Sometimes, it IS about traffic.
I’ve read here and there that it’s not all about traffic, and that if you have a very specific niche and a small engaged audience, you can still have a successful (money-making) blog.
While I’m sure that’s true for some people, I’m convinced that the majority of us out here in blogland will need to see some thousands stopping by our blogs on a daily basis before we can REALLY start to see a significant income. (What constitutes a significant income will be based on your own definition of course – but let’s say at least $1000.00/month. And up.)
I’m also convinced that as more and more people read about the amazing thing that is blogging and decide to give it a try, traffic will only become MORE important as far as monetization goes.
When “everyone” out there is promoting the same affiliate products, or when brands have the option of choosing to work with bloggers who have 150,000 page views/month over bloggers who have half that, well – I think the numbers will count.
And let’s not overlook the fact that blogging is a TON of work, and talking to no one actually sucks. I love love love waking up to reader comments, emails and facebook messages.
I also love waking up to pageviews. This morning I had over 2k pageviews before I got out of bed. (This is a little above normal for me, but I think it just proves my pinterest theories are working!)
I was pretty on the fence about creating a pinterest strategy for sharing. I feel like it is SO DONE. There are many, many, to choose from out there (BTW thanks for choosing this one – I hope you see some fantastic results from it!).
But… the more I read about all the courses out there, the more I see the same thing. Buy boardbooster, buy tailwind, schedule your pins; it’s the only way to see growth. And then the “course” gives you the rundown on how the author uses their scheduler to pin their pins and get crazy traffic. (And convinces you to buy the scheduler, so they make some commission too.)
Which is great – and both schedulers absolutely DO seem to drive traffic. Some of the biggest bloggers out there use them!
I don’t make a lot of money at my day job. I knew if I could make a blog that would generate $1000 / month, we’d be just fine. My income would be more or less replaced.
I determined that if it could be done, I was going to get the pinterest traffic without a scheduler and soon.
I researched the pants off of pinterest and “the algorithm”. I did the free tailwind and board booster trials and I spent time in conversation with the customer service people from each company. (And eventually paid for each to try them out as well.) I tested out all the different ideas and suggestions I could find online for improving pinterest reach.
And the week I found the answer to all my pinterest struggles, and it all clicked, I actually called my husband and said, “that’s it – I’ve just won at pinterest and this blog is gonna be successful.” (At the time I was making about 3 cents per day on ads, and sometimes 75 cents a week on amazon sales, so I can see why he didn’t QUITE believe me…)
But that was just the beginning. And now I wanna show you how I drive massive crazy traffic to my blog with pinterest. For free.
My blog DID NOT EXIST before it gets between 3000 (on a very bad day, these days make me sad) – 10,000 (on a very good day) page views per day. And growing. That traffic is 99% from pinterest.
Not only did I get here (200k page views / month) in 7 months, but it’s actually only been 5 months since I began promoting on pinterest. (I spent the first two months creating content and trying to figure out “how to blog”.)
And I achieved this growth during the summer months, when traffic is notoriously slow, and while everyone else was still sad over the new pinterest algorithm.
First things first – if you want your blog to be profitable:
Assuming the goal of traffic is to earn you a profit, then these are things you should do PRIOR to starting your promotion on pinterest. (Partly because promotion will be easier, and partly because promotion will be pointless if no one is sticking around to read the post when they get there.)
- You should have a great (and functional) blog design / theme (I’m using DIVI from elegant themes*, and it is downright amazing). If someone lands on your site, and it looks like it was started in the 90’s by someone with NO technical ability, they are leaving. (You don’t gotta have the technical ability – it just needs to LOOK like you have it!)
- You should have AT LEAST 25 great (and hopefully monetizable) posts written. (Not only are more posts better at keeping readers around, this pinterest strategy will be easier to implement with more pins available to you.)
- You should have pinterest worthy graphics created for EACH post. (Minimum of one, but two when possible.) More on what “pinterest worthy” graphics are to come.
- You should have a good idea of how you will monetize your blog, and if you plan to use ads, you should place the ads (from google adsense to begin with) in each of your posts if possible. I found out recently that I didn’t even HAVE ads running in some of my posts in July and August – when I was already receiving enough page views to make significant income from ads. Because I didn’t have ads set up properly before I started implementing the pinterest strategy, I lost income.
- You MUST have google analytics installed (and running properly). This pinterest strategy uses google analytics, and it is imperative to your success. If you have google analytics installed already, YAY! If not, go do it now.
- Each of your posts should have a title that is attention grabbing and tells the reader why they want to read it. People aren’t clicking through from pinterest to read about you. They’re clicking through to read about something that will pertain to THEM. When I started, I had a post titled “10 things I still buy (even though they’re frivolous)” and NO one was pinning it. I changed it to “How to audit your spending, & why you should” and now it gets page views. Lesson learned.
When these 6 things are done, you are ready to pinterest.
Your Pinterest Profile
You can either use your personal pinterest account (and all the followers that already come with it) and turn it into a business account, or you can start a new pinterest business account. It’s up to you, but either way, you’re getting a business account.
