In February by complete chance I stumbled across a Skillshare video by Jules Tillman called “How to Make Money with Etsy Without “Making” Anything!” In this short course, she details how she makes a small commission on sale over time by including affiliate links in blog posts to Etsy products she likes. This fee comes out of Etsy’s marketing funds and not the sellers, so it sounded like a really cool way to help small businesses and make a little extra money for yourself.
I’ve long known that Pinterest could help build blog traffic, but I was never too fussy about numbers and didn’t understand see how it was useful. I knew Pinterest as a place to bookmark things I liked, and I mostly used it for writing inspiration. I never thought of Pinterest as a search engine, which is how I became interested in learning to harness its power to increase my blog traffic so that I could hopefully begin to monetize my blog.
There are a lot of pins with tips for how to become good at Pinterest (I even have a board dedicated to pinning strategy.). A lot of these pins lead to posts where the authors are hoping you are enticed to try out a product/service they recommend or buy their online course. However, one thing that has always been clear to me is that there are a lot of things you can do to start building your Pinterest audience before you ever need to spend a cent.
In this post I will share everything I’ve learned about how to increase my monthly Pinterest viewers and engagement. This post also serves as my recommended step-by-step guide for newbies who don’t know where to begin, including what I suggest you can worry about later.
1. SET UP A BUSINESS ACCOUNT LINKED TO YOUR BLOG
I have had always had a regular Pinterest account where my pins related to any topic of interest under the sun. One of the first things Jules Tillman recommends is setting up a business account and verifying your blog/website so that you have access to statistics on what pins performed well.
It is very simple to set up and I do find the stats are very interesting to look every couple of days to see in hindsight how my activity has influenced my traffic.
2. FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE, UTILIZING KEYWORDS
You should add a picture of yourself so that people know who they are following. You should also make sure to write a bio that includes the keywords that are associated with your boards and your blog, so that you optimize the possibility that search engines show your boards and pins to people searching for content that you create first.
I’ve also included a few keywords in my display name like users I emulate in order to help with further SEO.
If you aren’t sure what your keywords should be, you definitely want to take some time to give them some serious thought. Think about your blog and what kind of content you already make or plan to create. If you’re still having trouble, think about this question: what do you imagine people would google in order to find your blog posts?
3. CREATE PINTEREST BOARDS AROUND YOUR KEYWORDS
Your Pinterest boards should be broad topics related to your blog content so that you have a ready-made place to share pins to your own blog posts. For example, if you write book reviews or reading lists, then you should create boards about book recommendations where you pin posts similar to your own.
You should do your best to keep your boards pretty general because if they become too niched, then you may run out of original pins to share. It is essential that you are always able to find pins for your boards.
PRO TIP: Don’t have any inactive boards. I’ve also read that keeping boards private is not enough. If there are any boards you don’t actively add to, but want to keep because you want to be able to find those pins, archive them.
4. PIN EVERYDAY, SEVERAL TIMES A DAY
This tip may be tough to follow. Many Pinterest experts will recommend you use Tailwind to schedule pins in advance so that you don’t need to pin every day, but it’s not free. After you’ve gone through your free-trial (100 scheduled pins) you’ll have to pay $10 a month. If you’re only just starting to try to make money from your blog, the expense may not yet be worth it.
Personally I decided that I wanted to see if pinning consistently throughout the day actually resulted in more traffic. Long story short: it does! Your Pinterest foot traffic will explode if you are pinning manually whenever you have time.
On the daily, I try to pin at least seven times a day. First thing in the morning, mid-morning, before lunch, after lunch, when I’m sitting around at work waiting for the kids in the parking lot, after work, and before bed. Sometimes I’ll pin a bit more if I’m feeling inspired. Other times it’s a struggle to go on three times. It doesn’t always take a long, but sometimes it’s hard to think of things to search for if Pinterest isn’t showing you anything new or exciting.
– RESULTS & CONCLUSION –
On February 26th (when I first started pinning) I had 495 monthly visitors who saw my pins and 12 people who engaged with them. As of March 9th, I have 16,219 visitors who see my pins and 385 people who are engaging with them. I also know from my WordPress site statistics that over the last 30 days I’ve had three unique visitors visit my blog from Pinterest, and they are from one of the three pins I’ve created with vertical images.
While that may not seem like a lot yet, bare in mind that I’ve not yet dedicated a lot of time to creating pinnable content. By pinnable content, I mean blog posts that I know would be more popular because they are useful (e.g. tutorials, tips/advice, or explainers). My last four posts were a blog update, a book review, a list of beautiful book spines, and my March bujo spread. My focus has been on making pinning a part of daily routine so that I have a built-in audience that I’m confident will see and interact with my future blog posts.
I predict this post will be one of my first to do really well. If it is, I’ll do a follow-up post!
5. DABBLE IN CREATING ORIGINAL PINS
Finally, after you’ve set up your business account and have seen first-hand how your pinning activity correlates to your Pinterest traffic, I recommend you start dabbling in creating your own original pins for the content that you create. Just so I’m clear, I do not mean that you should wait to until this point to start blogging or whatever it is you do. I just think that you have nothing to lose by prioritizing growing your audience on Pinterest so that your future pins are seen by more people. Think of it as research.
There can be a bit of a learning curve in creating those long, vertical Pinterest images with a 2:3 ratio, which is I would recommend saving that joy for last. I’ve had to learn to use Canva’s interface to create my high-quality vertical images. (I previously used PicMonkey in a round-about way, if you know what I mean.) And I’ve had to learn how to format text and images to compose an attractive, eye-catching graphic.
In the past, I would write my blog posts first then create and insert any images or graphics. I’m a big fan of this work flow, because it kept the focus on writing the best posts possible. But for today’s post, the first thing I did was create the graphic because I knew I’d have trouble picking a title and formatting it so it’s readable and attractive.
The Things That Can Wait
I’ve been reading a lot of tips about Pinterest and there are a few things I think that you do not need to do right off the bat if all you’re concerned with at the moment is increasing traffic and not so much on cultivating a big following. Specifically, I’m talking about creating your board covers and branding.
Many people recommend creating covers for your Pinterest boards. This is an opportunity to brand your boards with your blog iconography and imagery. If you don’t really have a “brand” established yet, then the beginning is a fun time to experiment and see what works for you. I know I like navy, grey-blue, rose pink, and dark gold colors, but I don’t yet have a set style guide for my blog so I never use the exact same color codes.
Branding yourself and your blog is really important for people to be able to recognize your name and your work online. While branding itself is a topic outside of the scope of this post, I did want to mention it because I do not think you need to worry about it when you’re just starting out. It won’t hurt you until you’re actively trying to build a following.
I hope you found this post useful! I wrote the post I wish I had seen when I was first starting out with Pinterest. I plan to continue writing posts about what I learn on Pinterest, specifically about gaining followers, useful/sharable content that does well on Pinterest, and a work flow for making attractive Pinterest images that people will love to pin. If any of that sounds good, make sure to stick around!
Immediately #ontheblog you can expect some more bullet journal content! I feel like I’ve been doing it long enough at this point and have a unique enough perspective on the hobby to offer something new, so I may be kicking off a little series very soon.