I’ll start this post with the caveat that I’m far from a Pinterest expert. I’ve been more passive than I usually am when trying to learn about something, so I’ve picked up bits and pieces in dribs and drabs over the last 2 1/2 years. Over that time, my pinning approach has evolved, and it will continue to evolve as I learn more. This post will cover some of the things I’ve learned so far.
I’ve been using Pinterest since I started this blog. It’s my favourite social media site, and I think a big part of that is that in many ways it’s more like a search engine than a social media platform. You’re browsing for images, not connecting with individuals. Because there isn’t the same person-to-person as other social channels, you can swoop in, do your thing, and leave, with no need to worry about keeping on top of checking your feed.
Pinterest is the third largest source of traffic to my blog, after the WordPress Reader and search engines. As I write this, in the last week I’ve had 124 visits to my blog from Pinterest. I only have 721 followers on Pinterest, but my monthly views range from 400ish-500ish thousand.
Not only can Pinterest be a way to bring new visitors to your blog, it’s a good way to keep track of ideas to refer back to later. You can set up different “boards” and sections within your boards to keep it all nice and organized. If you’re trying to learn more about something like SEO, start a board for it, accumulate some repins of content others have shared, and all of a sudden you’ve got a great little one-stop-shop for SEO info. Similarly, it can be a great way to gather inspiration for blog posts.
Preparing Images for Your Posts
To create a pin that’s going to get noticed, you’ll want to do more than just pin the stock image that you may plan to pair with your blog post. If you want to create pinnable images, Canva.com is your best friend. It lets you create designs in the optimum size for Pinterest (1000×1500 px). There’s a wide variety of templates available that you can use.
When I first started using Canva, I would always pick from one of the templates and then customize the image part of the template. Gradually, I decided I wanted a bit more of a consistent look rather than a mix of different templates, so now I cobble things together on my own.
One of the things I like about not using templates is that I’m picking out my own fonts. Canva has a lot of fonts available, and it can be rather slow to scroll through them all, so I created a design to keep track of some of my favourites. This lets me easily and very quickly browse through my options. Below is a selection of some of my font picks.
Canva has loads of beautiful background images, or you can choose your own colour. Canva lets you save three different colours as your “brand colours” so they’re easy to reuse in future posts. Pink and peach tones are a common colour scheme that I see bloggers using with their pins, but I’m not sure if there’s any sort of underlying reason for that.
When I create pin images I’ll usually combine an image, either from Canva itself or another image site, with some text and a perhaps background colour. Sometimes I’ll do pins that are mostly text; I’m not visually artistic at all, so I’m not creating anything fancy. I have my own little templates saved in Canva so I’m not having to create brand new pins each time.
Pinterest Tips & Tricks
A Pinterest business account is a good idea since you’ll get more data on how your pins are doing. As already mentioned, a high follower count isn’t needed to get your pins viewed. There can be very large variations in short periods of times in the monthly views statistic, so try not to get too hung up on that.
You can create multiple boards, and make sure you enter a solid description for each one, as that’s one of things Pinterest uses in determining how much it likes the pins in your board. My impression is that Pinterest likes bigger, busier boards, as apposed to a bunch of small boards. Creating sections within your boards can help you to stay organized. You can let the board cover be selected by default, or you can pick your preferred image. This should be a square image, and the Pinterest guru advice I’ve read says that all of your board covers should look pretty similar to keep everything consistent.
You can create new pins, and you can also save pins you’ve already created to a different board. Pinterest isn’t all that keen on this, so avoid resaving pins more than a couple of times, and space them out.
It’s a good idea to pin from a few different sources. Obviously you’ll want to pin your own content, but it’s also a good idea to pin images you find on other websites or other social media channels, and repin other people’s pins on Pinterest. I haven’t read any details on this, but my impression is that the busier you are (maxing out around 20-30 pins a day), the more Pinterest happy juice you get. Repinning is very easy and doesn’t take a lot of time, and it also helps to fill up your boards.
You may come across group boards, or you may decide to start one yourself. With most of these, the expectation is that for every pin you add to the group board, you will save one of the pins from the group board onto one of your own boards. This can give your pins greater reach.
I’d already been on Pinterest for quite a while before I realized that they use hashtags, because they aren’t particularly obvious. Pinterest won’t pay any attention if you go back and add them to an old pin, but definitely use them for your new pins. When using hashtags, think along the lines of descriptive search terms; Pinterest hashtags are a lot more focused than some of the rambly hashtags you’re likely to see on Instagram.
Besides hashtags, it’s a good idea to create file names for your Pinterest graphics that describe what the pin is about. For each pin, it’s also a good idea to give a substantial description of what the pin is about, because this makes it easier for Pinterest to figure out what the pin is about so it can display it to relevant people.
Tailwind is a service that allows you to schedule your pins, and it will figure out the times of day that are best for you. I’ve heard good things about it, but haven’t tried it out myself yet. Infographics I’ve got saved on my social media board say that weekends, mid-afternoons, and late evenings are generally best.
You can also use Pinterest itself to create and schedule posts; I believe this is only available for people with a business account.
While the mysterious Pinterest algorithm determines how often people are going to see your pins, I think there is also a heavy dose of luck involved. If someone with a big reach repins one of your blog post pins, that alone could bring a bunch of traffic your way. When I pin something I usually have very little idea if it’s going to do well or not. The more you pin, the more likely it is that some of those pins will become popular.
Do you use Pinterest? How is it working for your blog?
If you’re curious how I’ve got my Pinterest account set up, you can have a look at https://www.pinterest.ca/MHathome/boards/