The Top 5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Killing it on Pinterest (and How to Fix it)
As bloggers, we hear it every day. This person gets their best traffic from Pinterest. Another person says forget everything but Pinterest because it was made for bloggers. All along we may be seeing little to no traffic from Pinterest.
I don’t know how many times I see people confused by their lack of achievement in what so many claim to be the quickest and easiest way to get your traffic booming. I’m not even going to lie, for much of my first year of blogging my Pinterest game was pretty weak. I had read all of the Pinterest tips and tricks and made all of the changes but I was lacking on the secret sauce.
With just a few simple changes everything turned around and I went from 10k pageviews a month to 300k in no time. In this post, I’m going to lay out a few super simple Pinterest tips and tricks you can do to get your Pinterest game on like a pro.
First and foremost, though, you need to make sure your blog itself is in order so that when you start getting those click-throughs they stick around and see what you have to say. Check out my post on common blogging mistakes to make sure your blog is rockin before getting started on Pinterest traffic.
If you don’t even have a blog yet but want to jump into the game check out my post for quick and easy setup and get your blog started today!
Reason 1: Nobody’s Pinning Your Stuff!
You put time and effort into making an awesome post that you know everyone will love but you’re seeing no return on that work. Your analytics are in the dumps and just can’t figure out what is going on. I read this all the time in groups I’m in and more often than not see one of a few things wrong with the content.
No Sharing Buttons
This should go without saying but it is a much more frequent problem than you would think. Your post can be the best thing on the internet but once the reader gets to the end there’s nothing but a comment box.
Another one I see is a blog with sharing options, but only Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Your posts will not get on Pinterest without a clear way for readers to put them there. Even with the best content readers aren’t going to go out of their way to pin it.
On top of that, even fellow bloggers who go to your site may not pin it because your sharing buttons are telling them that Pinterest isn’t a priority for you. There are a number of different plugins that you can use on WordPress sites (which I personally recommend because they are so easy and versatile). I personally prefer Shareaholic because it places sharing buttons at the bottom of the post and allows you to put sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest right on your images.
Your Buttons Aren’t Getting the Right Images
Do you pin your own posts? You absolutely should be, and we’ll get a little more into that later in this post. However, by pinning your own posts you are able to make sure that your “pin it” buttons are pulling up the right images.
This is a tragic mistake that I see on a number of blogs. Some even have lovely Pinterest images within the body of a post but when you go to pin it only the featured image, or another one in the body of the post comes up.
When you have a new post up it is imperative that you pin it to your own blog board (or wherever you want it) to make sure that your readers are getting the right image. It’s been discussed over and over but now more than ever it is so important to “put your best face forward” when using Pinterest. You have to grab the viewer’s attention in a short amount of time so it is imperative that you have the best image possible being pinned every time your post is shared.
Update: It is no longer recommended to pin directly to your blog board first. Instead, you should be pinning to a topic relevant board because Pinterest uses information from both the pin itself and the board it is pinned to first to decide if your pin should be shown in a search. This means that a new recipe should go to your recipe board first. Even better, if you have a new cupcake post and a cupcake board make sure it goes there. The more relevant the better here.
Reason 2: You Don’t Have a Pinterest Optimized Image
Pinterest is most definitely a visual platform. You can have the best keywords and pin descriptions but without an optimized image, you aren’t going to catch the user’s attention for them to read them.
Go to Pinterest yourself for a minute and search for something. More often than not you are going to scroll through until you find an interesting image that relates to your search. Even better if there is clear, readable text on the image that tells you exactly what you are going to find if you click that image. Don’t get me wrong, keywords and pin descriptions are important but you have to catch the user’s eye for them to be useful.
Long Pins for the Wins
I know you have heard it over and over if you have been researching Pinterest growth and performance but after quite a bit of testing, I can verify that longer pins do so much better than small ones. Not only do they give you the option to have multiple pictures of the recipe, project, or other information you are presenting but they give you room to add text without crowding everything.
