube versus my blog.
Jillian Leslie 14:05
Let’s go through RPMs, revenue per page, right?
Kristen McDonell 14:10
Jillian Leslie 14:11
No. per thousand.
Kristen McDonell 14:12
Well, per thousand, right. Yes. M equals thousand.
Jillian Leslie 14:14
Okay. Right, yes.
Kristen McDonell 14:16
Anyway, so yeah, so the money I’m making per view, let’s just say, you know, per view is greatly outperforming.
I’m making much more money on people looking at my videos on my website versus YouTube, which is another reason why I’m sort of pulling back from doing everything that YouTube wants from me right now because I’m making so much more money driving people to my website to watch my videos right now.
Jillian Leslie 14:40
Got it. So can you, with your level of followers and traffic on YouTube make a living? Just on YouTube.
Kristen McDonell 14:47
YouTube exclusively? No.
Jillian Leslie 14:50
Okay. Unless you’re PewDiePie. Otherwise…
Kristen McDonell 14:56
Yeah, I don’t think anyone listening is in his…
Jillian Leslie 15:01
Right, exactly. I don’t subscribe. My daughter wants me to subscribe to him and I don’t.
But right, okay, so if you’re one of these enormous influencers, you can make a living off of YouTube ads. And again, they also do make much more money off of sponsorships. So for you, just for your YouTube income, that’s not a livable income.
Kristen McDonell 15:21
No, it never has. And that exclusively, it never will be.
Jillian Leslie 15:27
But because you have an ad player on your site that runs ads right in front of your video, you can monetize your video on your blog.
Kristen McDonell 15:39
Yes. Yeah, so I originally did have the YouTube embeds on all my blog posts, you know, and really wanting that also to kind of help drive those numbers up on YouTube.
But then when I really broke it down and I saw the difference in the revenue and it’s only increasing on my blog, I was like, you know, it’s time to kind of, you know, think. And it also looks better, I feel, the video players on my blog versus YouTube embed.
Jillian Leslie 16:10
Got it. Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. Go on.
Kristen McDonell 16:15
I’m sorry. So yes, so my blog ad revenue, that’s about 50%. And then other little slices of the pie, you know, they’re YouTube Adsense money. Facebook video, Amazon affiliates.
Jillian Leslie 16:32
What do you mean Facebook video?
Kristen McDonell 16:34
I am unable to monetize my video on Facebook, how to make money.
Jillian Leslie 16:42
Kristen McDonell 16:43
I’m not sure how they decide, but I’m one of the channels that they give money to.
Jillian Leslie 16:46
No! Good for you. You’re the first one I’ve met.
Kristen McDonell 16:48
Oh, really? Yeah, they reached out to me a few months ago and they put me on a program called Launchpad. And they actually gave me quite a bit of money to encourage me to start regularly posting video on Facebook.
And yeah, so I’m really fortunate there and they also really helped sort of boost my followers on Facebook as well.
Jillian Leslie 17:13
That’s amazing, okay.
Kristen McDonell 17:14
Yes, that was wonderful. That’s a very small sliver right now. But it is something, you know, yeah.
Okay, so Amazon affiliates, and I sell digital products, so my knitting patterns, people will buy. So I have some for as low as $2.60, and that adds up. And that’s something I’m really focused on right now.
So yeah, so that’s been wonderful. And I saw those both on Etsy as well as a knitting-specific website called Ravelry.
Jillian Leslie 17:48
Wow, that’s terrific. I love how you built your business. Okay, now, let’s pivot back to Pinterest and go through your process, your video process, and how you’re able to get people to click back to your site.
Kristen McDonell 18:01
Well, I’m just having fun with it. You know, I’m fortunate that I have a really great video library right now to pull from. But I am re-editing them specifically for Pinterest.
Jillian Leslie 18:14
Okay, so explain that.
Kristen McDonell 18:16
You know, I think a lot of people are putting video up maybe that they edited for Facebook or for YouTube.
I don’t have enough data to say that there’s a specific type of video on Pinterest that is a slam dunk, but I’m having fun playing with a few different varieties of video. So I personally am doing the vertical.
Jillian Leslie 18:47
Okay. So what are the ratios?
Kristen McDonell 18:50
Two by three.
Jillian Leslie 18:51
Two by three.
