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Create a Pinterest profile. Check
Join group boards. Check
Create 2-3 vertical pins for every post. Check
You’ve followed the tips that Pinterest gurus recommend, but you’re not getting much, if any, traffic. You’re wondering what you’re doing wrong. Stop for a second and ask yourself these questions:
Can you explain how the Pinterest algorithm works?
When you get on Pinterest, do you understand why you’re pinning to certain boards?
Do you have a particular topic that you’re focused on promoting on Pinterest?
Is there a pinning schedule you follow?
The reason why lots of people don’t see success with Pinterest is because they use it without a strategy for success. They go on Pinterest and save their pins without understanding why they’re doing it. To get 10k, 20k, 30k, or more pageviews from Pinterest every month, you need to create a solid Pinterest strategy. The good news is that creating a Pinterest strategy is a straightforward process.
My Pinterest Journey
I joined Pinterest in January 2018, frustrated by the abysmally low levels of traffic I was driving to my travel blog, somtoseeks.com. I had spent hours sharing on Facebook threads, commenting on other people’s blogs, posting on Instagram, and doing other low ROI activities. They didn’t work. In fact, in the entire month of December 2017, my blog received a grand total of 42 page views. I’m not kidding!
Eager for a change, I decided to revamp my traffic strategy and focus all my efforts on Pinterest. Within a few months, my traffic grew to 12k. Nowadays, Pinterest consistently sends me 40k page views every month. Since August 2018, my travel blog has received over 225k page views from Pinterest for free – that’s 40 times more than Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook combined.
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What makes Pinterest such a great source of traffic?
Unlike Google, Pinterest does not care about the age of your blog or the number of backlinks you have. It only cares about the quality of your content – your pins and boards. In this way, Pinterest levels the playing field for bloggers. Also, Pinterest is a visual search engine so your pins have a longer lifespan than other social networks.
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Infographic courtesy of socialmediaonlineclasses.com
How does Pinterest work?
Before you craft a Pinterest strategy, it’s important to take some time to understand how Pinterest works. I’m going to give you a quick overview of Pinterest. I’ve already mentioned that Pinterest is a visual search engine, but it’s not just a search engine! It’s a search engine with a social component. I think it’s important to emphasize this because many bloggers will tell you that Pinterest is a search engine and not a social network. It’s both!
Let me explain: while Pinterest functions a lot like Google, it also has elements of a social network. There are group boards where people who produce similar content come together to collaborate. Recently, Pinterest introduced a new feature called Pinterest communities, where like-minded users can exchange ideas. Pinterest encourages users to discover new ideas through other users. Also, when you share a pin, there is a human being on the other side who is going to look at it, possibly read the description, decide if he or she wants to visit your website. If you ignore the social component of Pinterest, you will not be as successful!
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What does Pinterest want?
Pinterest wants to consistently show and recommend new ideas to its users and keep them coming back. In order to do that, Pinterest needs content creators – like you – who regularly share new content on the platform. It rewards those who create content that its users save; that indicates that the content is good.
In addition to being a content creator, you also have another important role on Pinterest: you’re a content curator. That means it’s your job to organize content into boards by topic. For example, if you write about backpacking, you can create a board called ‘Europe Backpacking Tips’ and fill it with content specifically about backpacking in Europe.[irp posts=”13200″ name=”How To Use Pinterest Hashtags The Non-Spammy Way”]
What is a Pinterest strategy?
Now that you have a better understanding of what Pinterest is and how it works, let’s talk about how to create a strategy for success. A Pinterest strategy refers to all the activities you undertake on Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog. This includes:
- The content you pin
- The boards you pin your content to
- How often you pin
- When you pin
- Whether you use manual or automated pinning
The truth is there’s no one magic Pinterest strategy that will drive thousands of page views to your blog. The Pinterest strategy you choose should also be based on your level of experience with Pinterest.
Over the last 20 months of actively using Pinterest, I’ve changed my Pinterest strategy several times. Your Pinterest strategy will evolve as your experience and traffic grows.
If you’re brand new to Pinterest, I would recommend that you spend a few months pinning manually so that you can see first-hand how the platform works. In the beginning of my Pinterest journey I automated my pinning with Tailwind, but had no idea what I was doing. Then, after reading Carly Campbell’s transformational ebook, I spent 3 months manually pinning on Pinterest. Then things started to click.
Today, I use a combination of manual and automated pinning to drive traffic to my blog. I use the Tailwind scheduler to fill up my boards, focusing on my top performing boards – Spain Travel and Portugal Travel. I do my pin scheduling every Sunday evening.
I manually repin my top 10 performing pins to my top 3 performing group boards. To find my top-performing pins, I use Google Analytics, which I’ll explain how to use later. I should note that using Google Analytics to get more Pinterest traffic is an intermediate to advanced strategy.
Sometimes, I log into Pinterest and and spend 10-15 minutes manually repinning content from my smart feed to my personal boards.
I do this because I believe that Pinterest rewards participation. Pinterest wants people using Pinterest because it makes money from ads, called Promoted Pins. As a beginner, participation is more important. When you establish yourself as a trusted pinner over the course of several months, then participation becomes less important. These days, I’m not as active on Pinterest, but it still sends me consistent traffic.