There are tons of great articles on the use of red in your text and certain images over others (and we’ll get into that in another post) but to start with you have to make sure you have a specific Pinterest optimized image every time for it to get the most eyes on it.
There are a ton of ways that you can go about making long pins for your posts. This article briefly goes over using Canva, Picmonkey, and Photoshop to create pins ( and hide them in your post so they only show when someone hits that pin button).
The program you use is completely up to you based on your resources and abilities. One good thing about Picmonkey and Canva is that they have premade templates for medium and long pins that you can use to make your own pins. These two are also a good choice if you can’t afford Photoshop or feel overwhelmed by it.
Update: Long pins are no longer the preferred size when choosing a template to use on Pinterest. In fact, “giraffe pins” are being phased out in favor of the medium size pins.
Lay on the Text
As mentioned above, pins with a text overlay briefly describing your post will get more attention than those that are just an image. Sure, your pin might make sense to you and directly relate to your article. Without the context of having read your article, though, it’s just a random picture to someone who comes across it on Pinterest.
Now, this can work for some niches but in many, it is imperative that you add a strong message to your image to distinguish it from the sea of others that come up. What do you have to offer in your post that is new and different (and pinnable!)
You don’t want to write a whole new mini post on your image, though. Using a tool like Co-Schedule’s headline analyzer come up with one powerful sentence that will set your pin apart.
Think of it as an irresistible call to action to make users want to know more about what you have to say. Most importantly, make sure that it is readable on mobile. The majority of Pinterest users are scrolling through on their phone.
As much as you may love that script font you found it may not be readable on smaller screens. Generally, sticking to a block font is your best bet to make sure users can read your strong message the minute they land on your pin.
Reason 3: You Aren’t Describing Your Pin
You’ve done everything right. Your image is unique and interesting with the most powerful text you could think of and you still aren’t getting pins or even views. Scratching your head you go to your blog board to look at your pin and below the image you see 534789435658489.jpg.
I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to pin something from another blog and noticed this come up. Adding a pin description to your image is another great way to let users know exactly what they are looking at and how it can help them.
Not only this, but it is the only place you are going to be able to make use of keywords for your particular pin. You can use all of the keywords you want in your image but the system isn’t going to pick them up and show your pin to users searching them unless they are in that description.
Get in the Alt Habit
Every time you put an image onto your site that you intend to use on Pinterest it is so important to get into the habit of adding a pin description to your alt text line. This is the area that it will always pull from when adding an image to the site. ( shown below)
When adding your text be sure to keep keywords in mind. What are people going to be searching for to find your pin? If needed, take a look at your Pinterest analytics to see where your readers’ interests are and tailor your description to trending topics.
Not sure where to find this information? Head over to your Pinterest profile and click on Analytics in the top left. From there you want to look at Overview and click on “interests”. This will give you all of the keywords that those who are seeing your pins are interested in.
For the longest time hashtags were a Twitter thing. Nowadays they are more important than ever on Pinterest. By using keyword relevant hashtags you can add a little more boost juice to your images and get them in front of eyes that are going to find them irresistible. I always try to add three highly relevant hashtags to my pins and have been seeing results by doing so.
The important thing, though, is to really do your research and find the top hashtags that will add the most bang for your buck rather than arbitrarily throwing ones in there that you like. Always follow your audience. While many on Pinterest love recipes you will have the most luck by looking at your analytics to determine what kind of recipe. Maybe #healthyrecipes or #chocolaterecipes are the top ones for your readers.
Just like with long tail keywords you will do better with more targeted hashtags because there will be less competition and you are pinpointing those who will have a real interest in what you are offering.
Reason 4: You Hit it and Quit it
I know, believe me, I know. As bloggers, the last thing we want is another thing that needs maintenance. We have so much going on besides just writing awesome content. In fact, it almost seems pointless to repin your things on Pinterest because as a search engine your things should come up when someone is looking for them, right? Wrong! The more your pin is out there on high traffic boards the more likely it is for Pinterest to say “hey people really like this pin” and show it to more people.
