Work smart, not hard. During sophomore year of high school, my AP European History teacher told us this adage when it came to studying for the big exam, but I’ve found that this “work smart, not hard” mantra is one to adopt for all of life, including blogging and business ventures. One great way to work smart not hard on your blog is through Pinterest. This search engine platform is my biggest driver of traffic — it’s brought more than 115,000 visitors to my site and my account has nearly 400,000 monthly visitors. Let’s chat about how to use Pinterest for blogging.
This post includes affiliate links, which means I may earn a kickback from included links. These come at no extra cost to you and help me run my blog. All opinions are my own.
How many times have we as bloggers agonized over an Instagram story or Facebook post? That sad thing is that those disappear off news feeds very quickly. Unlike these social media platforms, Pinterest, which is a search engine, lives long beyond its publish date. Pins that I published years ago are still bringing traffic to my site. Now that is what I call working smart, not hard!
I want to give you specific tips and tricks to help you understand how to use Pinterest for your blog because again, it’s been my main driver of traffic. And I’ve barely spent anything on advertising. You certainly can drive mega traffic to your blog without spending a dime on Pinterest advertising. Let’s dive into how to use Pinterest for blogging.
Take a mini course or webinar
One of the best investments I’ve made for my blog is watching 30-minute webinar trainings to inspire and teach me a new aspect of blogging. And it’s a great way to learn more about Pinterest for your blog or business. If you’re a true beginner, then Pinterest Academy is for you. This is the place to start if the thought of Pinterest for something other than a wedding or recipe board makes you shiver. Okay, maybe just the entire platform itself. Pinterest Academy is a series of free online courses made by Pinterest itself. And the whole curriculum takes less than an hour.
If you’ve already dipped your toes into the Pinterest world and want to kick it up a notch, Jenna Kutcher is the gal to meet. She delves into more of the algorithm, creative direction and strategy. The algorithm changes every so often, but recently, she recommended pinning 1 to 2 times per day. And that’s how I’ve attracted nearly 400,000 monthly visitors. Take her free masterclass here. (And get her free and downloadable Pinterest guide.)
Make your graphics vertical
For some of you, the thought of making a graphic sounds terrifying. You’ve never taken a graphic design class; heck, your socks never match. So how are you going to create gorgeous graphics for your blog on Pinterest? Enter Canva.
Canva is full of free templates and even has all the preset, ideal sizes for each social media platform and other mediums such as posters or business cards. And it’s free! You can get inspiration from their templates or freestyle it. Upload your own photos or use their stock images. Sign up for a free account here.
But no matter what, when you’re planning for Pinterest, use vertical photos and graphics. The ideal dimensions are 1000 x 1500 px. Horizontal photos do not perform well on Pinterest, and you will already be two steps closer to success if you can do this one simple trick.
Make a list of blog posts ideal for Pinterest
If you’re just learning how to use Pinterest for blogging or if you need inspo, a great place to start is making a list of blog posts that are ideal for Pinterest. Not every blog post you publish will be a great fit for the platform, and that’s okay. For example, I’ve published some more reflective pieces like my thoughts on graduating and my announcement that I’m moving to France. For my blog and brand, it doesn’t make sense for me to post these because most people won’t be searching for posts like these unless they already follow me.
Okay, Kristin, so what blog posts are ideal for Pinterest? I’m glad you asked! I recently published a post on the best SEO tips for bloggers, and because Pinterest is a search engine, lots of these tips apply. Think about what people are searching for and where your blog can serve them. It could be anything from how to bake the best chocolate chip cookies to the best summer activities for kids.
A good rule of thumb is that if your blog post is a how-to or offers helpful tips, it’s going to be a great fit for Pinterest because these users often refer back to their boards and are looking for solutions and inspiration. Some of my top performers are graphics with French phrases, things to do in St. Louis and things to do in Destin.
A great way to organize and list out blog posts you think will be ideal for Pinterest is through Trello. I like to organize them into themed columns such as U.S.A. destinations or Tips and Tricks. Each box links to the different posts, so when I’m scheduling pins (we’ll get to that), I can have a bird’s eye view of what content I can promote.
Use a pin scheduler
How do bloggers have the time to be on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for hours every day? Kristin, I can’t add another platform to my reservoir!
Hey, guess what? They don’t. To succeed and scale, bloggers and business owners rely on social scheduling, and it’s been so helpful for my brand. I did a free trial of Tailwind, which has all the Pinterest scheduling bells and whistles. I enjoyed my trial, but it’s not currently in the budget.
If you’re okay with a simpler scheduler or aren’t ready to invest money yet, it’s all good. The Pinterest platform has its own scheduler if you have a business account, which is a quick fix if you don’t have one. When you add a pin, you can click whether you want to publish immediately or later. The pro is that it’s free; the con is that you can only schedule two weeks in advance and can’t edit once you’ve scheduled.
I also use Hootsuite for my other social accounts, and they offer pin scheduling. Sign up for a free account here.
Take advantage of Pinterest’s resources
Fun fact: Pinterest wants you to use its platform. And they have some fabulous resources for bloggers and business owners wanting to upgrade their Pinterest game. Pinterest also has a blog with resources and success stories. I get a monthly newsletter with what’s trending on Pinterest and marketing strategy ideas. (It should pop up when you click on their Business Hub.) Resources galore!
Use the search engine’s search engine
Umm, English please, Kristin? Hear me out. I learned about this trick in a webinar years ago, and it is a game changer. (And it can be used on Google, too!) If you’re struggling for post ideas or want to use the best keywords in your pin description and title, here’s what you need to do.
Type in a keyword of your blog’s niche. Examples: “recipes with,” “outfits” or “travel.” See what people are looking for. Do you have any content that can meet their needs? Could you craft a blog post to answer the questions people are asking? Here’s what this looks like:
Along with inspo, this helps you narrow in on what people are searching for. My blog offers content for French language learning, and before I used this trick, I thought it was enough to include the word “French.” But when I type in the word “French” into the search engine, the top suggested results are about French toast, French nails and French bulldogs. And that has nothing to do with my content! Using this trick helps me target my pin by adding phrases like “French language learning” or “French language lessons.”
Make it practical and SEO-friendly
It’s easy to get stuck in the algorithm and what looks cute, professional or on brand. But at the end of the day, Pinterest is all about your brand, whether it’s a blog or business, meeting the needs of your readers. Pinterest users are planners, they want solutions, they’re savvy, they want to be inspired. And you have something to offer them. Maybe it’s a fishtail braid tutorial. Perhaps it’s prom dress inspiration. Or how to budget. Maybe it’s homeschool ideas.
All that to say, make it as easy for Pinterest users to see your content and know quickly if it will meet their needs. And although there are some different tactics for search engine optimization for say Google, many of these principles apply. Here’s a quick rundown of making sure your blog is SEO-friendly.
If you have made it this far, pat yourself on the back. You have a solid understanding of how to to use Pinterest for blogging. It might feel like drinking through a firehose, but between you and me, Pinterest is my favorite platform. It focuses on function before fancy photos, and a pin’s life is much longer than a day or two, like other platforms’.
Just starting out your blog or haven’t even hit publish yet? Take my free blogging video series, Blogging Basics. You’ll learn how to set up a blog, come up with post ideas and promote like a pro. (Oh, and also get an exclusive offer to upgrade your blog!)