A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I grew my blog. I thought it was all super simple stuff and felt a little silly even recommending stuff I thought everyone knew about already (hello imposter syndrome!) but I was SO wrong. It really seemed to resonate with people and I was overwhelmed with the positive response to it.
Needless to say, I’ve gained a few coaching clients since then and the number one thing people are keen to work on is this: PINTEREST.
Oh my, people really want to work out the mystery that is Pinterest (which FYI is not at all a mystery I promise). It ranges from people already using it but keen to up their game, to those who have always avoided it thinking it was just for home decor nuts.
I’m gonna give you a bit of background before I go into the practical tips you can use on your own Pinterest account. I’ve used all these tips to finesse my own Pinterest account and get to a level where about 80% of my traffic comes from Pinterest referrals. Of those 80% I converted roughly half to email subscribers. Not too shabby. In truth, Instagram is where my ‘tribe’ are, and those are the ones who are now turning into coaching clients and loyal commenters, but Pinterest provides such a huge bulk of traffic that a lot sticks, as it were.
Either way, Pinterest has been a total game-changer for me and I know it will be for you too.
A few things you need to ensure you have setup before you get onto the fun stuff:
Make sure you have a business account setup by going to your Pinterest settings and following the steps (which are simple, I promise!)
Then you need to setup Rich Pins. Rich Pins give your pins more than the standard pin description, and you’ll also get your blog title too. It’s more clickable and there’s more space to add searchable terms. I honestly don’t even understand why this isn’t setup as standard but whatever, it’s not.
So the simple way to do this, with no coding necessary is to use a couple of plugins. If you don’t use Yoast already then I’d HIGHLY recommend it. It’s the best SEO plugin and has stacks of extra hand features, one of which is sorting your meta data out (which you need for Rich pins).
Once you’ve downloaded Yoast, head to the social tab and ensure the ‘Open Graph’ option for Facebook (I know, trust me!) has been set to ‘Enabled’. I don’t know why you need to do this to enrich Pinterest settings but you do, so just get over it 😉
Then you simply (!) need to validate your pins with Pinterest using their ‘Rich Pin Validator‘ and once that’s done you can confirm your website. In step two, it asks you to add the meta tag to your index.html file. You don’t need to do this, you can just take the tag and add it into the ‘Pinterest confirmation’ tab in Yoast (see below screenshot).
PIMP YOUR PROFILE
Make sure your profile is consistent with the rest of your social and website profiles. So, keep your username the same across the board (if you can, I know plenty of successful people who don’t!) and fill out your bio as you would for anything else.
You’ll see on your profile that your boards are setup with a square cover board, which defaults to a mish/mash of your pins unless you change it. I suggest you create a few custom boards (see below) and always have your most popular ones at the top. So, my best performing posts tend to be about blogging, and travel packing so I put them at the top, right after my ‘Best of Wanderluce’ board which contains everything from my site.
Size cheat sheet
Cover Board Size: 340 x 340 (these changed to square in 2016)
Pin Size: 735 x 1104
Profile Size: 180 x 180
CREATE PINNABLE IMAGES
You can create super gorgeous Pins for your posts using something like Canva. Golden rules are this: vertical works best, and there are pre-sized Pinterest templates within Canva.
For reference, the ideal pin size is 735 x 1104 pixels.
I tend to create a few different pins per post with varying titles. This makes sure you keep things different and interesting and it’s a great way to test out what’s working and what isn’t!
And when you do create your pins, make sure you add them to your post….obvs. Like right now….
Pin it for later:
PIMP YOUR PINS
So, I’m ashamed to say I totally neglected doing a few of these things myself for aaaaages. They are literally total common sense, but I didn’t do any of them for….ahem months. Anyway, learn from my mistakes and do the following every. single. time you create a post.
- Make sure you link your pin to your blog post URL (you can use bitly if you want to track things more extensively, but I just use the standard WordPress shortcode)
- Pinterest is a search engine – so make sure the title of your pin (when you save it after creating it) is packed full of SEO rich, relevant keywords.
- Use the alternative text box to create a keyword rich description: I overwrite my blog posts meta description anyway (which you can do in the Yoast box underneath your blog post), so I just copy and paste that into my Pin.
- Confused? See below image for details…
- Lastly, make sure you have a visible ‘Pin it’ button hovering over your beautiful Pin. I use the jQuery plugin with a custom pin it image.
STOP CHASING FOLLOWERS
I have about 6k followers, which is small in social media standards. But, if you know anything about me you know I’m not here to help you grow your following for the sake of it. And with Pinterest, having a huge following shouldn’t be your goal, because that really doesn’t matter at all.
That’s worth repeating actually.
You don’t need a big following to grow your blog traffic through Pinterest referrals.
Why? Because Pinterest is a search engine NOT a social media platform.
JOIN GROUP BOARDS
And start pinning to them! Mapping Monday is a fab group for travel bloggers, and I’d totally recommend it. You simply share the link to your pin each Monday and everyone pins it to their own boards throughout the week.
I mentioned Pin Groupie before, but it’s really great for sifting through the gazillions of boards out there. I struggle a little with the interface, mostly because there is far too much info. But you simply need to focus on the repins, and how many collaborators there are (if it’s just one, it’s not a group board….obvs).
Be cautious of the rules, which are normally stated in the description. I have a group board (see below) and as you can see, all the details you need to join it are obvious.
START SCHEDULING PINS
Pinterest will work best if you’re pinning regularly and often. You need to pin your own stuff too, of course, and there are loads of ratios out there as to what is the best for success. But I think you shouldn’t worry too much, and just pin stacks of your own and stacks of other people’s too (technical, I know….)
If you don’t produce a lot of content each week, don’t worry. Just create a load of different pins for one post (I do three initially, before reviewing).
UPDATE (September 2017) >> I have now switched to use Tailwind, which I LOVE!
I have no idea how either of these work though so it’s worth having a look at the following resources:
Resources I Rate
Nienke is a travel blogger, and the maven behind Mappin’ Monday and her company can manage your Pinterest for you entirely (I recommend this if you have zero time to dedicate to Pinterest by the way). And she now has an e-course too!
Shedloads of free resources here, which honed my Pinterest game. She also does e-courses specialising in Pinterest.
SHOUT if you need any help at all, and remember you can hire me as your blog coach if you want.
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Also published on Medium.