Sunday, July 6, 2014

Social Media Sunday: How to Increase Blog Traffic Using Pinterest

Welcome to the latest edition of social media Sunday! This month we are talking about one of my favorite social media sites, Pinterest! If you are anything like me you have lost invested many hours in pinning. If you're a blogger who pins delicious recipes and tips to stay organized, but not using Pinterest to help drive traffic traffic to your blog, you may be missing out on some serious page views!


I obsess over watch my blog stats pretty closely on Google Analytics and what I have found is that 50% of my referral blog traffic comes directly from Pinterest. What does that tell me? It tells me that if Pinterest didn't exist, then I would have half the blog traffic that I have today, and it also tells me that if you are not using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog, you have the potential to double your referral traffic page views. That is huge! Before we get started, are you following me on Pinterest?

How do I use Pinterest to drive traffic to my blog?

1. Create a Pinnable Image
Let's talk about what it means to create a pinnable image. Technically speaking, almost any image can be pinned to Pinterest, but not every image is going to generate traffic. So when we talk about pinnable images, we are talking about the types of pictures that will inspire people to repin them and more importantly, click through to your blog post. You need to give people a reason to pin.

Before you pin an image to Pinterest think about the types of things you would naturally repin when you are scrolling Pinterest. As a starting point, I think an image should be one of the these things: Informative, instructional, interesting, beautiful or adorable, funny, and I'll add in delicious for good measure because recipes do so well on Pinterest!

There are certain types of images that probably won't be as successful on Pinterest. Remember success on Pinterest means repins and click throughs to your blog.

A picture of your kids standing in the kitchen is probably not a pinnable image, unless it is professionally done and over-the-top adorable or funny. (I know, every picture of your kid is adorable and funny.) A picture of you at the finish line at the race may not be a pinnable image. If you were scrolling through images on Pinterest, would you repin a snapshot picture of a stranger? Probably not. This is the same reason that I don't usually pin images of Ollie, pictures of your dog probably won't drive traffic to your blog on their own.  A pin should have a clear purpose.

Here is an example from my own blog of an image that I don't think meets the criteria of a pinnable image. I think if I had changed the title to "How to grow a vegetable garden in your own backyard" or "How to turn your black thumb green" it probably would have qualified as a pinnable image because then it at least would have fallen under the instructional category. It just so happens, that was not really what the post was about, so the title would have been misleading. (p.s. I haven't killed those plants yet. Go me.) A title that gave the reader a reason to pin and maybe pictures of beautiful fully grown vegetables could have made this image more pinnable.


Not every single image you use on your blog has to be pinnable. I still think it was perfectly fine to use this image in my blog post, I just shouldn't expect it to drive traffic on Pinterest (It didn't). I do, however, try to have at least one or two pinnable images in each post.

In my personal experience, there are some other qualities that help an image become more pinnable:

1. Vertical images fit in the Pinterest format and stand out better than horizontal images.
2. High quality, clear images are most successful. It doesn't have to be a professional image, but a poorly lit, blurry image probably won't generate many repins.
3. Easy to read text overlays with titles help people quickly determine why they may want to pin or click. This may not be necessary if the image itself is outstanding, but text can help make an average image more pinnable. (Try PicMonkey to easily add text to your images.)
4. Light color backgrounds seem to stand out and perform better than dark backgrounds.

It is not to say that a horizontal image with a dark background won't do well on Pinterest, it very well may. I just have found the ones that perform the best usually have at least some of the above characteristics.

Also don't forget to add a descriptive caption! Most people won't change it when they repin and it makes it easier for people to your find your pin when they are searching Pinterest.

2. Pin multiple times/multiple boards
In the early days of Pinterest, I remember there being some discussion whether or not bloggers should pin their own content. There were bloggers on both sides of the fence. These days with the traffic-driver that Pinterest has become, it has become widely accepted to pin your own content. It would be silly not to generate traffic to your blog by pinning your own content! But just like any social media, you should be pinning other relevant content more often than you pin your own, because remember my favorite saying, social media is not all about me. I have boards with multiple categories and I pin the same pin to multiple boards at different times of the day or different days.

