Pinterest has started taking more of an interest in media companies. Enough of an interest, in fact, that for the very first time it’s looking for someone to manage its media partnerships. On its job recruitment site, the company has an open listing for a Partner Manager of Media in New York or Los Angeles. The job description says the company wants someone to “develop strong media, entertainment and publisher relationships” and to “work closely to help them get the most out of Pinterest and meet their business goals.”
A Pinterest spokesperson told me:
Media is a growing category and is an interest for many. We want to make sure articles are high quality and discoverable on Pinterest, so we launched article pins, and we’re working with publications to help them be successful. … We’ve always had great relationships with media companies but are hiring talent to focus on continuing to develop these relationships in market (hence the NYC and LA locations).
At first glance, it’s a strange need for Pinterest to have. The site is known for scrapbooking and visual inspiration. It’s not traditionally associated with articles, text, TV or Hollywood – that’s squarely in the domain of Twitter and Facebook.
But the company actually sees five million articles pinned a day. It had a rich pin embed code that it has convinced news organizations like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian to use. When people pin an article from these sites, it generates information like the organization’s logo and the summary excerpt of the story and formats everything in a more polished style on the pinner’s board.
Pinterest encourages people to use the application like an article bookmarking tool, saving good reads for later or exploring articles pinned by other Pinterest users. There’s even a “pin now read later” section devoted to evergreen stories.
Likewise, publishers are starting to wake up to the sharing potential of the underutilized Pinterest platform. Buzzfeed experimented with creating articles optimized for Pinterest sharing. Two years later, Pinterest had grown to become the second biggest social referral of Buzzfeed traffic.
As Pinterest looks to expand into new markets and grow into its $5 billion valuation, it’s broadening its mission and purpose. The move to recruit a media partnerships manager puts Pinterest squarely in the path of Facebook (s FB) and Twitter (s TWTR), who compete aggressively for media partnerships and attention. Both Twitter and Facebook’s growth strategies now rest heavily on the news and TV industries. Facebook uses such content to keep people engaged in the application longer and Twitter needs media and entertainment activity to kickstart stagnant user growth.
It’s not clear what role media will play in Pinterest’s growth, but perhaps the company is ready to find out.