I’m not really here to tell you how great Pinterest is though, because chances are, as a blogger, you already know how awesome it is. (If not, oh the discovery that awaits you!) No, I’m here to help you discover the potential Pinterest has to drive traffic to your blog and to help you make the most of this super popular, and therefore, powerful social media network. Pinterest is the number one driver of traffic to my blog and when writing this is have smack on 20K followers. I don’t say that to boast, I say that to encourage you, because I am going to share with you how I did it!
Pinterest Resources for Bloggers – The Best Tools and Guides Let’s Get Set Up
If you haven’t already, head to Pinterest and set up an account, here is a post that explains all the fundamentals in getting set up and how Pinterest works. Use the tips we mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 about keeping your username/handle, profile picture and description the same across all your social media networks.
- Setting up a Business account. Pinterest has a great feature that allows you, as a blogger, to set up a Business Account. This gives you access to a number of great features that aren’t available as part of a standard account, such as analytics, a verified link to your website (so followers know your links are legitimate) and more, all for free! Set up a Pinterest Business Account and find out more about the special tools and features on offer.
- Pin Boards. Whether you choose to use a personal or a business Pinterest account, the next step is to set up pin boards. Think of the kinds of things you intend to pin from your blog and what you might want to pin for your own reference later, e.g. recipes, DIY, fashion inspiration, quotes and set up boards accordingly. I’ll talk about this more later on.
- Follow along. Pinterest is at its most (p)interesting when you follow really great people. So visit your favourite blogs and brand’s websites and find out if they have a Pinterest account, and start following. You can choose to either follow all their boards, or just the ones you are most interested in. This will give you great content to look at and repin, but more about that later too.
- Pin Bookmarklet and Apps. Many websites and blogs now have “Pin It” buttons on their site which makes pinning their content really easy, but not all do. To make this simple, install the Pinterest bookmarklet for the internet browser you like to use. You can find out how to do that here. To Pin on-the-go, download the Pinterest app for your smartphone or tablet – here are the IOS & Android versions.
A Foundation for Success
So you’re all set up and want to get stuck in with the Pinning already! Well, a little bit of planning and forming some good habits will help things be organised and work to your best advantage.
- Pin Boards Part 1. As mentioned before, set up a range of Pin Boards that will best highlight content from your blog and be easy to navigate as well. What you name your boards is very important. It might be fun to give your boards a pretty, creative or slightly obscure name, but don’t do it. When naming your boards you want to think of keywords that people will use when searching on Pinterest, for example “Paleo Recipes”, or “Wedding Ideas”. You also want to focus on the content area of your blog. If you are a cooking blog, then create many boards that relate to your blog, such as “Baking”, “Healthy Recipes”, “Chocolate Recipes”, “Vegetarian Recipes”, “Indian Recipes” etc. If your blog covers a bigger range of topics, then your boards don’t need to be so specific, for example you might simply have “Recipes”, “Health & Fitness”, “For The Home” etc. Take the time to fill in the options on each board, especially the “category” section as this tells Pinterest where to place your pins within the categories of the whole site, and again, helps when it comes to search results.
- Pin Boards Part 2. Once you have created boards that relate to your blog. Also go through and create boards that you will want to pin content to just for your interest. Chances are, people who are interested in the topics of your blog are also interested in similar other topics and will love to see what you pin to these boards also. On your main profile page, where all your boards appear, you can drag and drop your boards to reorder them. Place all the boards relating to your blog’s topics at the top, and then any subsequent boards below as you want the boards that relate to your blog to be the ones new followers see first when checking out your profile. It is another way of reinforcing your brand. Don’t be afraid to have many boards, it keeps your pins organised and easy for followers to navigate. Also take the time to carefully choose which image appears as the cover of that board. When all your boards are displayed together on your profile page you want to make them visually appealing. You could even consider choosing images that all have similar colours in them to make your boards appear cohesive.
- Pin Descriptions. I must be honest, changing the descriptions on images that I repin is not my strong point, but it is important. If you think of every pin as a chance for someone to find you and in turn find your blog, then you are really going to want to make sure your pins have proper informative descriptions that the Pinterest search engine is going to pick up on. Again, think keywords that people will use while searching. This is every bit as important to consider when you are pinning new pins from your blog or someone else’s. Give it a good description!
- Pin Sources. I cannot even begin to tell you how utterly frustrating it is to find a pin that promises to link through to an amazing blog post or resource, but when you click on it, it links to the blog’s home page, or archive page, but not to the original post itself. You can spend hours trying to find where the original source of the post is, and let’s face it, no one has time for that! If you are pinning from your blog, someone else’s blog or another website, always make sure you are on the actual post page by clicking on the title of the post, and pinning from that page. Don’t pin from home pages, directory pages or any other page, but the original post/product/source page as the link and content to these pages are far less likely to change and be broken than home pages for example.
- Make it Pin-Worthy When creating images for your blog posts, keep Pinterest in mind. Vertical (or Portrait) images look best in the Pinterest feed and consider adding a title and your blog logo or URL to the image as well so that when it is seen out of the context of your blog, it will catch the eye of readers/followers and will make it easy for them to see the source of the image or article.
What’s Your Strategy?
