When I launched the Hawaiian Brian travel blog in July of 2016 I knew it would be an endeavor, and that my site traffic would grow slowly, but little did I know quite how slowly. Since I’m completely new to blogging, I have a small network and no connections. I’ve tried to attract interest in my blog organically through Twitter and Facebook as well as guest posting on other blogs. After tweeting and posting over 500 times, I amassed about 3,700 Twitter followers and 240 Facebook likes, and during this time I also wrote dozens of guest posts. However, I received virtually no traffic to my site.
Fed up, I started to dig into the metrics of social media platforms. I discovered the shelf-life of a tweet is 48 minutes and the shelf life of a Facebook post is 180 minutes. Then I discovered the equivalent of shelf-stable for social media: Pinterest. The shelf-life of a pin on Pinterest is 7 months! Seven months is almost an eternity in this fast paced digital world! Elated in my discovery, I decided to continue to tweet and post but to primarily focus on Pinterest to get the biggest impact for my time.
I read tons of articles and watched about every video on YouTube that I could find about mastering Pinterest, but I couldn’t find a good complete guide. So, I decided make my own! Below is a step by step guide on how to harness the power of Pinterest. After only 2 months of using this exact method, my blog is already attracting over 9,000 clicks a month through Pinterest!
Step 1) Open a business account with Pinterest
Click here to open a business account with Pinterest. It’s free and will provide you with invaluable analytics about your Pins.
The process is pretty straight forward, but if you have any issues (especially with confirming your website), you can contact Pinterest directly here.
Step 2) Enable “rich pins”
“Rich pins” helps your pins to look as professional as possible. Take a look at the examples below. Do you see how the title of the pin on the left isn’t bold, but the one on the right is? In my opinion, the bold title in the example on the right looks much more professional.
The video below will show you how to enable “rich pins” using the Yoast SEO Plug in.
Here is a link for the rich pin validator that is discussed in the video.
If you are experiencing technical issues of any kind, contact Pinterest here and they will help you with any technical issue in no time.
Step 3) Make amazing pins!
I make the cover photos for my pins using the free photo editing site Fotor.com. The professionals suggest making your Pinterest cover photos 1104 tall by 754 wide. Other than following this suggestion, I just try to stand out from the crowd by making my cover photos interesting, unique, and easy to read. Need some inspiration? Take a look at my pins here.
Step 4) Organize your Pinterest profile
Take a look at my Pinterest profile below and notice how the board on the top left says “The Best of Hawaiian Brian”. This is the board where I put all of the articles from my blog. The other boards are where I place my pins from other bloggers. You can create as many boards as you wish in any manner that makes sense to you, but this is the system that works for me.
You can stop there, but if you want your boards to look even more professional I suggest going one step further and adding a cover photo that describes each board. That is what I’ve done in my Pinterest profile above. These cover photos are much easier to read than the description at the bottom of each board. To do this, I created a temporary page on my blog and then added pictures with the titles of my Pinterest boards to this page. Then I pined those pictures to the appropriate board. To change the board cover photo, click on the pencil on the top of your appropriate board’s page and then click on the change cover option.
Step 5) Start pinning!
Pin all of your stuff (articles/photos/etc.) to the Pinterest boards you created in Step 4. You can pin all of your articles to every board you created, just pin your articles to one board, have multiple boards that are all mutually exclusive, or any combination of the three. It’s completely up to you and what makes the most sense for your content.
Step 6) Join group boards
So you’ve just pinned all of your awesome pins, but you just opened your Pinterest account and have no followers. Who is going to see your amazing pins? Join a few group boards and plenty of people will see them. Group boards allow pins from multiple users, and attract thousands of followers. If you join a group board with 30,000 followers, each time a pin is added to that board 30,000 people could potentially see it. Hopefully some of those people will re-pin your pin, allowing their followers to see it and so on.
The name of the game is to get on as many group boards as possible, and preferably boards with a large number of followers. I used PinGroupie to help me find the largest group boards by category. Make sure to only focus on joining boards where your content is appropriate.
