If there was anything close to being the blogging Holy Grail, it would be Pinterest. No doubt about it.
You’ve probably heard how it changed the blogging game for so many pro bloggers. You’ve read the articles: An increase in website traffic which led to having more opportunities which then turned to earn more income.
I mean. Who wouldn’t be dazzled by such possibility?
But the problem I find with Pinterest (and this is something I confirmed with some of the Buddy members in the Blogging Buddies Facebook group as well) is that it might take a long time before you see any results.
So today, I will be guiding you through the beautiful world that is Pinterest and Pinterest’s puzzling and ever-changing algorithm.
Whip out your pen and notepad, friend. This will be packed with info and tips that have helped me and other bloggers over the years. And hopefully, they will help you up your Pinterest game too.
To start off: what is Pinterest? How does it work???
Pinterest, my eager student, is a social networking platform. I remember learning about Pinterest from this hairstyling Youtube channel I used to follow. I vividly remember they described it as the “Facebook for home and craft and DIYs”. And, well… they aren’t exactly wrong.
But that’s not the whole picture either.
Pinterest is not just a social network; it’s also a visual search engine. You can search on Pinterest just like you would on image-based searches like Google Images. But the beauty of Pinterest is the community element in it that isn’t found in many visual search engines.
So how can Pinterest help you grow your blog? Let me count three ways.
- Wider audience reach. As of October 2018, Pinterest has about 250 million active users. TWO HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION. And you bet most of these people use Pinterest to search stuff. Which is why your reach isn’t limited to your follower count. If you do it right, Pinterest will distribute your Pin to all users whom it thinks will find your content helpful or entertaining.
This means that, unlike the follower bubble that’s present in most social media platform, you can literally reach to more than 200,000 people every month even though you only have about 500 followers. (That’s me, right there yo.)
- Longer viral life. Where a tweet or Instagram post can be viral in a matter of hours or minutes, going viral on Pinterest is a slower process. Which is why it takes people new to the platform suuuper long to gain traction. But when your Pin does get viral, it could have a lifespan of six months to a year – maybe even more! Compare that to Twitter and Instagram’s viral life of a month, at most.
- People who are willing to pay. This one’s especially important if you have or are planning to open an online business. There was a case study made by jewelry and accessories website Boticca where they found that users referred by their Pinterest account spend about $100 more than those referred by their Facebook page. Imagine that!
Obviously, there are plenty more reasons why you should try out Pinterest for your blog if you haven’t already. But these three really take the cake for me. Of course, these can only stay as amazing possibilities unless you work on upping your Pinterest game.
There are many ways we can go about this. And really, different things work for different people. But if you’re relatively new to Pinterest (or have been bumbling around for a long time with no idea what to do like I was for a while), I want you to focus on five things.
Pinterest 101: 5 Things You Can Do to Up Your Pinterest Game Today
1) Upgrade to a Business account and claim your website
A few bullet points of Pinterest for Business here:
- It lets you use Pinterest Analytics (super important!!)
- You get a slightly different profile page than a personal user
- It’s FREE.
Seriously. You won’t lose anything from upgrading to a business account but you’ll gain TONS of new features. And these are features that can help you up your Pinning game! Also, by claiming your website, you get that little tick mark on your website URL and any image Pinned from your website will become Rich Pins.
So your pins will have additional information (encircled in purple above) that you wouldn’t see in regular pins. Even if your blog is a subdomain or it’s in the free WordPress platform, it’s still super important to claim it. Pinterest doesn’t care if your blog is on a free platform or self-hosted. So claim your website now!
2) Optimize your Pinterest profile page
When I say optimize your profile page, I don’t mean cramming in as many keywords into your description and boards. In fact, Pinterest advises against this. Make it comprehensible to humans. They ARE who you want to click on your Pin and visit your blog. Not the bots. Below are a screenshot of my profile page and tips on how you can work on yours:
- Add a keyword to your display name. I’ve seen users with a super long display name, crammed with as many keywords as Pinterest will allow. But I find your name or your blog’s name plus a short description of it is sufficient enough. Notice that my display name has my name, my blog’s name and my blog’s description (“Personal Growth + Creative Lifestyle Blog”.) Don’t make possible followers look at your display name for three whole minutes. Let them figure out what you’re all about in three seconds or less!
- Write a brief description using 2 to 3 keywords. And again, make it human-friendly! The Great Wall of Keywords is a thing of the early 2010s. Leave it there. Be ever human-centric when thinking of your SEO strategy.
