I haven’t written a in-depth post about blogging in awhile, but I think this post is worth the time it took for me to “break it down”.
Awhile back, I took a four-month hiatus from blogging. I reevaluated, refreshed my vision, and started writing again at the end of August.
By that time my pageviews had tanked, my email subscribers were unengaged (not their fault, it was mine because I hadn’t sent anything out in so long!) and my Pinterest following was incredibly behind other bloggers of similar size.
I knew that Pinterest is basically THE most important source of traffic for bloggers nowadays and I knew that if I wanted my pageviews to get back up and readers to be engaged, I had to do something, fast.
Through some strategic planning, hard work and a couple of failed experiments, I was able to double my Pinterest following in very short order.
Five Strategies I Employed to Double my Pinterest Followers!
I Took the Elite Blog Academy Class
Last year I decided to enroll in the first-ever Elite Blog Academy course, developed by Ruth Soukup at Living Well Spending Less (who is, by the way, a blogging genius). I wasn’t sure I would learn anything new, since I’d already been blogging for a couple of years, but I was willing to take the chance and used some of my Christmas money to pay for it.
My goodness was I ever (incredibly!) surprised. Included among the information I learned from Ruth about how to structure a blog post well and how to effectively monetize your blog according to your audience was this ground-breaking method that radically changed how I designed my Pinterest graphics and wrote my Pinterest descriptions.
Ruth calls this method “The Perfect Pin” and it works. It has helped me (combined with the other techniques I learned in this class) to not only get my posts and pins noticed, but also has increased my click throughs to such a degree that my traffic specifically from Pinterest TRIPLED in one month.
TIP: The Elite Blog Academy is open for enrollment for 5 days only! If you are curious about it, check out this FREE live training session that will absolutely blow your mind: A Simple Framework for Success: Four Steps Every Blogger Needs to Take
I Created Pinterest Friendly Graphics for Pinning
Again, using the elements of The Perfect Pin, I was able to create graphics that stood out and were noticed on Pinterest amid the busy sea of photos and images fighting for our attention. Because the Pinterest algorithms have changed, our pins aren’t automatically in front of our followers anymore. We have to work to convey our message and the more often our posts are pinned and interacted with, the more they show up in search and in the feed :)
TIP: Vertical images are key on Pinterest! Bright colors, images that aren’t too crowded and have light colored background for the text seem to do extremely well. Here’s an example of a pin graphic I created that has been repinned over 14,000 times (which for me, is great). It’s not anything super fancy but it is clear and noticeable!
Here’s another example of a Pinterest image that helped one of my posts to go viral:
By using eye-catching graphics (this is a photo I purchased from a stock image site, Stockfresh), a compelling title and a good pin description (here’s an example), you make it more likely that people will click through to your posts!
TIP: I would highly recommend purchasing quality stock images to use on your Pinterest pins if you don’t yet feel confident taking your own pictures. I like to use Stockfresh and also Lightstock for Christian images.
I Joined Group Boards on Pinterest
Because I was part of an eBook bundle last spring I was able to join in on some large group boards on Pinterest. This was my first exposure to the power of the collaborative board!
Basically a group board is set up by a blogger who has allowed other pinners to add pins to his/her board. It’s important to remember that not ALL group boards are created equal. I pin to those that have large followings AND large repin rates. I don’t want to be spammy so I follow the guidelines and also make sure I stay on-topic.
How do you find these boards? Go to PinGroupie, which is a directory of all the group boards on Pinterest. Find the ones in your niche and request to join using the directions at the top of the group board’s page on Pinterest or just contacting the board owner if you feel comfortable doing so! Join the Pinterest Collaborative boards group on Facebook for more options!
TIP: Follow the group board that you want to be added to and do show interest in their pins and the pins of the others who are fellow collaborators. I try to hop on to my group boards every once in awhile and pin some of their posts too!
I Pinned Strategically….and Didn’t Pin Too Often!
