Wednesday, July 3, 2013

WotW: Boosting Your Blog's Reach Through Pinterest

Pinterest: You're doing it wrong. OK, maybe you're not doing it wrong, but may be looking at it wrong. Most people look at Pinterest and think one of the following:

  • Cool, a site for me to collect a bunch of stuff that I'll probably never look at again, but it would be cool if I did.
  • Cool/Crap, another social network to be part of.
  • Cool, now I never have to leave my computer again and will be perpetually entertained.
While all those have elements of truth to them, they all miss the bigger picture of Pinterest: it's a search engine. That's right, a search engine, and a pretty unique one too. Sure, it's not in the same vein as Google or Bing, but it gets more to the heart of what people want. And they can see it too.

For instance, if you did a Google search for jewelry, you would see a page of results that would be littered with all the major jeweler websites from across the country. You would then have to click on one of those websites and navigate through who knows how many pages before you found something you were interested in. Do the same search on Pinterest. Instantly you will see images of items you will likely be interested in. Not only that, you can continue scrolling and find more and more items with so much less stress and effort, and if interested, you can click through to the originating website.

Pinterest is a search engine that works based on popularity and timeliness, which in today's rapidly changing world is what people are really after. Understanding this very core principle of Pinterest is essential to using it to boost your blog's reach. The real goal of using Pinterest for your blog is to boost its reach, and you do that through, what else, pictures.

  • Create a separate Pinterest account for your blog. Yes, I know it can be a hassle to manage your own Pinterest account and one for your blog, but it's nice to keep your life somewhat separate from your blogger persona, unless that is the point of your blog.
  • Make your blog Pinterest profile a business account. This gives you access to some more powerful analytics tools and allows you to verify your website.
  • Create boards for each of the topics you write about on your blog. For instance, for this blog, there could be boards for technology, recipes, book reviews, crafts, etc.
  • Add a Pinterest button to your site. Pinterest makes this really easy to do.
  • Embed a pin board on your site or on a specific post. Again, this is insanely easy thanks to Pinterest Goodies. This can be used to great effect for many posts. A popular blogging technique is to do a Top 10 list, or a roundup based on a theme. Create a pin board that does just this and embed it within your post. This is fun for people to see and when they click on the images, it takes them to your pin board on Pinterest.
  • Make sure every blog post has a pin-able image. We've talked briefly about pin-able images before, but they are so crucial to success on Pinterest. Because of the continually streaming nature of Pinterest, if you don't catch someone's eye instantly, you're likely going to miss the chance for them to pin your stuff, even if it's really good. Your visual needs to grab attention and make someone want to click to find out more. 
    • Not only is it good to make one pin-able image per post, but if you can have more than one, it boosts the odds of someone pinning at least one of the images and potentially driving traffic to your site.
    • Speaking of images, did you know longer, vertical pinned images or more re-pinned than traditional sizes? Just something to think about.
  • Pin your posts. Yes, all of them. But not all at once. Remember, Pinterest is extremely time sensitive. If you pin all your posts one morning, sure people will see them for the next few hours, but then they start to drop off and unless you have an incredibly lucky pinning frenzy, you blew your best shot for people to re-pin your content. Instead, spread your pins out over different hours of the day, days of the week and over a course of weeks. Of course, every new blog post should be pinned the day it is published, but when going through your old content, spread that out.
  • Take time to write good pin descriptions. These shouldn't be lengthy (about the length of a tweet), but should be packed in with keywords that people will likely search for. Remember, this is a search engine and you want your content to be discovered. Even though you want to pack in the keywords, make sure it's still conversational.
  • Pin 5 things daily. Minimum. That's really not asking much. If you do a daily blog post, that's a guaranteed pin, then you just need to find four more. These pins can be re-pins or original pins. Either way, over the course of the week you will have added 35 pins. And if they're all related to your "blog brand" – the essence of what your blog is all about – you will have done yourself a huge favor because people will want to follow you as they see you as a leader in whatever topic area you're pinning about.
  • Make good use of the Like button. Not everything you see and enjoy on Pinterest needs to be, or should be, re-pinned. If it fits your blog style and content, re-pin it. If it doesn't, but you still like it, let the person know by liking their pin. This is a nice shoutout and takes so little of your time.
  • Commenting is a good way to be social, build networks and show you're an active member of the Pinterest community.
  • Pin your blog friends' content. This can be as easy as re-pinning their stuff on Pinterest or pinning straight from their posts. It will help them out and you out. Remember, bloggers have to stick together.
  • Never pin straight from the absolute blog URL (like Always click on the specific blog post article link and pin from there, that way if someone clicks on the website link from the pin, they are taken to the specific post instead of a general site that rapidly changes.
  • Run a Pinterest contest. While these are still relatively young in their development, there's good potential here. Advertise a contest to create a pin board about [choose a topic]. Find a good prize, or better yet, work with interested sponsors to get them to sponsor a prize. The rules of the contest should require the contestants to follow your blog profile on Pinterest, make a pin board about the topic and then submit the link to that pin board to you so you can choose a winner. This is a fun way to get people engaged and to work with sponsors in a different way than the traditional blog post.
  • Make use of collaborative pin boards. Periodically, create a campaign to have people help you develop the biggest/best/cutest/etc pin board about a topic. People can let you know they're interested in participating on your blog or on Facebook, and then you invite them on Pinterest to be a collaborator. This helps readers feel a part of your blog and it's a great way to see new content and build a solid pin board that should increase its reach. While the campaign is going, you can prominently display the embedded pin board on your site.
Compared to the complexities involved with using other social networks to improve your blog's reach, Pinterest is relatively easy and straightforward. The biggest thing to remember is to gear your approach to Pinterest as a search engine. That will change the type of images you make on your blog and the detail level of your descriptions, but in the end it should hopefully drive more traffic to your blog.


marissa | Rae Gun Ramblings said...

Super great tips! I really need to get better at pinterest

Jesseca said...

Smart! I should implement these into my site! Most of my traffic is from Pinterest!