When you pin your image only one time to a board it will undoubtedly get lost in the sea of information that is flowing through Pinterest every single day. You should always be looking at your analytics and your past pins to find ones that you can repin to give a little extra boost to.
This is especially true for seasonal or holiday pins. Did you write a Christmas post last year? You had better believe that repinning it this December will get it back into the rotation while leaving it on a board for someone to discover on their own will leave it lost and alone.
There are great low-cost programs like Tailwind where you can create a pinning schedule to revive your old pins from time to time. When doing this, however, it is important to get them on a variety of boards rather than just your own blog board.
Group boards are a great way of getting your content out there with similar content and getting it noticed. Pingroupie is an awesome resource for finding niche specific group boards. There are a number of great Facebook groups featuring open group boards as well.
Update: According to the latest research it is recommended to only use group boards that are very niche specific. General group boards or those that cover a variety of topics are not bringing the level of traffic that they once did. Instead, the jumble of information coming from large multi-topic group boards may cause your pin to get lost in the mix. When possible, pin to boards that directly reflect the niche of your blog or a particular pin.
Reason 5: You Don’t Have a Strategy
Just like your blog is a curation of your favorite thoughts and topics your Pinterest game should be the same. Those who are absolutely killing it on Pinterest have a well thought out, researched, and consistent strategy. Without these things, you may gain some traction, but to maintain that traction you have to go into it with a plan and stick to it.
Pinning in the Right Place
Do you know the group boards you are posting to or did you just pick them because they are in your niche? How active are those boards? Are they getting you repins or do your pins just kind of hang out there? Knowing and using your analytics is a huge aspect of your success or failure when using group boards. ( A failure is never a failure, though! It’s an opportunity to look at what you are doing and reevaluate your plan!)
While you can get some of this information from Pinterest Analytics I highly suggest using Tailwind to review your pins on group boards because it allows you to go over all of your pins and decide where you are getting the most action. ( Use this link to get a month FREE and see how you like it!)
If a board isn’t doing anything for you then look for a replacement that is better suited for your niche. While it is
important to have your pins on niche relevant boards, it is even more important to get them onto boards that are active enough to keep your images in view. ( As mentioned above, pinning to highly active boards that perform well to you IS important. However, finding niche relevant boards is more important than ever)
It is also important to pin more than once! Some boards are so active that your pins will get buried quickly. While you don’t want to spam them you do want to take the time to gauge how active a board is and determine how often you should be repinning your content to make sure it is seen.
Finding Your Tribe
Along with group boards, putting your pins into Tailwind Tribes will help them to gain even more traction. I have found that these tribes are far more niche specific and are a great way of sharing your content with other pinners and their audiences.
More often than not, they seem to be better at targeting individuals who really want to see what you are sharing. Many have ratios that others have to follow to pin your content out of the tribe as well, which only further helps to get your pins out there.
Just like adding your pins to group boards it is important to add your pins to relevant boards on your own profile. You should always have a blog board so that readers can find more of your content if they like what they see but it is also important to have keyword specific boards on your profile that you are putting your own pins in along with those from others to help them be found.
A strategy is a big player in the game here as well. Rather than just pinning your own image onto your board it is better to live pin based on a topic and add your own pin in as one for that topic.
For example, if you have an Easter cupcake post that you have a pin created for you would want to pin it to your group boards, blog board, and a board you have created for a trending Easter topic. When doing this search and add another 3-5 pins to the Easter board. This will help Pinterest know that this is an active board for a trending topic and will give your pin a little more oomph in the search results.
Share What Works for You!
Are you planning on trying out any of these tips? Be sure to come back and let us know if they worked! I’m sure they will as I’ve seen amazing results by making these changes to my own strategy and I’m excited to see the awesome success you guys can have by doing so.
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