So let’s go back to February 2016. Pinterest had always been one of my biggest traffic drivers but a change to their algorithm meant I suddenly saw a major slump in traffic coming from the site. While I was using Pinterest as an inspiration board, I realised I didn’t have any strategy when it came to my blog. I was only using it to gather inspiration for blog posts and for my own personal use. In fact, I’d often forget to pin my own imagery to my boards or I’d only pin one image to one board and hope for the best.
I decided to have a one-on-one Pinterest Masterclass session with Pinterest Coach, Jen Stanbrook. If you aren’t aware of Jen, she runs the successful blog called Love Chic Living as well as offering Pinterest training and she has nearly a million followers on Pinterest. However, she also gets a mind-boggling amount of traffic to her blog by utilising a few Pinterest strategies to leverage that audience and I wanted to see if she could make some suggestions for me.
Jen felt because I used my own interior design photography in my posts, I wasn’t taking advantage of everything that the platform could do and I could be getting a lot more Pinterest traffic. She was right. Here’s what I did.
Think of Pinterest as a Search Engine
The first thing she told me which changed FOREVER how I viewed Pinterest was that it is NOT a social media platform. It’s actually a search engine. And that thinking about it as a search engine will aid in understanding how it works and how it can drive traffic to your website. It also means that your follower count isn’t actually as important as you think. It’s the visibility of your pins in searches that leads to traffic so it’s important not to get too hung up on follower numbers.
Make Sure Your Boards Are Up to Scratch
Jen also suggested a few changes that I could make immediately. First, I cleaned up my boards. By that, I mean I got rid of old pins that weren’t performing well and made sure that what I was pinning reflected the ‘eclectic boho style’ that my blog is defined by. I updated the cover photos of my boards to show some of the strongest representations of my style so it gave visitors to my profile page a good idea immediately of what I was all about and what they could expect to see in my pins.
I also added board descriptions to all of my boards including key terms that could be used in searches and made sure every board was associated with a category.
She encouraged me to update my profile as well and create a board solely for Swoon Worthy as a single place to pin all my latest posts and imagery. I put it at the very top left corner so it’s the first board you see when you click into my profile.
Apply for Rich Pins
What do I mean by Rich Pins? Pinterest allows for rich pins for business accounts (which means you’ll want to sign up as a business account if you aren’t already!). This means that data is automatically pulled from your blog into the pin which can not be overwritten or removed. It’s permanently attached to your pin. It also gives the pinner incentive to click your pin when the blog post title is clearly visible.
Applying for rich pins is not that difficult but it does involve adding a piece of code to your website. You can read more about the process here on Pinterest but it literally only takes a few minutes to do and once you are verified, you can start reaping the additional information on all of your pins throughout your website.
Use Tailwind to Schedule
Now, this is the big one. I used to spend time pinning to my boards in Pinterest sporadically, whenever I found a bit of time in my busy day. However, Jen recommended that I use a pin scheduler – specifically Tailwind which is the only approved scheduler by Pinterest itself.
Tailwind allows you to schedule pins to maximise when and where they’ll be seen by followers. Cleverly, it identifies your peak pinning times and suggests times when your pins are more likely to be seen. You pin as much as you want and those pins are then metered out to post at specific times. For me, I have a lot of followers in the US and so most of my pins go live when it’s the evening in the USA and the middle of the night for me! However, using the scheduler means I’m not having to stay up to the wee hours just to pin! Tailwind does it all for me.
As a side note, I know a few people who use Boardbooster as well but, as I don’t have any experience with that one, I can’t personally recommend it. But it may be worth checking out too!
I’m not going to go into too much detail about Tailwind in this post, only to say that it’s well worth looking into a scheduler to maximise when your pins are seen outside of normal searches. Once your boards are all nicely set up and you’ve got all your descriptions in place and your profile looking spiffed up, then it’s just a matter of using Tailwind regularly.
Get into Daily/Weekly Habits
Now, once a post is published, I use Tailwind to create pins of every image. Depending upon the subject matter of the post (if it’s a specific problem-solving post or a DIY) I may also create a ‘Pinterest friendly’ image with a text overlay (like the one at the start of my post). I pin nearly every image on the post (which can be anywhere from 8 to 20 images) to my ‘Latest from Swoon Worthy’ board. Tailwind allows you to post the same pin to multiple boards so not only do I post to my blog-specific board, I also will pin some of my strongest images to any other relevant boards I may have that it will naturally fit into. The Tailwind scheduler does the rest so I know I’m not ‘spamming’ my followers, pinning everything at once. They are ‘drip-fed’ throughout the week to my boards so they don’t all go live at the same time.
I also try to make sure the pins have good descriptions with keywords throughout although I admit, I’m still working on this one! What makes a good description? You really need to think about what you think people will be searching for utilising specific keywords to bring your images up in search results. Once they find your pin, what will make them click the image to go to the post? Creating an engaging and specific description for your pins here is paramount to making sure you are getting that traffic by encouraging people to not just repin your image but to CLICK IT.
I also pin my strongest images to any tribes I belong to. Again, as this post is really just an overview, I won’t go into too much detail about Tribes here but it’s a great way to get other Pinterest users pinning your content and getting those pins seen. I’ll be honest, I’ve only really just started doing this and only do it when I have the chance so I’m no ‘Tribes expert’. I do try to pin at least 2 pins from my tribes for every pin I post of my own on the tribe. Most tribes will have their own rules and etiquette so you’ll need to respect these when you join.
At the moment, as a rough guide, I probably pin about 60-70% of my own pins and 30-40% of other people’s pins onto Tailwind to maximise as much of my own content on Pinterest as possible.
All of these various factors have lead to the following: My pin impressions have gone up 1759%, repins have gone up 1983% and most importantly, click-throughs to my website have gone up by 1883% since the end of March. My Pinterest traffic has gone up 462% in that time, making it my biggest referrer after Google searches. While I’m not sharing specific numbers, you can see the difference in traffic by looking at the following graph. The blue line is what my Pinterest traffic has been over the last month (including the dip in traffic over Christmas) and the orange is what my Pinterest traffic was like back in February 2016 before I started to strategise it – MASSIVE DIFFERENCE.
I’ll be honest, I could actually be doing more to improve and I can be a bit hit-and-miss with regard to both pin descriptions as well as Tribes but just implementing this strategy in how I pin as well as using Tailwind has made a huge difference for me and my blog. If I can find around an hour a week to do this, I promise you can too.
If you’re interested in Jen’s Pinterest training, she has a free course available right here which you can sign up for at any time and she periodically runs training via Pin School as part of the No Bull Blog School. This post is in no way sponsored and I paid for my own training here – I just think it’s amazing how much I learned and more importantly, how much I’ve increased my traffic as a result of Jen’s training. Not only have I been able to increase my traffic, but I’ve also been able to increase my rates for things like sponsored posts and collaborations with brands. It’s worth-while. I get more traffic now from Pinterest than I do from any other social platform out there – more than Facebook, Twitter and Instagram combined.
Have you harnessed the power of Pinterest for increasing your blog traffic? Will you be using it to increase your Pinterest traffic now? I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. I decided that perhaps once a month I’ll do a post specifically for bloggers. I’ve been blogging now for years and years and well, ya pick up a thing or two when you’ve been doing it as long as I have! As I stated earlier, I know these kinds of posts won’t appeal to all of my readers and my content will still be about interiors the other 95% of the time. But in my monthly blogger tips posts, you can pick up a few new tricks and you can share what things you’ve learned along the way too. Anything you’d like for me to cover about blogging specifically? Let me know in the comments!