Kristen McDonell 18:52
So I’m personally doing 600 by 900, or you can do whatever the math is for the other, the larger one. But that’s working well.
And I feel that, you know, with the static video pins, they’re pretty adamant that 2 to 3 is what they want. So I thought, well, you know, yes, of course, I have all of these horizontal and square videos, but let me work on doing what they say they want and see if that performs better.
Jillian Leslie 19:16
Now, what about the people, there are certain people who are doing like a static image and then a video underneath it. But you’re not doing that?
Kristen McDonell 19:23
Oh, I am. And actually, I thought I invented that before people started talking about it. And how that came to be for me is that, you know, a lot of us have created these cut down specifically for Facebook in that square format that Facebook loves.
And I thought how can I, you know, so that was already pretty well-edited but just sort of forcing it into the vertical wasn’t going to work. So when I was playing with it, I was like, Oh, well, what if the top portion is square and what can I do in the bottom portion? Oh, let me do a static image of the finished product.
So they might see my hands working and, you know, I’ll have a text overlay maybe saying what the project is, but then they know without sitting there and like waiting for me to finish this thing even if it’s only 30 seconds.
They’ll know by looking at that photo underneath it. Oh, this is for this certain thing that she’s making,
Jillian Leslie 20:15
And how are you creating those?
Kristen McDonell 20:18
I’m personally using Adobe Premiere Pro. And this is where my Mediavine friends came into play. Because I reached out to them, saying, you know, I know that Premiere Pro is sort of on the more advanced side and I wanted to help, give encouragement to people that aren’t so confident with the video, of the ways that they can do it. So this is what I learned.
So iMovies, that’s how I first started way back doing my YouTube videos, iMovie. That was a way.
Somebody said in Photoshop, they’re able to do video. I haven’t tried that. I use Photoshop all the time. I didn’t know that. So that’s interesting.
Canva — somebody said that they do GIFs that sort of look like video in Canva. Some of them said they do Keynote. There’s another one called Kizoa.
But the big one that majority of people responded and were raving about is called Filmora. I did a quick look at their website, and yeah, they look great, so I haven’t tried it. But it looks like a good way to get started in editing video for Pinterest.
Jillian Leslie 21:40
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Are all of your videos in this format with the static image and the video?
Kristen McDonell 24:10
No, no. I’m playing around different things. So one of the things that is really simple that I feel is really impactful is just taking a static image and slightly moving it either up, you know, like going down or side or vertical with a text overlay and my logo. And so it just sort of catches that eye.
And for me, with food, there’s that ooey-gooey and all that, you know, that great food. In my world, people get really excited by yarn up close. Up close it’s like, whoo!
Jillian Leslie 24:53
I was going to say it’s got that like ASMR soft feel to it.
Kristen McDonell 24:59
Exactly. My best-performing one right now in the last month is a close-up. It starts out with a close-up of a knit stitch pattern that I did. So just like a little swatch of knitting that I did an up close sort of like diagonal.
And then it goes into watching my hands do a little bit of something. And yeah, it just pulls people in.
Jillian Leslie 25:28
So this is a static image?
Kristen McDonell 25:30
It starts as a static image but I have some that are exclusively static image. So they’ll be another knitting swatch that maybe just kind of scrolls down a little bit. And that’s it.
Jillian Leslie 25:40
Interesting. Keep going, I didn’t mean to interrupt.
Kristen McDonell 25:46
I was just going to say it’s just the eye. It’s just that little bit. It looks really similar to my other static images, but it’s outperforming them for a couple of reasons. One, because I feel that it is eye-catching.
Secondly, these are new pins. So I’ve been putting a lot of work into creating new video pins. And so they are fresh pins.
Jillian Leslie 26:08
That’s so cool. Now tell me how long are your videos.
Kristen McDonell 26:13
I’m trying different formats. Overall, about 15 seconds; 15 seconds to 30 seconds is my goal.
Because I feel people are not pulling up a chair and going to actually learn how to… they’re not grabbing their knitting needles and doing it along with me as they do on YouTube, or now on Facebook.
They want to save it and move on. So just enough to sort of entice them to repin it or to click through to my site seems to be enough. I am also playing around, because why not? This isn’t costing me any extra money.
So I have played around with some longer like three-minute videos where I’m actually on camera talking. So if they want to click through and hear what I have to say, they can, but most of them, I’m not doing any sort of sound.