(I personally didn’t want to share my blog with my family and friends when I started, so I made a new account and had ZERO followers when I pinned my first pin… and every single follower I gained felt like a total victory.)
I would strongly suggest starting a new account, because to do it “right” transitioning, you are going to waste A LOT of time. (If you feel you MUST convert your personal account, you can do that here: https://www.pinterest.com/business/convert/login to your pinterest first, then click the link.) If you do convert from a personal account to a business account, you can make “secret” any boards that don’t fit in with your niche instead of deleting them, to avoid losing your pins. Secret boards don’t count against your pinterest profile “score”.
Otherwise, you can sign up for a new business account here:
(These aren’t affiliate links, by the way, I don’t think pinterest has an affiliate program. I’m just trying to make it easy for you!)
Once you have your account created (and you verify your website – find the instructions on how to do this straight from pinterest herself here), there are some things you can do to make your pinterest profile “more gooder”.
I wanna pause here and say that everything from here on out, just like with every pinterest course or book out there, is speculation based on my experience. I believe that the reason my pinterest strategy works is because I have approached it as though I am smarter than an algorithm because I can think. No one (outside of the pinterest people) really knows definitively what the “new algorithm” is all about… but we know what an algorithm does, and so we should be able to figure out over time, what works best.
That said, if you don’t like something I suggest, or disagree with it based on your own experience, don’t do it! For example, there is a huge debate as to whether or not deleting pins with low / no repins is beneficial or not… and no one really seems to know the answer. You will hear straight from tailwind (a pinterest partner) that deleting pins with low re-pins has no affect on your profile standing. I’m not totally sold. I tried it, my engagement went up, my page views went up… it could have been coincidence, but there are loads of people who have had a similar experience.
I figure all of the suggestions are worth trying.
So. With that said. Let’s get back to your profile.
First, understand that pinterest is a search engine. Think about the way that YOU use pinterest. I know when it’s close to dinner and I need a recipe, I no longer grab a cookbook – I search pinterest. The same way I’d have searched google, once upon a time. I’ve searched pinterest for everything from weird pregnancy symptoms to gardening tips.
So from here on out, every time you type ANYTHING on pinterest, remember that pinterest is a search engine.
Fill out your pinterest profile as though you might be something people would find if they did a search.
Starting with your business name. Don’t use your URL, it’s not clickable anyways, and unless you’re well known already people won’t be searching your URL. (Plus you’ve already verified your website, so your URL is visible AND clickable below your business name.)
You can use the name of your blog if you want, and add keywords as well. Pinterest recently rolled out an awesome new update on the amount of letters you can have in your name… meaning it can be FULL of great keywords that describe your most common topics.
You can also add keywords to your description! (You can see here (above) that I chose different words, like practical and habit, because I also want to convey that my blog is about living on purpose above all things. I may be shooting myself in the foot here.) If you are blogging about money you could have money keywords in your pinterest profile description.
Things that people might type into the search box are keywords you want to use.
(In fact, type a few keywords into the search box, see what pinterest suggests as keyword phrases, and USE THOSE.)
Your pinterest profile description might include “saving money tips” or something to that effect.
When you’re writing your description, don’t talk about you. Tell people what THEY are getting from you, why they should bother hanging around or following you, or clicking over to your blog. It’s fine if you wanna include that you’re a coffee lovin’ mama of 4 (be relatable) but remember that the FOCUS is on them.
Let’s talk about setting up your pinterest boards. I’ve heard SO MANY things about setting up your boards, and the truth is again, I don’t think anyone really knows what’s the absolute “best” as far as the algorithm goes. But, remember, we are smarter than the computer, and we understand what algorithms do… and we know that pinterest is a search engine. SO…
When setting up your boards, remember how crucial keywords are. Naming a board “Pregnancy and Birth” is far more likely to result in searchability than calling it “baby having”. (I use this example because that’s what I called MY pregnancy and birth board, and I love the name. But it really really is not about me and what I love. It’s about pleasing pinterest and getting our stuff in front of people’s eyes.)
And don’t just name your board with a great keyword and stop there. Click in to edit it, and write a keyword rich description for your board – using those pinterest suggested keywords if possible.
Include the proper category, because if you put something like “other”, well, that’s not gonna show up in a search for healthy living if that’s what your board is about.
You’ll see lots of suggestions online to prettify your pinterest profile page, by giving each board a cover photo that’s consistent with your brand and whatnot.. and you can totally do that. I personally believe that paying attention to the keywords is going to be far more beneficial to you than making sure you have cute cover photos for all your boards. Pinterest can’t SEE your boards, and does not care. Plus, since 75-80% of pinterest traffic is mobile (depending on what studies you read) most users won’t see those pretty boards either.
This certainly isn’t where you should end with perfecting your profile – you DO want your profile to convey your brand and make people understand what you are all about. I’m sure the advice we see out there about using it to get people on your email list too, by offering a freebie in your description etc. Is great advice. But as far as optimizing your profile for the pinterest algorithm goes, keywords are the key thing.
