A couple of months ago I had a discussion with some travel bloggers on Twitter about Pinterest. My resolution for 2015 was to make Pinterest my biggest referral site. When I told them I was able to achieve this within 2 months only, the questions came. How did I do that? How much time did I spend on it? What was my strategy? So I wrote an article about it in Dutch. Ever since I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it by English speaking bloggers so I decided to translate the article into English as well. I hope you’ll find it useful!
Step 1. Make a Pinterest account and start following others
In case you don’t have an account yet, make one straight away. Bloggers who don’t have Pinterest are missing out big time, in my humble opinion. Pinterest can do really big things for you if you invest some time and you do it right. This year I started with about 5 visitors from Pinterest each day, nowadays it’s about 150-200. After you’ve set up an account, start following others. However be aware, the follow/unfollow strategy (which I truly hate, this is why) so I carefully choose who I follow and don’t follow. I don’t need a whole feed filled up with pins I’m not interested in seeing. You can also choose to follow just one or two boards from a certain pinner in case you don’t like all of their stuff.
Step 2. Make your own boards and find awesome shared boards
First, make a board where you are sharing all your blogposts. In case your followers want to click through to your blog, it’s important for them to know where to find your relevant pins. In my case, this is the we12blog (EN) for our English posts and we12blog (NL) for out Dutch posts. I also have various boards of my favorite destinations and outdoor activities. Some of these boards that are followed most are those of Iceland, New Zealand and Patagonia.
In the beginning I only pinned to my own boards: BIG MISTAKE! When I tried to find our more about the best Pinterest strategies, I realized you can also pin to shared boards. Important boards for me are “Everyone’s Creative Travel Spot” and “Everyone’s Outdoor Activity in the Mountains” as they match my niche very well and have lots of active pinners and get me a lot of repins. How to become a member of one of those boards? Usually you can find this information in the board description and if not, you can always send the owner a message if you can join. By now I’m invited to start pinning on many boards, however I only accept invites to boards that I think match what I have in mind. Being selective is important in the long run, to keep your profile clear.
Step 3. Start pinning and keep on pinning!
When I started pinning, it was just the pictures from this blog. By doing this you immediately have the link to your blog and a bigger chance people will find your site. When you add a pin from your site, you can add a text. Sometimes I use the one that’s automatically created by the WordPress plugin but sometimes I change it to make it easier to find. I practically always add the destination and also the specific location. Another option is to add it to the Foursquare map but in all honesty I haven’t really looked into that yet.
Apart from pinning your own content, it’s important to re-pin as well. So each day I spend about 10 minutes re-pinning, both my own pins and other people’s pins that I think match my interest. I have a spreadsheet in Excel (one of the very few things in my life are that organized, trust me on that one!) where I have a list of all pins I have created over the past months and also which shared boards I pinned them to. Each morning I spend about 5 minutes re-pinning and I do the same before I’m off to bed. I have a 50-50 balance, so I repin about half of my own content and other pinners content. Being consistent really worked well for me. Other than those days I was offline because I was traveling, I’ve not skipped a day pinning and repinning ever since the beginning of the year.
Step 4. Make your own pins
Despite all the above, visitors only came in handfulls for the first few weeks. I was getting some repins but somehow they didn’t click through to my site. How to solve this? Here are some more suggestions:
– Horizontal pins don’t work. Look in your feed, about 95% of your repins will be vertical ones. In my case this means some extra work because all the pictures on my site are horizontal. Each week I spend about 15 minutes on resizing pictures in Photoshop that I’m going to use for Pinterest. Some shared boards will only accept vertical pins, which is something to keep in mind (I forgot once myself and the owner immediately notified me … oops!)
– I make pins with texts, those are the ones that work the best. Down below I’ll add some examples. It takes some time but it works really well for me. I use Canva for this, but I’m sure that as a blogger you find this site very useful already. My aim is that for each blogpost I post, I make one pin, however I’ve been slacking because I took a blog-break and only did the necessary to keep traffic coming. The “5 really cool things to do in Alaska” pin is one of my most re-pinned, since January 1st I got more than 6.000 visitors just from Pinterest on this one pin.
– When uploading a pin, don’t forget to add your website. I recently got a message from a fellow blogger who wanted to check out one of my pins about Chile but apparently it was a broken link. It had been online forever and if she wouldn’t have bothered to tell me, I wouldn’t have known. So ever since I’m double checking the links to make sure they are directing to my site.
– Maybe it’s too much information, but only upload gorgeous pictures, pics that you would want to see in your feed. I see a lot of crappy pictures nowadays and it makes me sad…
– Use famous quotes. I like repinning those and I enjoy designing pins with them. They are generally very popular so be creative. They don’t click through as much as others pins but at least you caught other pinner’s attention!
– Make your own shared board. I recently started “The “Ultimate Hiking Board” which isn’t very big yet but I’ve had a decent amount of repins. If you specialize in a certain niche, this might be very convenient for your.
– Finally: there are various Facebook groups that are focused on enlarging your following and engagement. Just search for them and you’ll find them.
As you see, Pinterest is definitely not rocket science, at least if you want to steadily grow your referrals. I went from a handful in January to about 200 a day in June so I can’t complain and in general it’s easy traffic. 10 Minutes a day isn’t much however if you do this for every social media channel it adds up to an hour a day. My suggestion is to just try and see if Pinterest works for you and your blog.
Happy Pinning and ehm, if you though this was useful, please share it with your followers!