I've recently hit what I consider to be a huge Pinterest milestone and I have been waiting until then to share with you just how I did it.
In just two months I've used Pinterest to transform my blog. I've seen a 323% increase in traffic in just 8 weeks. And after that?
1,100,000 views per month, up from 7,700. Who doesn't want that? Pinterest has been the tool that strengthened my branding and helped my connect with my ideal readers. And since I harnessed Pinterest? My blog has been transformed, too.
So, what changed? And how can I get some of this Pinterest magic?
When I first started using Pinterest for The House of Muses, I didn't have a plan. And it showed. What's not in these graphs is that about a week or two before September 17th, my average monthly views were even lower, only at about 2000 viewers monthly. Pinterest barely registered as a source of referrals for the blog.
- pinning infrequently
- not consistently using branded images
- not consistent in photo style
- not pinning to group boards
- ignoring descriptions
- not repinning my own pins frequently
You can see from these few points that I really had no concrete pinning strategy, which is definitely a no-no if you want Pinterest to bring you blog success.
1. Pinterest + BLOG Branding
The first thing I really wanted to get under wraps was branding. There was no sense in pinning like a mad woman with no cohesive aim and style. The first part of this was getting right to creating a uniform cover template which could be used on virtually all posts (with the exception of a few promotional posts, which also have a cover template, albeit in a slightly different style). Scrolling through the Pinterest feed, I can now see that The House of Muses' posts stand out immediately, and are distinctively "mine".
Having a cover template made creating covers a one-minute activity, and I could have clear branding for Pinterest pins, Tweets, and Facebook posts. I even wrote a post about how you can do this here, and it has a FREE instructional video, featuring yours truly.
Here you can see the basic blog post format, as well as one of the alternative formats for promotions and other goodies with too much text.
Posting vertically oriented images is important, because they take up much more visual space on Pinterest. Make sure the images you are posting are clear and high-quality.
I would also consider branding your individual boards with an image that is distinctly yours, although I'm a rebel and rule-breaker, and have not necessarily done this. I have, however, picked all of my cover images with intention and they do match the general branding and feel of my photography and blog. I even managed to sneak our two main colours in there.
2. Rearranging Pinterest Boards
Because I transformed my purely personal Pinterest into one that gracefully mingled the personal and business, many of the featured boards (the first five boards your user will see) were based exclusively on the things I liked, rather then what was most useful for my readers. This is the most important shift in perspective in heading from a personal blog and Pinterest, to a professional one, or one that mingles the personal and professional. This is what they look like currently. I've featured the things which my blog mainly talks about, as well as the boards which simply draw the most repins.
3. Blog-Specific Boards
The next thing I feel is extremely useful for driving traffic to your blog is creating a board specifically for your blog posts. If gives you a place to pin everything, even if the post doesn't fit perfectly into one of your other boards, and if gives incomes readers a place to go where you can feed them all of your content in a gorgeous, branded space. It's the only spot you'll be able to get such a concentration of your own pins in one place. Use it. And get your blog or business logo on there!
The other important boards I created were Design & Art, and Blogging & Biz. These two boards embody the purpose of my blog most clearly, and are where my ideal audience are going to be getting direction to the pins that are most useful for them, and which will direct them to The House of Muses.
4. PINNING MORE, PINNING CONSISTENTLY
With all of the other steps in place, this was the transformative one. I really had no idea how much you actually had to be pinning to get results. I thought if I pinned some of the things I liked, maybe ten times a day, I'd be gold.
Not so, friends not so.
I haven't started scheduling pins yet, mostly because I just haven't wrapped my head around Buffer yet, but I am pinning about fifty pinsin the morning, and at least 25 pins later on, sometimes around lunch, sometimes around dinner. I'm pinning new things I like, I'm pinning old pins of mine that I've ALREADY PINNED to my own boards, and to others. This was the biggest game-changer: repin pins you have already pinned. It's alright. Go ahead. I thought for so long that once I pinned something it would be bad to repin it again. Not so. Establish this routine everyday, and set up a schedule of repinning old posts of yours. It will drive serious traffic to old blog posts, and stop you from feeling as though your blog traffic is only decent on the days you are creating a NEW blog post.
