How do you measure success? How can you tell when your copy is working?
Right now we do basic A/B testing, keep up with our research team’s work, listen to what pinners say in comments and feedback (our community team actually sends out a big report after every launch, to help us understand what pinners are confused), and do lots of gut checks with people across the company. Testing strings of copy is simple, but measuring the effect of a “voice” is much more difficult. Right now we’re working on a robust Voice Measurement Plan™, which will hopefully help us get clearer about the effect of our work.
Why is user education important? Does it have a real impact on the product?
We don’t have all the numbers on pinner education, but we know that the way we design and write this stuff has a huge impact on whether and how people understand Pinterest. A while back we tested 4 or 5 variations of a get started flow, for example, and we noticed a big difference in how people adopted certain features based on our copy. We still have a lot of room to grow, though, and we’re working really closely with our research, design and growth teams to think what “the Pinterest way” of educating pinners looks like.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in building out a content strategy for Pinterest?
One thing I’ve learned is how awesome it is to work for a company whose co-founders support the work you do—Evan and Ben really care about communicating well (whether it’s through design or writing), so my team has a certain amount of “lift” beneath us.
Still, though, building a discipline at a startup is hard work. You have to be strategic, and think not just about shipping great products, but also about creating the conditions under which great products can happen. This means being clear about what you’re trying to do, articulating your team’s mission, getting everyone in the company on board with that mission, understanding when you’re not doing a great job of expressing yourself, and looking outside your own discipline to tie what you’re doing to the company’s bottom line. And you need to be really flexible.
I’ve also learned that for me, inspiring people is more effective than “managing” or “evangelizing” them. If I can get people all over Pinterest to understand why communicating well matters we all feel happier when we work together, and things get done more quickly.