The most important consideration in creating a Pinterest strategy.
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First and foremost, you need to identify your goal. How much traffic do you want? Why do you want more traffic? Do you want to qualify for ad networks? Grow your email list? Sell more affiliate products?
Initially, my goal with Pinterest was to grow my traffic to 10k page views a month because I thought that was a solid milestone to aim for. Once I accomplished that, my goal became more concrete: to get 25k sessions per month in order to qualify for the Mediavine ad network.
How do you create your own Pinterest strategy?
Now that you have a concrete traffic goal in mind, it’s time to craft a Pinterest strategy. First, take an inventory of your existing content:
What topics do you write about?
For every category you write about, you want to have at least 3 relevant personal boards on Pinterest. For instance, if you write about solo female travel, you could have the following boards:
- Solo Female Travel Tips
- Solo Travel Destinations
- Travel Packing for Women
- Solo Travel Photography
Make sure that you name your boards using keywords and also write keyword-rich board descriptions. If you want people to find your content on Pinterest, you have to use the keywords they are searching for. Keywords will make or break your success on Pinterest! Here’s an example of a well-keyworded board:
Which posts are getting the most traffic?
There’s a pattern that seems to hold true for bloggers: a small percentage of your posts will drive the majority of your traffic. For me, about 10% of my posts drive 90% of my traffic. You can figure out your top performing posts by going on Google Analytics. Scroll down to the section on the homepage that states ‘What pages do your users visit?’ This section will show you your top traffic-referring posts over the last 7 days. You can also change the time period to 28 days or 90 days.
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When you’re not getting traffic from Pinterest yet, it’s important to prioritize the pins you create based on which posts are already performing well. With some exceptions, the posts that are already popular on your blog are likely to be popular on Pinterest as well. Start by creating 3 pinnable images for each of your top 10 posts, making sure that each pin looks COMPLETELY different from the others. This is so important because each pin design will appeal to a different person. Here’s an example of three pinnable images I created for my post, ‘Where To Eat in Madrid: 10 Must-Try Restaurants.’
Putting it all together
When I decided on my goal of 25k pageviews a month, I looked through my Google Analytics to identify my top posts. I create 3 pins for each of those posts and share them to Pinterest. I noticed that most of my topic posts were about Spain so I decided to write more posts about Spain. Going forward, I focused on creating content about Spain.
On a Google doc, I made a list of all my group boards; I was a member of around 40 group boards at the time. I printed out the doc and put into a binder. For three months straight, I manually pinned my top-performing posts to my group boards every evening at 7 pm. I would flip through my binder and pin one post to a different group board.
In that three-month period, my traffic more than tripled! I had more than 10 posts that were getting 100+ clicks a week from Pinterest. That’s when I switched to a mix of manual and automated pinning, which I still follow today. I use Tailwind to fill my boards and stay active on Pinterest so that Pinterest sees me as an active pinner. At the same time, I manually repin my top 10 posts to my top group boards.
Using Google Analytics to drive even more traffic to your blog
Google Analytics is an essential tool if you want to understand your blog’s performance and see what’s working and what’s not. But you can use it in another powerful way: to find your top-performing posts on Pinterest and the exact pins that are sending you traffic. I should note this strategy only works if you’re already getting traffic from Pinterest.
On Google Analytics, you can go to Acquisition>Social>Network Referrals>Pinterest to find out how much traffic Pinterest is sending you. If you click on Pinterest, you’ll be taken to a page that shows you your top-10 performing posts. If you click on a post link, it will take you to a page that lists the URLs of the exact pins that send you traffic.
A game-changing strategy to get even more traffic to Pinterest is to manually pin your top-performing pins to your top performing group boards.
By doing this, you’re putting your top pins in front of users who are most likely to save and click it.
Want to learn more about how to create a winning Pinterest strategy?
In my ebook, Pinterest Traffic Takeoff, I go into more depth about the strategies I use to drive 40k monthly page views to my blog. This 125-page ebook is for travel bloggers with beginner to intermediate experience using Pinterest. It’s packed with explanations, videos, and illustrations to help you master how to use Pinterest to promote travel content. Here’s some of what you’ll learn in the ebook:
- How to set up your blog for traffic before you even start using Pinterest
- The types of travel content that perform well on Pinterest
- How to properly introduce a pin to Pinterest so that Pinterest shows it to as many people as possible (with video)
- How to design a pin on Canva (with video)
- How to determine which of your posts need new pins (with video)
The course also comes with five bonuses, including 6 Canva pin templates I created based on my viral pins. You’ll also get a list of 50 high-performing travel group boards on Pinterest. This is an actionable course for people who are ready to get results from Pinterest. One of my students, Ana, doubled her traffic within two months using the strategies she learned in the ebook!
Based in Los Angeles, Somto is a travel blogger and online entrepreneur. She is passionate about discovering ways to make money online and work from anywhere. In 2017, she started my blog, Somto Seeks, and has since grown an audience of 70k people. Thanks largely to free traffic from Pinterest, travel blogging has become her full-time job. Somto has worked with dozens of bloggers to grow their blog traffic using Pinterest. She has also been featured in various publications, including the Huffington Post and Travel Noire.