How to Use Pinterest for Your Blog


guide to pinterest - how to use pinterest for your blog

Did you know Pinterest is a visual search engine?

All the rules about keywords, regularity of posting and search engine optimization apply. This is great news! If you’ve got a good handle on SEO, you’ve got a big advantage on Pinterest.

If I just lost you with that statement – don’t worry.  This guide to Pinterest is going to start at the beginning, with the basics.

Let’s get cracking…

Pinterest works like a virtual pin board. Users take an image they like and ‘pin’ or save it to a ‘board’. Boards are like categories (or folders, really), keeping the place organized. Each pin contains a link to the website it was pinned from, hence the traffic and why it’s such a good medium to use.

…and create your Pinterest account.

  1. Open Pinterest.com.
  2. Enter your email address and a password and Sign Up.
  3. Enter your name, age and sex.
  4. Choose at least 5 topics to follow.
  5. Get the Pinterest Browser button (it’s worth it) and an add on will install. You will now have a cute little Pinterest P icon up in the browser that will allow you to pin any images on the websites you visit.
  6. Don’t forget to confirm your account via email.

Setting up your profile to attract followers

There are only a few places you can optimize to attract followers. So, make them count.

First up is your profile. For best results – have a direct, to-the-point profile with a strong call to action.

Let’s get it sorted now.

  1. Click on the Pin top right to get to your profile.
  2. Click Edit Profile.

guide to pinterest 2 Edit Profile

Your photo

This should be of YOU, not your logo or a picture of your dog. So upload your best happy snap. Note – images should be good quality, not blurry or with weird lighting.

Your Bio

You have very limited space for this, so don’t waste time waffling. Get directly to the point.  You can use this example as a guide:

I help …………… (moms/dads/new bloggers/people) to ……………………….(do something) by ……………………. (how). Come on over to my website for …………………… (reason, such as a free course etc) ……………… (link)

I help new bloggers to grow their audience using Pinterest. Do you want to learn the secrets of the Pinterest Pros? Take my free course: LINK

Boards

What sort of things are you going to pin in your niche? These should be your boards.

If you’re stumped, search for your main topic on the Pinterest bar.

Find pinners in your niche and spy on their boards. Create similar boards for your account.

This is how you create a board:

  1. Click on Create a Board.guide to pinterest 6 create a board
  2. Enter the title of the board – note, this is not the time to get cute. You need searchable, keyword driven titles (sorry).
  3. Enter a description – this is your chance to add more keywords (SEO) to help Pinterest know what it’s about. For example, blogging, blog tips, new bloggers etc. Don’t be shy to add a lot here, though you should make sure it makes sense don’t just stuff your keywords in.
  4. You need to select a category for your board. (If you blog about blogging, this is Technology.)
  5. If you aren’t ready to share it with the world yet (or you want to keep it private), you can toggle it over to Secret and no one will be able to see it except you.
  6. You can turn your board into a Group Board by inviting collaborators here.
  7. Click create. You now have a Board to save pins to.

Essential Boards

You need to have a board for your own content – regardless of niche. This should be the very first board on your profile. Name it your websites name. 

For example, some pinners use ‘The Best of WEBSITE NAME’.

You must have other boards to appeal to your target audience so they will recognize you as an authority in your niche. You can pin your own content and others content to these boards.

Examples of other boards you might have if you blog on blogging:

  • Blogging tips
  • Email marketing tips
  • Social media tips
  • Monetize your blog

Some pinners also recommend having boards that aren’t niche specific but that your audience would like. For example, having a Food board when you blog about blogging.

I’m not a huge fan of this approach. I prefer laser-focused Pinterest accounts.

The one exception is if you are participating in Facebook promotion groups – you’ll need all different types of boards to reciprocate pin sharing.

Group boards

Once you’ve followed a lot of people, you might start getting invitations to group boards.

Some won’t be niche related. Decline those.

Only join boards that are relevant to your niche. Don’t be afraid of posting to group boards (I found it a little nerve-wracking the first few times!), just make sure you are pinning your best stuff and don’t spam.