Joining a group board can be difficult at times because they don’t simply have a join button. Instead, you have to figure out how to contact the owner of the board and ask permission to join. To find the owner of the group board, look at the first person identified on the board. You will have to figure out how to contact that person. Some boards make it easy by providing their email address in the board description. For others, you might have to perform a little detective work by going to the board owner’s website and finding an email address there. When your detective work yields no results, you will have to contact the owner directly through Pinterest.
Before you contact the owner of the board, follow the board and follow the owner of the board. The owner won’t be able to add you to the board unless you are currently following it.
Here is an example of an e-mail I have sent a board owner. “Hello I am Brian and I own the travel blog www.hawaiianbrian.com. I am very impressed with your board and I love your travel blog. I would appreciate it if you could add me as a contributor to your (name of board) Pinterest board. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers, Brian”
When sending the e-mail make sure to include the e-mail address that Pinterest uses because that’s how the board owner will be able to find you. You also want to specifically tell them which board you want to join, and it’s recommended to throw some type of compliment to them as well. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t hear anything from most board owners. They get tons of e-mails and their boards might not be accepting new contributors. I receive a yes from less than 50% of the board owners I contact, and I’ve noticed the larger the board the less likely I am to hear back. Now lets give it a try. Send a request to join my group board.
Step 7) Pin to your group boards
Now that you have joined several group boards with huge numbers of followers, it’s time to start pinning!
First, carefully read the board description of each group board to determine the rules. Some boards will only allow you to pin a few times a day and others might not want a certain type of pins. Don’t break the rules or risk getting kicked off the board.
Second, pin at the optimal time of day to ensure the most potential views. The best time to pin is in the morning and at night, but because it’s not always convenient to pin during these times, I use a couple of different tools. Tailwind is $15.00 a month and allows me to schedule the pins to my group boards at the optimal times. This link here will give you a free $15.00 credit to use the Tailwind service free for one month. I also use BoardBooster, which is also not free either, but it frees up hours of my scheduling time. BoardBooster has plans starting at only $5 dollars per month to schedule 500 pins, which equates to only $0.01 per pin.
BoardBooster also provides me with several helpful analytical reports that let me know what pins and boards are performing the best. They have amazing customer service and respond very quickly to any questions or concerns. If you want to give them a try, they will provide your first 100 pins for free. BoardBooster can be confusing to use but have no fear! I created an easy to use guide for using BoardBooster. I highly recommend taking advantage of both free trials.
Step 8) Re-pin other user’s pins
You can’t just pin your own stuff all the time. Pinterest prefers users who re-pin, like and comment on other pins. So what is the most effective way to do this and receive the most credit for repining someone’s pins? More groups! This time from Facebook.
Pinterest groups on Facebook are a great way to connect with other users in your niche and pin relevant content to your Pinterest boards. As an extra bonus, the members of these groups are some of the biggest Pinterest bloggers around, so it’s invaluable to be placed on their boards because they’re great resources for asking for advice.
To find an appropriate group on Facebook, type in your desired niche along with the words “Pinterest group” in the search bar on Facebook. For example, since I own a travel blog I would type “Travel Pinterest group”. Most Facebook Pinterest groups will allow you to post one pin to their Facebook wall per day. In return you must re-pin everyone else’s pins on the wall for that day. I am a member of three Pinterest Facebook groups and each time I post a pin to these groups I end up with about 130 re-pins, which is an excellent start to promoting an article.
There you have it! This step-by-step guide explains exactly how I mastered Pinterest by learning to appease the Pinterest algorithms. Because Pinterest likes me, when I post a new pin it is automatically put near the top of search results. This increases the likelihood of a view or re-pin, and ultimately increases my number of followers as well as the traffic to my blog.
My traffic explosion is truly a testament that this process works. It’s time consuming, but I think it provides the biggest payout for the time invested.
In order to help as many people to learn from this article as possible, please pin my photo below. Also, follow my board. I always follow back! Cheers!