You have now laid a strong foundation for your Pinterest account and can really get stuck in to the business of Pinning. What what is your strategy? Bec posed some great questions in her post on Instagram that will help with your Pinterest account too:
- What kind of story do you want to tell? Everything you pin reflects on your brand/blog, so you want to consider what it is you pin. Consider the style of blog and its content and reflect that in the visual style of the images, the topics of the articles and theme of the quotes you pin. It all adds to your story. You might also want to consider what you don’t pin! If your blog is about health and wellbeing, you may not want to be pinning high-fat recipes, or perhaps you don’t want your brand to be associated with negativity or swearing, so think twice before pinning these kinds of things.
- What time is your audience online? Mornings and evenings are when most people are on social media in general, this includes Pinterest. They check on their phones as they commute to work, and use it to unwind in the evenings. Personally, I have noticed that Pinterest is particularly busy around 8pm-10pm. This is a great time to get on and pin some images from your own blog and to check out what others are pinning. This will lead to more engagement with your followers, but let’s face it, Pinterest is good any time of day or night!
- What kind of topics are popular in your niche? I mentioned this before when talking about Pin Boards, but always keep in your mind the topics that not only relate to your blog, but that would be of interest to people who are in that niche. For example, if you are a stay-at-home Mum who is blogging about her daily adventures, then the obvious pins would be child, or parenting, related pins, but consider things such as quick family-friendly recipes, kids craft projects, educational pins, funny memes about kids etc and add them to the mix.
- How can you involve others in your boards? Set up some group boards. When creating a new board you can choose who is allowed to pin to that board. This way you can have many people contributing to the one board and sense of community will start to build. The ins and outs of setting up a group board properly is worthy of a post all on its own and there isn’t the space to go through it here, but The Pin Junkie has a great post on all the finer points of setting up a successful group board.
- Who are you Following? I mentioned it before, but if you follow people who pin great content, it makes it easy for you to pin great content too! I am often complimented on the fabulousness of things I pin, this is partly due to the fact that I am very picky about what I pin, but a large part of the credit has to go to the people I follow. They help me curate my content by what they pin!
How to Build Your Following
As always, I’m sure you want to know how to build your following. Blogging is all about connection and social media is all a part of that.
- Quality – This is my first big tip. Pin and repin quality images. Images that not only look great, but are linked to quality articles, blog posts or information. If you do this consistently people will see you are the one pinning such quality and they will inevitably follow you.
- Frequency – This is big tip number 2. When it comes to Pinterest, the more frequently you pin, the more your pins are put in the feeds of others and the more chance you have of your pins being included in searches – this all leads to more followers. In an ideal world you should be pinning every or at least most days. I notice a significant slowing of the growth of my readership during times where I am not pinning frequently.
- Mix It Up – I know that it is a pet peeve of many Pinners when someone pins a lot of their own content all at once. If you have a lot of products or a lot of images you want to pin from your blog, spread them out and do a little each day until they are done. Pinning them all at once comes across as spammy on other’s feeds and you may end up with people unfollowing you. I have previously been guilty of this, and have learned the hard way. It was only done for convenience, but I did lose followers over it. You also want to make sure you are pinning a variety of content. Do a little pinning in a few of your boards each day to mix up your feed and what others see you have been pinning.
- Popular Topics – There are some topics or categories that are universally popular on Pinterest, including boards for these topics and pinning to them regularly will help build your following. Remember, even if you include these boards, find a way to make them relate to your blog and your brand. The popular topics are: Recipes, Health and Fitness, Women’s Fashion, Interior Design/Home Decor and Quotes.
Tools You Will Love
Here are some fab tools to help you make the most of your Pinterest network.
Want to know what is being pinned from your site? Simply type in this URL www.pinterest.com/source/yourblog.com (change yourblog.com to your blog’s url without the http://www.) and you will see every image that has been pinned from your blog.
Want to pin something for later that doesn’t line up with your blog brand? Secret pin boards are for you. When creating a new pin board you can choose to keep it secret. This means only you can see what is in that board. If you are collaborating on a secret project, you can invite others to see and pin to that board, but it still remains secret from everyone else.
Want to schedule pins from your site so they don’t all show up at once? ViralTag is the answer. It allows you to set up a schedule of Pins from your site or around the web so that they appear in your feed at any specified time. It does cost a bit so if you are looking for another option, Viralwoot is a new player that offers a free account which lets you schedule 100 free pins per month.
Want to know more about your Pinterest Followers and their interests? If you have a Pinterest for Business account, you can check out your analytics page, found by clicking the gear icon on your profile page. It will give you all kinds of insights into your followers which will help you curating your content.
Want to make your images more Pin-worthy? A website like Canva can be the non-designer blogger’s best friend. It makes it super easy to create appealing and professional-looking images that your readers will love to pin.
Want to delve even deeper into how to make Pinterest work for you? Dannielle from Style For A Happy Home has written an eBook which will be super helpful!
Here are some examples of Pinners who really have their brand and story down-pat when it comes to Pinterest. You might want to follow them and learn from their pinning habits and be inspired by the fab content on their boards.
I know that’s a lot of information, but hopefully it will be a help to you in really tapping into the potential of your Pinterest network, not only to find and offer inspiration, but also bring to followers from your boards to your blog.
Let us know your thoughts or if you have any questions in the comments below.
Bec will be back with us next Monday sharing her insight into Google+. Can’t wait for that one!