Jillian Leslie 27:00
You’re putting music in or no?
Kristen McDonell 27:03
I’m not. I’m not. And right now, you can’t hear the sound anyway unless you click the pin. And I’m a big believer that people don’t want to hear sound on Pinterest. So I do have some that have sound, but overall, I don’t think it’s necessary right now on Pinterest.
Now, the world of video might totally evolve into something else but I feel like it’s just really something to draw people in, get them to click to your site, and then learn once they’re there.
Jillian Leslie 27:27
So let’s say if we were food bloggers, let’s say, and we’re making little food videos. I’m thinking about like the Tasty videos on Facebook and you would just kind of watch them for entertainment purposes, not necessarily to go make that recipe.
You’d kind of be like, Oh, I want to see how this turns out.
Kristen McDonell 27:47
Jillian Leslie 27:48
But on Pinterest, do you think that because Pinterest people go to Pinterest for recipes to make stuff, that there is more of an incentive to click through or is there some way in your video that you’re getting people to click through?
Kristen McDonell 28:03
You absolutely can have a call to action. So if you have like a 10-second video, you can have a call to action and people always respond to that.
For me personally, I pin food and it definitely catches my eye. You know, I love seeing those hands, doing those, you know, quick edits and, you know, how is this going to turn out. And it gets my attention over the static image. It just does.
Jillian Leslie 28:30
The whole thing is just I mean, intuitively what you’re saying makes perfect sense. And, you know, like, I get it. And the fact that you are seeing clicks is really interesting.
So tell me then about what you do. You literally take the file and it’s like adding a pin on Pinterest. Is that right?
Kristen McDonell 28:53
Yes. So I have a few tricks. Okay. And this is, you know, right now in 2019, things may change. But right now, we cannot schedule through Tailwind, video.
Some people think they are, but what’s actually being scheduled is a static image. So you can schedule somebody’s video in Tailwind or your own, but all that will output is a static image.
Jillian Leslie 29:19
Kristen McDonell 29:20
Yes. So that may change in the future, I’m sure it will.
Jillian Leslie 29:24
I’m sure it will.
Kristen McDonell 29:25
But right now, that’s the way it is. But Pinterest does have a scheduler and I schedule my videos. So you can schedule up to 30 pins. For some reason, this might just be me, it seemed like after 25, sometimes I was having some issues, so I personally just keep it to 25, so I don’t have to deal with that.
And I have that old-fashioned Excel doc. You know, we’ve been spoiled by Tailwind. But this is how I’m doing it right now so that I am able to be very strategic about making that all of my videos are pinning to different boards in different time intervals.
Jillian Leslie 30:06
Got it. Okay. And once you upload a video to Pinterest, you can then add where you want this to click through to. It’s like the same as scheduling any sort of pin?
Kristen McDonell 30:18
Absolutely the same, and it’s more work. So here’s another little trick. When I’m scheduling one particular pin, I will open up, saying if I want to schedule it like four different times to four different boards, I’ll create four different tabs because there’s a lot of copying and pasting.
Of the URL, of the title, of the description. And then I change each description slightly on each.
So it’s more work. It is definitely a focused, dedicated project. But now that I have it down and I’m seeing the results, I’m not spending the ad money to get all of these impressions and extra traffic to my site, for me, it’s worth it.
Jillian Leslie 31:01
Kristen McDonell 31:03
Yeah. So the process is just like you would create a pin, I have been very happy with their technology. I have not felt that there’s, you know, with Pinterest, a lot of times there can be bugs and stuff.
Jillian Leslie 31:17
It’s glitchy, yup.
Kristen McDonell 31:18
It’s glitchy but with the video, which you know, would be extra frustrating with video because it does take some time for it to process. But I have found that it’s worked really well for me these past few months.
And so you click and you find that video on your desktop or wherever. You add your title, you add your description.
Jillian Leslie 31:42
Lots of keywords.
Kristen McDonell 31:43
Hashtags. I have a special hashtag for my videos. So mine is like #knittingvideos so that I can quickly just see all of them. However, now they have that video tab. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that.
Jillian Leslie 31:59
I have not noticed the video tab.
Kristen McDonell 32:01
So for those of us who are uploading video, they’re including a video tab on your profile so you can click. So if you were to go to my profile, you can see my video tab. And all of the videos now are right there.
