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I had a blog for years, but never really took it seriously. But in the fall of 2015, I wanted to get back to writing more and decided to try and grow my blog. I wanted to earn an income from my blog eventually, so I started learning what I could about that.
I figured out that I needed to grow my email list to do that, so I invested in a list-building course. But the course was missing one very obvious thing. In order to grow your email list, you need traffic!
So I started to research all the ways to increase your blog traffic. I listened to multiple podcasts, webinars, and Periscopes (is that even still around??) to learn. And most importantly, I started implementing the strategies I was learning.
What I discovered is that Pinterest is one of the best ways to boost your blog traffic – and it’s the most powerful option amongst the social media platforms. Within a couple months, I started seeing my traffic grow–and not just gradually, but quickly.
In the past, I helped my clients with growing their traffic through Pinterest by completing what I called a Pinterest Makeover. I helped them optimize their profiles, develop their feed to attract the right people, and join group boards to grow their visibility. And of course, increase their traffic!
Today, I want to share with you the exact steps I have used for myself and with my clients to help them boost their blog traffic through Pinterest. I keep track of this entire process using my favorite project management tool, Trello (if you haven’t checked this out, you totally should).
Phase 1: Prepare
The first phase of this process is to prepare your blog for Pinterest. For starters, you should have your basic visual branding decided – this includes a logo, a few main colors, and a couple fonts. Keep it simple because you’ll probably change it down the road!
Next, you need to create Pinterest sized images for every blog post. For this, you should have vertical pins. Why? Because vertical pins are becoming the standard on Pinterest.
You can use Canva for this–there are tons of Pinterest templates right in there that you can use and customize to your own colors and brand. Make sure to add your website address or your logo or sub mark somewhere on your Pinterest images.
Then you should install a good social media sharing plugin. If it’s not easy for people to share your blog post, they won’t. You have to make it super simple and obvious! My favorite for WordPress blogs is called Social Warfare. It’s not free but it’s worth every penny. You can grab Social Warfare here.
Finally, you should make sure you have an email opt-in form set up on your blog and ready to go. This can be something as simple as a free PDF download or a mini-course or a video training. I love ConvertKit and use it for all of my opt-ins, as I’m able to easily create various opt-ins (even for 2 different websites) and grow my email list this way.
Phase 2: Plan
The next thing you need to do is PLAN. Yes, I know, this does not sound very exciting. But developing the right plan will be the key to helping you be successful with using Pinterest.
The plan starts with knowing who your ideal customer or reader is. You need to know WHO you are trying to reach. Maybe you are trying to reach stay at home moms who want to earn extra income. Or perhaps you are seeking to impact business owners who need to get organized. Whatever the case, you want to really get a clear picture of their interests, needs, and desires. This will help you once you begin setting up (or making over) your Pinterest account.To grow your traffic through Pinterest, get clear on who your ideal reader is.Click To Tweet
Next, you need to establish what your goals are for Pinterest. Do you want to grow your traffic to your blog? Increase your email list? Gain more 1:1 clients?
There are a variety of goals could accomplish by using Pinterest, and it helps to simply establish what your goals are before you get started. Also, be sure to write down your baseline–where are you starting? How many followers do you have currently, and how many people are you following?
After you know your goals, you should make sure you have your branding for your business established. This means your messaging, your visual elements (colors, fonts, logo, etc), as well as your headshot or any other photos you use for your brand. You will need this for a later part of the process.
Next, you should establish what keywords you want to rank for on Pinterest. Often these will be related to your blog – what keywords are you using on your blog? You’ll want to use the same ones on Pinterest. You can brainstorm a list of keywords and write these down.
Phase 3: Optimize
After planning, we are going to move on to optimizing your Pinterest account. What does this mean? Well, it means setting up your account to appeal to and attract your target market. It means establishing the right boards and the right wording in order to get people following you.
First, we’re going to get a business account, if you do not already have one. You’ll need to go here if you need to set up a brand new account. If you already have a personal account, you’ll need to go here to convert it to a business account. That will walk you through the steps of setting up your business account with Pinterest.
After this, you’ll want to apply for Rich Pins. Go here to validate your website. Enter a blog post URL to the validator. Then, once you do that, click “Apply for Rich Pins.”
Next, you’re going to confirm your website. This part can be a little bit trickier. Once you’re approved for a business account, you can go here and click “confirm website.” It will pop up with a piece of code that needs to go in the head of your website. Yes, I know, that sounds scary. But don’t worry, there’s an easier way.
- Log into your WordPress site, and go to Plugins
- Search for Yoast SEO plugin, if you do not already have it
- Install and activate this plugin
- Configure this plugin (there’s a step-by-step process it will walk you through)
- Click on the “Social” tab for Yoast SEO and add your social accounts
- Go back to the Pinterest tab and copy the numbers from the code they are giving you
- Go back to Yoast SEO, click on Pinterest, and add the numbers from the code
- Go back to Pinterest and click “finish”
Now, wait about 24 hours and go back and check to see if it is showing confirmed. If not, you may want to contact Pinterest directly to ask them to confirm. I have had to do this with a few of my own sites and my clients.