I felt this way for a long time, and shackled myself to writing a new blog post everyday to stop my views from falling. As soon as I switched to posting longer, quality content twice a week, and implemented a pinning strategy,
my blog views grew by almost 2200%.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO PIN DESCRIPTIONS
The descriptions in each individual pin are also very important! I will admit right now: I don't change all of them. Sometimes, especially when you're pinning from other pinners who have their pin-strategy down, they will already have bangin' descriptions. This is excellent.
Sometimes, this is not the case. Aim to write about 150 characters about the pin, making sure to fill the description with spot on keywords and useful information for your readers. This is also a useful strategy for your own pins. What can you tell your audience that will make them really want to click on your pin, and repin? I would suggest you AVOID clickbait. There are other ways you can use authenticity and honest to bring your readers to your blog, without saying
CHECK OUT THIS ONE WEIRD TRICK.
Give your reader a hint of what they might learn in your blog post, or connect with them by describing a problem they might have.
"Do you feel like you're working long hours and struggling to keep your head above the water, but getting NOTHING DONE? Try out a short workday!"
Bam. Short. Informative. Beautiful. Connects your readers problem with your solution, motivates them, and directs them to your blog without being dishonest or slightly slimy. We like that.
Remember that with Pinterest, hashtags are not necessary, and they may even be harming your pinning reputation. Simply type out a sentence as you would in conversation, relying on integrating rich keywords, and you've got it, mavens.
6. JOIN + CREATE PINTEREST GROUP BOARDS
If you're part of some blog and biz oriented Facebook groups (hello fellow Blogging Boosters, and Blog + Biz BFFs), this is a great place where you can get in on some group Pinterest boards. Do be sure to follow the group rules, but these are usually good places for linking up with others.
Pinning to group boards has been revolutionary. It gives people in PRECISELY your niche a way to get right to the best content of your blog— and that's something you definitely want. I contribute a few of the best pins of the day as well as a few of my own personal pins to these groups everyday. Take care not to spam, and be aware that many of these groups will suggest you pin not just your bins, but the pins of other bloggers as well.
I've also recently created my own group board, as the HoM niche is not exclusively for bloggers. I was finding some of the other groups weren't really the best place to post a good chunk of my content, so I struck out on my own and created the Creative Mavens board, for posts about creativity, creative motivation, and inspiration (feel free to comment on this post with your email if that is a group you would like to be added to!)
This gives you yet another place to share your own content and the content of others, while drawing more pinners to your profile. Don't forget that you will probably have to moderate these boards, as people will, despite your insistence on the purpose of the board, pin other things.
7. MAKE YOUR PINTEREST PROFILE BADASS
When Pinterest was purely personal, I had a short, 40 character blurb about what I liked. Great for a personal pinner, not so great for someone looking to use Pinterest to transform their blog!
Since then, I've updated my profile picture to a better quality photo that matches the one that is on my blog (although, I recommend getting professional headshots taken, and I plan on doing that shortly!) and updated my description. Make sure you're telling your readers about what your blog can do for them, who your blog is for, and give them a little call to action. If you have your own group board, consider linking that there, or perhaps include a direct link to your blog, or to your mastermind group or Facebook page.
This is definitely a creative exercise in how to be succinct.
8. RICH PINS AND FAVICONS
I've already written a post on this, so I'm not going to go into too much detail. Implementing these two strategies are KEY to getting your posts recognized. They say: HEY. I'm professional. Remember me?
Associating your pins with the favicon of your blog or website will create a link in your viewers minds and draw them to your blog, especially if they've been there before. And we want to attract committed readers that LOVE your content, right?
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