“No way, NO FREAKIN WAY.”
Staring at our laptops from Alex’s mom’s house in Colorado, we were dumbfounded, confused, and VERY excited!
After struggling for months trying to grow on Google and Facebook, our little health and wellness blog had just gotten its first 100 visitors in a single day.
And all of this was coming in, completely free and organic, from Pinterest?
No paid ads, no running around begging for backlinks to get Google traffic…
What was equally shocking to me at the time was that the results didn’t stop…
- 100 visitors turned into 200 visitors,
- 200 into 500,
- and 500 into 1,000.
Eventually leading up to over 500,000 visitors in a single month.
And we STILL average over 7,000 views/day to our health and wellness blog from Pinterest alone:
Not only that, but our sales also rose dramatically with this traffic, leading us to make over $100,000 in our first year with our health and wellness blog.
Pinterest is hands down the best-kept secret in online marketing.
Yes… Even still to this day even with every blogger known to man selling some Pinterest “Mastery” Course.
Perhaps the best part about it is that because it’s such a different platform from the rest, most marketers don’t understand it and don’t want to waste their time on it. They give up too quickly.
Pinterest, like everything in life, is all about what you put into it.
We have seen dozens of bloggers and internet marketers show up to Pinterest, create a profile and some boards, pin a few things, and wonder, “Alright, where dat traffic at?”
I didn’t say it was EASY.
But it clearly can be done.
Just look at the results from a couple of our students…
Amy, from The Wherever Writer, had a HUGE jump in traffic after she implemented our Pinterest strategies.
John had a pin go viral using our strategies and got 89,000 page views in a WEEK!
The truth is that if you show Pinterest love, Pinterest will love you back.
And we’re going to show you just how to do that.
Take the time to read this post entirely and get a truly in-depth understanding of what’s going on and why Pinterest exists, and it will serve you well.
This ultimate guide to Pinterest Marketing will cover just about everything from WHY it’s so important to creating your account getting started to optimizing your profile and website for success.
Let’s do this.
Most of the strategies discussed in this article and the examples presented come from our health and wellness blog, Avocadu.
It was this first Pinterest account for Avocadu that we poured our hearts and souls into learning EVERYTHING there was to know about Pinterest and maximizing our traffic to our blog.
We’ve reached over 500,000 monthly views to Avocadu with Pinterest and now have over 100,000 followers on our account:
We were able to achieve this within our first two years of starting on Pinterest and only because we dedicated all of our time to mastering everything there was to know about the platform.
And we’re ready to share our knowledge and experiences with you in this guide!
Why Pinterest Marketing is Great for Online Businesses
Some Interesting Facts and Demographics on the Users of Pinterest
- Founded in March 2010 and is valued at over $11 billion
- 250 Million Active Monthly Users
- Millenials are using Pinterest just as much as Instagram
- Half of Pinterest users make over $50k/year and 40% of Pinterest users make more than $100k/year
- 50% of users are from the US
- 80% of all Pinterest users access the platform on a mobile device
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a “visual discovery engine” for finding ideas and inspiration on various topics: home, design, fashion, etc.
A more comprehensive user definition:
Pinterest is a place where people curate, consume, and share content that they find relevant and important.
Remember those old cork boards where people would pin favorite things (tickets, photos, important documents, etc.)?
This was the original idea behind Pinterest.
You can essentially create “boards” where you can pin ideas, products, and content that you like and want to save for later.
What are Pinterest boards?
Pinterest boards are where you save the ideas that you like or want to share with others.
You can create a board for whatever topics you like (hair, fashion, recipes, etc.).
BUT if you’re using your Pinterest account for business, it’s best to stick to boards related to your business.
Our health and wellness account has boards in the following categories: yoga, healthy eating, diet, weight loss, etc.
These boards are where you will be posting all of your blog content, so they should be related to the topics and subtopics of your content.
There are also group boards where you can collaborate with other people to share pins from around the web centered around a specific topic.
But we’ll discuss that in more detail later.
The “ideas” or content that you save on your boards are called pins.