Okay, now that the techy stuff is out of the way, we’ll get into some of the more fun parts of optimizing your Pinterest profile. Here’s what you want to do:
- Update your profile. Click the gear icon on your account, and then do the following: update your business name. I recommend including your business name, as well as a description of what you do using a few keywords and possibly your first and last name, too. This will allow your account to be found when people are searching for your business, your personal name, and possibly even your tagline or description of what you do.
- Upload a profile picture. Again, this can be your headshot or your logo. However, I find that your headshot tends to be more personal.
- Update your “About You” section. Be sure to include some keywords, and a call to action, if you have a freebie that you can lead them to.
Okay, next we’re going to clean up your boards. Take a look at your boards objectively. Are there ones that are not related to, or would not interest your target market? If so, go ahead and make all those boards secret.
Your boards do not ALL have to be directly related to your blog or business. But they should be things that your target market would be interested in. So if your blog is about clean eating and your target market is busy moms, you may not want to have a Pinterest board about logo design. But you could have boards about exercise, home organization tips, and time-saving hacks.The content on your Pinterest boards does not have to be directly related to your blog, but it should be of interest to your target market.Click To Tweet
After this, you will create a “Best of [your blog]” board. This is where you will pin ALL your blog posts. You can also pin your blog posts to other relevant boards, but all of your content will be pinned to this one board.
Now you want to organize your boards and choose the top 9 boards for your profile. Your first one will be your “Best of…” board, and then you’ll need to choose 8 others. Depending on what you already have for boards, you may be able to simply re-organize your boards. Or, you may need to create new boards.
Next, you need to add board descriptions to each of these new (or re-organized) boards. Make sure that your top 9 boards have detailed descriptions using the keywords you chose earlier. This will help your content to be more easily found in searches.
Finally, you should audit all of your boards and delete any old or irrelevant pins. Also, I tend to prefer only vertical pins on my boards, so I usually delete horizontal pins unless the content is really amazing.
Phase 4: Add/Update Content on Your Boards
Now you’re going to start filling out your content on your Pinterest account. The content on your boards needs to be reflective of your target audience. So you want to add plenty of pins to these top 9 boards. I usually shoot for adding at least 20 pins for each of the top 9 boards.
Also, make sure you add all of your own blog posts to your “Best of _____ Board”, even if you don’t have 20 blog posts (yet).
Phase 5: Grow Followers
Now that you have prepared your blog, planned, optimized, and added content to your account, you’re ready to begin focusing on growing your followers.
You’ll want to start by following others who pin quality content in your niche. This is not about competition. The more good stuff you pin, even from your competitors, the better. Your account will be seen as more valid if you have a good mix of your own content and others.
Now you need to find some group boards to join. Group boards are Pinterest boards that are collaborative. Joining group boards allows you to reach a lot more people than you can reach on your own. Pinterest group boards are truly the key to growing your followers and traffic. The more group boards you can participate in, the better.
Note: since the time that I first wrote this post, some changes have been made with how Pinterest is utilizing group boards, and they may not be as effective as they once were. However, you still may want to consider joining a few.
You can search for group boards in a variety of places. One of my favorite places to find group boards is PinGroupie. You can also find them by searching for bigger influencers in your niche on Pinterest. Then click over to their profiles and see what group boards they are on. When you click to these boards, you can find out whether they are accepting followers and how to join by reading the description.
Use a spreadsheet to compile a list of group boards you might want to join. I start with at least 5, but you can continually add to this list. The spreadsheet will help you keep track of all the details, such as how to join, when you’ve requested the board, the response, and so on.
Some group boards require an email request, while others simply ask you to comment on a recent pin. Some will require you to fill out an online form with details about your account and/or business. When requesting group boards, it’s important to be polite and patient. Remember that the owners of group boards are also running their own business and may not be adding people every day, and you may have to wait a few weeks before getting approved.
Phase 6: Automate
Finally, you can save a ton of time on Pinterest when you automate. Now, it’s still a good idea to pin manually on a regular basis. But you can also use Tailwind to pin and schedule new content on a regular basis. Tailwind allows you to find Tailwind Tribes for sharing content as well as scheduling pins for days or weeks in advance. It’s a key tool in my own Pinterest strategy.
After you’ve done all 6 of these steps, it’s time to celebrate! Your work is not totally done, but you have now completed your own Pinterest Makeover and you’re ready to see the rewards of your hard work.
Begin tracking your stats and find out how much traffic is coming from Pinterest to your blog over the coming months. If you increase your pinning by manually taking time each day or by using Tailwind to schedule additional pins, you will likely see faster growth.
All of these activities should help you boost your blog traffic with Pinterest. If you complete this process, I’d love to hear how it goes. Comment below with your results or additional tips!