I have also read, numerous times, that we don’t want boards that are not compatible with our niche. (As in, if you are blogging solely about sewing, don’t have one random board about photography.) I really don’t worry ALL that much about a board or two… having a few is fine, I think. It’s when you have heaps of boards that aren’t related to what you are blogging about that I think it might be dangerous.
I think this because I believe that the level of engagement you have on each board directly affects your “pinterest profile standing” within the algorithm. I was told by a staff member who works with a pinterest scheduler company that you don’t want to have a lot of boards that are not highly engaged on your profile, and we will talk more about this later, but keep it in mind while you are setting up your pinterest boards.
We (the staff member from the scheduler and I) didn’t talk about why, so here’s my best speculation again. If most of your followers are pinning sewing tips, they aren’t likely to be interested in the photography board, they aren’t likely to repin the things you pin to it. Therefore the board will be far less engaged. Over time that might hurt your profile standing in pinterest’s eyes, especially if you have lots and lots of these boards that don’t fit in with what your followers are pinning…to pinterest, you will look like a pinner whose pin’s are often ignored, and pinterest will begin sharing your pins less.
Set up a “best of your website” board, and maybe 15-20 or so other boards that will be relevant to your niche. I think I have 19 boards (personal boards, not including group boards here).
What makes a good pin?
Before we move on to pinning, I need to say – even if you do absolutely everything right with pinterest (set up a great profile, get on great group boards ect), but you have absolutely awful pins, you still won’t see much traffic. So make sure that your pins stand a fighting chance by creating pins that someone would click on. Pins should
- Be 700 pixels x 1200 pixels (approx). Tiny little pins just disappear into the crowd. You can experiment with larger sizes as well, but keep them vertical. No horizontal pins!
- Have an interesting / engaging title that makes people want to click through.
- Have wording on them that is easy to read ESPECIALLY on a small device (remember how much pinterest traffic is mobile?) Be wary of script fonts and light colors.
- (Generally) have your website or logo on them, just in case!
My first set of pins were absolutely hideous. And you can’t take them back once they get out there on pinterest! Sometimes I still see a bad pin pop up and it makes me wish I had taken the time to design better ones off the bat. One of them even has a spelling mistake on it… yay.
If you run a pin through multiple boards for weeks and weeks and it STILL doesn’t get any traction, consider making a new pin for it. It might just be that there is something unclickable about your pin!
Set up Rich Pins from Pinterest
A rich pin is a pin that pinterest has confirmed is from your website. They display additional information (like your website name) with the pin. They look more “legit”.
To enable rich pins on a wordpress site, install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin. Then go to SEO > Social > Facebook, and check “add open graph meta data”.
Then go to the Rich Pin Validator and enter a link to one of your blog posts. Then click “validate”.
A message will pop up and you click “apply now”.
Then you just wait for a confirmation email! (It could take up to a week). You only need to do this ONCE, for one post, but then all your posts/pins will be validated.
So… once you have your profile all set up and some boards created, it’s time to join group boards and to pin. (We will come back to group boards.)
You’ll want to pin relevant content from third parties (content that is not your own, but still in your niche) PLUS you’ll want to pin your own content.
How much should you pin?
I currently pin around 80 – 120 pins per day, depending on the day. This number will start smaller for you if you have less than 50 posts and are on less than 50 group boards. It will increase as you grow your posts and group boards. (There’s those group boards again, hold that thought.)
There is a pretty widely suggested pinning ratio of 80 /20, as in pin 80% other people’s pins, 20% your pins. And maybe that’s been working great for lots of people. But because with this strategy you are MANUALLY pinning,ain’t nobody got time for that. I probably pin 80 /20 MY OWN content / other’s content. It’s working great. (If you are just starting on pinterest and have less than 50 posts on your blog / are on less than 50 group boards, you probably will pin more other people’s content to begin with.)
When you pin anewimage, either from your blog with your pin it button, or by uploading the pin to pinterest, you should be sure to be writing keyword heavy descriptions for the pin. Some people suggest that it’s also beneficial to write as a “fan” of the pin instead of as the author of the post.
Use the same methods for finding the keywords as you used for naming your boards. The pinterest search box is NOT going to steer you in the wrong direction when it comes to keywords. I try to use two variations of keywords per description.
(Side note, but relevant: I wrote a post on themes for wordpress in July, and that poor post has not gotten ANY traction. I know it’s a great post, because it managed to generate me three commission payments with only a handful of people having ever READ the post – and by a handful I mean less than 21. THAT’s how many page views I’ve managed to get on that post. For perspective, I have posts with over 10,000 page views written AFTER this theme post. I absolutely COULD NOT get this post into people’s pinterest feeds. I had no idea why. I gave up pinning it manually and ran it through board booster for a month. Didn’t help. One night I decided to pin it manually with new keywords (sourced from the pinterest search box) for it, and not kidding, within two hours I had an email regarding the post saying “thank you for this great information! I’ve been so torn about themes, and this really helped me decide.” And two days later I got a $35 commission on it. SOUSE GOOD KEYWORDS FROM PINTEREST IN YOUR DESCRIPTIONS.)