What are Pinterest pins?
Just like pinning ideas to your corkboard, you pin the content that you like to your own virtual Pinterest boards.
Here are some of our pins in our Yoga board:
Every pin on Pinterest is linked to a website.
You can link articles, recipes, products, and anything else with a valid URL.
If you’re running an account for your blog or business, most of your content will link back to your own blog, like this pin that links to our yoga article:
When you click a pin, you’re automatically directed to the website that it’s linked to.
When you save a pin to one of your boards, your followers can see the pin and save it to their own boards if they so choose.
This is called a repin.
Just to clarify:
- Creating your own content or creating an original pin from content you discover online = Pinning.
- Sharing someone else’s content you discover on Pinterest = Repinning.
There are all kind of Pins on Pinterest, including infographics, photos, quotes, and even buyable pins where you can buy or sell things directly on Pinterest.
You can discover new pins by other people (and others can discover your pins) in your home feed, which is just a feed of constantly updated new content:
When you find a pin you like in your home feed, you can click the save button to save it to one of your boards OR you can click it to view the website it’s linked to.
What kind of content and ideas can be found on Pinterest?
Pretty much any topic you can think of will have some presence on Pinterest.
Health and fitness content does not even make up 1% of what people search Pinterest for, yet we have over 80k followers and have over 300,000+ monthly fans visit our blog.
Popular topics include:
- Animals and Pets
- Cars and Motorcycles
- DIY and Crafts
- Film, music, and books
- Food and drink
- Hair and Beauty
- Health and Fitness
- Holidays and events
- Home décor
- Illustrations and posters
- Kids and parenting
- Men’s fashion
- Science and Nature
- Women’s fashion
You’ll also notice that Survival is not on there, yet I personally know of a survival blog that makes well into the million-dollar-per-month mark using primarily Pinterest traffic.
These topics are not limited to what you see, and almost any niche can find success here.
There is also video content on Pinterest, but they historically have not performed too well.
Unless Pinterest does a MAJOR change to its algorithm and/or they suddenly become more popular on Pinterest, we don’t recommend spending a whole lot of your time on video content on Pinterest.
Why Pinterest is Different From Other Platforms
Pinterest is not a “social” media.
The reason I say it’s not a social media is because of how people use the platform…
Compared to Facebook, Instagram, and others, no one is actually socializing on Pinterest.
There is the ability to comment on pins, but it’s very rare that people do and you can actually get your account penalized if you leave too many comments.
There is the ability to discover new content in the home feed without searching, but users primarily use it to search and discover new content.
Once they find that content, they generally save it to their own private account.
Sure, this content is sometimes visible to friends, but the platform isn’t about collaboration and sharing content. It’s actually closer to Google and YouTube than it is to Facebook and Instagram.
Pinterest is truly a search engine at its core.
Pinterest is a search engine.
This is KEY to what makes Pinterest SO much different and truly superior than other search and social platforms — at least when you’re just getting started.
Pinterest has infinitely more powerful for organic reach, than other, more competitive platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
Facebook and Instagram are great for connecting with others and sharing content, but they are rarely used to search and discover new content.
They’re a bit more passive in a ‘you’ve got to come to me’ sort of way.
Most Pinterest users are on Pinterest actively seeking out new content, ideas, and products via the search engine and their feed.
Think about it as sort of a fun, shareable, and visually beautiful Google. It’s also FAR less competitive than Google and much easier to get your content found.
Pinterest is ideal for getting visitors to read your content (and get OFF the platform).
Let’s switch gears and talk about YouTube for a minute.
When you create a YouTube video about a topic from your blog, it’s actually very difficult to get people OFF of YouTube and onto your blog.
Even when you use YouTube’s End Screen Annotations to include a link to your website, YouTube still makes you also include a link to another video.
Because they do NOT want people leaving their platform.
Instagram is the same way. It’s great for looking at pretty photos and actually fairly good for eCommerce as well, but blog posts?
I’m looking at beautiful photos of mountains and food and fit people.
