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Pinterest Secrets, Strategies, and Surprises

 If Pinterest isn’t sending a significant amount of traffic to your blog, then you need to learn some Pinterest secrets and strategy. Pinterest is the fourth biggest search engine and it can be a great source of referrals to your blog. It can be confusing but it is worth the effort to get to know how to use it more effectively.

If Pinterest isn’t sending a significant amount of traffic to your blog, then you need to learn some Pinterest secrets and strategy.

In March 2016, I had 99 followers on Pinterest and had less than 800 page views that month my blog.

By October 2016, I had 2700 followers on Pinterest and had 36,000 page views that month on my blog.

By using my Pinterest secrets and strategies, I grew the traffic to my blog by 4400% in 7 months, from monthly page views of less than 800 to over 36,000.

Pinterest IS the strongest blogger-driven social media right now. It is composed almost completely of blogger content and that content is being searched, saved, and shared by a huge audience of non-bloggers eager for that content.

I recently did a Facebook Live video (December 16) with my partner Stacey. I shared something there that might get your attention here.

I have roughly the same number of followers on Twitter and Pinterest. To make the math easy, I’m going to say that I had 1000 visitors yesterday. Here’s percentage-wise what my referrals look like.

970 page views were a result of Pinterest
30 page views were a result of Facebook, Twitter, and search engines combined.

Of course, I want the other referrals to work better. But I can’t back off the referral source that is the gift that keeps giving. And neither can you!

If you aren’t currently using Pinterest, then all of the following might not make sense. Read anyway. And at the bottom, go join my Facebook group, Banking on Blogging. We are talking a lot about basic Pinterest right now. If you aren’t sure, then definitely check out our most recent video.

Pinterest Secrets and Strategies

 

It can be confusing. I’ve seen so many bloggers, even experienced ones say they need to learn how to use Pinterest. There’s lots of content out there. There are a lot of Pinterest Secrets.

We’ve all seen the headlines.

  • Triple Your Traffic
  • Explode Your Traffic
  • Get a Gazillion More Pins with This One Secret!

This isn’t that kind of report though.

I’m sharing my version of Pinterest secrets. These are my thoughts on what I’ve learned over the last year of growing my Pinterest presence and turning Pinterest into a huge referrer of traffic to my blog.

My Pinterest Story

I was late to the Pinterest Party. I had an account for years before I got going on it. <sigh of regret> I had a whopping 32 FOLLOWERS and a handful of pins last year. I was 100% clueless! My blogging mentor firmly suggested that I needed to build a Pinterest Presence, so I got busy pinning and building up my own boards. I set a goal of having 1000 pins before I even attempted to join group boards.

In the months (not years) since, I’ve joined some great group boards, pinned 5000+ more times, and gained 2700 followers. My blog traffic went from less than 500 page views a month to over 36,000 page views this past month.

It might not always be exciting but using Pinterest can be a fun, challenging, and effective part of your overall blogging business.

Pinterest is full of strategies, secrets, and surprises. That’s what makes it interesting, frustrating, and more than a little addictive. Aren’t we all trying to crack the code? And don’t we all have times when we think we’ve finally got it figured out? Then…

Pinterest will change something and you’ll be scratching your head. What just happened???? 

The thing to keep in mind is that every piece of advice you read online, may already be a little out of date. Because Pinterest is always a changing.

An example of this, is something that happened recently on my own Pinterest. My referrals to my blog are high and growing daily. That’s going great.

Yet my overall growth of new followers is WAY down on a daily basis. It seems like Pinterest has changed something. I have no idea what, but I can see what it is affecting.

I really wonder, what happened a few weeks ago that caused a dramatic drop off in the number of people who daily choose to follow my Pinterest boards. It went from being 20–30 a day (one day I got 100 new followers!) to much much fewer. <insert sad face here> Did I do something? Did Pinterest change something?

While it’s nice to see the number of followers growing, the important thing is the number of referrals to my website that come from Pinterest. And that has grown steadily and occasionally in big leaps over the past eight months. I hope that continues of course, but we’ll see how this new development plays out.

The take away from this is that as much as I like and use Pinterest, parts will always be a secret. However, I’ll share the things that make Pinterest the amazing social media platform it is for bloggers and why I personally love it.

Why Use Pinterest?

Every blogger needs to understand and use Pinterest. The main reason is that it IS blogger driven. Think about it, all the content on Pinterest is created by other bloggers. Pinterest NEEDS bloggers and their supply of content. But just as great, is that there is a HUGE audience of non-bloggers who are hungry for the content you are sharing.