You may want to make your own group board. I recommend building the board up with 50+ pins first before inviting others to join you. No one wants to join an empty board.

Validating your website

For this section, I’m assuming you are using WordPress and have All-In-One SEO or Yoast SEO installed. If you don’t, please install one.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/

Validating your website means that your website will show up like this in your profile:

guide to pinterest 7 verified siteIt looks a lot more professional.

To do this, click on the pin in the top right and Edit Profile.

  1. Enter your website.
  2. Click confirm.  This gives you a pop up code that starts with a meta tag.
  3. Copy the big long number immediately after the word “content”.
  4. Jump back into your website now.
  5. Go into All-In-One SEO plug in menu and scroll down until you come to the Webmaster verification section.  Enter your long code in the space provided.

guide to pinterest 4 AIO SEO

Then scroll to the bottom and save.

If you are using Yoast – go into the Social tab, then the Pinterest tab.

  1. Paste the long code into Pinterest Verification field.
  2. Now scroll to the bottom and click Update Options to save it.
  3. Back on Pinterest, click Finish and Save or, hey why don’t we convert to a business account now? Its super quick and easy.

Convert to a Business Account

If you are using Pinterest for your business or for your blog, you definitely want to upgrade to a business account.

You get access to all kinds of things as a business account user, such as:

  • Analytics
  • Promoted pins
  • Rich pins

These features are awesome and absolutely must-haves to run your biz.

To convert your account, you’ll notice that there’s a link saying ‘convert to business account’ when you are trying to validate your website. Click it.

guide to pinterest 5 convert to business

Then:

  1. Enter your business name.
  2. Enter what category your business falls under.  Give special consideration to professional (includes bloggers).
  3. Enter your website and click continue.
  4. Confirm your website by clicking in the yellow box that appears at the top of the screen.
  5. This time when you click finish, your website will be verified.

You’ll notice that your profile name display has now turned into your business name.  You can alter this if you wish to include your name, I like it in this sort of format:

Cath | This Mama Learns

Enable rich pins

Rich pins are just another step towards making your pins look professional. What is the difference between a rich pin and a normal pin? It actually varies slightly depending on what type of rich pins you have enabled – there are six different types of rich pins:

  • Article
  • Product
  • Place
  • Recipe
  • Movie
  • App

I’ve only used Article pins, so that’s what I’m going to cover in this guide.  I’m sure that enabling the other types are similar in process.

Here is a picture of a rich pin, side by side with a non-rich pin.  Can you see the difference?

guide to pinterest 8 compare rich pin

  • My favicon and website name appear at the top section of the description.
  • My article title appears in bold just below that.
  • A short description is pulled directly from my site. Great!

To enable rich pins in All-In-One SEO, you first need to enable Social Meta by visiting the Feature menu and enabling it, then its simple:

  1. Click on Social Meta.
  2. Ensure that Autogenerate OG Descriptions is checked.

In Yoast:

  1. Go to the social tab.
  2. Ensure that Add Open Graph Meta is checked.

Now you need to visit Pinterest and validate your rich pins, it’s ridiculously easy – go here:

Rich Pin Validator

  1. Enter in the url of a blog post and click Validate.
  2. A message will pop up that says “your pin’s been validated!”
  3. Click Apply Now.
  4. A pop up will appear with your website’s domain and HTML tags selected.
  5. Click Apply Now.

It may take Pinterest a little while to approve your rich pins, but when they do your pins will appear with your favicon and website name.

Developing a Recognizable Pinterest Brand

Once you get started with Pinterest, you’ll start to realize that most of the serious users have a strong brand unifying their pins which makes them instantly recognizable.  This is not as difficult as you think.

I personally use Canva. And free stock photos. It’s super simple. And looks great.

Pro tip – spend a bit of time creating your first pinnable image and then use that as a template for all future images.  It works really well – I rarely spend more than 5 minutes (if that) creating my graphics these days.

Some pointers for images that do well:

  • Tall, portrait oriented images.
  • No human faces.
  • Red, orange, pink and purple colors.
  • Text overlay that is big, bold and easy to read.

