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Pinterest is my main man.
If you want to get down with traffic strategies in 2017 and into 2018, you better believe Pinterest is number one on my list.
No, I’m not going to waste your time going on and on about my long and loving relationship with Mr. Pins, but I will say: if you have NO IDEA WHERE TO START WITH HIM, you’re not alone.
And honestly, having a half-assed Pinterest strategy is worse than having no strategy at all.
So here’s what we’re gonna do.
Below, I’m going to share 66 things I’ve done over the last two years to jumpstart my Pinterest marketing strategy. Some are easy five minute fixes, and others you’ll spend a whole weekend doing. I’m not going to waste your time. I’m not going to ask you to sell your email address in exchange for a spreadsheet.
– although yes, there are downloads below, but I link directly to the .pdf or spreadsheet file like some kind of animal –
All 66 Pinterest marketing tips are organized by in groups by topic:
1. What you can do to set up – or rebuild – a good account foundation
2. Curating the types of content you’ll be pinning, and the boards you’ll pin them to
3. The importance of extending your branding to Pinterest
4. Making your website Pinterest friendly
5. Your new Pinterest SEO strategy, aka how to rank high in Smart Feed
6. Expanding your reach to get Pinterest followers
7. Ways to save time and cut the fat out of your Pinterest strategy
8. What to do if you’re not seeing results
9. And some boney-bonus tips
Yes, this is gonna be a long post. I tried to make it as skimmable as possible.
I’ve linked my own Pinterest profile multiple times, too. While I do want you to follow me (#duh), I also want to show a real-life example of wtf I’m talking about in each tip.
So. Let’s get started.
2. Enable Rich Pins.
Rich Pins are ameeeeezing, and here’s why: The beauty of Rich Pins is that their metadata can be updated. Prior to Rich Pins, parts of Pinterest were static graveyards full of dead links, and outdated information. Now – for example – if you change the price on a product, every single Rich Pin of that item on Pinterest will automatically update.
3. Don’t use a blurry or noise-filled webcam photo as your profile pic.
You don’t need a professionally styled photoshoot to come and play, but make sure your face is well-lit and clear.
LEFT: cute, but not Pinterest friendly! It’s lit weird, has that webcam blur, and needs less 😘
RIGHT: a good example of “you don’t need to get fancier than your iPhone.” It’s brighter! Vertical! I have a neutral expression!
4. Not sure where to find people to follow on Pinterest?
See who your favorite entrepreneurs are already following by visiting their profile, and clicking the ‘Following’ tab (duh).
5. To see what content your readers are already pinning, visit /source/yoursite.com:
6. Please don’t be like everybody else!!
Don’t feel pressured to write the formulaic “I’m a #girlboss who helps other #girlbosses improve their blog and biz” bio, or align your brand under the same fonts and colors as everyone else’s pins.
7. Make sure you’re tracking your analytics from the very beginning.
Pinterest’s analytics are great – but they only show 30 days of historical data. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to data tracking, check out the spreadsheet I use for my account here! No opt-in required.
Curate Your Content
aka: How to Pin Successfully
8. It doesn’t matter what time you pin.
The Smart Feed shows “best” pins first, not “newest” – but pin schedulers help maintain a regular schedule, and ensure you’re pinning consistently:
9. Write a full description for the content you’re pinning from your site.
Pinterest only shows a short preview, but stores a full 500 character description for EVERY pin created. Take advantage of that! We may only see the short preview, but the search algorithm and Smart Feed will read all 500 characters.
10. Don’t waste your time with a million lifestyle boards – unless you want to.
11. Learn where to find high-quality content.
If you want to use Pinterest to drive traffic back to your site, you’ve gotta keep the good stuff coming. Only follow people you can repin content from. Make a short list of search keywords you can use regularly to find new content.
12. Create secret boards for stuff your readers probably don’t care about.
It makes cleaning up your boards much easier for future you. I also like to keep a secret “content ideas” board for one-day inspiration. Take a look at my secret shame:
13. Only pin content that aligns with your brand.
Quality over quantity. If you’re struggling to curate new pins to share every day, consider looping the pins you already have.
14. Don’t forget to check your notifications bubble.
It took me a long time to warm up to being fed content Pinterest thought I would like through the Smart Feed; I still check what the people I follow are pinning regularly – mostly because it saves time when I’m looking for stuff to repin.