OK, let’s get back to pinning. How often (& when) am I pinning & does it matter?
When I started with this strategy, I was pinning three times a day, everyday. I tried for sometime between 11am and 2pm (my pins) and again between 5pm and 7pm (my pins). I would do half my pins in the morning and half at night and then I would re-pin third party content late at night when pinterest was less busy. (This obviously worked, because my traffic started skyrocketing right away.)
Now I pin twice a day when I can, but I do my third party pinning at the same time. If I DON’T have time to pin twice in the day, I aim for once between 2 and 6 pm. This seems just as successful, and it takes me much less time. If I’m forced to pin in the morning only, traffic does seem to be down a bit by night. (Which is sad, because the evenings are generally WAY better than the day, for me at least.) You should experiment with what times work best for you.
When I’m pinning, I am not pinning much of my own content to my OWN boards. THAT would probably seem spammy to the people who happen to be following me. I’m pinning the vast majority of my own content to group boards.
I do pin all my relevant content (my OWN content) to each of MY relevant boards eventually, but it’s not the first place I pin it. I start with group boards.
Group boards are a pinterest miracle. They are the reason that bloggers can grow SO quickly on pinterest. In May when I started trying to figure out pinterest, I heard so many bloggers (who had been blogging for a while) say things like, “with the new algorithm, group boards just aren’t what they used to be”.
Well… I can NOT IMAGINE how easy it must have been to gain a massive pinterest following with whatever group boards were like before. Sure, maybe with the new algorithm group boards might be more work than they used to be, but if you are just starting out on pinterest that is neither here nor there you.
Group boards are still where it’s at. (And I personally believe that “pinterest is not what it used to be because of schedulers, not because of an algorithm.)
Group boards are boards that are started by one person, and that person’s followers are (usually) also following that board. So group boards can have many many THOUSANDS of followers, if the pinner who started the board has many many thousands of followers.
If you pin a pin to your own board, and you have 300 followers, there is a good chance that 300 people might see it.
If you pin a pin to a group board with 300k followers, there is a good chance that 300k people might see it.
(This isn’t exactly how it works, since the new algorithm doesn’t show all pins to all followers, but you still have a much farther reach than if you are just pinning to your own boards.)
I strongly suggest you join at least 50 group boards over the next month or so. (I would join lots more than that, because eventually you will leave some. You don’t know when you are joining a board if it’s going to be “good” for you or not… you have to test it.)
I am on 71 group boards today, and yesterday I was on 76. I would happily be on more tomorrow if I could find more to get on tonight.
Finding Group Boards
There’s a few ways to find group boards, and I’ll go over a couple of them. My least favorite way is with pingroupie.com. It’s an online directory of all the group boards out there, and it’s tedious at best. That being said, it often can tell you if a board is good or not without having to do too much of your own pin – testing.
Here’s a screenshot of a search for group boards in pingroupie (above). I searched for boards based on category and repins. I also pay attention to number of followers.
Find boards that look like they would fit your niche by hovering over “description” and if you think it would work for your pins, try to join that board. .
As you can see in the screenshot (above), some boards will have joining instructions right in the description. Some won’t. Some boards will even say in the descriptions “no longer accepting contributors” or something to that effect (see below).
(I’ve heard of people asking nicely and being admitted to these boards, but it’s never worked for me. I guess if you have time it might be worth a shot, but I would focus on boards that DO seem to be accepting collaborators or that don’t specify either way.)
SO pingroupie is one way to find boards, but it’s quite tedious because it’s pulling up allllllll the boards, and you have to try and use the filters to determine if they might be a “good” board, and you need to go through each one manually to see if they would be a good fit for you. It’s not my favorite.
The best way I’ve found to find group boards, is to stalk other popular pinners in your niche and see what group boards THEY are on.
Go to their pinterest profile and scroll through their boards. The boards that are group boards are the ones with the little people icons by the board name.(See screenshot below). (As you get on group boards, any that you are already on will have the option for you to “edit” underneath instead of “follow” or “unfollow”. I mention that because there is no end to boards called things like “frugal living” and you’ll be wasting your time clicking into them to check them out if they are ones you’re already on.)
These are all group boards that another pinner in my niche is on. (Note that I am already on ONE of these boards, so I won’t bother looking at it.)
Any of these boards that sound like they would be a good fit for my pins, I will click into them and see if the description looks like they might accept contributors. I thought I might check out that GROUP BOARD one, cus it looks like any pins might be acceptable – so I click into it and…
Boo. Not accepting contributors. So I try another.
This one doesn’t say anything either way… so I am going to request to join it! (Update: I haven’t heard back from the creator – likely she isn’t accepting collaborators, or she’s just not interested in me as a collaborator.) The worst thing that happens when you request to join a board is that you just get ignored. OR sometimes the creators are really friendly and email you back and say “thanks for your interest but no”, but sometimes they say YES and add you.