3. Pin to group boards
Pinterest is a great traffic driver because the potential for a pin to go viral is high. Once a pin starts to circulate it can generate a lot of traffic. All it takes is a few repins to get the ball rolling. But what if you don't have a lot of followers yet? It's OK, search out some group Pinterest boards in your niche and ask for an invite to pin to their board. Group Pinterest boards are owned and managed by one individual but allow for multiple people to pin to the boards. Some of my pins that got the most traffic started from a group Pinterest board. Be sure that you are pinning relevant content to the board's theme, don't spam a board with every pin you ever created, and be sure to be nice and pin other content to group boards too. If you would like to join my Pinterest group board called Fitness Inspiration from Friends, follow me on Pinterest, send me an email to runningwithollie(at)gmail(dot)com with the email address that you use on Pinterest and I'll add you.



4. Schedule pins
If you are anything like me, you have a life outside your blog. You probably have a family, a job, some outside hobbies, maybe even a friend or two. So how are you supposed to find the time for yet another social media site to promote your blog? The answer is to schedule your pins. I use Ahology and I really like that you can spend 10 minutes scheduling pins for the day or the week! Ahology determines the best time to pin, so it takes a lot of the guess work out of it. Just remember to not only schedule your own pins, but also pins of other interesting related articles in your niche!

5. Pin it button
The easiest way to inspire people to pin your content from your website is to add a pin it button to your post. Pinterest makes it so easy, it's a crime not to do it. A pin it button is like a reminder for your readers to pin your interesting content.  Not everyone may have a Pin it button in their tool bar (crazy, right?) so a pin it button just makes it really easy for people to pin your content.

6. Pin evergreen content
One of the greatest things about Pinterest is that older content with a great pinnable image rarely gets lost in the feed. Posts that I wrote a year ago have long ago started collecting dust on all other social media channels. Even on my blog it is buried under 100s of newer posts. I wrote a blog post about CrossFit in 2012 that usually is the highest traffic generator each month, even two years later. Why? because it is evergreen content, it is as relevant today as it was two years ago, and as long as people keep pinning it on Pinterest and caring about CrossFit, I will probably continue to get traffic from it.

Do you use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog? Did you learn anything? Did I miss anything? I gotta go. I have go make dinner pin images of the things I hope to make for dinner some day.


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Keep Running,

Lea

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photo credit: Theen ... via photopin cc

25 comments :

  1. Great tips! I'm on Pinterest ALL the time, yet somehow I didn't know you could schedule pins!

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    1. Yeah, I recently discovered it too - I think it is not as widely known since it is a separate application outside of Pinterest!

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  2. LOVE Pinterest! It brings me a ton of traffic too! I'll have to check out the scheduler!

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  3. I'm still learning how to create the "Pinnable" images that will drive more traffic. I've noticed a little spike from what I have done so far, though. Great tips! I didn't know about the scheduler.

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  4. Such good ideas - have pinned and tweeted, of course! :)

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    1. thanks Elle, as always, for your support!

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  5. What a great post! I pin a lot but I don't use Pinterest a lot - just too much time to do everything & I don't have that time.. :) I am curious why Pinterest stopped letting us tweet out pin shares - my side only lets me share on FB when I view my pins...

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    1. I didn't know that! weird, for sure!

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  6. I feel like the last person on Earth to join the Pinterest party! I'll never get off if I get too into it! Great post!

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  7. Didn't know there were tools to schedule pins. Cool.

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  8. I am definitely trying out the Ahology, I sent a request so I hope I will hear from them soon! Fitty Duck has a pinterest but I've been worried that it would add on extra computer time to blogging instead of decreasing it. Hopefully that will help!

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    1. I think Pinterest will help a lot! I think it is worth the time investment (as long as you don't get sucked into to personal pinning for hours on end. lol)

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  9. This is one of the most useful posts on Pinterest I've read...thank you! Most people say to create pinnable images (duh!) but never really explain what a pinnable image IS other than just "make it look nice" and now I will be looking into Ahology for sure!

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  10. I saved to read this blog when I had more time and it was really worth it, Lea. As usual, great writing!
    I will surely be hitting you an email about your Pinterest board.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. thanks Debbie for all your support!

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    2. Debbie! Sorry for the delay! I'm having technical difficulties adding you on Pinterest - but I am trying!

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  11. Great post! I have a Pinterest account but I'm yet to get to grips with it. Guess where I'm headed now?

    Thanks, Paul

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    1. Great! let me know if you have any questions!

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  12. Hi Lea, this is a super post thanks. We had no idea there were so many tools within Pinterest. We'll have to check out the scheduler as we had no idea you could do that! Thanks again.

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