Jillian Leslie 32:15
Oh that’s great.
Kristen McDonell 32:16
I also have a special board that’s exclusively video too.
Jillian Leslie 32:19
Okay, how often are you adding a new video?
Kristen McDonell 32:23
I am currently tasking myself with uploading, or you know, pushing out 3 to 4 videos a day,
Jillian Leslie 32:33
Whoa! New? Or are these ones where you’re pinning it into different boards?
Kristen McDonell 32:40
Different boards. And as far as new, about like three a week. And again, I have a great library of video. But I like to, you know, so say I have like one specific post. It is really easy to sort of change up each video to make it a new pin.
So let’s say for that easy static image that sort of just moves, I have one that moves vertical. I have another that moves side to side, I have another that moves diagonally. So there’s a way to sort of make fresh pins very quickly with the same assets.
Jillian Leslie 33:18
Wow. Okay. And so then you’re saving them as different files, you’re uploading them as different pins. And then you can take each one and pin it to a variety of boards.
Kristen McDonell 33:29
Exactly. And I have that Excel spreadsheet that helps me keep track of all of this because it can easily get confusing.
And here’s something else that I’ve been doing. I have started taking these vertical videos and now, I’m also pushing them on to Facebook and they’re performing very well on Facebook too.
Jillian Leslie 33:53
Kristen McDonell 33:54
Yup. Yeah. So that’s kind of neat.
Jillian Leslie 33:57
Now, are you also then putting them on Instagram? Because you could put them in your stories.
Kristen McDonell 34:03
I should. I am not as prolific on Instagram right now as I probably should be. That’s one of the platforms that I’m sort of allowing myself not to put too much time into. I wish I could. It’s just one of those ones that I’m not that good with right now.
Jillian Leslie 34:20
I get that.
Kristen McDonell 34:21
But I mean, would Instagram… yeah. So they have the vertical there with the Stories, you know, I’m going to put that on my list. May as well try it. I have all these things.
Jillian Leslie 34:34
And then by the way, then you could also put them on IGTV, which is also vertical.
Kristen McDonell 34:41
Okay. I’m going to have to look into that. And I love your Instagram podcast last week. I can do a few of the action items. And I started posting a little bit more on Instagram this week because of it. And on MiloTree, I added that Instagram.
Jillian Leslie 35:01
Great. As a little segue, let’s just talk about what you’re growing with MiloTree and how you found it to be.
Kristen McDonell 35:11
Oh, yes. Okay. So MiloTree was one of the very first things that I did once I started paying attention to my blog and its potential for growth. And you were on the Simple Pin Podcast?
Jillian Leslie 35:27
Kristen McDonell 35:27
Just how I look at you. And so I’ve had the MiloTree pop up since the fall of 2016.
Jillian Leslie 35:35
Oh my god!
Kristen McDonell 35:36
I’ve been with it ever since, yes. So I immediately did Pinterest. And then you added YouTube. I’m not sure what year it was when I started. It was a little bit later. I got really excited. Then I emailed you and I was so happy. So, so happy. So I had Pinterest and YouTube.
And then just last week when I heard the podcast you had about Instagram, I went back and said, Okay, I have to add that because my Instagram following was really low. While I was in there, I noticed that you also had Etsy. Oh, my God. Is that new?
Jillian Leslie 36:17
Yes, we have Etsy. So what it does is you embed it on your blog or your site. And what it says is, like Buy Now or Shop My Store or something like I don’t even know what it says. But it will then direct people from your blog to your Etsy shop. And you can do it also for Shopify if you have the Shopify store.
Kristen McDonell 36:37
Jillian Leslie 36:38
Again, I was just talking to somebody yesterday and she goes, Oh, my God, I got a Shopify sale yesterday from the pop-up.
Kristen McDonell 36:47
Oh, wow. How does she know that?
Jillian Leslie 36:49
I think in Shopify, she could see where the traffic was coming from. I don’t know. I didn’t ask her.
Kristen McDonell 36:58
That’s so cool. Well, then I get my first Etsy sale directly from it, if I’m able to figure that out.
Jillian Leslie 37:03
Yeah. If you’re able to see. Can you see where your traffic’s coming from in Etsy?
Kristen McDonell 37:07
I’m not sure.