So it’s always worth trying!
To join the group board, click on the image of the FIRST collaborator in the line of profile pics under the follow board button (see screenshot above). This will take you to the creator’s pinterest profile.
When you get to the creator’s profile, FOLLOW THEM. (You NEED to be following the creator of a group board in order for the creator to add you. Even if they are willing to add you, they can’t if you aren’t following them, so do this VERY FIRST.) Note their name and email if it’s included in the profile description. If their email is not included, note their URL.
Get in touch with them! Email is probably your best bet, although I have also had luck through facebook messages and through commenting on their most recent blog post. (I use commenting as a very last resort, if I can’t find any other way to contact them.) I have had very very little luck getting added to boards by commenting on pins, even when the instructions are “comment on my most recent pin to be added!”.
Request to be added to the board, and thank them for their consideration. Include your pinterest profile URL and the email address you use for pinterest. IF they are willing to add you, they CAN NOT add you without this information.
It might take you a few weeks or maybe even a couple months to find and get accepted to a good number of group boards (- a good number being 50 or more).
I should also mention, If you do have board booster there is a “group boards to join” list in there under reports. It’s similar to pin groupie but easier to use, because they have already determined for you what are the top performing collaborative boards. (But just because they’re on the list doesn’t mean they’re accepting contributors!)
Once you’ve set up your own boards and you’re on a good number of group boards, you’ll be ready to work on a pinning strategy.
My Pinterest Strategy
This is the part where so many will tell you to buy either boardbooster or tailwind and set them up and let them pin for you and don’t waste your time pinning. But THIS is the part of this book that makes it different from all the other strategies out there.
I’ve tried the paid version of both schedulers, and while they do have great features, I haven’t had the same results with a scheduler as I have been able to achieve manually pinning. Manually pinning is time consuming and it requires an every single day commitment.
When I start to feel like it’s not worth it, I remind myself that I am making around $2000 Canadian dollars per month in ad revenue from page views, and it suddenly feels worth it again.
(Sometimes I set up a scheduler to pin for me for the day if I can’t pin, and I just accept that that day’s traffic might be down. I do have the paid for version of tailwind currently, for analytics only – but you do NOT need to buy a scheduler for this strategy to work for you, and I actually believe it will work better if you don’t.)
I need to stress again, this is just MY speculation… but my page views are enough of an incentive to make it worth it for me to put the time into pinning manually.
So why do I believe that manual pinning is better than scheduled pinning? I think that maybe in the pinterest algorithm there is some sort of tracking of individual copies of pins, and pins that are “busy” or “popular” perhaps are shown more often to more people. Pinterest KNOWS these are successful pins.
As far as algorithms go, pinterest only has the information that it is capable of collecting. Things like keywords are gold. Things like how many people like or share that pin are gold. I think that each pinner’s individual “standing” or “profile score” with pinterest is taken into account.
Any pin that goes through a scheduler counts as a new pin from you. Just like if you pinned it from your blog or uploaded it from your computer. It’s a blank slate pin (except for the connection to you and your profile).
It seems that if you re-pin “busy” pins directly in pinterest, FROM the board they are on/ the pinners who pinned them, they bring some sort of “pinterest favor” with them.
For example, if I pin a pin straight from my blog or upload it from my computer (or put it through a scheduler), it might get 20 saves and a few likes. (Not bad.) Tomorrow, if I re-pin it from new again, it might get another 15 or 20 saves. It doesn’t do any better than it did the first time.
BUT If I go and find the BUSIEST version of that pin (perhaps a “bigger” pinner pinned it, or perhaps I pinned it to a great board at the right time and it got seen by LOTS of people who liked it and pinned it) and re-pin THAT ONE, it gets more saves and more likes. Every. Time.
I know I might be losing you here, but bear with me. This is where google analytics is essential.
Go to your “reporting” screen in google analytics (pictured above). Scroll down in the menu on the left hand side to “acquisition” and click > social > network referrals (pictured below). If you have ever had any visitors to your site from pinterest, you will see pinterest listed here as a referrer.
Click into the “pinterest” referrer (circled). Here’s a list of your blog pages / posts that are receiving pinterest traffic (1). Every single page / post receiving traffic is listed here starting with the ones receiving the most traffic first, and you can scroll through them from the busiest to the least busy (2).
Click into any blog post on the list, (that will open a NEW list – screenshot below). You might see that the first one or two “refferers” on the new list are just pinterest.com or pinterest.com/ referrers (1).
(Scary technical information – disregard this if it sounds like gibberish to you! Unfortunately, Google does not receive the pin ID when people click in on MOBILE pins, and the large majority of traffic is MOBILE traffic. That means that while traffic to the specific post is still measured, it gets rolled into the “/” referrer (or, I believe, the one that just says pinterest.com as well – feel free to correct me on this statement). BUT I haven’t found that to be a major issue as far as this strategy goes… the best referring desktop pins are probably still the best referring pins overall (on mobile as well, even tho we can’t see it). I do have a plan to test some pins with UTM parameters in the near future and then I will be sending you an update with my findings… if I find that it makes a difference.)
