For so long, I ignored Pinterest and the many Pinterest tips online. Sure, I knew my friend Tanya loved it for planning her wedding, and that my friends with kids found it useful for getting inspiration for birthday parties; but I was a travel blogger. I shared posts more than “Pins,” whatever they really were.
About six months ago a travel blogger friend of mine told me she was gaining massive traffic suddenly — and it was all thanks to Pinterest.
Really?! But I thought Pinterest was for recipes and bridal boards?
Now that I’m at a place where Pinterest brings in more social media traffic for me than all of my other channels combined — my second largest traffic-driver after organic search traffic — I’m a believer.
Keep in mind while you’re going through this list that your goal isn’t necessarily to get more Pinterest followers; it’s to utilize the power of Pinterest to increase blog traffic and email list signups. Because you don’t just want to be a broke blogger with tons of fans but no real “business.” You want to grow a sustainable travel blogging business you believe in, that also allows you to help others.
And to be sustainable you need an engaged community — even if it’s a small yet dedicated audience — that reads your content, signs up for your list and purchases your (awesome!) products.
Yes, Pinterest has the power to help make this happen.
Take the next 10 minutes to implement the following simple Pinterest tips. Then, watch your blogging business grow.
Step 1. Change Your Profile Picture
It’s only a tiny circle, so having a landscape photo or full body shot will be hard to see. Additionally, a photo of a drink or backpack doesn’t tell people much about you. For most bloggers, it makes sense to add a lovely closeup of your face to let people know who you are. Along with looking professional, this also helps build trust with your followers.
Step 2. Understand How You Can Help People
Don’t make people dig around to find out why they should be following you on Pinterest. Let them know right away in your bio. “I help people ____________________” is a simple formula you can use.
This will also help you attract the right people who will actually engage with your content. Because it’s always better to have a smaller, more engaged audience than thousands of people who just sit there.
Again, it’s about building a community you can truly help.
Step 3. Help Them Right Away (And Grow Your Email List)
Let’s talk about content upgrades. These are freebies people get when they opt in to your list.
Now, it’s wise to create different content upgrades for the different themes you cover on your blog — something we’ll be diving into in my FREE September blogging challenge hint, hint 😉 — but for now let’s start with one.
Create something that will help your audience solve a problem quickly. So, if your Pinterest bio says “I help women feel confident traveling solo,” maybe you offer a free solo travel email course (like this one).
Or, if you help travelers take better photos you could offer a camera settings cheat sheet. Ideas that tend to work well:
- Email Courses
- Resource Libraries (like my blogging resource library)
- Free Trials
- Resource Lists
- Swipe Sheets
To receive the freebie, the person will need to subscribe to your email list.
This does two things. One, it allows you to quickly help your followers, taking your relationship with them to the next level and helping to build authority and trust in your brand. And two, it helps add relevant people to your email list who will actually be interested in what you’re doing. Eventually, this person will hopefully purchase your products/services, which should help them even further.
Therefore, your blog mission, blog posts, content upgrades and products/services should all be related to each other. Again, this is something we talk about in-depth during September’s free blogging challenge.
Step 4: Add The Content Upgrade To Your Pinterest Bio
Use bit.ly to create a custom link that takes people to your email signup form. I suggest adding the word “free” to your custom link to remind them that they’re getting an awesome complimentary gift from you. For example, your link might be “bit.ly/free-pix-sheet”. The awesome thing about bit.ly is it tracks how often a link is clicked, so you can see how much traction the link is getting from Pinterst specifically.
Again, once they sign up for your email list, they should be provided with the free content upgrade. An easy solution is uploading your freebie to Google Drive. Then, in the Welcome Email new subscribers receive, provide them with the link to it.
Pro tip: Add the freebie to other social media bios too, as well as within blog posts, on your blog’s sidebar, in your blog’s menu…really everywhere. You can create different bit.ly links for each channel to see where you’re getting the most traction with your content upgrade(s).
Speaking of content upgrade…
Step 5: Make It Clear Who You Are
While you don’t have to change your name, you should add details to it. For example, my name on Pinterest is “Jessie on a Journey | Solo Female Traveler + Blogging Tips.”
This not only makes it clear, again, exactly what I do and who I can help, but it also makes my profile more searchable.
If you take away one Pinterest tip from this whole article, make it this: Pinterest acts more like a search engine than a typical social media platform like Instagram or Twitter. Actually, it’s more like Google, where optimizing for keywords can help you rank higher. So adding a few searchable keywords or phrases in your name that you’d like to rank for is a smart idea.