15. If seasonal content works with your brand, take advantage of it.
Year after year, the holiday season on Pinterest just gets bigger. In 2016, 20% more holiday-related Pins were saved to Pinterest boards than in 2015, and this year we’re expecting more growth than ever. Interest is already rising, with nearly double the number of Christmas searches this April (up 95%!), compared to 2016. Pinners tend to start searching twice as early as people on other platforms, because Pinterest helps them decide where to shop and what to buy.
Extending Your Brand to Pinterest
and how to leverage it for more views
17. Be attractive.
Your pins should be tall, pretty (whatever that means for you), and easy to read.
18. Test for different screen sizes.
Make sure your pins look good on mobile AND desktop. And on a different sized tablet, if you can swing it.
19. Aim for multi-dimensional pins: use more than one color, and keep it bright.
21. Choose attractive board cover photos.
You don’t need to waste time creating your own (unless that’s something that would make you feel good to do), just make sure that all the covers compliment one another, and there’s a general color theme to be had.
22. Make sure it’s easy to pin content from your site.
Install a plugin – whatever you need to do – and hand your device to someone who doesn’t build websites. Ask them to pin something from your website, and watch their process.
23. I review my content every quarter, add optimize for Pinterest where I can.
For example, if a post retrospectively has an ugly image, I’ll update it to something that might perform better. I’ll also add additional backlinks and link some of my newer content: it’s good for SEO, which makes it good for Pinterest, too.
Here’s the evolution behind The Secret to My Pinterest Success:
24. Add links to your Pinterest profile to multiple places in your site design.
Make it SUPER obvious, top and bottom.
25. You can use the following HTML code snippet to hide Pinterest optimized (tall, infographic, etc) images in your blog posts:
26. Install a social share plugin to offer social proof to your visitors.
It’s human nature: we’re more compelled to share a piece of content that is ALREADY popular. I use the Monarch sharing plugin, but Filament.io (now ShareThis) works great, too.
27. Make sure all your images have Pinterest friendly ALT text.
29. Ask your readers to “Try It!” on Pinterest at the end of your blog post.
This is a feature that is still semi-new, but it does count towards the Smart Feed weight of your pin. Repins + likes + “Tried It!”s = a winning recipe.
Rank High on the Smart Feed
Your new Pinterest SEO Strategy!
30. Organize your boards by importance, and then topic.
HERE’S WHY: Pinterest doesn’t care, but Google does. Placing boards with keywords important to your niche at the top of your Pinterest profile may result in a Google ranking for those keywords.
31. Use NICHE KEYWORDS and PERSONALITY in your Pinterest profile bio.
We’re at such a dime-a-dozen point with creative and online entrepreneurs, one extra-nichey keyword in your bio (mine: intuition, coven, new media witch) could result in extra eyes on your profile via search.
32. Create boards around the same topic, but then drill down into specific terms and words.
For example, I repin a lot of content for bloggers. I do have a “Blogging for Beginners” board, but I ALSO have: Blogging Productivity, Simplify Your Business, Social Media Marketing, Pinterest Tips, etc. You don’t need to limit one pin to one board: repin a piece of content to as many boards make sense.
33. When it comes to naming your boards, go for function over form.
Target your keywords (“Halloween”) and stay away from cutesy, hard-to-search-for stuff (“the spookiest time of the year!”)
34. Not sure how to find keywords to target?
Use Pinterest’s search bar, or the keyword suggest feature at the bottom of your board.
35. Know what determines how well your content performs.
Here’s what I mean: the time you pin content doesn’t matter. Deleting old pins doesn’t matter. The things that do matter are: the quality of your domain, your overall pin quality (the number of pins you have vs. how many clicks and repins they get), your quality as a pinner (you need to pin high quality content regularly), and relevance.
36. Target long-tail keywords in your blog posts.
The more content rich your post is, the better chance you have at getting found on Pinterest (and Google, but that’s a different post for another time.)
37. Don’t be intimidated by the Smart Feed!
It just pulls pins from three different sources: repins from the people you follow, pins that are related to the content you click on or search for, and pins that are related to your interests.
38. Make sure all of your boards are filed under a category, not just “Other.”
Expand Your Audience Reach
and Get More Pinterest Followers
39. Join Group Boards!
This is the easiest and most efficient way to expand your reach and potential audience. Make sure the Group Board is targeted to the type of content you pin.