Pinterest IS the perfect social media platform for bloggers to use, to send traffic to their websites. Some people seem to have mastered this (or at least for this month) and others are just getting started. No matter where you are on this continuum you have got to have some strategy.

Develop Your Pinterest Strategy

Pinterest seems to react well to strategy and consistency. Work something out and stick to it for a week or two and see if things start moving. One of my early strategies, before I had much content was to pin 2 or 3 of my posts to different group boards every day and pin others content to my boards. Back then I was pinning way more of other’s content in an effort to grow my own boards.

If you aren’t already tracking your blog and social media metrics, you can access my tracker here. It’s really important to know your numbers and see how they react to your strategies and actions.

Blog and Social Media Metrics Tracker

If you see your numbers going up. Hooray! You’ve got a good strategy going. Don’t fall for thinking you have to do what some other blogger is doing, just because. However, if you read about something that really resonates and you commit to it. Go for it. Again, your numbers will tell you what is working.

Here are some strategies that have worked for me.

Strategy #1: Each Post must have an image optimized for pinning

Having an optimized image for pinning is non-negotiable. I am actually surprised by the number of bloggers who don’t do this. It’s such an easy fix. If you don’t do this—you should consider this your first order of business. Pinterest is too important to blog traffic to not do this.

Success on Pinterest requires a good image to pin. Every single post you publish must have a good/great/solid image optimized for pinning. There are lots of guides out there for this. In general, though, it needs to be VERTICAL, EASY TO READ, and ATTRACTIVE.

Horizontal or square pins are not cool. They are fine to sprinkle through your post if you so desire but include at least one image that will work on Pinterest.

I’m not a graphic designer, nor a great photographer. I make all my images on a factory installed program on my Mac called Preview. It’s about as low tech as they come. But it works. If you understand the anatomy of a pin (I’ll talk about this in a bit), then you can can make each part as good as you can.

In fact, in some ways, simple is better when it’s eye-catching and easy to read. Though don’t make it so simple it’s boring. Pinterest is visual and you have to differentiate yourself with your pins.

Browse Pinterest and look for great pins. Try to develop an eye for what works well in pins. Doing this can be crucial to using Pinterest to get traffic to your website.

Strategy #2: Get to know Pinterest intimately

You’re in a relationship. Spend time manually pinning. Be a hands-on pinner! At least some of the time. Spending time looking at pins, choosing pins for your boards, and pinning your own pins teaches you how Pinterest works best for you.

I promise this isn’t the waste of time that some people want you to believe.

Understand that schedulers such as Tailwind or Board Booster are not magic. I suspect the reason that people have such great growth with them, is that they are finally pinning on a consistent basis and that’s the real reason for growth. There are very successful bloggers who swear by manual pinning and still make time to do it manually and in real time.

It is worth the time and effort to improve your Pinterest game.

Strategy #3: Understand the Anatomy of Your Pins

There are three parts to a Pinterest Image

  • The title, the actual words you use
  • Font and color combinations
  • Photograph or graphic background
  • Description

These are all important. Not only do individual pins need to attract pinners but they need to reflect your overall look. While you want to have a look, the most boring thing is when every pin on your board (the one devoted to your own blog posts) looks alike.

Give each part some attention and try to make it look as good as you can. Ideally, you will improve the quality of your pins as you practice.

Strategy #4: Pin Often Throughout the Day

You don’t have to pin a bazillion times a day.

I have it from a pretty good source (okay I read it on Tailwind) that up to 50 pins a day is the most effective. Over 50 doesn’t seem to produce any extra return.

I’d go crazy if I had to pin more than 30 a day. Here’s why. I like to pin other people’s content and I swear that this is one of the reasons I get my good results. Looking for good pins and content takes time. My rule of thumb is at least one other piece of content pinned for each one of mine. There are differing opinions on this but this has worked for me.

More pinning is not always better. It may seem like that as you are getting started but it’s not. It’s much better to be a smart pinner.

Strategy #5: Be Adaptable and Ready to Try New Things

Keep alert and keep adapting as needed. If something is working—keep doing it! If something goes off, don’t panic, but start looking at how you can modify. I pinned manually for months. It was a free trial of Tailwind that got my started with that.

At first I had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t know that much about it. I do know, that it allows me to decide what I what pinned for the day and pick when and where I want them to go. I now have a fairly efficient system that gets the job done.

Strategy #6: Play nice

Part of the job of blogging is sharing your content and the content of others. Blogging is one of the most collaborative types of work out there. You really can’t succeed on your own without the help and goodwill of other bloggers. Nowhere is this more evident than on Pinterest.

Spend time pinning manually in real time. Get to know the boards you’re pinning to and the kind of pins your followers like.

