Pinterest can be a blogger's best friend. On Pinch of Yum, Pinterest is the #2 source of traffic – right behind Google.

Operating somewhere between social media and organic search, Pinterest is in a unique place to help your content go viral – even if you're new to the blogging game. 

In this article, we'll be covering some Pinterest basics, as well as our best recommendations for making your content stand out. We'll talk about:

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What is Pinterest, really?

Pinterest is not a social network

According to Pinterest's founder Ben Silbermann, Pinterest is NOT a social network – by design. That may come as a surprise for bloggers who intend to incorporate Pinterest into their social media marketing campaigns, but it’s not bad news and shouldn’t deter you from pursuing Pin-worthiness as a business goal and marketing strategy.

Quite the opposite. Unlike the toxic atmosphere that’s overtaken the Big Three social networks Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a recent New York Times post described Pinterest as “the web’s last bastion of quaint innocence” and “a safe and happy place for inspiration, self-improvement and salted caramel cookie recipes.”

Sounds like a good place to be!

Pinterest is a visual search engine

Rather than thinking of Pinterest as a social network, imagine it as a visual search engine and an aspirational online library housing more than 75 billion bright ideas.

Your readers use social networks to create a picture of their best selves that may or may not be realistic and to share that image with others. They turn to Pinterest when they’re actually taking action to become their best selves.

This means that they're coming to Pinterest to find ideas and actually utilize them. In the context of blogs, that means they're really excited about visiting your website after finding one of your Pins. ?

Why Pinterest is important for bloggers

Why should you use Pinterest for blogging?

It’s what differentiates Pinterest that makes it the perfect search and discovery platform for bloggers. Pinterest is where you can reach readers who are trying to achieve their goals and offer inspiration and information where they’re looking for it. You can cut through the noise and the pushy advertising pitches and get down to business.

Not only is Pinterest the perfect platform for getting discovered, but it’s a bustling one with more than 250 million active monthly users. And while you’ll have to compete against big name brands on the Big Three, Pinterest is a more democratic space. In 2017, 97% of Pinterest’s top searches were non-branded, meaning Pinners are open to the unknown and actively seeking new or smaller brands. That means you!

Best practices for making the most of Pinterest marketing

1. Perfect your Pinterest descriptions

When you recognize Pinterest for what it is – a visual search engine, you’ll realize intuitively the importance of Pinterest descriptions. This snippet of text comes from the data-pin-description attribute on an image, which can be hard-coded into your <img> tags. Our Tasty Pins WordPress plugin simplifies the process, allowing you to easily add important keywords and hashtags to maximize your reach.

A good Pinterest description:

  • Incorporates keywords that are likely to be searched
  • Entices the reader to click
  • Uses hashtags 

Check out our article on crafting perfect Pinterest descriptions to learn more.

2. Prettify your profile

It’s not enough to have pretty Pins. You need to make sure that your profile is also aesthetically pleasing and captures interest.

Take time to find a beautiful cover photo for each board and arrange all of your boards so that they look good together. You could arrange them in complementary categories or in a rainbow array. The options are limitless when you get creative.

After your boards are looking good, make sure to set some as Featured Boards in your profile. You can do this on the Pinterest Showcase Settings page. Select the boards that have the most “oomph” for you – maybe a board featuring all the best content from your website and then some of your most active and popular boards.

Pinch of Yum profile on Pinterest with Featured Boards including Quick & Easy Recipes

3. Grab their attention with video uploads

It can be difficult to stand out on a platform where everyone is putting their best photo forward. So why not upload a video that demands attention? Read our article on uploading videos to Pinterest to learn how.

Pinterest recently added the ability to save YouTube videos as Pins on Pinterest. When someone clicks on the Pin, they can watch the YouTube video right there on Pinterest.

Pinch of Yum Slow Cooker Beef Ragu video from YouTube, displaying on Pinterest

While this might boost your YouTube views slightly, videos that are either square or even vertical will perform better on Pinterest. Horizontal videos end up with black bars on the top and bottom of the Pin and don't take up much space, which means they may be more difficult to spot.

A few pins on a board on Pinterest, with the YouTube video having black bars on top and bottom of the thumbnail (to take up space) and the small footprint of the video Pin on the page

If you can, try exporting your videos in a square or vertical format and upload that directly to Pinterest for the best exposure and click-through.

4. Re-size to optimize

Vertical Pins perform best on Pinterest, but whatever size you use, make sure your Pin’s size is suitable for sharing. Pinterest recommends using an image that has an aspect ratio of 2:3 (think 600 x 900 or 1000 x 1500!).

5. Text-ualize your Pins

You know what grabs attention better than a beautiful image? A beautiful image paired with compelling text. If you’re a food blogger, include the recipe name on your Pinnable image. If you’re sharing your favorite Outfit of the Day, give it a catchy name. Whatever your niche, be sure to add your blog name and logo to every Pinnable image.

StitchFix does a great job with their text overlays. They're visible, but not obtrusive. The “button-esque” bit at the bottom is clever, too – buttons scream “click me!” no matter where you are. 

6. Force readers to save Pinterest-perfect images

Simply providing great images isn't enough. Readers aren't concerned about your Pinterest marketing – they just want an image that will jog their memory when they search through their boards for that great idea they saw a few months ago.

Thus, it's important to force them to save Pinterest-perfect images to their boards. This helps them help you in your Pinterest marketing.

In the image below, clicking the Save hover button on the image on the left actually brings up a similar, but more optimized, image that gets saved to Pinterest.

Comparison between image that is clicked (hand holding head of garlic) with the image that will bee saved to Pinterest (text overlay How to Peel Garlic image)

Learn how to do this in our blog post about how to force-pin images

7. #UseHashtags

Hashtags work like a reference book’s index. (You remember those weighty reference books at the library, right?) They pull images into unique categories, making it easier for Pinterest users to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Choose a few hashtags that capture the essence of your Pins and use them to help categorize your Pin. You can read more about how to choose hashtags wisely in our blog post here!

8. Use Repin IDs to boost pin popularity

Using a repin ID allows new saves from images on your website to be attributed to an existing Pin on Pinterest. That means that your Pins will have higher repin counts, which improves Pinterest SEO.

Pinterest Repin ID field in the image block sidebar of WordPress

We recently wrote an in-depth article on what the repin ID does and how to utilize it effectively. Check it out!

9. Pin consistently

Consistent Pinning keeps your brand in front of your potential audience, serving as a constant reminder of how awesome your blog is. However, we know it can be difficult to stay on top of sharing, even when it’s good for business.

We love the Tailwind app, which empowers bloggers to schedule Pins, offers valuable insights on optimal pinning times, and providing useful analytics for improving your Pin performance.

10. Track your Pin performance

Speaking of Pin performance, you can’t improve it without cold, hard data. Pinterest offers some information on Pin performance in the Pinterest Analytics, and apps like Tailwind provide even more detail.

Track your most repinned Pins to find out which content is working, and then create more like it. See which Pins have the best click-through and style your other Pins similarly.

Pinterest analytics dashboard showing daily impressions and viewers, as well as the top pins from the last 30 days

Check out this podcast from Simple Pin Media about using Pinterest Analytics to guide your content creation strategy

Pinterest is for the long-haul

It's commonly said that Pinterest is a long-term game, just like organic search. You start promoting yourself there now and you'll see returns in about 6 months. 

The nice thing is that Pinterest traffic tends to build on itself. Once you start seeing success, that success will continue to grow – so long as you keep feeding the fire.

Use the best practices in this article to start – or continue – growing your exposure on Pinterest and take a slice of the Pinterest traffic pie home with you.