Jillian Leslie 37:09
Because like Shopify, you own your store, so you get more analytics. I’m not sure if you will get that in Etsy. I’d have to look into that.
So thank you for being such a loyal customer. I’m super glad that it is working for you. Because you are the ideal. You are like the sweet spot of, you know, it can help grow your business while you’re not thinking about it, while you’re focused on, you know, experimenting on Pinterest, that kind of thing.
Kristen McDonell 37:38
Yes. And, you know, my Pinterest journey is pretty recent. I just started focusing on Pinterest two and a half years ago. I was totally YouTube. It was all YouTube. And then I listened to the Simple Pin Podcast. I started doing what she said. Within 30 days, my website exploded.
I mean, it’s almost embarrassing because you know, she’s not one of those, you know, get-rich-quick people. But let me tell you, it really changed things for me. And now, since then I’ve quit my job. And this is my full-time thing.
And yeah, and in that first month is when I added the MiloTree app and it’s really served me my Pinterest growth. And so at this time, I was treating Pinterest sort of like Twitter. I didn’t realize the power and I had no idea.
And so when Kate opened my eyes, I heard just doing everything she said, and it was working. You know, I put a lot of time into it for sure tt I would listen to each of her podcasts twice so that the information really would absorb into me.
And she has these great action items. As I sit down and do those right after each podcast. And so yeah, so the Pinterest, so I’m currently… I know they say followers don’t matter but I think maybe because my education was always YouTube, I feel that they do.
Jillian Leslie 39:09
i do too again. For Catch My Party, we get millions of page views a month and we have over a million followers on Pinterest.
So again, their algorithms have so many signals that go into it. And when you have for us a million followers, you know, it says wow, people like this, you know, they like this content. This is not spammy content, this is valuable.
And also, if you look in your followers tab, your follower pins show up and if people are interacting with your pins, it just signals to Pinterest ‘show more, show more’. So there is truth to followers matter. The question is how and why.
That’s what I would say.
Kristen McDonell 40:04
Right. And because of the MiloTree app, I went from zero to I think I have about 80,000 now. And when I send out new emails, when I send out emails to new subscribers, one of my questions is, you know, I’d love to know how you found me.
And a lot of people, when they say Pinterest or any other platform, a lot of times they mentioned ‘and you have so many followers.’ And it does make an impact.
Jillian Leslie 40:32
It does. It’s social proof. Absolutely. Okay, so a couple more questions just before we wrap up. One is, why were you paying for ads on Pinterest? And did that make sense? Meaning paying for ads, you know, you’re paying for clicks. And does that make sense if you’re mostly monetizing via traffic.
Kristen McDonell 40:58
It served me well. I think that the knitting-specific site that I mentioned earlier, Ravelry, that was the best bang for my buck..
Jillian Leslie 41:10
So you are not just trying to get traffic to your blog, you’re actually promoting your products.
Kristen McDonell 41:18
On Pinterest, I am. But once they’re on my blog, they get on my mailing list. They learn that I’m on YouTube through the MiloTree app. They come into my world and I get to know them and there are a lot of opportunities that come from that.
And Pinterest advertising specifically is really special. Because once you stop giving them money, they keep promoting those pins.
Jillian Leslie 41:42
Kristen McDonell 41:45
And every week they give you the results. I’m like, wow, I spent zero ad dollars this week yet, you know, it resulted in all these clicks. You know, you don’t see that from Facebook. And the price point per click that I was receiving, I was happy with.
And I have put a little bit of advertising money into one video pin right now because I was curious and I’ve been really happy with those results.
Jillian Leslie 42:10
I’ve heard that those again, because Pinterest is pushing its video that you can get relatively cost-effective clicks on video.
Kristen McDonell 42:21
Right now, that’s my experience. It feels like the gold rush. To me, it feels like you know, before, it was, Oh, you know, it’s a long game, maybe in five to six weeks, you know, your static pin will start to get some juice.
But right now, Pinterest is like these videos, the impressions, they are pushing it hard and there’s a lot of discovery in video. You know, if you type in some sort of search term, sometimes like a bunch of videos show up at the top.
And in suggested videos. Also, when somebody is looking at one of my video pins, there are suggested pins underneath any pin, right? And for me, they’re all mine.
Jillian Leslie 43:03
Kristen McDonell 43:03
I guess right now, not that many people are doing what I’m doing. So I feel like I’m sort of ahead of the game.
