For years and years and years I had ZERO clue how to use Pinterest for my blog.
Like none, whatsoever.
If I was using it at all, I was posting small, horizontal images (taken straight from my blog posts), with vague descriptions that – quite frankly – weren’t click-worthy at all. And my traffic from Pinterest reflected that (yea, it was non-existent).
But here’s the secret, my friends: When used correctly, Pinterest can be a game-changer.
What I love most about Pinterest is that there’s no limit or cap on your growth. The same pin can be re-pinned hundreds or thousands of times over a span of months or years. It’s not like, say, Twitter – where maybe 20% of your followers actually see your newest tweet before it gets buried in their feed.
Because Pinterest encourages so much click-through traffic, it’s also one of the best tools for promoting your products or services. Think of all the different things you can pin that will lead people toward your paid offerings…
• Your blog posts, where you promote your products/services.
• Your opt-in freebies, with lead to a sales funnel for a paid offering.
• Images that lead directly to the sales pages for your products and services.
As of Spring 2016, you can even use affiliate links on Pinterest to drum up some passive income.
Related: Make Money with Pinterest Affiliate Links (Without Losing Your Street Cred!)
Yep, Pinterest is an amazing, amazing thing. I truly believe it’s the #1 social media platform you need to invest time in if you want to see massive growth in your traffic and sales.
BUT I also know that Pinterest can seem confusing at first. If you’re anything like I was, right now you’re thinking, “I have no fricken’ clue what to do here. HALP!”
I gotchu boo. Over the past few months I’ve done tons of research, tested out new strategies, and finally found what works. To let you in on all my secrets and strategies, I created this list of 40+ EPIC ways to grow your Pinterest presence. Put these tips into action to start seeing results today!
To make this massive pile of info easier to digest (trust me, there’s a lot!), I’ve split my 40 tips up into 6 categories, like so:
1. Pimp out your profile
2. Create killer boards
3. Pin the perfect images
4. Optimize your blog
5. Develop a strategy
6. Gain followers + traffic
As I’m editing this post, I’ve realized it’s gotten waaaay too long (over 7,000 words – ahh!) And I know you ladies are busy babes hustlin’ away, and that you don’t have time to sit here reading a novel. So I’ll be splitting these tips up into two different posts.
In today’s post, we’ll talk about how to maximize your Pinterest profile, create the perfect boards, and fill those boards with high-quality content. In the second post, we’ll focus on the last 3 steps in my Pinterest process. To read Part II of the Epic on Pinterest series, click here!
P.S. I’ve also put together a handy-dandy Pinterest Checklist for you, which contains all 40 items from this series! Click the image below to download it.
Step 1. Pimp Out Your Profile
People often overlook their Pinterest profile, but it’s an awesome way to market yourself, your blog, and your brand. It puts a recognizable face to your business, humanizes your brand, and also allows people to head straight to your website. Score!
Let’s take a minute to look at some of my fave ladies who are killin’ it with their Pinterest profiles. Notice how they’ve branded and customized their profiles and keep this in mind as we go over the first 5 tips.
Melyssa from The Nectar Collective
1. Have an awesome profile picture
Use a clear, branded photo of yourself for your profile picture. 165px x 165px is the optimal size, and remember that it will be cropped into a circle once you upload it to Pinterest. It’s best to use the same photo you’ve used on all your other social media accounts and on your blog, so your online peeps can recognize you easily (consistency is key!)
2. Use keyword-rich descriptions
For example, instead of just writing “Krista” in the Name section, I put my Business Name AND my personal name. The same rule applies for your bio. Try to work in keywords related to your niche in a way that sounds and feels natural.
Related: Keywords on Pinterest: How to Find The Perfect Ones & 6 Places to Put Them
P.S. In order to use a Business Name, you’ll have to switch over to a Pinterest Business Account. I talk about how to do that in Part 2 of this series. (And don’t worry, it’s totally free!)
3. Include the link you want to promote the most
Try adding a URL at the end of your bio that leads to your best content upgrade/opt-in freebie. Or if you’ve just released a new product, link directly to that sales page. And make sure you include a Call to Action for people to check out whatever it is you’re linking to!
4. Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts
If you use Twitter or Facebook, you can link to those accounts straight from your Pinterest profile. This is an easy way to cross-promote your social media accounts and grow your following. You’ll find this option under the “Social Networks” section of your Pinterest settings.
