Pinterest is an awesome traffic source for blogs - and yet many new bloggers completely ignore Pinterest marketing. Big mistake!
In this ultimate beginners guide to Pinterest for bloggers I'll show you how to set up your Pinterest account to bring explosive traffic to your blog.
Giddy up, let's get started.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a visual search engine where users save ideas to try later. Think of it like Google search but with images instead of text.
An easier way to think of Pinterest is like a digital version of an old-school cork board where you can pin ideas to.
When people search on Pinterest, they're looking to find inspiration or to find a solution. Either way, they're looking for help.
How does Pinterest work?
On Pinterest, the image are called pins. And pins are linked to the source.
Take a recipe pin, for example. The image may tell you it's a 15 minute, 4 ingredient recipe while the source link will show you the ingredients and cooking instructions.
Users on Pinterest save these pins to their boards.
For example, a keto recipe might go in someone's "Keto Recipes" board and in someone else's "2020 Weight Loss Goals" board.
The best tip I can give you is this: Use the platform as a regular user to understand how people use PInterest.
Understand what makes someone save a pin to a board, click on a pin or follow a user.
When you begin to see how Pinterest is used you can get a better understanding of how to market your blog on Pinterest.
Why Pinterest is the best traffic source
Remember, Pinterest is a search and discovery platform, which means its users are there to look for new ideas or solutions to problems.
Unlike social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Pinterest is designed to send you traffic..
Pinterest is perfect for new bloggers because you can start getting traffic from Pinterest from the jump.
There's nothing in the Pinterest algorithm that punishes new users or new pins.
On the contrary, fresh pins are exactly what Pinterest wants!
Forget about trying to pry Facebook, Instagram or Twitter users off the platform, it's not going to happen.
Social media sites have a lot of traffic - but they aren't designed to send you any of it. Their number one goal is to keep you on the platform to show you more ads.
But Pinterest? Pinterest traffic is free and there are 367+ million active users in 2020 looking for ideas and solutions (source).
Just one pin that takes off can send loads of free traffic to your blog.
While Pinterest is more search engine than social media, there exists a virality factor that can skyrocket your pin distribution across the platform.
Pinterest is a search engine - not a social media network. This means one pin can remain in the search results for years to come.
Think of the average lifespan of a tweet, Instagram post or Facebook update. It can be a few hours - tops.
And as far as your reach goes, you're lucky if even 5% of your followers see your post.
On Pinterest, the exact opposite happens. The pins you post to Pinterest will stay on the platform forever.
I have actually deleted old ugly pins I made years ago but they keep popping back up as users continue to share them. These old ugly pins are still making their way through Pinterest, years after first posting them.
Many traffic sources require you to be present and more active to benefit from any kind of free organic traffic. Google wants freshly-updated content, YouTube wants new videos weekly, and Instagram wants daily posts with high engagement.
Pinterest is the same, however you can give the impression that you are present, without actually spending time manually pinning.
You can use a Pinterest scheduler like Tailwind to post on Pinterest for you.
With Tailwind (join for free here) you can mass-schedule your images to be posted at peak hours months ahead of time.
If you're a new blog you can forget about getting Google search traffic - not gonna happen!
Google will not show love to new blogs, period. New blogs lack quality backlinks, lots of content, social media shares, domain age, trust, and authority - all important Google ranking factors (source).
You can expect to wait at least 6 months before you start seeing any traffic from Google (source). In contrast, a new blog can get traffic from Pinterest much faster.
This is because Google looks at your website to determine where to rank you, whereas Pinterest looks at your pin engagement to determine where to rank you.
What blogging niches work on Pinterest?
You might think your niche isn't suited for Pinterest. Think again. Many niches can be successful on Pinterest.
In my how to pick a blog niche article most of the profitable niches I listed do very well on Pinterest.
While home decor, crafts, recipes and weddings are big on Pinterest - there's also a community of members who are passionate about marketing, travel, parenting, heath & fitness, and personal finance.
The bottom line is this:
If your niche is about helping people improve their lives, it's going to do very well on Pinterest.
Pinterest demographics for 2020
Why new bloggers should focus on Pinterest first
So you start a blog, write a few blog posts, put some ads on your blog, and what happens? Crickets.
For many bloggers, getting traffic is the most challenging part of blogging.
The problem isn't that there's not enough traffic sources, but that there's too many!
When you're a new blogger you are going be tempted to try everything to get traffic to your new blog.
That's where the problem lies. When you try to be everywhere, you end up being nowhere.
If you try to learn them all, you will end up knowing a little bit about everything - but you will not master anything!
Instead, focus ALL of your energy on ONE traffic source.. and DOMINATE it!
Hopefully by now you see the power of Pinterest marketing for bloggers.
Ready to get started with Pinterest? Let's start by setting up your Pinterest account.