SO – we just focus on using the pin that we CAN see has received the most traffic. On this list (pictured above) that is the third one down (2). This time, don’t click into it… copy (highlight and it and press ctrl + c) and paste it into a new browser window (paste is ctrl + v) and press enter – you should be signed into pinterest on your computer when you do this. This will take you to that pin, the one that has been driving the most traffic (aside from mobile) to your site.
Scroll down to the bottom of that pin, and see who pinned it – and to what board. You might be surprised to notice that it’s likely NOTyou who pinned it at all… but some “big” pinner. (see picture below). Well, it might be you – especially if you’re JUST starting out on pinterest and you don’t have much traffic from pinterest yet. Either way, it seems like this pin re-pinned FROM HERE has a better chance of getting seen by more eyes than a NEW (identical) pin.
Here (above) you can see that “my” pin driving all this traffic to my site isn’t my pin at ALL! Sarah @ sarahtitus.com pinned it to HER board “saving money tips and tricks”. (Notice the awesome keywords in her board title?)
So, right here in this screen, I click save on THIS pin, and pin it to wherever this post is going to be pinned to today. Manually. Now I’ve pinned a copy of Sarah’s pin (which pinterest already knows is popular), not a copy of my own pin.
There will be times, especially when you’re first starting out on pinterest (or when you publish a new post with a new pin), that the pins you find to be your best referrers will be pins you pinned to your own boards (or more likely, to group boards). They might have referred only 10 sessions… but I figure that’s still 10 sessions more than the pins with 1 referred session, so I use this process for re-pinning, (I think of it as “growing” these pins).
Depending on how long it takes a “better” pinner to pick it up and pin it, it might take some time for the pin to take off. It could take a few days or a few weeks for the pin to really start to see growth. (Or it could happen overnight!)
I do find that the re pins of pins pinned by OTHER people tend to do a little better than the re pins of my OWN pins.
So, if I have (in google analytics) a pin that has referred 438 sessions, and it was pinned by me, and a pin that has referred 427 sessions and it was pinned by someone else, I will choose to pin the second pin rather than the one pinned by me. If the difference in referred sessions is a way bigger gap (over 50 or so) I will pin the one originally pinned by me.
Once in awhile, I make time for one more step.
I’m saving 90% of MY content pins to group boards remember – not my own boards. The health of group boards is a really frustrating thing – this is because if people are just pinning to the group board all the time and no one is pinning FROM it, pinterest learns that this is one of those boards where engagement is low and the pins on it seem to rank lower in the grand scheme of pins… and they seem to get less time in the smart feed.
So, to combat this problem, and to make sure that I am fully engaged with all the boards on my page (which may also be important as far as the algorithm goes), as soon as I pin the pin, there’s a little black box that pops up and says “saved to name-of-group-board”. Click on that box (before it disappears) and it will take you directly to that board. Then I re-pin something (third party content) FROM that board TO my own boards. This is super time consuming and I don’t do it that often.
If pinning just can’t take up a whole hour of my time, then I skip this step. I believe it’s beneficial, but I don’t believe it’s imperative to do it all the time – as long as you do it when possible.
PLUS when you have time, I think this step is EXTRA awesome, because it allows you to go to the pin you just pinned (it will be there on the board you just clicked into), click “edit” on it, and save a different keyword rich description for it. Trying out new keyword descriptions on different pins and boards is a fun experiment.)
Clicking into the board also allows you to check on the board and make sure you aren’t spamming it. Particularly if you aren’t very familiar with the board yet, and how fast it moves. I cringe when I click into a board and it’s just a big screen of only my pins, which HAS happened. You want to make sure that there are other pinners getting their pins on the board between yours.
Before I move on, I should mention that signing up for just the free trial of boardbooster is a great idea, because even if you are not actually pinning with it (or paying for it), once it’s connected to your pinterest it lists “viral third party pins” from your blog (see screenshot below). I’m pretty sure that these pins will also be the pins that analytics lists – for the most part. It could be a faster way to source them. I choose not to use them as a rule, just because you can’t tell by looking at them which ones are the BEST ones.
To save time and avoid having to click around a hundred times in google analytics everyday, you can copy and paste your best pin URLs into a cheatsheet of URLs to use. Just be sure to check back (perhaps weekly) and make sure you’re not missing out on using a pin that’s got even better numbers now.
The Crazy Overwhelming-ness of PinningLike This (& what to do about staying on top of it).
The biggest hurdle for me was figuring out how to keep track of what was pinned where and when and the individual group board rules that needed to be followed. (You can be kicked off of great group boards for not following the rules – do your best to pay attention to any “rules”, often listed in the board description.)
