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How and Why the NHL are Winning Pinterest

Us too.
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We recently reported on efforts by Pinterest to appeal to a broader male audience. It might well turn out that the answer was staring them in the face all along. I wouldn't ever presume to suggest that NHL largely appeals to men, but there's no denying that it has a very strong male following (and, y'know, it's played by men). Taking that into account, the fact that the NHL have the most prominent, well manged Pinterest of just about any sport is an even bigger deal.

The NHL boasts 1.2 million Pinterest followers, far, far more than the NFL, NBA or MLB, and a big part of it is their understanding of audience appeal. You could be forgiven for thinking that a lot the page's output is a bit reductive, but if it works, it works. Food and lifestyle content, pictures of young kids in hockey gear, there's even a section dedicated to NHL team-style manicures. They call them 'Fanicures'. You can groan now, nobody will judge you.

The thing is though, the appeal extends far beyond stereotypical target marketing, mostly because there is no 'marketing' to speak of. None of pinboards used by the NHL are geared towards merchandising. They might feature merchandise, but there are no sales links, no bargain codes, nothing. Rather, the idea is to encourage fans to engage with their teams, to contribute to the buzz. For instance, last November they put up a #Movember board, which had players showing off their hard-groomed 'staches, whilst also inviting fans to do the same.

It's not the only platform they're doing well on, the NHL Twitter is also immensely popular, and is often used to equally inventive effect, but the way their Pinterest has taken off neatly demonstrates just how much potential the platform really has. Twitter, Instagram and others have been clamoring to better manage their content into curated 'clouds' or 'boards' but Pinterest have been doing that since the outset.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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How and Why the NHL are Winning Pinterest Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Rating: 5

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