If you’ve been paying any attention to the blogging world, you’ll probably have read that Pinterest for bloggers is a magical source of almost unlimited free traffic.

Now that’s not entirely untrue, Pinterest can result in some great traffic. The problem is that most of the articles are written by people that got lucky with a huge group board or put in hundreds of hours to get anywhere.

For most people, that’s not sustainable. The majority of bloggers have another job and are blogging on the side. So what is a realistic performance for most bloggers?

I started using Pinterest around 3 weeks ago. I didn’t pay for a course and I haven’t spent a crazy amount of time on it. I’ve done what I think is a realistic amount of work for most people.

So how am I doing? OK, actually. Here is my Pinterest for bloggers report after a few weeks of use…

The first few days were quiet, with just 2 or 3 visits from Pinterest each day. I wasn’t too worried, I wasn’t expecting anything amazing.

Yesterday after 3 weeks of following my simple strategy I got just over 60 unique visits from Pinterest, with the daily number having risen quite smoothly and consistently since I started. Last week I had around 340 total Pinterest referred visits, and I expect that number to be higher this week.

Sure, those aren’t numbers that anyone is going to retire rich off, but by sending most of my traffic to a landing page I’ve managed to grow my mailing list by between 8 and 20 people every day.

With little effort and no spend, that’s a performance I’m delighted with. If you would be too, here’s how I did it.

  1. Sign up for Tailwind. There is no way around it, you need to be using Tailwind to automate most of your pinning.
  2. Create a Pinterest account under your blog name. If you already have an old personal one with some followers then great, convert that into a business one.
  3. Create a load of boards with names that are relevant to your niche and that use terms people are searching for on Pinterest. Check out my “naming Pinterest boards” section below. I have around 30 boards, check them out at pinterest.com/dontdoanmba if you’d like an idea of how I work
  4. Give the boards good descriptions, using as much of the character count as you can. Try to get in lots of keywords/search terms in the description so your board stands a better chance of appearing in search results
  5. Install Social Warfare on your blog. Check out the section below on installing and using Social Warfare
  6. Enable rich pins on your Pinterest account. Instructions below
  7. Create a Pinterest graphic for each post you write. If you’ve got a big back catalogue, pick a few key posts and then make sure you’re doing this for all new posts. Use Canva to create the graphic, instructions below.
  8. Create a pinning schedule in Tailwind. I would start with 4 or 5 pins per day while you don’t have many graphics, then increase this as you design more. I currently pin about 15 times each day
  9. Interact with Pinterest directly through the website or app occasionally so they can see you’re a real person. Pin a few graphics from other people. Infographics work well as people like to look at them but don’t tend to click through to the website, so you aren’t promoting other people too much.
  10. Join tribes on Tailwind. Most of them are open to anyone, so you can join without having to get lucky with who accepts you. Try closed ones as well though. I’ve explained tribes below.
  11. Pin lots! For each Pinterest graphic you have made, add it to the schedule for each of your boards that is relevant. So for example if you have a post on blogging and 15 blog related boards, that’s 15 pins already added to your schedule.
  12. Follow lots of people on Pinterest that are interested in relevant subjects. So if you’re looking for people that are interested in blogging, find an existing popular blogging board and follow the people that are already subscribed to it. Some of them will follow back, meaning you’ve got more people seeing your pins. Try to do this every day, it only needs to take a couple of minutes.

Naming Pinterest boards

Pinterest is a search engine as well as a social sharing platform. Sure lots of people are just browsing around, but many more are searching for stuff that interests them.

That means we need to think of SEO when building and managing a Pinterest board just like we would when writing a blog post.

What does that mean?

  • Make sure you’re getting keywords into the board name
  • Get keywords into the description
  • When pinning content, get keywords into the individual pin description

Finding keywords is quite simple. Just head to Pinterest and start searching. You’ll see that the search box autocompletes with some popular terms. Focus on those.

When you actually run a search you’ll see other suggested terms. Focus on those as well.

Installing and using Social Warfare

Social Warfare is a premium plugin but it’s cheap and worth having. Once it is installed you’ll be able to easily set default images for your blog so that when content is shared on Pinterest or social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, an image and description show up by default.

More importantly for us here, it allows us to populate the information required to use “rich pins”, which just means that when the content is shared on Pinterest more details about the post show up. Pinterest likes this and rewards it with higher prominence.

Pinterest for bloggers: All the options you can configure with Social Warfare
Pinterest for bloggers: All the options you can configure with Social Warfare

Buy Social Warfare and then install the plugin on your blog.

