Using Pinterest For PR (Lessons From The Boston Marathon)

Using Pinterest for PR

Have you ever thought about the difference between Pinterest & the other social media sites – as it relates to Public Relations?

I had the honor of speaking to an East Coast PR Society group recently, and of course the events in Boston were top of mind for people. As I was preparing to present I asked myself the question,

Is Pinterest Useful For PR Work? “

There are two types of emergencies – A “rapid onset emergency” is one that, as the name suggests, comes about rapidly. A “Slow onset emergency” is one that develops over a much more gradual timeframe.

So as examples:

Boston Marathon: Rapid-Onset Emergency

North Korea Conflict: Slow Onset Emergency

I’m sure you get the idea.

So as a PR person, the question we wonder about is how best would we use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube or Instagram in these types of situations.

Here are my observations & analysis as it relates to Pinterest & the other social sites:

1. Not Real-Time Focused: Whereas Twitter, Facebook & Instagram are built for real-time sharing, Pinterest is not. Most users pinning items in Pinterest related to the Boston event are items like “Pray For Boston” type memes – not minute by minute accounts of the situation.

2. Slow Search Algorithm Speed: In Twitter the Hashtag “BostonMarathon” went from something like 2,600 mentions on Twitter to over 288,000 (per almost immediately. And although you can search hashtags in Pinterest, when you search for that Hashtag in Pinterest (less than 24 hours after the bombing) there are no images presented associated with the event even though they’ve been uploaded. Several days later that was still true. Their search algorithm just isn’t refreshed rapidly enough (or something – I’m not a hacker so I don’t know exactly how to express this, but I know it’s true).

But fast forward one month and the boston marathon is out of the news cycle and is turning into a historical. Now ask yourself the question,

Which social media site has the best information about the Boston Marathon Bombing?”

Clearly it will be Pinterest. Look in Pinterest for Boston Marathon & choose the “Pinboards” option and you’ll see lots of curated content related to the issue. Here’s a screenshot:


Screen shot 2013-05-17 at 6.15.35 AM

The information is:

  • Thorough
  • Easy to find
  • A mix of both images and video

PR professionals should consider how Pinterest can be integrated with their work. If you’re in the business of providing information and resources as emergencies occur – then Pinterest should play a part in your media mix.



Jason Miles is the CEO of Liberty Jane Clothing, a Seattle based ecommerce company, and the author of the Bestselling Pinterest Power book - the definitive book on Pinterest marketing. He regularly partners with leading online groups and sites including, the American Marketing Association, IBM's Connectchat, Social Media Examiner, Profnet, Marketingprofs, and similar groups.

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