** Update: As of November 2016, this option is no longer available. You can still link your accounts so you’re able to sign into Pinterest using Twitter or Facebook, but the icons will no longer show up on your profile. Bummer! *
5. Verify your website.
In order to access all three sections of Pinterest Analytics, you’ll need to verify your website. Follow this step-by-step guide to verifying your website from the head honchos at Pinterest!
Step 2. Create killer boards
Boards are make-it-or-break-it on Pinterest. Pinners have the option to follow your individual boards instead of your whole account, so you need to make each board count! Use these six tips to create the perfect boards for your audience and brand.
6. Curate the perfect mix of boards
You’ll want a minimum of 10 boards to start with, with at least 30 pins on each. Pinterest will let you go up to 500 boards (!!) but I recommend staying under 50. You don’t want to overwhelm people (or yourself!)
When creating your boards, always think of what your ideal reader is searching for. Remember: your boards are not for you.
Your boards are for your readers.
For example, my readers are looking for blog tips, business tips, tips for making money online, etc. And low and behold — you’ll find a board dedicated to each of those topics on my Pinterest account! If you have boards that don’t fit with your ideal audience and their interests, keep them as “secret” boards for your own personal use.
You can also add in some slightly “off-niche” boards to spice things up a bit. Now, I’m not saying to go create a board of cat memes if that’s not something your ideal reader is interested in. But if your audience is, say, beauty bloggers, they’ll probably also appreciate home decor inspiration, motivational quotes, etc. Use your common sense with this one!
7. Categorize your boards
This is an often overlooked step, but one that’s super important for getting your boards “found” on Pinterest. Every time you create a new board, there’s an option called “Category” with a drop-down box of categories for you to choose from. You might not find the perfect fit for each and every board, but try to pick the option that makes the most sense from what’s available.
8. Use keywords in your board titles + descriptions
Again with the keywords, I know! But they’re so, so important for being found on Pinterest. If you’re not sure what to name your boards, think of phrases your ideal reader would be searching for, then twist those into a title that makes sense.
Don’t forget to put relevant keywords in your board descriptions as well. Write a 2-3 sentence description that describes exactly what the board + pins are about, and then include a Call-to-Action encouraging people to follow that board for regular (and amazing!) content.
9. Use branded images for your board covers
You have two options when it comes to “branding” your board covers on Pinterest:
a) Choose an existing pin that fits with your brand’s style
b) Create your own covers using your design program of choice
Let’s look at two of my fave ladies to see both methods in action. First up is Miranda of mirandanahmias.com. Her brand colors are pink and cranberry, and her board covers line up perfectly with those colors as well as the feminine feel of her blog:
To select a cover image from existing pins, simply click into a board from your profile and click “Edit Board”. Where it says “Cover”, press “Change”. Flip through all the images on that board and select the one that goes best with your brand’s fonts, colors, and style. Once you’ve chosen the perfect cover, hit “Save” in the bottom right corner, and you’re done!
To see Method 2, check out Holly’s custom board covers (hollymeyerdesign.com).
To create your own covers like this, Canva is where it’s at. On the Canva homepage, click “Use Custom Dimensions” in the top right corner and enter 300 x 300 px (as of February 2017, this is the optimal size for board covers).
Next use any of the shapes, patterns, fonts, and colors on the left-hand side to create a beautiful branded image. Once you’ve saved that first image (by clicking “Share” up top and giving it a title, then hitting “Download”), it’s as easy as changing the background color and text to fit the next board on your list.
Do this over and over again, saving each image as you go, and you’ll have a set of custom board covers in no time. All that’s left to do is upload them to Pinterest, pin them to the correct board, and then use the same steps from above to set those images as the board covers.
10. Have a board dedicated to your own content
Yes, Pinterest is an amazing wealth of information, and yes, pinning other people’s content is great. But the whole point of creating a Pinterest account for your blog is to promote traffic to your own site, right!?
Make it easy for people to find your content by having an entire board that’s dedicated to your own blog posts + products. For bonus points, place this board right at the tippety-top of your profile. To move boards around, simply click on them and hold your mouse down, drag and release. Easy peasy!