I don’t want to read your article.
Pinterest, like Google, was designed in such a way that the whole point is to use it to find content and then immediately view that content.
This makes it a GREAT source of traffic for getting readers to read your blog content.
It’s just BETTER than Facebook. For a lot of reasons…
Pinterest is the best source of free, organic traffic for bloggers and website owners. It’s less expensive and less competitive than the other social media and search platforms out there, including Google, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
Great news for the rest of us.
Most markets are too focused on Facebook to pay much attention to anything else.
Here are some of the reasons we believe you should NOT be focused on Facebook:
- Reach is incredibly low. Like 10%-20% of people will see your organic posts (and this will continue to drop).
- It’s cluttered. Your posts will be competing with videos, funny memes, and updates from Grandma (who still doesn’t understand how FB works).
- Building it organically is incredibly SLOW. You really need paid ads and like campaigns to do this if you don’t already have a massive following or email list.
- Because of the above, getting traffic and visitors takes serious paid advertising. And ads are VERY expensive on FB.
- Even when you spend money on ads, people stop responding to them over time. This means a never-ending cycle of creating new ads and spending ad dollars. This means more time spent on being an ad expert and less time on being a creator.
- The demographic is all over the place. But it’s also quite popular amongst low-income earners.
- There are much better options out there for free, organic traffic.
Listen, there are plenty of people who make Facebook work, but personally, I don’t think you should waste your time unless you are very familiar with it and love spending time on it.
Or unless you have cash money to shell out on ads.
The only thing we use Facebook for is private support groups for our courses and our free blogging community. It’s actually GREAT for this.
But there are WAY better sources for free, organic traffic. Like Pinterest…
How to Get Started with Pinterest Marketing for Business
This next section is going to give you an overview of the steps of signing up for a new account for business and getting your account set up.
For a more detailed walk-through of setting up a brand new account on Pinterest, see our article here on driving traffic with Pinterest.
Create a Pinterest account and complete your profile.
First, head over to the Pinterest homepage. and click the link to “Continue as a business.”
Enter your business information follow the prompts to select related topics to your business and get everything set up.
Next, go into the Settings of your account and fill out your profile!
Add a business name and description.
Pro Tip: Include 2-3 keywords describing the main topics of your business in your business nane and description area. This will help your profile and content get found in search.
For your profile photo, you can use one of yourself or a branded image for your website. You can create an image in Canva.
The current Pinterest profile photo size is 165 x 165 pixels, but any photo in a square ratio will work. Pinterest will automatically resize your photo for you.
Claim your website and set up rich pins.
Next, you will need to claim your website so that Pinterest can identify all content that you post as related to your website. Rich pins also connect your Pinterest content to your website and can help boost your engagement on Pinterest.
The instructions in this section are for WordPress users only because you will need to first download the free Yoast plugin.
After downloading the plugin, navigate to the Facebook tab and make sure that Open Graph meta data is enabled:
In the Pinterest settings where it says to claim your website, copy the portion of your HTML tag within quotations:
After you’ve copied the code, go to your WordPress dashboard and click on the Social link under the Yoast SEO settings.
Then, navigate to the Pinterest tab and enter the confirmation code you copied from Pinterest into the Pinterest confirmation field and save your changes:
After you’ve saved your changes, return to Pinterest and click the Next button to finish the setup.
Pinterest will attempt to verify your website within 24 hours. When it has been successfully claimed, you will see a green checkmark next to your domain.
Now, you’re ready to set up rich pins as long as you have the Open Graph meta data enabled from the previous step.
If you don’t have a WordPress website, you can read more about the details on how to set up rich pins on Pinterest’s website here.
To set up rich pins, simply go to the Rich Pins Validator and copy and paste a link to any of your blog posts (NOT your homepage) into the field provided.
Click the Validate button, make sure HTML Tags is selected, and then click the Apply Now button.
Pinterest will review your submission and email you back within 24 hours to let you know that you’ve been approved!
Create a few Pinterest boards.
Now that you’ve set up your account, it’s time to get it ready for some content!
