An extensive Pinterest guide specifically for bloggers who want to drive traffic and grow their reach.
Pinterest, for those who don’t know, is a bookmarking and content sharing website that is capable of delivering massive referral traffic to your blog. It is a place where people save, share, and search for content that they’re interested in, just like most social networks.
And, no, it’s not just for women, guys.
However, Pinterest refuses to call itself a “social network” for a few reasons. Although it can technically be considered social media, the content on Pinterest serves a slightly different purpose than most other social media sites.
But we’ll get into that a little later.
Several phrases have been used to describe Pinterest. Some of these descriptions include “image bookmarking site” and “virtual pinboard”. Although Pinterest has been around since 2009, it wasn’t until 2013 when it became hugely popular.
And it was at that point it became a traffic referral machine.
Today, Pinterest has approximately 200 Million Monthly Active Users (MAU). It may seem small compared to the likes of Facebook or Instagram, but the traffic referral potential is incredible.
In this post I’m going to teach you, dear blogger:
- How people use Pinterest
- How to boost your traffic with Pinterest
- How to grow your reach with engaging Pinterest content
So saddle up, and get ready to get a crash-course in being awesome on Pinterest.
Ultimate Pinterest Guide (PDF version)
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How and why do people use Pinterest?
There are many reasons people use Pinterest. If you want more traffic from Pinterest then, you should start by knowing why users are there in the first place.
While Pinterest has had the reputation of being a female-dominant network with more than 70% of its users being female, it’s important to know that the active number of male users is growing fast.
But it’s not just about the user demographics—who’s using it—I find it more interesting to talk about what people are using it for. This is known as user intent.
So let’s talk about user intent. Why are people on Pinterest? And how are they using it?
Similar to Delicious, Pinterest enables its users to save and store links from the web. However, Pinterest is much more appealing due to its visual nature.
Both men and women are using Pinterest to “bookmark” things that interest them from around the web such as:
- Cooking recipes
- Workout routines
- DIY tutorials
- Motivational quotes
- Fashion trends
- Products they want to buy
Did you catch that last one? It’s probably the most important to those of us who own online businesses and sell products and services.
Out of all the social media platforms, Pinterest users tend to have the highest ratio of “purchase intent” when using the platform.
Users can also group their pins into what they call “boards” which are simply a way of categorizing the pins they save.
For example, if I found a great new social media infographic, I would pin it to my “Social Media Infographics” board. Or if I found a nice new office desk I would pin it to my “Office Ideas” board.
Much like a museum curator hand-picks items of interest and places them into grouped “exhibits,” Pinterest users curate their boards so they can always come back and search through them at a later time.
People use Pinterest to connect with friends
Pinterest is a visual-based website that allows people to express themselves and connect with friends and family members. People with similar interests strengthen their relationship by interacting through re-pins, likes and comments.
Some people (my wife, for example) register for a Pinterest account for the simple reason that their friends are also using it. They aim to contribute to their friends’ conversation when they are discussing their new Pinterest ideas.
One thing that fosters this level of community is Group Boards. When you create a board, you also can invite people to contribute to that board as well.
This will be something we come back to in the “how to grow your traffic” section.
To promote their online businesses
Many entrepreneurs who are running both small and large retail businesses utilize Pinterest to promote their brand, products, or services. They focus on creating amazing visuals to attract their potential customers thus consequently increasing their online exposure.
The more people view their content, the more likely they are to purchase or recommend the business, product, or service.
Some entrepreneurs also join Pinterest simply because their competitors are on Pinterest and they don’t want to fall behind.
How bloggers can boost Pinterest traffic
For bloggers, growing your Pinterest traffic can open a floodgate of opportunities to capture a wider audience. To be successful, you need to employ appropriate Pinterest marketing strategies to increase your traffic.
Below are the best tactics I’ve found for growing my various blogs and website properties over the years.
Start with a strategic mindset
From the very beginning, ensure that your Pinterest account is going to provide relevant information to your audience. Anything you pin should fall under at least one of the following categories or “types” of Pins:
These four types cover the fundamental traits of content that people consume and, more importantly, share online.
Examples of Useful Pins
Creating useful content on Pinterest for your audience means things such as:
- [abc] checklist
- [xyz] chart
-  quick tips
Anything that is a bite-sized visual that is immediately useful to the audience is what you’re looking for. If they can look at the pin, apply it to something in their life, and get a positive result of some kind, that’s a winner.
Take the following pin for example:
This pin is useful because it gives you an instantly actionable thing to do—a workout! So if a user is on the lookout for a good ab routine, they would see this and immediately pin it somewhere that they could find it later when they want to work out.
Super useful, right?
Another example would be something like this:
This pin is a quick reference guide to popular social media cover photos.
Examples of Helpful Pins
A helpful pin is something that answers a question, fixes a problem, or provides some sort of assistance to the audience. Things such as:
- How to [xyz]…
- What kind of [abc] should you…
- DIY [lmnop]
There are plenty of great examples of this on Pinterest because users are in love with do-it-yourself (DIY) pins. In fact, DIY is one of the highest-interest categories (along with recipes) on Pinterest.
