Whether you’re just starting out on your blogging journey or you’re an experienced blogger, you need to be on Pinterest. Believe me when I tell you that it can be an absolute game changer, not only for writers wanting to drive traffic to their sites, but also for business owners trying to find an audience for their products.
Personally I started using Pinterest back in the early days when it had not long been launched. At that time, I was using it for its first true purpose – as an online pin board. I used to save images I thought were pretty into a folder called “Inspiration” on my computer, but when I found there was a place to do that online where I could keep them far more organised, I was on board immediately.
What I didn’t realise was the huge potential it can have for a blog. Did you know you can get over 400 views a day from Pinterest, even with just 700 followers there? Check out Jenna’s post on how she does this! I first saw a trickle of traffic coming to my blog from Pinterest a couple of years later where a couple of pioneering bloggers had pinned some of my outfits. It was then that I realised, duh, I should definitely have my profile set up properly with a link to my blog and a board dedicated to my outfits rather than just other people’s.
And it spiralled from there.
At the beginning of 2016, I was languishing on around 1000 followers on Pinterest, having built up this following naturally just pinning things I thought were pretty whenever I felt like it.
There are over 200 million people using Pinterest every month, so let’s see if we can try to harness some of those to become your followers, shall we?
I’m currently standing at just over 7000 followers on Pinterest. Here’s how I did it:
1. Update your profile & bio
This is your opportunity to sell yourself!
Add a profile picture of yourself or that represents your blog that is bright and clear – people engage best with faces.
Make sure that your bio includes relevant but interesting information. If you’re a fashion blogger, shout about it! If you like to travel, tell people that! These are the keywords that will help you be found, and they’ll also get people interested and engaged in what your pins will be.
Most importantly, make sure you have a link to your blog in your profile. While this doesn’t directly help you gain followers, the goal for the followers you do have is for them to find their way to your blog. It also helps if people recognise your blog link to pull together your presence as a “brand”.
Here’s my profile:
2. Create 10-12 boards that are “on brand”
“On brand” is something I’m going to keep repeating here. A bit like keeping an Instagram theme, making sure your Pinterest account stays on brand is the best way to gain an engaged following.
If you’ve already got a Pinterest account with boards on every topic, no problem, but make sure that you have at least 8-10 that are on brand and make these your main boards to pin to.
For example, if you’re a fashion blogger (sticking with the example above), you could have boards on:
- Autumn style inspiration
- Winter style inspiration
- Summer style inspiration
- Spring style inspiration
- Vintage inspired outfits
- Fave blogger outfits
- My Outfits
You could split these down however works best for your niche, but try to pin to these boards so that you can an even spread of pins across them. You’re building your brand by doing this.
You can, of course, have boards that aren’t necessarily to do with fashion – for example, Wanderlust style boards and Home Decorating are always going to be popular on Pinterest. If you’re blogging about fashion, you’ve already got that sense of style that will make these work too!
3. Schedule your pins
This is absolutely key to gaining followers on Pinterest. I went without scheduling tools for a long time and it was exhausting. I would try to log into Pinterest 8-10 times per day and pins lots of images to make sure that they were getting seen by lots of different people who were online at different times of day.
It didn’t need to be that hard!
There are tools to do this for you.
Before I used these schedulers, I was struggling and seeing the number of my followers rising, but only slowly. Hitting “go” on a pin scheduler has got my followers on a steady increase that doesn’t wain if I miss a pinning session or two throughout the day – and who wants that pressure?!
This was the first tool I tried. The interface looks fairly old-fashioned in a pink and basic kind of way, but it works. Sign up here now to get 100 pins for FREE!
Boardbooster offers the following features in addition to simple pin scheduling:
- Pin scheduling. You simply add pins to a queue and Boardbooster will release them over time for you.
- Pin looping. You choose which boards you want pins to loop on, and Boardbooster will do it for you. This means it will pull pins from your board and repin them.
- Tribes. Groups of pinners to cross promote one another.
- Pin Mover. This allows you to clean up underperforming pins.
- Pin Doctor. Tests all your pins for broken links, content duplication and more then fix them.
- Group Manager. For group board owners to organise their boards.
Boardbooster review (coming soon!)
You also have access to Boardbooster’s Reporting tools which show the automated tool’s pinning history, board performance, best time to pin, follower growth and more.
Sign up here to Boardbooster to get 100 free pins through the tools. After that, the service starts at $5 for 500 pins per month and runs up to $100 for 11,000 pins per month (I’d love to know if anyone’s using that though!). Personally I think it’s very good value for all the features you get and it’s easy to use.