Create at least 5 boards to start with on Pinterest. These boards should have titles and descriptions related to the most popular topics on your blog or website.
Don’t spend too long on this. We’re going to talk more about optimizing your titles and descriptions in the next section!
You can also create customized board covers for your Pinterest boards in Canva.
After you save at least 2 pins saved on your board, you will get the option to set a board cover. Your board cover can be any of the images that are pinned on that particular board.
If you want to create your own board cover, the size we use is 500 x 500px.
The size of Pinterest board covers changes often and they sometimes look different on desktop than they do on mobile, so experiment a little with it if they don’t come out perfect the first time.
To set an image as a board cover, simply upload the image to your Pinterest board and edit the board settings to choose a cover.
Follow a few people and add some content to your profile!
Following people or brands in your niche will help you…
- Fill your home feed with relevant content to share with your followers
- Keep an eye on your what content your competitors are sharing
Use the Pinterest search feature to search for popular keywords in your niche and filter your results in the search bar by People.
Click on a few profiles and check out their content. If you think they post good content, follow their account or follow specific boards that are related to your niche topics.
After you’ve followed a few people or boards, return your home feed and scan it for some good pins to save to your boards.
Pinterest likes it when you share a combination of your content and other people’s.
You can also find new content to share using the search feature.
When you use Pinterest search, try typing in keywords from your board names or other similar topics related to your blog content.
When you search for content, Pinterest will automatically provide other popular, suggested keywords in the colored blocks below the search bar:
The Pinterest algorithm will then serve up “results” based on popularity, keywords, and other factors — in a similar way that Google or other search engines show search results.
When looking for content to share on Pinterest, keep the following in mind:
- Look for pins that are visually stimulating: large, beautiful images with readable text.
- Only save content that you believe your audience would be interested in and save on their own accounts.
- Click on the pin and check the URL where it leads before saving to make sure it’s not spam or blocked.
Make sure to always click through on Pinterest pins to view the website and make sure it has quality content and isn’t spam.
When you find a pin that you want to save, click on the pin, click the save button, and select which board you want to save the pin to.
Now that you’ve shared some content from other pinners, it’s time to create your own!
Create your first Pinterest pin!
Because this is a very visual platform, you will need to create your own images to succeed on Pinterest.
Creating beautiful, visually stimulating images will help your content get better engagement on Pinterest.
You can create your own pins at Canva.com, a free, photo creation software that you can use to create all kinds of different images and photo content for your website.
As stated in Pinterest’s creative best practices, your Pinterest pins should be in a 2:3 aspect ratio.
We recommend using 600 x 900 px.
Tips for creating your own own pins:
- Use stock photos (Pixabay or Pexels has a ton of free photos to choose from).
- Add text to your pins (Pinterest has software that can read and identify text and images on your phone).
- Include your logo on your pins for branding purposes.
Create at least 2-3 Pinterest images for every blog post that you have.
It’s best to avoid posting duplicate content (pins) on the same boards, so this ensures that you have a lot of content to share.
Promoting Your Content on Pinterest
The best tool that you can use to promote and share your content on Pinterest is Tailwind.
Tailwind is a software that connects to your Pinterest account and provides the following services:
- Schedule pins
- Analytics on pin engagement and performance
- Tracks new followers
- Specific board performance
- Collaboration tools for increased engagement
Tailwind is absolutely vital for success on Pinterest and you won’t’ find a Pinterest “expert” out there that doesn’t recommend it.
They are also on the list of third-party approved partners with Pinterest.
Using companies that are not specifically on this list and approved by Pinterest has caused business users to have their accounts shut down in the past.
So it’s REALLY important to only use third-party approved partners.
Next, we’ll go through the various features of Tailwind and show you how they can help you promote your content on Pinterest.
Scheduling Your Content on Pinterest
Scheduling your content will both save you tons of time and ensure that you get more engagement on your pins.
As you create more boards and share content every day, it will get tough to keep track of what content you shared on what day and on what board.