As the number of posts and pins you have to work with grows, and as you get on more group boards, it will become virtually impossible to be sure that you’re not pinning today the same pin you pinned to this board just yesterday. It will also become the same amount of impossible for you to keep track of what board you’ve pinned to and what boards you’ve been ignoring for weeks. (Not good. Remember, we need engaged boards.)
It took me a while to come up with a system that actually works. I’ll share with you what I’m doing, and if you come up with something better – let me know!
For every single group board I am on, I have a list of posts that are OK to go on that group board. I write the name and the rules for that board at the top of the page (1), and list the posts underneath (2). (I add to this list as I publish new posts that would be a good fit for that group board.)
You might be on 10 boards that are great for money related posts, so I have a master list of money posts saved on my computer and I just change the name and group board rules on it ten times and print it once for each board.
Every time I pin a post to that board, I write the date beside the post (3). (I bought a package of colored markers and I use one colour for each month, so for July I wrote the date in red, August I wrote it in blue, and September is purple.)
I have my boards separated in my binder into categories, so I can easily find all the “health” boards or “money” boards or “anything goes” boards (4).
This has REALLY made my pinning go quicker, because every day I just flip through the book and pin to each board. I know I’m not missing any boards OR spamming any boards. If I join a new board I add a new sheet for it (or, like you can see in the picture, if I’m being lazy I scribble it on the bottom of another sheet until I re-do the binder), and if I leave a board I just take the sheet out.
Why would I leave a board?
Not all group boards are “good” boards. Even if I’m totally wrong about “bad” boards bringing your over all “pinterest profile score” down, it’s still a waste of time to be pinning to boards where you’re not seeing any rewards for your efforts. ESPECIALLY when you are manually pinning! Ten boards is ten minutes of your time. Why would you keep wasting your time?
I DO believe though, that “bad” boards might be bad for your “pinterest profile score”. (If that’s even a thing – but I think it must be, algorithm wise.)
When I first learned that it’s best not to have boards with a very low engagement score on your profile, it made me think, does that mean that GROUP boards with low engagement scores shouldn’t be on my profile either? And I think it probably does…
Over time, if you watch your notifications in pinterest, you will be able to see what pins YOU have pinned that are doing well (and which boards they are on) and you will get a good feel for what boards your pins do well on.
When you click on notifications, you see a list of activity including “your pins from this board got saved to that board, and 6 other boards”. Over time you will see trends as to which boards consistently have more saved and likes coming from them vs other boards. You’ll want to be especially careful to follow the rules of these “good” boards, and don’t get yourself kicked off. As in, it might be tempting to pin to them MORE often than you should… but don’t.
You will eventually get onto some amazing boards, some so-so boards, and some really not so great boards.
When I start to get a TON of boards and I’m wanting to leave some but not sure which ones are the worst ones, I do buy a month of tailwind and use their analytics to determine which boards I am getting very few re-pins on. For now, this isn’t necessary… and I would absolutely not worry about doing it until you have been pinning for a few months, are on way too many group boards to keep up with, and have decided that you WANT to leave some boards. But just in case this ever DOES happen, you should have an account with tailwind so they are keeping tabs on your pins. It’s free to set up an account so you might as well do that.
Before I leave this subject, I should mention – you might start to get invites to random group boards as you grow on pinterest. Some of them are legit bloggers who are trying to build their group boards and they think you’d be a great fit as a collaborator, and some of them will just be spammers. Either way, don’t join group boards that don’t look like they’re at all engaged, or join them but be willing to leave them if you’re seeing no results from them. I do think that being on lots of poorly engaged boards will hurt you.
Before we leave group boards and pinning and move on to other thoughts, I want to add that I find it very important to pin a few of your best referring pins to a few of your best boards daily.
This means pinning from the FIRST page of analytics, whatever pins are bringing the most traffic, to the boards that you have found that you are likely to get the most repins and likes from (the most engaged boards you are on).
This doesn’t mean pinning the same pin to the same board everyday – that would be spammy, but perhaps you have three fantastic boards. Rotate your top 10 pins through those boards every 10 days. (As long as pin subject is allowed on board).
OCT 1–Board 1- Pin 1, Board 2- Pin 2, Board 3 - Pin 3
OCT 2 – Board 1- Pin 2, Board 2- Pin 3, Board 3- Pin 4
OCT 3 – Board 1- Pin 3, Board 2- Pin 4, Board 3- Pin 5
OCT 4 – Board 1 - Pin 4, Board 2- Pin 5, Board 3- Pin 6
OCT 5 – Board 1 - Pin 5, Board 2- Pin 6, Board 3 - Pin 7
OCT 6 – Board 1- Pin 6, Board 2 - Pin 7, Board 3 - Pin 8
OCT 7 – Board 1- Pin 7, Board 2- Pin 8, Board 3- Pin 9
OCT 8- Board 1- Pin 8, Board 2- Pin 9, Board 3 -Pin 10
OCT 9- Board 1 - Pin 9, Board 2- Pin 10, Board 3 - Pin 1
OCT 10-Board 1- Pin 10, Board 2- Pin1, Board 3- Pin 2
A few more Pinterest thoughts
There’s a couple things I’d like to add that just didn’t fit in anywhere, but I still believe are important things to think about.