1. Set up a Pinterest business account
If you already have a Pinterest account you can convert your personal account to a business account here.
If you go that route, be sure to set your non-business related boards to Private.
To start fresh, you can sign up for a Pinterest business account here.
2. Build your Pinterest profile
Choose a username that matches your blog title. Mine is dosixfigures.
Add your website's logo or a headshot.
Since Pinterest is a search engine, keywords matter. Add a couple of keywords to describe what you do. Here are a few examples of good display names.
- Do Six Figures | Start a Blog and Make Money
- Photog World | Photography Courses for Beginners
- Nancy Saves Money | How to Get Out of Debt
- Fit Planet | Weight Loss Tips for Women
- Jessica Forrest | Cast-iron Cooking Tips
Write a one or two sentence description of what your business is about. The best bios focus on how you can help your ideal reader.
As with everything Pinterest, use keywords in your bio.
Hi, I’m Edwin! I help people start money-making blogs. Take my free 4-day blogging bootcamp to get started!
3. Claim your domain name
Go to the Claim section in your account settings and add your domain name.
Select the "Add HTML tag" option.
Copy the meta tag, we'll be adding it to your blog next.
Once installed and activated, go to SEO > Social > Pinterest and paste the tag there.
4. Set up rich pins
Not all pins look the same. Rich pins stand out and will drive more traffic to your blog.
With rich pins enabled, your profile picture, title and description are prominently displayed.
In order to get rich pins enabled on your account, you'll have to take the following steps.
To get rich pins your blog needs to output "open graph metadata" so Pinterest can grab data from your blog post like your blog icon, the date, title and description.
To add them, again in WordPress, go to SEO > Social > Facebook and enable Open Graph metadata.
Submit any live blog post to the Rich Pins Validator tool. If you claimed your blog and added open graph tags, it will pass validation.
After it has been validated your rich pins should show up shortly.
5. Set up your Pinterest boards
As I mentioned earlier, Pinterest is made up of pins that are saved to boards. Before you can start making and saving pins, you need a place to put them.
Use your blog categories to help you create your 10 to 15 boards that relate to your niche.
You should create boards about topics you write about or plan to write about.
Don't be afraid to really niche down into smaller sub-niches. The more specific you can make your board the better.
Here are some of my niche-specific board titles:
- Start a Blog and Make Money
- Blogging Tips for Beginners
- Pinterest Marketing
- Blog Traffic Tips for Bloggers
The board title, description and category impact how your content shows up on Pinterest (source), so don't mess this up!
Use the board title to clearly describe what the board is about. Fill out the board description with additional related keywords.
For example my Pinterest Marketing board my description reads:
Pinterest marketing tips and strategies to get more traffic to your blog from Pinterest. Only the best Pinterest marketing tips for bloggers.
6. Populate your boards with relevant pins
When you're new on Pinterest you might not have any pinnable content yet. That's perfectly fine.
Start by saving other people's content on Pinterest. We want Pinterest to see us as a curator of great content.
The Pinterest algorithm rewards accounts that consistently posts pin that receive good engagement (source).
As you create more content you can start prioritizing posting your content instead.
7. Follow similar accounts in your niche
In order to populate your Pinterest home page with relevant pins to share you need to follow a few accounts first.
Do a keyword search for your niche and follow the accounts that have pins at the top of the search results.
You will probably end up getting a few followers of your own by following a few accounts first. You can follow my Pinterest account here.
The real benefit of following high-quality accounts is that your Pinterest feed will be populated with only high-quality pins you can save on your newly created Pinterest boards.
8. Design a pin image for Pinterest using Canva
Now that you have your Pinterest account set up, it's time to start creating your own pins.
There's a few ways to create pins.
- Pay a graphic designer on fiverr.com (expensive)
- Hire a freelance designer on upwork.com (expensive)
- Buy photoshop and learn how to use it (expensive and time-consuming)
- Use Canva and use their free Pinterest templates (free and easy)
Clearly the best option is to create the pins on Canva and use their pre-made Pinterest templates. All you have to do is change out the image, edit the font and text, save the file and upload to Pinterest.
9. Design multiple pin images for each blog post
Even if your blog is new and you don't have a lot of content you can still be successful with Pinterest.
The trick is to create multiple pins for each of your blog posts. To make each pin unique, use a different image and pin description but link to the same URL.
I create anywhere from 5-10 different pins for each of my blog posts. This isn't spamming. This is creating the fresh new content (images) that Pinterest wants on their platform.
For a while, really long vertical pins worked best on Pinterest. But in 2020, Pinterest has been clear they want a 2:3 aspect ratio or 1000 x 1500 pixels.
Anything longer and it may be cut off.
10. Publish your pins on Pinterest
There's a few ways to add a pin on Pinterest.
Click on the red and white plus sign on upper right hand corner on Pinterest. Upload your image, add a title, description and the URL.