- Make your board covers on brand. This one isn’t exactly necessary for optimization but it does make your profile page look more aesthetically pleasing. And you know how much I love aesthetics. I’m not alone in this too; people love visual appeals! I noticed that my following rate improved after I rebranded my covers.Now this may not be the only cause to this, but it does say a lot. Also, having on-brand covers will help tie your Pinterest to your blog. It will definitely give that brand consistency across all your social media platforms. And your followers over on other platforms will instantly recognize your brand when they see it. If you want to know more about branding and design, go and check out this snazzy Branding 101 post I wrote!
3) Make Pin-worthy graphics for your blog posts!
You might think this is an “Oh duh?!” moment here. But I’m serious. I’ve seen awesome blog posts worth sharing on Pinterest but the only image the post has is a typical horizontal blog graphics.
Remember that vertical images are more favorable on the Pinterest Smart Feed. It might be time-consuming to create graphics that you can really only share on one platform. But you have to do this if you intend to fully utilize what Pinterest can bring to the table.
Now the question hangs: what does make a Pinterest graphic clickable and rePinnable? I don’t want to make this post longer than it already is so the gist of it is this:
Different Pin design strategies work for different niches.
I find that lifestyle niches make use of white space, clean magazine-like type fonts, and flatlays. On the other hand, niches like digital marketing and web developing will have a more tech-y vibe to their pins. You also have to consider the type of audience that you want to attract. Is your blog targeted to beginners on your niche or the more experienced folk?
(Side note: if you don’t know what your niche is yet, this post on finding your niche by Vicky is super helpful!)
I may go more in-depth on this topic at a later post, so keep an eye out and subscribe to our newsletter! (wink wink)
4) Add Pin descriptions!
A LOOOT of people ignore this teensy detail when they insert their Pin graphics on or save a pin from their blog. But, friends, this is super super crucial detail if you want to get your Pins out to more eyes!!
In a recent interview with Tailwind’s Alisa Meredith, the Product Marketing Manager of Pinterest, Sarah Hoople Shere, emphasized the importance of putting Pin descriptions. It could literally change your whole Pinterest game! I know it helped me when I started to focus more on consistent Pinning and rePinning, and put more effort writing my Pins’ descriptions. So here are some quick tips you can try:
- Change the alt text of your image. You can do this by clicking the edit button of your image, and filling in the blank alt text. This is what folks would see on the rich pin.
- Avoid the Great Wall of Keywords. Again, this is so early 2010s. Leave it there.
- Go beyond your blog post’s title. Actually put in some effort into writing your alt text. An additional 10 minutes of work may just bring in bigger returns, you know.
- Add a couple relevant hashtags. Why yes, hashtags are a thing on Pinterest too! In fact, the hashtag feed is a whole different beast from the search feed. Another thing that I want to talk about further sometime in the future.
Bonus: If you want to watch that hour-long interview with Sarah, you can find it here. Trust me, it’s filled to the brim with Pinterest goodies!!!
5) Engage in the communities!
I know I talked about the search engine feature of Pinterest a lot above, but we can’t ignore the fact that it is also a social media platform. And look, even Pinterest itself wants to remind people. They recently added the Try feature and brought back the Comment section of a Pin. And even more recently, added a snazzy new feature: the Pinterest Communities!
Pinterest Communities is their response to how users found a way to make group boards a sort of promo tool. They made group boards with the idea of people actually collaborating and putting together similar ideas. Not a more highly effective Facebook promo group. They now discourage those “Promote your Blog Posts” kind of group boards. So I suggest not joining more of those unless of course, they have a section that’s related to your focus topics or niche.
That said, with all these new updates, we do get one clear message from Pinterest: Have more engagement.
They want to see people do more than repin and follow and occasionally click on the pin. Pinterest wants to see its users to comment on a pin, to interact with other users. Heck, Pinterest even wants users to buy directly from a pin.
So join on communities, interact with other Pinners. ENGAGE. Speaking of communities, we have a Pinterest community for Blog Buddy members so go check that out and join in!
Give Help and Get Help
I understand that Pinterest can be quite a challenging social platform to conquer. But with a bit more effort and smart planning, anyone can get a taste of those Pinterest traffic referrals.
Here’s what I want you to do:
Pick out one of the five things I mentioned above. Just one. I want you to work on it. Work on only that one thing before moving on to another, then another. If you need help, ask your questions on the comments below or go to our Pinterest community! You can even join our Facebook group where you can ask blogging questions beyond Pinterest. Also, if you haven’t yet, you can sign up to our Blog Buddy Program and get a blog buddy who can help you out, and you can give help too!
Post written #byKate(1) | A Creative Team Member of the Blog Buddy Program
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