Tailwind looks a lot more professional than Boardbooster and has just as many, if not more (as it also includes Instagram) features. Sign up to Tailwind through my referral link here and receive a 1 month trial for FREE – it normally costs $15 per month, or $9.99/month if you pay annually.
For this price, you get:
- Smart scheduling. You queue up your pins and they’ll be released over time when Tailwind knows it’s best to do so.
- Measure post success. Their analytics dashboard is extremely comprehensive and covers a huge amount of stats, including identifying top-performing content.
- Unlimited scheduling. When you pay annually, you can schedule as many pins as your heart desires.
- Basic profile metrics.
- Basic website insights. What people are pinning from your site.
There are also professional accounts available for businesses too, but as a small business (under 100 employees) or a blogger, the lower priced account is ideal. Use my referral link to get a 1 month FREE trial here.
Tailwind review (coming soon!)
Tailwind vs. Boardbooster (coming soon!)
4. Update your board covers seasonally
Board covers are key to the Pinterest game. When people come to your profile, they’ll judge whether they want to follow you or not within a split second. And they do this by glancing over the top boards on that page to see whether they look good. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but on Pinterest, that’s exactly what your followers are doing.
I like to update my board covers seasonally, so I’ll go through at the beginning of each new season – so around 4 times per year – and try to angle my board covers towards colours that are popular in the season. For example, in March you’ll find me changing my board covers to pastels, sunshine and bright colours; in September, it’ll be all oranges, mustards, pumpkins and knitted blankets.
My boards are currently somewhere in between autumn and winter, so there are lots of deep colours, hot chocolates, woolly jumpers and coats.
This makes sure that your profile will attract people who are influenced by the seasons (and that’s the vast majority of us on Pinterest!). And I’ve never seen anything to support this theory, but I seem to get a boost in followers following changing my board covers every season. It might just be a coincidence, but I’m not ignoring that!
5. Pin 80/20
Finally, we’re onto the fun bit: the actual pinning! My rule is to pin 80/20 at most.
By this I mean pinning 80% content from others; 20% content from your site. In reality, I probably pin closer to 95%/5% at the moment, and I claim this to be why my followers are constantly rising.
People like to see variety – they don’t just want to see my face plastered all over their Pinterest feeds! The whole point of Pinterest is to save and share things that inspire you. Your followers are there to see what you’re currently loving, what’s inspiring your daily life. They like the variety.
So don’t ever skimp on pinning other people’s content.
6. Take a course
I’ve always been sceptical of blogging courses, not wanting to invest my money in something that wouldn’t pay off, but honestly, it’s definitely worth it if you pick the right one! And I’d definitely recommend the first blogging course I ever bought: Pinterest Ninja.
Pinterest Ninja costs just $39.99 (super affordable for a blogging course!) and it was so worth it, even if just for the freebie graphics and list of group Pinterest boards included in it (more about these in a minute!). On top of those freebies, you also get 13 chapters all about how best to use Pinterest to get more traffic and grow your sales. The tips also helped me increase my following as I learned how to create the perfect pin through the “Anatomy of a Pin” section meaning they were getting seen by more people.
Sign up here to take the Pinterest Ninja course and let me know when you see your following increase!
7. Use group boards
Group boards are your number one way to get your content before even more eyes. You can join a group board and collaborate on adding content to it, which means that other people are doing the hard work! In fact, no one’s doing the hard work as it’s a collaborative effort to keep the board full to the brim with interesting and relevant pins.
Group boards can potentially have thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of followers that will see your pins when they wouldn’t normally – that’s what makes them so awesome! Find a few that are relevant to your niche and your pins, get accepted and you’re winning.
You can access a list of 367 group boards currently accepting contributors on the Pinterest Ninja course I mentioned – worth its weight in gold!
8. Create clear and captivating images
When I first starting using Pinterest, I was just pinning random pictures from my blog hoping that people might like them. Yes, sometimes this works, but it’s definitely not a strategy.
Instead, you should be creating images for blog posts that are designed for Pinterest. This means that they want to be vertical (as these work best on Pinterest), clear, light and bright.
For informational posts, having text over the top to grab people’s attention is a game changer. This will help you increase clicks back to your site.
For pretty images, just make sure to have images that are clear and bright. These sort of pins will help bring you new followers as people like the stuff you’re sharing.
For all the imagery you see on this blog, I use Canva to design the image based on photos I’ve taken myself. You could also use stock photos and overlay text on them, but I prefer to have unique images where I can – they’ll be more eyecatching if people haven’t already seen that image used in a hundred different ways. Another option is Picmonkey, but personally I prefer Canva.
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