Here’s an example of a helpful pin from my friend Alisa Meredith:
For anyone wondering ”What are some things I can do to improve my Pinterest marketing?” this pin provides an incredibly simple and effective answer.
Now, helpful pins don’t always have to be all-inclusive like the useful pins I described above. A helpful pin may just be a link to an article that helps a user do something—kind of like a “bookmark,” right?
Take this pin for example, which is probably my most popular pin (and article) of all time:
This is simply a link to an article that helps people learn how to make better-looking visual content (like Pins, for example).
Examples of Insightful Pins
Providing a visual that is insightful might take a little more time and thought, but it’s worth it. Things such as infographics are a perfect way to give people insight in a visual way that they’ll want to pin to their own boards.
This is an excellent example of a pin containing insight:
One of my most popular visuals of all time happens to be this type of image, and to this day I’m astonished at how well it’s done despite how simplistic it was.
As you can see, insightful pins can be as complicated or as simple as you want them to be. Just be sure there is a clear value that your audience is getting out of them.
Make your website pin-friendly
Ultimately, the goal of doing well on Pinterest for bloggers is to get people from Pinterest to click through to your blog. If you only rely on your effort to do this, you won’t get very far.
You need to encourage people who are already on your blog to pin your blog posts to their Pinterest boards.
I’ve covered this in depth on my How to Increase Pinterest Traffic by 2,000% post. You’ll want to read that article to get the most detailed look. But, here are the essential points:
- Include a “Pin” button in your sharing buttons
- Create a Pinterest-optimized image for every post (735×1102 pixels is ideal)
- Make sure that your site has enabled Rich Pins
Including a “Pin” button on your blog posts encourages your audience to pin your articles to their boards. They work similar to the share buttons on Twitter or Facebook.
Additionally, Pinterest has a number of website widgets you can build and add to your site which will showcase anything from your profile, specific boards, specific pins, or just allow people to follow you there.
Maximize your visual impact
Since it’s such a visual platform, standing out on Pinterest is not as easy as just throwing together a visual and slapping it on one of your boards.
There are a few things you need to know to get the most return on your visuals.
Size matters… text size that is
Nowadays most people access social media through their mobile phones. This means that they are viewing your pins on small screens.
So, if your text size is tiny, guess what? People won’t be able to read it.
Make sure you’re using a font size that is readable on a small screen.
You don’t want people straining their eyes and deciding not to click through because they couldn’t read it.
Image dimensions matter too
As I noted above, when creating your pins, make use of tall (portrait) images rather than using short (landscape) images. Tall images look much better in the Pinterest interface because of its column-based layout.
Additionally, tall images allow you to add more details to the image itself.
The most widely accepted standard for Pinterest image sizes is 735 pixels wide by 1,102 pixels tall.
But this isn’t necessarily an absolute necessity to get the exact pixel dimensions. The most important thing is that the image is taller than it is wide.
Personally, I now use either a 735×1080 image (as noted in my downloadable social media image templates or a 1080×1920 image so that I can also use it in things such as Instagram Stories.
Color is important
There have been a handful of studies done on the effectiveness of Pins based on color. One of the most well-known Pinterest studies found that:
- Red and Orange are highly effective dominant colors
- Moderate saturation (not too bright) performs best
- Having multiple dominant colors performs better than single dominant colors
These results are likely a result of so many food and recipe images being popular.
One last finding of these studies is that Pins without human faces tend to do better than Pins with human faces. Strange, but that’s the data.
Brand your pins
One of the best things you can do to build your online reputation is to create a recognizable style to your visual content. This is a form of branding.
Branding your pins can be a challenging task, but they are worth the time and effort. As more and more people share your pins with their followers, it will solidify your brand in their minds and grow your authority and recognizability.
A word of caution, however: keep your branding subtle.
Don’t be obnoxious with your logo being so big that it crowds the rest of the content in the visual. Keep it small, and inconspicuous enough that it’s out of the way, but still noticeable.
Get active on Pinterest
If your personal Pinterest account is not attractive and worth following, you’re going to have to just hope that popular pinners find your blog themselves. To help gain some traction on your account, use the following helpful tips.
- Create your boards. For a start, set up a minimum of 10 boards covering your key topics and keywords.
- Pin around 5-10 times per day. But of course, ensure that the posts are related to your niche or keywords, so you’re building your accounts authority around them.
- Repin relevant content from other users. You don’t just have to surf the internet to find pins, search inside Pinterest and find great content to repin!
- Follow relevant pinners and boards. While you’re searching Pinterest for things to repin, be sure you follow people and boards that are related to your topics and keywords.
- Cross promote your Pinterest profile. Send an email to your email list, share links to your pins on your other social networks, and use your other marketing channels to feed your Pinterest growth.
And what do you know, I’ve created a pinnacle graphic for you to easily remember the above tips! Aren’t I thoughtful?
Getting active and involved in the community will not only start to gain traction for you, but you’ll start to get a deeper understanding of the culture. And that will lead to even greater success.
Pinterest is a relatively untapped and growing source of traffic for bloggers. Understanding how to utilize it to grow your blog will be a powerful tool in your arsenal.
Got any questions about how to use Pinterest for your blog? Let me know in the comments below!