40. Post your content to multiple boards at multiple times throughout the day.
Keep your pin alive by getting as many different sets of eyes on it as you can (aka don’t spam THE SAME BOARD over and over.) I used to subscribe to the one-and-done strategy (one pin, one board, done forever), and it got me absolutely nowhere.
41. Connect with the brands you mention in your pinned content.
You never know, they may choose to use your post in their own promotions!
42. Join targeted Tailwind Tribes to expand your audience reach even more.
43. Create your own Group Board
Extend invitations to other creators in or adjacent to your niche. Make sure your Group Board is (you guessed it) TARGETED. If you have multiple topics you want to include, create more than one board!
44. If you’ve linked another blogger inside your post, tag them!
Aim for the social networks you share the post on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). They may retweet, repin, or otherwise reshare.
45. Concentrate on boosting your engagement rate, NOT your follower count.
The Smart Feed wants pins that are getting clicks and repins. Pinterest doesn’t care if you have a million followers if they’re ghosts that never click on or repin your content.
46. Forget about opt-ins for a minute, and put a call-to-action at the bottom of your post, asking your reader to pin your content.
Pinterest is going NOWHERE anytime soon; this is not a Snapchat, Instagram, or Vine situation. If you’re posting a recipe or DIY, ask your readers to click the “Try It!” button on Pinterest.
And, if you’re still not getting results…
47. The most important thing is: don’t get frustrated!
Pinterest is a fickle bitch, and sometimes, the minute you stop trying is exactly when one of the things you pinned eons ago will take off. Have patience, and be consistent. You’ll get there.
48. Take no prisoners when it comes to refreshing your content.
Create new images for your blog posts (keeping Pinterest the target priority), and repin your posts everywhere: your blog’s board, your Group Boards, your related boards, etc.
50. Already a Tailwind convert?
Make sure you’re regularly going in and scheduling re-pins of your blog posts for the future. I also recommend checking out the Suggestions pane to see if you have any boards missing descriptions, etc.
51. Constantly be improving your content (writing, headlines, branding, etc).
52. Adjust your pinning and repinning strategy as needed.
One size does not fit all for everyone, and you may need to tweak some things, despite what others are doing.
Here’s a what is currently working for me: I browse Pinterest from my desktop computer for a few minutes every day. When I find something I want to repin, I click the Tailwind button to save a copy to my drafts. Once a week – or every hundredish drafts – I’ll go in and schedule everything. This works out to me having to refill my queue every 30 days or so.
By using the “save draft” feature via Tailwind, it ALSO saves me from tearing my hair out trying to batch find content to pin 💅
54. Don’t rehash the same shit over and over.
Create new content, with fresh ideas that haven’t been beaten with a dead stick a thousand times. If you want to do the “How to Start a Blog” post – great! – but put a fresh spin on it. Make people want it.
55. When you’re ready to level up, try creating a Promoted Pin.
Spend less time on Pinterest
Make your process more efficient!
57. Don’t spam your own content! Not a good look.
58. You don’t need to be pushing out hundreds of pins and repins a day.
If you want to, go on with your bad self, but it isn’t necessary to growth. Start with getting out 20 high quality pins per day, and work your way up to 60.
59. Sneak organic pinning into your day when you can.
In a world full of automated processes, Pinterest loves organic activity. If you have 10 minutes to kill, spend it pinning a couple things.
60. Forget deleting low-performing pins.
It’s a WASTE OF TIME, and you may be shooting your future self in the foot. You never know when an old pin might go viral.
61. Focus on value, always.
BONUS TIPS CUZ PINTEREST IS MY JAM 💘
62. Pin the kind of content you would have found helpful one year ago.
63. Stay away from pin-for-pin threads or “Power Groups.”
This is empty engagement, and while the numbers may look enchanting now, you never know when it’s gonna come back and bite you in the ass.
64. If you delete a board, remember…
All of the users that decided to follow that one board (rather than your whole account) will be removed from your “Followers” list, too.
65. The Pinterest Engineering blog on Medium is definitely worth a browse.
66. Remember that Pinterest is more of a search engine than a social network.
Your two priorities should be offering valuable content (for your readers), and concentrating on keyword optimization (for your own success).
My major business goal for the end of this year (and all of next!) is to cut down on the sheer number of opt-ins and email buy-ins I’m creating. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted and 100% over having to “sell” my email address just for one little spreadsheet or .pdf file.