At the Blog Elevated Conference, I learned even more about using Pinterest with my blog! It’s a great tool for bloggers and currently my #1 referrer. Here are 6 Pinterest Tips for Bloggers. [Are you following me on Pinterest?]
Is your blog primed for Pinterest?
Pinterest is a top top traffic driver online and shows no signs of slowing. I’ve been reading a lot of posts on how to utilize Pinterest and have attended two sessions on Pinterest. The first was with Bobbie Byrd, who spoke at a Houston Social Media Breakfast. Bobbie blogs at the Clumsy Crafter and burns things, so you know I feel a kinship. She has had several of her pinned posts go viral. Did you see the Water Blob Tutorial? Or the Dollar Store Flower Pot Halloween Costume? That’s her! Here are five tips and tricks from Bobbie and elsewhere online to optimize your blog for Pinterest.
I also got to hear from Stacy Teet at Blog Elevated, which was fantastic. She has 264k Pinterest followers and calls herself a curator of content. She urged us to think of ourselves the same way: we are curating content on Pinterest and also creating content on our blogs. What a great way to think of our role as bloggers using Pinterest. You want to curate well on your boards and create great content on your blog that can then be curated.
These first tips (there will be a Part Two) deal with the creating role: how to optimize your blog posts for Pinterest.
1. Always have an image.
If you want your blog to be Pin-able, you need an image. (This is a great blogging principle in general.) Consider the image the face of your post. Who doesn’t like a pretty face? If you don’t have a fancy camera or don’t feel like a great photographer, it’s okay–you can work on that. In general, keep the light good, the photo focused, and think of whether it’s something YOU would re-pin. Use free sites like BeFunky, Pinstamatic, or PicMonkey to add words to your image, but don’t use words on EVERY picture. If your post isn’t DIY, food, or another category with easy photos, add a quote from your post to a colored or patterned background along with a watermark of your site address. Instaquote is a great site where you can create an image of your words on a background.
2. Prep Your Image.
Though I prefer horizontal pictures on my blog, vertical images show up better on Pinterest. A great size is 700×900 pixels, and if you want a photo with white space and words underneath, the full size should be 700×1200. I use Photoshop to size my photos, and in WordPress, I can format the image in the post to be 70% of full size so it’s not enormous.
*For more on optimizing your photos, Between Naps on the Porch has some great tips.
3. Label Your Image.
I admit that I often take down descriptions that come with a pin. Mostly because “I made this last night and my very picky mother-in-law said it was amazing compared to my normal cooking” does not honestly describe my relationship with the pin. But if you do not add a label, when people pin it, the description will be whatever it is named on your computer, possibly something like IMG_5504. You can change the name on your computer or the “alt tag” in WordPress or Blogger. Be specific, be true to your post, and consider adding your website address here as well. Some people might still change your description, but put your faith in the laziness of mankind and assume they won’t. Try to find that balance of personal and universal. You want something that grabs the attention and makes people want to pin it, but also is not so specific (like my bad example from above). If you are using words on the image itself, don’t just repeat the words! And do NOT give away the whole recipe or all the instructions in the description. You want people to come visit your blog, and if they get all they need from the pin itself, they won’t.
*If you want more ideas on labeling photos, check this great post by i am baker.
4. Have Pin It buttons.
Social share buttons are a must on each post (I like ShareThis) but you can also find a number of ways to add a variety of Pin buttons by each image. This may take a little more knowledge (or fudging of) code, but the Pinterest Goodies page has some helpful code for you to use. If you aren’t confident in html coding, make sure you back things up first so you don’t delete your whole blog accidentally. (Not that I’ve done that.) One benefit to a hovering “Pin It” button is that users on their phones can pin. Growing numbers of people use their phones to read blogs, and you want them to be able to pin your amazing work, right?
*If you are using blogger, Code It Pretty has great instructions to install with minimal coding. For WordPress, here are 15 great plugins for Pinterest users.
5. Market your content, but be YOU.
If you struggle with how your lifestyle blog might work with Pinterest, take a long look at your content with fresh eyes. Your blog is a brand, even if that brand is YOU. What do you offer your readers to keep them coming back? What makes you unique? What do you have to offer? That same content can translate to Pinterest. For some reason, I used to feel like posting my content to Pinterest was oddly self-aggrandizing, though I do it all the time on Twitter and Facebook. Now I try to think of ways I can write what I would normally write, but in a Pinterest-friendly way. For example, when I almost set the kitchen on fire making breakfast, I could write a post entitled 3 Ways NOT to Catch Your Kitchen on Fire with a graphic of my burned toast. Catchy, right? This is where you can also utilize quotes on a background and create a stellar quote image that will have people re-pinning to quote boards.
*You can read a great interview about how a blogger used Pinterest to drive blog traffic on The Social Craft.
6. Go back and update past posts for Pinterest.
Now that you’re thinking of your blog in terms of Pinterest, go back through past posts and optimize them. Add an image or a better image. Add graphics and a description if you didn’t already have one. Tighten up your writing. Consider this a little bit of cosmetic surgery for your posts. They were great in their natural state…but with an itty-bitty facelift, they could be even better.
*Melissa Taylor from Pinterest Savvy has 3 easy steps for updating old posts for Pinterest.
I’ve come a long way in the last few months with optimizing my own blog for Pinterest. I don’t feel that I’ve changed who I am as a blogger, but how I think of marketing myself, which also changes how I blog or what images I use. Come back for Part 2 of this series where I’ll discuss being a good curator of information on Pinterest.
Have you found Pinterest to be a great source of traffic for your blog? Do you have your own Pinterest tips? Questions about how to optimize your content for Pinterest?