Strategy #7 Join Group Boards

 There are lots of group boards for bloggers and more starting every day. Some are only open to bloggers in specific niches and others allow any types of blogs. Some are huge and some are small. In general, look for boards that have a robust number of followers and pinners.

Join several. Read the rules of the board since each board is different. My favorite board only allows one pin a day. Other boards allow unlimited. When you come across a board that looks like a good fit, try to join. If the board is accepting contributors, there will be directions in the board description.

In my experience, if a board is accepting, you will get accepted. Not always but it’s always worth a try.

Strategy #8: Get to know your Group Boards

I don’t visit all my group boards every day but I try to make the rounds a couple of times a week to all my boards. This is where I scout for new pins and new content. I like finding newer bloggers with a fresh outlook. It makes me so happy to see pins that aren’t the same old tired stuff.

That being said, there are other bloggers who I will usually check out their stuff because I’ve enjoyed their writings in the past. (Reputation is important!)

I really count on my group boards as a way to find great content that I want to pin. I look for pins that have some traction but not something that you see every time you go onto Pinterest.

They only way I’ve found to find them is to go through my group boards and read a few posts from each. Then pin appropriate content to your own boards!

It is the ultimate win-win. You find great content you can pin, you help another blogger, and maybe as a distant third, they check out your work.

Strategy # 9 Keep in Mind that Tools Are Just Tools

Tailwind and BoardBooster are tools. A hammer is a tool. A screwdriver is a tool. Their effectiveness is dependent on the skill with which you use that tool. In themselves, BB and Tailwind don’t make you magically become a successful blogger.

But they can definitely help you keep up with the never ending task of pinning. It feels kind of grueling sometimes and a scheduling tool can help with the work.

I’ve only tried Tailwind and it seems to work for me. I schedule some of my posts to be pinned on group boards and then I schedule pins that I’ve found the day before to be pinned to my own boards in between my pins. One pin of Sara’s to group board. One pin of someone else’s to Sara’s boards. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Pinterest Secrets!

Pinterest is also full of secrets. I had no idea that it would be so important to my blog traffic or that I would spend so much time focusing on it.

Secret #1: You cannot predict what pin will go viral

You can’t predict what Pin will take off and do well. Even having had some success, I can still be surprised by what people will actually save or share. And that is part of the fun and it also keeps me motivated to keep writing and trying.

You create pins, develop your look, and your pins start getting repined at a modest rate.

You do this over and over, and with time you see all your metrics improve steadily. Then you hit the Pinterest lottery and one of your pins goes somewhat viral or even really viral. You rejoice. Ideally, you take note, and get back to work on the awesome content you are currently developing.

I usually go into some kind of coma where I mistake checking my stats for actual work. For the record it’s not. But that’s beside the point. When stuff is “happening” I get very distracted by it.

Then the fall begins. That amazing pin and post, start to lose some traction. You see the numbers decrease. This is not fun. It is however, very normal. The good news is that you have shown yourself that you can do this. And you will do it again.

It’s so cool when you see a pin take off. One weekend, I had a pin go crazy and get pinned a couple of thousand times and that translated into 9000+ page views over two days. It was crazy. And I’d love to see it happen again.

It hasn’t though, not in the same way. However, after that event, overall traffic has stayed up. Once you come down from one of those highs, your overall traffic is usually higher than it was before.

Secret #2: Pins have a life cycle

When you first create your newest blog post, you also create your graphic that is optimized for Pinterest. This is the graphic that will represent your blog on Pinterest. It is the graphic that you hope will capture enough interest, that people will feel compelled to check out your blog.

The first step is to pin this pin to your blog board on your own profile. Your very first board should be a board, created just to hold your blog post pins. I send new pins there immediately. On the next day, I start pinning that pin to other boards. Each day, I send it to a new board until it has made its appearance on all my group boards.

Whew, then I give it a rest. I also evaluate whether it has had any traction. Once in a while, a pin will do really well in this part of the cycle. Or it will at least show some promise. Other times, it will just seem to do nothing.

If it’s done a good job, then I leave it as is, and will send it out on the rounds again.

You can and should redo some of your Pin images. If it’s not working as is, just make a new one. Try a new graphic. Put a new title on the pin. I have many pins that got new life this way. One of my most popular posts to-date, didn’t take off until the third version of the pin image.

Secret #3: There is NO EXACT formula to make a pin go viral

No matter what we say. J There is no 100% method that makes this happen for each pin. If there was, EVERYONE, would be able to make this happen to every pin or post. If all the advice you were reading was true, then everyone could replicate it and we’d all be Freaking Pinterest Bosses. All the time.

How boring would that be?