Affiliate Links on Pinterest

After a long dry patch, Pinterest is now allowing affiliate links again.

What you need to know:

  • Cloaked, shortened or pretty links are NOT ALLOWED. Only the full (ugly) link is allowed.
  • You can’t pin from Amazon (their Terms of Service preclude it).
  • Many common digital affiliate programs are blocked as spam – Wealthy Affiliate and Clickbank included.

There are some specific affiliate programs that work fantastically well with Pinterest, like ShopSense.  You can Pin directly from their selection – affiliate link included. Huge time saver!

Pinning

So, what is a Pin anyway?

Here’s a pin:

guide to pinterest 11 Pin

There are quite a few options you have to interact with it.

You can like it, save it, schedule it (if you have a scheduling app like Tailwind), comment, follow the user who posted it, send It, read It and check out who else has interacted with it.

Whew!

What to Pin

Your boards are looking a little lonely.  We need to fill them with some awesome pins!

There are a few places to find pins. You can pin from:

  • Pinterest – either the smart feed or other users directly
  • Any website via sharing buttons
  • Any website with the Pinterest browser Add On
  • Uploading an image from your PC and creating a pin manually (not really recommended, unless you are creating multiple pins for the same post)

When pinning, you need to select a board to pin to and hit the save button.

guide to pinterest 12 pinning
And what should you pin?  

Firstly, pin your own stuff (all of it).

Then, pin high quality content in your niche (the majority should be pins from influencers and peers).

Note – best practice is not to pin anything unless you’ve checked that it meets your standards for quality. Some pins have been altered to spam links, so always check it.

And that’s a wrap…

Pinterest is a fantastic traffic tool.  It accounts for about half of all my blog traffic. Other bloggers report that Pinterest is their number 1 traffic source.

So, it’s definitely worth your while to master.

Annnnnd… I’ve made it super easy for you! Just sign up for my free Pinterest course, Pinterest Power Up below.

 

Pinterest Power UP

28 thoughts on “How to Use Pinterest for Your Blog”

  1. Excellent post! I found the information very useful. I have paid for less information than you provided in this post.
    Thank you for being straightforward and transparent! I just launched my freelance writing website so that I can earn an income while I get my blog off of the ground. Because of the information found here, I have a bit more motivation to create a plan and get it done! Best of luck to you and keep up the good content!

  2. Hi your guide is interesting. One thing I would like though, is how will I be paid doing all of this… through what site? and What method?

    1. I’m not sure I understand your question Cheryl.

      There are a couple of ways you can make money using Pinterest:
      1. Master using Pinterest for traffic and business and offer it as a service. You would set your own rates and take payment however suits you best, I use PayPal.
      2. Using affiliate links on the site. You need to sign up for affiliate programs, create pins, and use the links they provide you on Pinterest. If someone makes a purchase, you make a commission and the affiliate program owner/network will pay you when you reach the payout threshold. Payment is usually via PayPal or by cheque.

      Hope that helps?

  3. Hi Cath,

    A really good introduction on how to start using Pinterest. I’ve been looking for a solid Pinterset 101 and it’s like looking for gold dust. They all assume that you want extra tips to squeeze out more traffic when all I want is a proper guide on how to start without shooting myself in the foot at the initial steps.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Jon,
      I’m glad you found my guide helpful. I remember my newbie days and wishing that people would start right at the beginning rather than jumping straight into schedulers and tools. I just wanted to know what buttons to click where to add a pin to my account! I hope this guide helps you grow your Pinterest account with no foot shooting.
      Cheers,
      Cath

  4. Hi Cath, thanks for this awesome guide to Pinterest. I am working on my new Aromatherapy blog and am planning on launching it in a few days. I created all of my images on Canva but I used the theme’s recommended image size. I am using a Genesis theme. I’m a little confused as to what I should do now. Do I need to re-do the images using the Pinterest image size or do I create separate images for Pinterest? Thanks, Diana