11. Put your best boards at the top of your profile
Place your 8 most full + relevant boards right at the top of your profile so they’re immediately visible when people land on your page. Make sure the board you’ve created for your own content is in the top row, and then place your most helpful, full, on-brand boards next to it.
Step 3. Pin The Perfect Images
Pins are what make the Pinterest world go ’round. After your profile and boards are looking #onfleek, focus on filling your boards with the best pins possible.
12. Create custom templates for your original pins
Again, Canva is my favorite site for doing this. Why? Because every time you create a new image, Canva automatically saves a template you can go back into and edit any time (even weeks later!) Which means that all of your Pinterest graphics will have a similar look to them.
And when you use your brand’s fonts and colors in every image, your pins, blog, + brand are going to start being recognized in no time. Remember what I said earlier – consistency is key!
>>> If you want to step up your pin design, you can invest in a professional program like Adobe Illustrator (that’s what I use!)
Check out how one of my fave bloggers, Jordanna from The Houses of Muses, uses a branded template for her original pins:
13. Optimize your pin size
The “perfect pin” is around 735px x 1102px in dimension. You should always, always use vertical images, because they take up more space on a Pinterest feed and are more likely to catch someone’s eye.
I personally recommend going even longer than 1102px, especially if you’ve created an awesome infographic. Just be careful not to overdo it, or people will have to scroll back up a long way in order to re-pin your image (and they might just say “no thanks” instead).
14. Only create + pin images with text overlay
Pins with text overlay are way more likely to be re-pinned than those without. The text in the description box under the image is pretty teeny tiny (and in some cases, doesn’t show up at all), so a great pin makes it clear what the blog post is about by having a large, clear headline on the image.
Text to try adding to your Pinterest graphics includes:
a) the blog post title
b) an intriguing sub-heading
c) your website name +/or URL
15. Use keyword-rich pin descriptions
Sensing a trend here? If you’re not sure what keywords to use in your pin descriptions, try entering the main topic of your post into the search bar at the top of Pinterest. For example, for this post you’re reading, I might search “Pinterest tips”. Once you hit enter, you’ll see a bunch of other related terms pop up underneath:
These words and phrases are the most common terms people ALSO search for when they search for “Pinterest tips” on Pinterest. So if any of these phrases fits with the post you’re sharing, work them into your pin description to bump up the SEO juice.
For more awesome tips on Pinterest keywords and SEO, check out this post on the 6 best places to put keywords on Pinterest.
16. Only re-pin high-quality, valuable content
This is so, SO important. The Pinterest home page is now a smart feed, and the best way to get your content to show up in other people’s feeds is by pinning top-notch, high-quality content. Here are the 4 criteria of an awesome pin (one that’s worth re-pinning!)
1. The link in the pin works properly — meaning it goes back to the original source and not to a different site. If a post has been deleted by the author, the link will lead to a 404 page. No bueno.
2. The content is useful and relevant to your readers. Like I said before, you’re pinning for your readers, not for yourself. So always have your ideal reader in mind when deciding whether to re-pin something or not.
3. The image is vertical, the size is on point (around a 2:3 ratio), and it has large, legible text.
4. Oh, and I probably shouldn’t have to mention this, but make sure you actually read the post you’re pinning, ya? Unless it’s a quote – you can straight-up re-pin that – or if it’s from a source you really, reeeeally trust (AKA it’s from your absolute favorite blogger in the world!)
17. Create two different pins for each blog post
This is a trick I love doing, and I recommend everyone gives it a shot at least once. Instead of creating one pinnable image for each blog post, create TWO (or even three!) that are slightly different but equally awesome. Try switching up the colors, fonts, wording, and/or the image — as long everything is still “on brand”.
Next, upload your pins to Pinterest and pin them to as many boards as possible. You’ll be surprised to see that one image might get a lot more re-pins than the other! Either way, you’re giving yourself double the chance of having a pin go viral, and double the chance of someone seeing your pin and clicking over to your site. And that, my friends, is #winning.
Phwewf! That was a lot to cover. Hard to believe there’s still 23 more tips to come, hey?!
So what’s up next? In the second post in the Epic on Pinterest series, you’ll learn how to optimize your blog for Pinterest-sharing, develop an effective Pinterest strategy that doesn’t take hours every day, and translate your Pinterest followers and re-pins into actually blog traffic.
>>> Click here to read Part 2 and don’t forget to grab your free checklist here!
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