Using BoardBooster, which is a Pinterest scheduler that will spread out your pins for you, I was able to find optimum times of day to pin and schedule my various posts to be pinned to applicable group boards. You can try Board Booster for free and after the first 100 pins, they charge one cent per pin, which is an excellent deal in my opinion! I’ll be coming out with a more in-depth post on using BoardBooster soon! It takes a little while to set up but then you can leave it after that, keeping you off the internet when you should be doing more productive things ;)
Other times, I went into Pinterest and manually pinned. I pinned 10-15 pins, three times a day. That’s it. I also have been focusing on building three of my personal boards that are relevant to my blog: Bible Activities for Kids, Best of The Purposeful Mom and Devotions and Prayer Time for Moms. I do add pins to my other boards, just not as intentionally right now. The individual followers on these boards have grown exponentially as well.
During my three manually pinning times, I pin my own posts to the various group boards as well. There are mixed reviews on whether or not it’s more effective to use a third-party system (like BoardBooster) or pin manually so I do both. But don’t be spammy! Share quality content so that people will want more.
Ruth has a ginormous Pinterest strategy that she goes into detail on in her Elite Blog Academy course and it truly helped me hone in on what was worth spending time on and what wasn’t as far as Pinterest. Gone are the days when endless pinning automatically equals more repins and followers, however. We have to be more strategic, pinning worthwhile posts, making sure the images grab people’s attention, and pinning at effective times of day.
TIP: Focus first on pinning to group boards that have a good repin rate (these will likely also be the ones with good click-through rates). Make that more of a focus because you will be exposing your posts to a larger and more varied audience. Meanwhile, pick one or two of your own boards to focus on, slowly building them by pinning high-quality information and posts.
I Added Pinterest Board Widgets to the Bottom of My Posts
Placing a board widget at the bottom of my posts has helped me grow my Pinterest following as well (as you can see at the bottom of this post, for example, I have a widget for my Blogging board). I make sure that the widget I’m using is applicable to the post so readers are encouraged to click over and follow for more ideas.
To do this, go into an individual board on your Pinterest page and click the bar with the three dots next to the board stats (to the right of “edit board”), then select make a widget. Copy and paste the code into the “text” tab of your post wherever you want it (mine are at the end of posts) and it will show up, looking pretty!
TIP: If you’re short on time, add board widgets to your 10-15 most popular posts and then add more to other posts in the future!
The Moral of the Story?
In about two and a half months, with really very little time spent on Pinterest, I have more than doubled my following, and this number is growing every day.
Your Pinterest following will also depend highly on the type of content you produce and pin. If you are writing well, you will increase your pageviews and subscribers as well! My Pinterest “success” (which may not seem like a big deal to larger bloggers but it means a lot to me!) has also carried over into helping me share encouragement with many new readers that stay! My monthly pageviews have quadrupled since I started blogging again back in September and my email subscriber numbers are growing each day.
One Last Thing…..
Pinterest followers and viewers aren’t just numbers to me, nor should they be to any blogger! They are valuable readers (and potential readers) who are looking to be encouraged and challenged as they search for answers.
Let’s be there to support them and provide information that is helpful, empowering and a blessing to each person that comes across our blog, via Pinterest or some other way. After all, the more we refine our message and share the way we are called, the more appealing what we write about will be to the more than 80 million Pinterest users in the world.
**UPDATE: Since writing this post 9 months ago, my strategy has stayed largely the same. I have been excited to see that consistency over time really does make an enormous difference in repins and traffic. The traffic aspect of Pinterest is what I have been focusing hard on these past 9 months.
Even with taking a couple of short breaks from blogging and social media, my Pinterest followers have quadrupled since I originally wrote this post and my traffic has exploded. My traffic from Pinterest alone went from 17,000 pageviews per month to almost 50,000 per month! (My monthly total pageviews from all sources are currently at 100,000).
Again, I am not a “huge” blogger by any means, but I am learning that when I see that I am making measurable progress and getting my content in front of the right people that this is the right kind of growth that will lead to long term success and a sustainable income and opportunity to encourage and teach others. This is happening in large part because of the principles, strategies and action plans in the Elite Blog Academy course.