I mean, just check out above what Pinterest shows me when I search “solo female travel.” Notice how it’s not just relevant search terms and boards, but also accounts that include the term.
Step 6: Create (And Optimize) Your Pinterest Boards
What’s important when creating your Pinterest boards is to stay on topic. If your niche is solo female travel and you have a board titled “Paleo Recipes,” you’ll confuse people and dilute your brand.
Have a “Best Of The Blog” board where you pin all your blog posts, and also other boards with topics relevant to your niche. So for Solo Female Travel you might have “Solo Itineraries,” “Female Travel Gear,” “Solo Travel Tips,” “Solo Travel Safety” etc.
Note: The names of your boards matter. This is because when people search an exact match of your board name, you’ll show up first. So, if someone searches “Indian Recipes” your board called Indian Recipes will show up before a board called Indian Breakfast Recipes, even if the Indian Breakfast Recipes board has more followers.
- Quick Tip: Newer pinners should note then that the more niche your board name, the easier it will be to rank. For example, there are likely lots of board by big pinners called “Europe.” You may want to try “Europe Travel” or, even better, “Europe Solo Travel” or “Europe Adventure Travel.” You can type “Europe Travel” into the a Pinterest search to see what else people are searching.
In these boards you should pin a mix of your own pins as well as the pins of others. In fact, you should pin more pins from others than your own.
Important: make sure to fill out those Pinterest board descriptions, too! Now, basically nobody reads this aside for Pinterest itself, so feel free to just throw keywords in there.
Step 7: Enable Rich Pins (It’s Easy; I Swear!)
I’ve met so many bloggers who get freaked out by the thought of enabling Rich Pins. I even know a few that hired a developer to do it for them.
Don’t waste your money. It’s actually really easy! I’ll tell you exactly how below.
But first, let me explain why you want Rich Pins. Having this enabled adds more details to your pins. This can help drive traffic back to your blog, increase engagement and keep your keyword-rich pin descriptions in tact. Again, Pinterest works like a search engine. Therefore you’ll want pins with descriptions that tell people why they should click the pin, while telling Pinterest what the pin is about.
When you enable Rich Pins, Pinterest pulls your Yoast SEO plugin metadata. So, make sure you’ve activated and are using YOAST SEO to optimize blog posts for search.
Here’s how to enable Rich Pins:
- Install the YOAST SEO plugin. In the plugin dashboard, go to Features and enable “Advanced settings pages”.
- Copy the URL of any blog post (NOT the homepage) and paste it here.
- Click Apply. You’ll get an email once you’re approved. Mine went through right away when I did it, though I know others that had to wait more like 24 hours.
Step 8: Choose A Pin Template
Personally, I like to create a 800 x 1200 graphic at the top of each post that’s optimized for Pinterest. Other people do a smaller 735 x 1102 graphic. Either works!
My advice is to head over to Canva to swipe one of their layouts. Once you find a template you like, add in your own images, brand colors and fonts. Use this template — or a few similar templates — to help create recognition in your brand on Pinterest.
Every single post you publish should feature a beautiful eye-catching Pinterest-optimized graphic, vertical in orientation. You can upload your graphic just as you would an image.
If the post showcases any giveaways or freebies, note that in the pin to make it even more enticing. For an example, scroll to the top of this post and see the graphic I created.
Step 9: Join A Pinterest Group On Facebook
What I love about Facebook is how many collaboration groups there are for travel bloggers. Personally, I utilize the Ultimate Pinterest Group for Travel Bloggers.
Each day they post a new thread. If you want to take part, share one of your Pinterest pins to the thread to have everyone else who is participating re-pin it. In turn, you re-pin everyone else’s pins. I’ve had a few pins go viral — read: massive blog traffic! — by participating in this group.
Step 10: Join BoardBooster
BoardBooster is one of the most budget-friendly and useful tools I’ve ever used. There are so many awesome features:
- Having their Pin Doctor remove any pins that could be hurting your account from ranking higher, such as pins with broken links or content duplication
- “Looping” pins, which means bringing older pins back to the top for more visibility
- Campaigns, where you save Pins to a secret board. From there, BoardBooster pins them to your desired group boards based on a schedule you set.
- Reports, which show you your best pinning times, which pins went viral, how boards are performing and more
If you’re serious about utilizing the powers of Pinterest I highly recommend using BoardBooster. Along with helping you have an active, engaged account, it saves you time by automating many tactics.
They offer a free trial, too. After that, it’s just a penny per pin!
Any Pinterest tips to add? Please share in the comments below!