No, when you read about great success on Pinterest, especially big jumps it’s usually a matter of getting consistent, improving quality, or the luck of having a pin that goes viral. That doesn’t mean that the advice you read is bad—it just means we’re all trying to stay in the game and tend to get excited when it seems like something is working well.

Secret #4: Gaining momentum on Pinterest takes time

You have to build your own boards and followers and you have to build a pinning strategy. Success builds on success. There are days when I wonder if I’ll be pinning daily forever and what kind of life is that anyway. But then I remember that taking the time to do that is part of the job of blogging right now. I get 95% of my traffic from Pinterest, so it is not just necessary to pin, it’s vital to the lifeblood of my blog.

I use Tailwind to schedule. But I control what posts are going to what boards when. I don’t send all my pins out to all my boards every day. I spend time of all of my group boards each week, looking for good content to add to my own boards. This takes time.

You can bitch that you hate spending time pinning but without spending the time, it’s difficult to build a solid foundation on Pinterest.

How to Get the Most from Pinterest

Getting traffic from Pinterest comes down to these things:

  • Creating great content
  • Having a catchy title
  • Making an attractive Pin
  • Developing a pinning strategy
  • Pinning every day, throughout the day

If you are missing any of those, you just aren’t going to see results that make you happy. Even if you are doing all that, you will sometimes feel frustrated about your traffic for the day.

But keep at it, and you will see your traffic increase and you will get more confident about working with Pinterest. At times it is tedious but there is nothing else that provides thousands of visitors to my website every week. It is worth the effort to keep this referral system going.

Happy blogging my friends!

I love blogging and talking about blogging. If you do too or just want to hang out with other bloggers, join my private Facebook Group, Banking on Blogging. This group is very nurturing but also full of REAL blogging help. My co-leader Stacey, from the Soccer Mom Blog is a full-time, top-earning blogger who likes to keep it real. This week we did a Live video that’s available for replay. Among other things, we talk about why it is ESSENTIAL, VITAL, AND NON-NEGOTIABLE for bloggers to be without a Pinterest presence.

 

BANKING ON BLOGGING

Sara and Stacey. My Think Big Life and The Soccer Mom

If you want more of My Think Big Life, follow me on Pinterest where I love finding and sharing great content.

Follow Sara @ My Think Big Life’s board on Pinterest

Finally, here are some other posts on blogging

The Rules for Bloggers are the things I’ve learned that helped me create a successful blog. Whether this is your first, or like me, your fourth blog, you can do things that will help you reach your goals. Leave the heartbreak behind and create the blog of your dreams!

Discover your unique and authentic voice as well as connecting with readers who love what you have to say by letting your blog topics choose you. Find powerful blog topics that will grow your blog and keep you excited by the process.

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Sara

Lifestyle Blogger and Influencer at My Think Big Life
Sara is a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now she can be found at My Think Big Life writing about health and personal growth.

And if part of your plan for the new year is getting a new job, be sure and check out my resume writing page. I am passionate about resume writing and helping people have access to new opportunities.
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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Carolyn November 9, 2016, 2:05 pm

    Hi Sara
    I love your instructions for Pinterest. I’m currently not on Pinterest and I know that I should be. Got a lot of tips, secrets and great info from you here to spark my interests and lay out a roadmap for getting started. Keep the Pinterest info flowing. I need it!

    • Sara November 9, 2016, 3:01 pm

      Hi Carolyn, your blog is a great fit to share on Pinterest, so I think you should get a Pinterest account started ASAP. You’ll be able to see how other people in your niche are using it too. Thanks for reading and commenting–I appreciate it!

  • Daria Harvey November 16, 2016, 8:29 am

    Sara, this is really great information. I’m on Pinterest but I don’t really know how to use it effectively. You’ve given me some great tips to try! I appreciate it!

    • Sara November 23, 2016, 9:42 am

      Hi Daria. Your kind of blog is perfect for Pinterest! There are so many people looking for organization information. I love finding good organization tips.

  • Darlene Del Castillo November 18, 2016, 12:00 pm

    Hi Sara. Great information. I enjoyed reading it and will definitely start using Pinterest to monetize my blog. I’ve mostly just been using it to save pictures I like LOL but have still received some followers that way. I was just working on building things up until I read a great post like yours with tips to start making it work for my blog. Thanks!

    • Sara November 23, 2016, 9:38 am

      Pinterest is really a good resource and source of traffic for bloggers. It’s always changing, so you have to keep on your toes. But I firmly believe that no blogger should be ignoring it. So, keep building it up!

  • Tabitha February 17, 2017, 10:51 am

    Just pinned, thank you!

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