It also allows you to share content any time of the day (while you’re sleeping, on vacation, etc.) without having to be on your computer.
Using a scheduler just automates this process while also keeping your content organized.
There are a few different options out there in terms of schedulers, but Tailwind is our recommended scheduler because it also provides analytics and other collaboration tools that you will need.
When you add pins to your Tailwind schedule, you can set the boards you want to pin the content to as well as any future date that you’d like to pin it:
You can also change board descriptions within Tailwind and change the link where the pins direct to if need be.
You can also set up intervals on your schedule so you can space out your pins as much as you’d like.
In addition to scheduling your pins, Tailwind also tracks the performance of those pins:
Analytics on Pinterest Pins
The tools that Tailwind offers allow you to track the performance of your profile and your content over time:
It will show you the average engagement levels of your content and track your follower growth.
You can also use the Pin Inspector to view the pins you have previously saved and sort them by date, repins, etc.:
Seeing which pins are getting more likes and saves can help you create better content in the future.
Pinterest has analytics on the platform, but the data provided is notoriously ambiguous and shouldn’t be relied on very heavily.
Google Analytics is far more reliable for traffic stats and Tailwind analytics dive a lot deeper than Pinterest analytics.
By far my favorite feature of Tailwind is a collaboration tool called Tribes.
With Tailwind Tribes, you can join tribes of other pinners in your niche and share content with them:
This can be one of the best tools for growth for new accounts because it allows you to get your content seen by more people even if you don’t have many followers yet.
Like I said before, Tailwind is 100% necessary for quick and continued growth on Pinterest.
Without it, you’re pinning in the dark without a clue of what’s working and what’s not.
AND… They also offer a free trial. You sign up for a free 14-day trial of Tailwind here.
Other Ways to Promote Your Content on Pinterest
Join Group Boards
A group board is essentially a board from someone else’s account that the board owner has allowed you access to share your own content on.
When you save content to a group board, your content is exposed to the followers on that other person’s board (even if they aren’t following you).
Group boards can be a great tool for growth for new accounts on Pinterest because they essentially let you “share” followers from other accounts.
It’s INVALUABLE at the beginning when you have under 1,000 followers and are struggling with getting your pins seen.
In order to join a group board, you must first send a request and get approved by the person whose account the board belongs to.
The two best resources to help you find group boards on Pinterest are:
These tools allow you to search by topics and sort the group boards based on followers, number of pins, repins, etc.:
Make sure that the board has MORE followers than your account does, or you are just wasting your time (unless the board has very good engagement – you will need a Tailwind account to see board scores and engagement).
When you find a board that you like, first follow it, and then you will need to contact the owner:
- If they have an email address in the description of their board, that is your best option.
- You can also look to see if their profile is connected to a website and look for contact info on their website.
- The final option is to comment on a pin with a request to join, but this rarely works anymore as most people just don’t see their comments in their notifications.
Other tips on group boards:
Make sure your that you have already created some boards and pinned some content on your profile before requesting to join any group boards. Board owners (the good ones anyway) will usually look at your profile to judge whether your content is good enough to be on their boards.
It’s also important to check the performance of group boards using Tailwind to make sure that the board has good engagement.
Some group boards contain spam or other poorly performing content and this can actually hurt your own engagement.
How to Optimize Your Website with Pinterest SEO
As we stated before, Pinterest is a search engine at heart.
Because of that, SEO works similarly on Pinterest as it does with Google.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it means optimizing your content to rank better in search algorithms.
You’ve probably heard of SEO as it relates to Google. Including popular keywords in your articles and your headlines can improve your chances of getting found in search for those particular keywords.
There are many other factors that go into search algorithms, especially an algorithm as complex as Google.
But Pinterest’s algorithm isn’t nearly as advanced as Google’s, so it’s much easier to rank for popular topics on Pinterest.
You see, there are two different things you have to focus on when it comes to driving traffic with Pinterest.
- Pin design (to get clicks and engagement — we covered this above already)
- SEO and keywords (to get your content displayed in search results)
Having both of these is what will help you win the game at the end.