    1. Hi Diana,
      I’m glad you’re finding the guide helpful! What is your theme’s recommended image size? If it’s still a rectangle, taller than it is wide, I’d probably just go with it. If it’s a square or wide rectangle, I’d create separate images for Pinterest.
      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks Cath. Yes that helps. I am referring to your article as I go about creating my Pinterest business account and realize I have a couple of questions. How do I go about it if I have multiple niches? Should I retain my personal account name and just create different boards for the different sites or do I need to have separate accounts for the different niches? Thanks very much in advance for your help. Diana

        1. Hey Diana, I’m glad you’re finding my guide helpful! You could work with one account and see how it works for while. The only problem I can see is that your account won’t be as focussed as someone who has one niche. I’m also pretty sure you can only verify one of your sites with Pinterest.

  5. Every time I try to confirm my website, it pops up, “Oops! API method not found. Looks like we had trouble connecting to your website. Please try again later.” What does that mean? How can I get it to work?

  6. Hi Cath!
    What a great guide! Pinterest is no joke. I recently started hitting it hard (after years of pinning here and there) and OMG my traffic from Pinterest has gone up so much in a month!

    Passing this super helpful post on!

    1. Thanks Corinne 🙂 It’s amazing what a focused Pinterest strategy can do! I’m in the same boat (my stats were sitting at the same level for a few months) and can’t wait to make a blog post about how they’ve skyrocketed!

  7. Time to up my Pinterest game! I have been focusing on Instagram recently-mostly because it is so fun, BUT I get like zero traffic from Insta. So, I guess it is time to spend some energy somewhere else. Pinterest here I come! Thanks for the tips!

    1. No worries Dara 🙂 I hope this guide helps you out – let me know if you have any questions. I’m always happy to help.

      Perhaps I’ll be asking you for your tips on Instagram someday soon 😉

      Cheers
      Cath

  8. HI Cathy I have also struggled a bit with Pinterest and I would have initially used it more as a catalogue of images. So I found it really interesting that you compared it to being a visual search engine, that does indeed make sense and would be how I’ve seen it used.

    I also hadn’t see the rich pin categories so I will certainly go and re-examine how I am using Pinterest. I had let it slide a bit but hopefully I have a few more tools to kickstart my image media campaigns again, thanks.

    1. Hi Marie – once you’ve made the connection re Pinterest being more of a search engine it really changes the way you see it (and should change the way you use it). For instance, now you know that keywords are incredibly important and everything you know about SEO you should incorporate into your pins.

      Rich pins are great and they also make you look more authoritative. Let me know if you have difficulty getting rich pins enabled. For some reason it took me ages to work out, but it really is as simple as I’ve described in the guide.

      Cheers,
      Cath

        1. Hey Marianne, do you mean stop someone pinning from your site? Here’s the instructions from Pinterest on how to do that: https://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/prevent-people-saving-things-pinterest-your-site Or, delete pins that have already been saved to Pinterest? You can only delete pins that you’ve pinned on Pinterest. If it’s your pin and someone else is using it to link their content, you might be able to contact Pinterest about it.

          Hope that helps!
          Cath

  9. Wow Cath! I’m impressed by your amazing guide on starting on Pinterest. I couldn’t agree more with you that when starting out with social media, we should start by focusing on one channel. I’ve tried starting on social media but I was distracted by the different channels and couldn’t really make a huge progress on any one of them. Personally, I have not used Pinterest before. But after reading your guide, I want to start on it as well as you’ve made it very clear on the steps.

    Maybe in the future when you get started on Facebook and other social media, create similar useful guides as well? I’ll be looking forward to it:)

    1. Hi Jerry, I’m glad I could help you out 🙂

      I really do think you should focus on one social media channel at a time. I mean, lets face it, when you are just getting started and have never used a particular channel for anything but personal use, you don’t know how to apply it to a business setting.

      Once you really learn, nail and automate (as much as possible) with one channel, then you should move on and learn a new channel.

      I’d definitely recommend you start learning Pinterest – in time it could become one of your best traffic sources, as it is for many bloggers.

      Haha, I might have to find someone else’s guide to follow when I get started on the other social media channels. I have no clue with those!

      Cheers,

      Cath

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