Once you’ve installed it you’ll see the above options on every blog post you write. Fill out each of the boxes with the appropriate details for the blog post and add images.

Now, whenever someone shares your post on social media or Pinterest, your data will be displayed alongside the link.

Setting up rich pins on Pinterest

What are rich pins? Well basically, they are just Pinterest pins with slightly more information displayed. Pinterest gathers this information from your blog when a pin links to it.

If your blog is set up to support rich pins, Pinterest will show a bit more information about your posts and give you a little bit more prominence.

To enable rich pins, follow Pinterest’s own instructions or:

  1. Install Social Warfare which will do most of the work for you
  2. Pick an existing post that you want to use to get started. Edit that post and fill out the new Social Warfare section that you’ll find towards the bottom of the edit page
  3. Check that it’s worked by submitting the URL at https://developers.pinterest.com/tools/url-debugger/ (feel free to test this post if you like, to see the result you should get)
  4. As long as your URL was approved you’ll be able to submit a request to have rich pins enabled for your blog. It can take up to 24 hours to get approved, but in my experience, it doesn’t take anything like that long.

Do make sure that you’ve installed Social Warfare first though, and filled out the information for the post you’re submitting. The section just above this shows the Social Warfare settings and shows you what information should be in each section.

Using Canva to design Pinterest Pins

If you’re a great designer you could use Photoshop (or your software of choice) to design your Pinterest images, but for most people the best option is Canva.

Just some of the template sizes Canva offer
Just some of the template sizes Canva offer

Canva provides a load of existing Pin templates that you can customise, and also makes it very easy to build a design of your own using just drag-and-drop elements.

A selection of my Pinterest and social media graphics built in Canva
A selection of my Pinterest and social media graphics built in Canva

Using tribes on Tailwind

A tribe (in Tailwind terms) is just a group of people sharing pins on a related subject. Anyone with a Tailwind account can create a tribe or join an existing one.

Some tribes are “closed”, meaning you need to apply to join. Others are open, so anyone can join.

Each tribe will have its own rules, but usually there is an expectation that for every one of your own pins you submit to the tribe, you will share one of someone else’s on your account.

If you join as many relevant tribes as you can and get involved, you’ll find that you start getting shares from other people with more followers than you. Each of those shares increases the visibility of your pins and so your blog.

There is an “insights” section of Tailwind that will tell you which tribes are performing well for you and which are not. Keep using the tribes that result in lots of shares of your content, leave the ones that do not.

Scheduling pins on Tailwind

At its heart Tailwind is a tool for pinning to Pinterest for you. As I mentioned before, that doesn’t mean you should only pin through Tailwind (Pinterest likes to see some real interaction), but most of your pinning should be done through it.

Start by accepting the pinning schedule that is recommended for you. You don’t know when your audience will be active, so just trust Tailwind. Over time it will suggest more and more good timeslots to post in, and unless you have good reason I would follow the advice.

Click the “Create a new pin” button and choose the “upload images” option. Browse your computer and find the graphic that you have designed.

Pinterest for bloggers create pin
Create a pin in Tailwind

Set the URL to link to the blog post and write a description. Make sure you get lots of nice keywords into the description.

Pinterest for bloggers draft pin
A draft pin. Set the URL and description here

Submit it to any tribes that you are a member of and that are appropriate for this content.

Pinterest for bloggers tribes
Pick the tribes to submit to

Select any of your own boards that you want to add the pin to

Pinterest for bloggers boards
Submit to your own boards

Click the add to queue button. If you’ve got a few different pins lined up, you might want to shuffle the queue so you mix them up a bit.

Pinterest for bloggers summary

That’s pretty much it! If you keep up with this routine, making sure you build up to around 15-20 pins every day, you’ll start to see traffic turn up. Try to avoid sharing other people’s content too much though – only share enough to allow you to stay within the rules of the tribes that give you good results.

Once you’ve got everything set up the only work is creating 2 graphics when you publish a new blog post, submitting a pin to Pinterest when you publish an article, and spending a minute or two each day interacting with Pinterest. It really is only a few minutes work every day for free, consistent traffic.

If once you’ve done this, you want to take things further then you might want to consider one of the Pinterest for bloggers courses that you’ll see all over the place. Personally, I’ve yet to be convinced by them from their descriptions, so I’m happy doing my thing. Perhaps I’ll even bundle it all together into my own Pinterest for bloggers course at some point!