Pinterest is judging you, as a pinner, and determining how many of your pins it will show to other people. Including your followers. Your followers have a “smart feed” not just a feed, and not every single pin you pin shows up in every follower’s feed. Keeping pinterest happy with you seems to be pretty important.
So with that in mind, I have heard (and I do believe) that you shouldn’t pin the same pin to a whole bunch of boards at once – as it’s “spammy”. I might pin the same pin to two or three boards at a time, and then pin it to some more boards tomorrow.
I’ve also found that creating a pin – just to be pinned, but not to get you click-throughs, might make you look good to pinterest. Traffic is our goal, but ultimately, pleasing pinterest should result in traffic. For example, I created a water drinking infographic that gets pinned HEAPS – it’s only a couple months old and it’s already been pinned over 14k times.It doesn’t get a lot of clicks into the post (1900 page views so far), because people are pinning it just for the information ON it. But I believe that having a heavily re-pinned pin (or ten) is very good for your overall “pinterest profile score”.
Experimenting with these sorts of pins is certainly not going to HURT your pinterest profile standing.
Another thing I want to mention is that pinterest is choosing what to show your followers based on what is popular right now. So while you may or may not have pins that are popular right now, it seems like you can keep your over all “pinterest profile score” up by pinning things that are popular.
For example… we are approaching halloween. I’m not particularly into halloween, so I haven’t written any halloween posts OR PINNED ANY HALLOWEEN PINS. – Oops.
I’ve noticed my traffic steadily falling for a few days.
If you click into the search bar in pinterest, it will show you what is trending RIGHT NOW, under your recent searches, under the heading “Trending Ideas”.
“Halloween Treats” is so trending that pinterest even highlights it for us in purple.
So a couple days ago, I made a halloween board and started pinning halloween pins. Notice that my traffic went back up?
There’s no hard and fast guarantee that pinning the halloween pins made my traffic go back up, but I am VERY intrigued by this and I have little – no doubt that it was related.
Algorithms gotta algorithm.
With that in mind, and assuming you aren’t pinning THAT much of your own stuff to your own boards (because it might look spammy), you want to keep your followers engaged. (So the algorithm thinks you’re awesome.)
I find that my followers are MUCH more engaged when I pin “viral” third party stuff to my own boards then when I pin “new” pins to my own boards. I’m not saying don’t pin anything with low re-pins ever, that would basically kill pinterest – AND it seems to drown out all new pins – including your own new pins. But be sure to pin a few viral third party pins to your own boards everyday.10 or so is a good number.
Pin these viral third party pins ONLY to YOUR boards. I made the mistake for a while of pinning really well performing third party pins to group boards, and it was as though pinterest was choosing WHICH of the two pins I had pinned to that board to show to people.
Repins of the third party pins I had pinned were awesome, repins of my own pins… not so much.
I stopped pinning viral third party pins to group boards, and my own pins on those particular boards went back up.
And, finally, because it comes up once in awhile, I’ve heard that pinterest considers it “spammy” if you pin the same pin to more than a few boards at a time. I can see why they’d say that, so I figure it’s not worth the risk. I pin a pin to 3 or 4 boards at once and no more.
I wish you all the best luck while you play with the pinterest algorithm – if you use any of the strategies outlined in this book, I’d LOVE to get your feedback! Happy Pinning!
I’ve had this book written and sitting here for months now, and I get emails every week asking about it.
Pinterest changes constantly and it’s impossible to guarantee that any one method will work.
Mid November, people started talking about another algorithm change and my pinterest traffic fell to 5000 pv per day and leveled out there, despite me not changing anything in my pinning strategy. (Then I took a bit of a break from pinning because I had a baby and I was pre-occupied, so traffic fell even farther.) With the talk of algorithm changes I wondered if my time was still actually being well spent pinning manually.
I tried using a scheduler again for a few days over Christmas Holidays, just to see, and I had my lowest traffic days in months. Less than 4000 page views per day. I resumed manual pinning, and traffic hasn’t fallen that low again.
But once I got back to pinterest and kept pinning with my strategy, traffic has slowly started to rise again – I’m seeing between 4 and 7000 page views / day now.
I can SEE the spike in traffic most days when I get to my computer to pin. This makes me confident enough in the strategy to say that it is worth a shot.
A recent major pinterest change to note is that pinterest removed the follow button that popped up when you pinned someone’s pin. That has DRASTICALLY affected the rate at which I gain followers. I was gaining around 100 / day consistently, and now I gain about 25 per day.
This is sad, but it’s only about how many people are clicking follow on pinterest, and doesn’t seem related to page views AT ALL. Do be aware that it will be more difficult to gain followers on pinterest with any pinning method, and consider getting a follow button for you blog, or asking readers to follow you on pinterest.
Future updates to follow – because pinterest is constantly changing.