The Pinterest algorithm recognizes both of these factors when they rank content on the platform and display pins in search results and in the home feed.
How to Optimize Your Content and Profile for SEO
The first step in optimizing for SEO is to find your keywords.
The best place to do this is to use the Pinterest search feature to see what people are actually searching for on the platform.
When you type a keyword into the search bar, Pinterest will suggest other related keywords that people search for:
After entering a keyword, you can also see other popular keywords related to your main keyword in the colored boxes below the search bar.
You can click any of these keywords and it will start a new search with both keywords (i.e. yoga + for beginners).
These keywords are what you want to use to optimize your Pinterest profile, including pins, pin descriptions, board titles, board descriptions, and article titles.
Optimizing Your Profile
We discussed this briefly earlier in the article when we were setting up a new Pinterest account. But it’s important to include a couple of your main keywords in your name and your description on your profile:
When you search for topics on Pinterest, you can also find and sort results by People and by Boards. Including keywords in these areas can help your profile get found in search:
For your boards, you should include one main keyword in the board title and a few relevant keywords in the board description:
Make sure that your description makes sense and try to avoid keyword stuffing: adding too many keywords that don’t make much sense just to get your content ranked.
It’s better to have fewer, more important and relevant keywords than it is to have a ton of keywords that are less related to your topic.
Optimizing Pins and Descriptions
When it comes to your pins, you should include keywords in the following areas:
- Pin image itself (Pinterest can read text on images)
- In your Pin descriptions
It’s important to include your main keyword in a text overlay on the pin image itself. You can do this in Canva when you’re creating your pins.
You should also include keywords in your pin descriptions and in a couple of hashtags after your description.
It’s also best to save these pins to relevant boards that share some or all of the keywords. This helps to tell Pinterest what your content is about and that you’re saving it in the right place.
You can see in the photo above that my article title is also displayed…
Optimizing Your Articles
Pinterest scans pin titles and descriptions to rank them in searches, so it will increase your visibility even more if your post titles and pin descriptions match popular keywords.
Note that you must have rich pins enabled in order for your blog post titles to display in your pins.
Make sure to include keywords in your article titles and in the meta descriptions for each post (you can use Yoast SEO to do this).
Best Tools for Pinterest Marketing
Tailwind – Pinterest Scheduling, Analytics, and Collaboration
We already covered Tailwind and its services in detail above, so we don’t repeat ourselves. If you only download one of these Pinterest marketing tools, this one should be it.
You will not grow as quickly on Pinterest without it.
You can sign up for a free trial for Tailwing here.
Social Warfare – Social Sharing
Social Warfare is one of the best plugins around for social shares from your website.
You add beautiful social media sharing icons to your articles and also get a Pinterest hover icon to display over certain images to make it easier for people to share your pins on Pinterest:
If you don’t want to include a Pinterest pin in your article, you can also have one “hidden” in your Social Warfare settings so that when people click your Pinterest sharing icon, that particular image and description that you set will be shared:
This helps maximize your exposure on Pinterest because your pin and description are what is shared. Not some random image from your article (which people do share, by the way).
Social Warfare has had a few issues in past months with plugin updates, but we still prefer it despite the hiccups. If you want to look at an alternative, Social Pug is also really great and pretty comparable.
Pin Groupie and PinSprout – Group Board Search
We also discussed these tools earlier in this article, so we won’t go into detail again.
MiloTree – Follow Buttons
With MiloTree, you can create custom pop-ups on your blog or website that have follow buttons for your social media account(s).
Here is what it looks like using the demo on their website:
I personally didn’t see any increase in my followers after using this software a couple of years ago (I tracked follower growth using Tailwind).
But the software is still quite popular, so I would encourage you to run your own tests and see if it increases your followers.
I do think that this is the lowest priority of the Pinterest marketing tools, so if you’re on a tight budget, you can let this one go.
You should not place much emphasis on Pinterest followers anyway because Pinterest is primarily a search engine. Content matters far more than followers.