Install the Chrome extension to pin from your blog.
Use the Social Warfare WordPress plugin to add share icons to your blog post. You need this plugin to help your readers to share your content on Pinterest.
11. Join relevant group boards
Posting pins on your account can get you some traffic. But if you really want more exposure on Pinterest, you need to put your pins in front of a larger audience.
That's where group boards come in to play.
As I mentioned earlier, a group board is a collaborative board where different members can add content to the board.
Originally, it was intended for a small group of people to contribute ideas on a project.
For example, a wedding planner could invite a bride to be to a group board so they can share ideas.
Marketers sort of took over group boards and now they've become a way to get more exposure to your content.
Pinterest group boards in 2020 are not dead. But what has changed is the way to benefit from them has evolved.
To be successful with group boards in 2020, you need to be selective and only post on Pinterest boards where your pins get engagement.
You can find pin engagement data on your PInterest analytics here.
12. Find niche group boards to join
While Pinterest group boards aren't as useful as they once were, you should still join curated boards within your niche.
To find group boards you can do a search on Pinterest and search in board names.
You can also search for keyword + group boards to get better results.
You can identify when a board is a group board by the circle in the lower left hand corner showing multiple users.
Once you find a group board you like, send a message to the board owner asking to join their group board. The owner of the group board will be the first person listed under Group members.
Be selective and only join boards where the pins posted closely align with your own content.
If you find a board that's full of spam or off-topic pins, do not join these boards. What will happen is pins you post will get zero engagement and you'll actually be hurting your entire account.
13. Sign up with Tailwind
If you don't use a Pinterest scheduler you will end up spending too much time manually pinning every day.
In other words, using Tailwind to automate your Pinterest marketing is not spamming or tricking Pinterest in any way.
14. Using the smart scheduler
Pinterest wants you to be active on the platform. According to Pinterest's own best practices page, they recommend and reward creators for being consistent:
"Add new Pins over time rather than uploading a bunch at once. This helps you reach a wider audience. You can schedule Pins up to two weeks in advance with our scheduling tools, or plan even further out with tools from approved Marketing Partners."
The Tailwind Scheduler is great because you can create content in batches, then schedule out your pins to be shared for months in advance. Best of all, Tailwind will actually recommend the best time slots to post when your audience is most engaged.
15. Dive deeper with Tailwind analytics
The only way to succeed in Pinterest is to see what is working and do more of it.
Using Tailwind's Analytics you can see so much data about your account, your pins, and your boards.
If you see a certain group board doing well, post more often in it. If you see a group board doing poorly, leave it altogether.
The same applies to your pins. If you see a certain style doing well, add more with the same style. And if you see a blog post doing well, create additional pins for that post only.
16. Use Smartloop to recycle your best pins
Looping your pins is when you recycle your old pins and post them again. While it's important to create new content for Pinterest, if you have good performing pins they deserve to be shared again.
With the Tailwind Smartloop feature you can schedule your best pins to post again and again to the boards you specify.
Smartloop is not spamming and is not against Pinterest's TOS (source). There are built-in controls within Smartloop to prevent you from saving the same image to the same board within 3 months to prevent you from overdoing it.
You can see the performance of each of your looped pins too. So if any are not performing well you can just remove them from the loop.
As you continue to do this throughout the months ahead you will eventually be pinning only high quality pins that receive engagement.
17. Get your pins shared with Tailwind Tribes
Tailwind Tribes are groups you can join within Tailwind where users share each others' content.
The way it works is like this:
Let's say there's a group of fitness bloggers who started a Fitness tribe. You have a fitness blog too so you join the tribe.
You can add a pin to the tribe and the other tribemates can share your pin with their audience. Can you see just how valuable this is for a new blogger?
Each tribe has its' own rules, but most of the time the rule is for every pin of yours you add to the group, you have to share a pin from your other tribemates.
Tailwind Tribes is by far the best way to get traffic to a new blog.
If you use this link to sign up with Tailwind you can schedule up to 100 pins for free (no payment info required). Plus you can join up to 5 tribes and add up to 30 pins to your tribes per month.
18. Focus on creating fresh content in 2020
Pinterest, unlike Google, has been very open about what they want from content creators.
And in 2020 Pinterest made it abundantly clear: they want fresh pins.
Here are some frequently asked questions about fresh pins.
A fresh pin is an image that has never been published on Pinterest before.
While the focus should be to create new images, this doesn't mean you can't republish some of your best performing pins again. It just means Pinterest prefers brand new images.
Older established accounts who have been running republishing their old content over and over again will suffer.
Pinterest will reward content creators who are actively creating new content for their platform.
You can follow the Tailwind Facebook page here, it's a great resource to learn about the latest Pinterest algorithm updates in 2020..
Thanks for reading and if you found this post helpful, please save it on Pinterest in your Blogging or Pinterest marketing boards!