You totally e. There’s a lot more competition, of course.
But I think definitely playing around with the assets that you have, right, you know, within a reasonable amount of time. You know, don’t don’t kill yourself over it. But I think you know, setting aside some time to kind of play with it is worth it these days. Oh,
Jillian Leslie 43:31
wow. You are the perfect example of the riches are in the niches. Oh, thank you really are people talk about, oh, I want to do this. And I want to do that. And it’s like I always say, no, really find your niche and go deep. And you are the model of that.
Kristen McDonell 43:52
Well, thank you. Yes, I don’t even touch crochet. I’m pretty unique in that way.
Jillian Leslie 43:57
Right? Oh, my God, yes.
Kristen McDonell 43:58
Pinterest is starting to serve up crochet to me because yarn is in the pictures, but I’m specifically knitting. And it served me well. It’s been an amazing journey.
Oh, I have a really exciting announcement that Pinterest just told me I was allowed to tell you today. Yesterday, Pinterest invited me to what they call, coincidentally, VidCon. It is their Pinterest employee conference.
Jillian Leslie 44:08
Kristen McDonell 44:27
This is happening in the end of May. And they reached out and they’ve signed me on to teach knitting. They have hundreds of different little learning things going on. It’s like a two-day conference. I’m just doing one little 45-minute session. They said each hour, they’re offering 30 different, fun, creative opportunities for their employees.
And they’re also mixing in, you know, amazing keynote speakers with famous people. And I’m allowed to sort of walk around throughout the day too to experience all of this, and they are doing a bonus creator day.
So they’ve invited 30 of us to do this. And the rest of the classes are being taught by Pinterest employees. Because I said, you know, there’s a lot of talent that they have. And it feels like you know that Willy Wonka thing.
Jillian Leslie 45:21
Yes, yes. You got the golden ticket!
Kristen McDonell 45:25
Yes. I asked how they found me. I just assumed I’m in San Francisco there, and in San Francisco they googled San Francisco knitter. But it wasn’t. They were offering to fly me in. They just saw my Pinterest account and their creative team selected me from my Pinterest account.
Jillian Leslie 45:39
Wow, there you go. Oh, wow. Okay, Kristen, how can people reach out to you? How can they see what you’re doing? What is the best way?
Kristen McDonell 45:49
Um, I think the best way is simply googling Studio Knit. So those are two words, studio and knit, and everything I have comes up. My URL is actually StudioKnitSF for San Francisco because the regular one was taken, although I think I might be able to acquire it soon which will be very exciting.
So all of my other social is all just Studio Knit, so you can find me just on any platform. And I do have a great teachable course for the absolute beginner knitter.
So if anybody here wants to learn how to knit, I have a great step by step course on Teachable designed specifically for someone that doesn’t even know how many knitting needles they need. It’s totally the basics.
And that’s been really successful and really fun. I love teaching new people. So if anyone’s curious to learn how to do it, please find me.
Jillian Leslie 46:45
And one last thing.You added your first party to Catch My Party and it’s beautiful. I’m going to link to it in the show notes. Because it was your wedding.
Kristen McDonell 46:56
Jillian Leslie 46:57
And it was all DIY and it’s beautiful. And I was ooh-ing and ah-ing over the photos before we pressed record. So I want to say thank you for that. We will definitely be showing it off all over Catch My Party, on our social networks and on our social channels. And in fact, it can help you grow your Instagram because we will show it on our page.
And we’ll tag you. So thank you for adding it and it’s beautiful and people should go check that out too.
Kristen McDonell 47:28
Jillian Leslie 47:29
And a belated congrats on your wedding.
Kristen McDonell 47:31
Oh, thank you very much.
Jillian Leslie 47:32
Awesome. Well Kristen, thank you so much for being on the show.
Kristen McDonell 47:36
Thank you, Jillian.
Jillian Leslie 47:38
If you liked this episode, please head to iTunes, rate us, leave a review. We’ve been getting so many lovely reviews, people that are really starting to discover the podcast. And that’s all because of you. So thank you so much for your support.
If you want to reach out to me, I am at Jillian@Milotree.com. If you have not tried MiloTree, head on over to MiloTree.com, install it on your site in under two minutes and watch your followers and email list grow. Until next week.
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