I first joined Pinterest in 2010. The site was very new, and you had to request an invite to use it and you could only log in using your Facebook login. There were no secret boards or group boards yet, and people were only just starting to use it. BUT it was a game changer.
Before Pinterest I would store all the inspiring images I found online IN A FOLDER… ON MY COMPUTER. It was not a good system. It was harder to reference, hard to organise, took up space, could easily be lost, didn’t link to the source and wasn’t sharable.
So when Pinterest came on the scene, I didn’t give it a second thought, I applied for an account right away.
What started a way for me to better collect inspiration as a creative, soon also became a way to promote my own work and bring traffic to my site.
For a long time, I didn’t pin my own stuff. It didn’t seem the right etiquette, for a site about collecting and sharing inspiration. But as more and more people pinned my work and blog posts, I soon saw it become the primary source of traffic to my site. I also became aware that I had a large following on there without really trying, really it was only because I was obsessed with it and pinned an awful lot. There was no strategy involved.
So when I decided to get out of my baby bubble after my second son was born, I did a lot of research into how I could improve and grow my business. My blog traffic had dipped dramatically as I had struggled to post as much, and there had been changes to google which affected my site traffic.
So one big thing I wanted to work on was my Pinterest strategy, in order to recover and grow my traffic again. I knew I had a Pinterest following, I knew it brought me traffic, so it was time to get serious and really make the most of it and use it with strategy and purpose.
I took a course from some amazing Pinterest experts (more on that at the end of this article) and got to work on creating pins for my blog posts and pinning them with more intention, as well as improving my account.
Today I wanted to share with you some of my tips to create perfect Pinterest graphics so that you can use Pinterest to bring in more traffic and get your blog posts and your creative work is seen.
THE IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF A GOOD PINTEREST GRAPHIC
Whether you are creating a blog graphic or a portfolio graphics for Pinterest, the first thing you need to consider is size. On Pinterest long portrait size images do best, as the width is set on the Pinterest feed, but the length is more open-ended (it does get cut off if you get too long) which means a portrait image appears bigger and is more noticeable and easy to see and read.
The ideal size is a 2:3 ratio. A good size is 736 x 1104. You can experiment with making them longer, but don’t get too carried away. If your graphic is a list (text or visual), infographic, or showing the parts of a portfolio piece then a longer pin may be best, but if you are doing it for the sake of it, it may be viewed more as space hogging and unnecessary.
CLEAR AND ATTRACTIVE
Pinterest is a visual platform, so if your pin has a text header it needs to be clear. Remember it will be shrunk down in the feed, so large text will make it readable and enticing. Be sure the text is clear and bold.
Use colour and images to make it more attractive. If your pin is just to promote a blog post that is mostly text-based, use images that relate to the subject or bold colours, that will make it stand out, and more fun.
Your pin should be well designed and balanced. Often simple is better unless you are doing an infographic. Don’t make it messy or confusing. Think of it as the teaser to what you want them to click to, don’t overload it.
If you want your graphic to attract clicks and not just re-pins, you need to think about what will get someone to click. Curiosity plays a big part here. While infographics, step-by-steps and lists may get lots of re-pins, they give everything away. People will re-pin it for later reference, but won’t feel the need to click, as the pin shows them all the info they need. These pins used occasionally can be good to get you seen on Pinterest, but if you want click-throughs to your site you need to get people curious about the content. This can be done through both text and image. Think about what would get someone wanting to click and learn more. Headlines that spike curiosity, and images that get them wondering.
This can be more challenging with portfolio work. But if you display you’re working a beautiful way, if someone is interested in working with someone with that style, they will likely click to find out more about them. If they are only looking to be inspired, then they will likely just re-pin.
Allude to something free! If you have a freebie attached to your blog post, show it in the pin and add a little ‘free download’ text to entice them to click and grab the freebie.
If you are pinning something you sell, make it clear this item can be bought. This can be done by adding text(e.g ‘new-range’ ‘now in store’ ‘beautiful handmade items’ ) or by using rich pins (more on that soon).
STAY ON BRAND AND BE CONSISTENT
Well, branded pins will make you recognisable. If someone enjoys your posts and spots your branded pin, they will instantly know it is you and want to click. And for people who are new to you, as they see your posts pop up, they will start to recognise them as familiar and it may get them curious to want to check out who you are.It is part of creating brand awareness.
Creating the perfect branded templates can take time to perfect. You may want to start with a few style and layouts and create a few pins for the same thing to see what performs best and what people are most attracted too. Once you get the hang of what works you can start to get more and more consistent in your pin style.
While in the testing phase, a good way to still maintain a brand style is being consistent with your colours and fonts.
Don’t forget to also add your web address or logo on all your pins, so if things get unlinked or broken links along the way (a bit like Chinese whispers) then your pin will always be credited back to you. This also helps brand the pin. Even on portfolio items, be sure to add your link at the bottom, so it is clear that the work is yours.
MAKE YOUR GRAPHICS EASY TO PIN
While you will be pinning your own pins, you also want to make it easy for your readers and fans to pin your images too. The best way to do this with a rollover ‘pin it’ button. So when the reader puts their mouse over your image a button appears prompting them to pin the image, and when they click it brings it up on Pinterest, making it very easy to pin. In WordPress, my favourite plugin to do this is called ‘jQuery Pin It Button for Images’. It allows full customisation so you can position the button where you want, change the size and upload your own image. You also have control over what images have the button and what doesn’t, based on image size or class.
You can also add Pinterest share buttons at the end of your post, but this doesn’t give you as much control over which image is pinned unless you use something like Social Warfare.
SEO FOR YOUR PINTEREST IMAGES
Pinterest is a search engine. The way people find your pins is through search. So it is important to make your pins as searchable as possible.
This includes the image file name, image alt text, the pin description and the name of the blog post or page it links to.
Decide what keywords someone may be searching for the find your content. Type them into Pinterest search and see what other suggested keywords come up too.
You can also try this Pinterest Keyword Chrome extension for suggested keywords to add to your pin description.
Finally, to make the most of your pins, you should apply for rich pins. Rich pins add extra details to your pins and makes your pins look more official and professional. There are 4 types of rich pins:
So if you are selling products, leading to blog posts or sharing recipes, it will make a big difference having rich pins.
To apply for rich pins you can follow the Pinterest official instructions here.
PERFECT YOUR PINTEREST STRATEGY
In the past year, my Pinterest account has grown by over 3000 followers and my website traffic has increased by 48% (yep nearly doubled!). All because I started implementing a Pinterest strategy, rather than just pinning pretty things I liked and using it purposefully to bring traffic to my blog and portfolio.
Of course, I didn’t magically work it all out on my own, I am a designer, not a strategist. So when I came across the Pinterest course from Create & Go, I was intrigued. I am always a little hesitant in buying courses, wanting to be sure it lives up to its promises and is worth the investment. But after watching some of their free training videos, and learning a lot, I realised these guys really knew how to harness Pinterest in a big way and I could benefit from their wisdom.
I loved how they included clever little ninja secrets and are always updating the course with the latest changes on Pinterest because it is an ever-changing platform. There is also a Facebook community, so you can easily ask questions and get advice on areas you are unsure about or need help with.
The course is aimed at bloggers, so if you blog for your business, this is ideal. It doesn’t cover the other types of pins though such as portfolio pieces, shop items or affiliate products, but much of the strategy can easily be adapted to your needs and may inspire you to include blogging as part of your marketing strategy (because it really does make a big difference, and has always been [since2007!] my number one way to bring people to my business.)