Grow Your Blog With Pinterest
Are you a blogger that just can’t seem to get the hang of Pinterest? Is it confusing? Here is a straight forward guide to maximizing your success with Pinterest as a blogger. Here is how to grow your blog with Pinterest.
If Pinterest isn’t sending a significant amount of traffic to your blog, then you need to learn some Pinterest secrets and strategy. You need to learn how to use Pinterest to grow your blog!
According to Pinterest, “Pinterest reaches 83% of all women 25-54 in the US, That’s more than Instagram, Snap and Twitter.”
It’s All About Effective Strategy
Pinterest is a hotly debated topic in blogging groups. It seems like there are hundreds of opinions. Within blogging groups, I see bloggers chasing one idea after another but many do not get the results that they are hoping for.
It’s time to quit hoping for results on Pinterest and it’s time to develop a solid, effective strategy for Pinterest that will give you a solid foundation, no matter what is going on. To go pro with your blog; you have to use Pinterest strategies that work.
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.
How Pinterest Compares to Other Social Media
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.
900 page views were a result of Pinterest
100 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 ignore the referral source that actually is working great. And neither can you!
Pinterest Isn’t a Magic Wand
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 Headlines.
We’ve all seen them.
- 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 experience plus that of other bloggers who work consistently and sanely to use Pinterest to get traffic to their blogs.
The Truth About Pinterest
Many new bloggers attempt to jump into the Pinterest game without having a firm blogging foundation. It’s not that you can’t use Pinterest when you are a new blogger; it’s that you won’t use it the same way as an established blogger.
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.
However, a consistent presence and plan never changes and you can weather all of Pinterest’s updates if you just stay calm and carry on!
The other truth about Pinterest is that you can’t pin poor posts or graphics and expect to get great results. If you aren’t creating great content and you are trying to pin below-average content and pins, then it just isn’t going to work.
Build your foundation first!
Pinterest For New Bloggers
As a new blogger, your biggest tasks are these: Write great posts, learn to make great pins for your posts, and build up your own Pinterest Account. This will all help you grow your blog with Pinterest.
Remember this. While Pinterest content is created by bloggers, most of the searchers are not bloggers. They people that will follow you, look at your pins, go to your blog or website are regular people looking for information or help.
So, your pin must stand out among millions of other pins and provide enough visual information that someone will click on it to see if you can deliver.
If you feel that you are writing great content that is genuinely helpful but you aren’t getting any traction on Pinterest, then you’ll want to work on your pins.
What About Pinterest Analytics?
While it’s nice to see the number of followers growing or large pin impressions, the important thing is the number of referrals to your website that come from Pinterest.
You might have a bunch of followers and large numbers of pin impressions but that does not always translate into website page views. Advertisers and Influence networks want to see page views on your blog.
Even the number of repins on a pin doesn’t alway indicate the number of page views a pin generates. People don’t always pin your pin, but they might still be visiting your website.
The analytics to really notice is your Google Analytics. You can see what posts are performing and where your referral traffic is coming from. A pin may only show a few hundred repins but might be generating thousands of page views.
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.
How to Grow Your Blog With Pinterest
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.
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.
Grow Your Blog With Pinterest: Strategies
Pinterest 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. For most pins I use PicMonkey. I’ve also used Preview a program that came with my Mac computer. If you understand what makes a good pin, you can use whatever program you like.
A pin does not have to be fancy to be effective
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.
Pinterest Strategy #2: Get to know Pinterest
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.
If you like a pin and want to pin it, always click through to the website. You want to confirm that the content is good and that the pin actually goes with the content. Unfortunately, there are people that steal pins and link them to other content.
I promise this isn’t the waste of time. You’ll develop a better understanding of what makes a pin attractive to searchers.
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.
Pinterest 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
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.
Pinterest 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.
Pinterest 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.
Pinterest 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.
If you are a new blogger and your Pinterest boards are sparse or nonexistent, it may be difficult to get onto good boards at first. Concentrate on building up your own boards and curating good content.
You also have to have good pins on your own content. I have a board that does really well as a traffic source and I’m very careful to only let people join who make good pins. When you ask to join a board, you need to understand that the board owner wants people that bring value to their board, not just people seeking to get something from joining the board.
Pinterest 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.
Pinterest 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.
Grow Your Blog With 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.
After a day or two, traffic may drop. That amazing pin and post, will 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.
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.
Besides pinning my pins to group boards, it is just as important to pin your own pins to your own boards that it fits into. Pinterest also allows you to assign a pin to sections. Both of these activities help Pinterest understand what your pin is about.
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. 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. 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.
Occasionally, 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 and I look for good content from other bloggers to pin.
You can complain 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 most days, 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.
If you want more of My Think Big Life, follow me on Pinterest where I love finding and sharing great content.
I LOVE blogging and love to write about it. Here are my favorite posts to help you become a real blogger.
How to Start a Blog for Profit and Fun
How to Get Unstuck in Blogging
10 Reasons You Haven’t Started Your Blog
How to Write Your First Blog Post
How to Let Blog Topics Find You
How to Go from Beginner to Blogger
How Blogging Changed my Life
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