When Pinterest first launched in the spring of 2010 I opened an account, but didn’t use it. I didn’t get it. I understood that it was a virtual bulletin board and I could see the value in collecting inspiring images for future projects, but I didn’t see it as a tool to grow my business. How could sifting and sorting through other people’s images possible help me make money? It seemed like a waste of time.
Then in the spring of 2013 my friend, Stacey, came to stay with me for the weekend. “I pin for work,” she said. That sentence changed Pinterest for me. I asked her how. She sat down next to me and said, “Okay, you’ve got 2,000 followers already. What do they like?” She suggested I make boards that related to my products. A turtle board, for example, and a nursery rhyme board. “Pin beautiful images you find along with images of your products.” About to release an owl pattern? Create an owl board a few months prior and build a following. Then, when your owl is ready pin it there and you’ll drive traffic to your new product.
Suddenly I saw that a presence on Pinterest was important for my business and it was something I was entirely in control of.
The first step in my plan to build my Pinterset following was to set aside time in my schedule when I could pin consistently (and enjoy it! Pinterest is fun.). I found that the Pinterest app for the iPhone is really easy to use and I started pinning from 7-7:20 pm while my youngest daughter takes a bath. She plays with tubby toys and I sit on the bathmat next to her and pin. This schedule is sustainable for me and it allows me to spend a limited, but concentrated time on Pinterest every day.
I now have 14.5K followers on Pinterest and it’s consistently the #1 driver of traffic to my blog (almost 30% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest each day – that’s astounding!).
Pinterest is worth paying attention to.
But here’s the thing. When I started blogging back in 2005 there was no Pinterest. My blog content from that pre-Pinterest period, including the tutorials, aren’t optimized for Pinterest (meaning that they don’t include the kind of vertical images that do best on the site). So, I’m embarking on a Pinterest experiment. I hired Naomi Grebe, a fellow sewist who is working with me now on some tasks for my business, to create long images for each of my free patterns. First, I set up a secret Pinterest board and I pinned all of the beautiful long images I was seeing. I shared the board with Naomi so she could see what I had in mind and she got to work.
Here’s an example of what she’s making:
And now I’m going through all of those old tutorials and adding the new long images. I watched this super simple video tutorial to learn how to insert some special code into my WordPress posts so that the image will show up in Pinterest, but stay hidden on the post itself. Clever!
My goal is to increase the traffic to my site that’s coming from Pinterest. Whenever you employ a strategy with the goal of driving traffic you need to think through what you’ll do with that traffic when it (hopefully!) comes flooding in.
I have no ads on my blog so I’m not making money from traffic. For me, in everything I do, the end goal is for visitors to sign up for my newsletter. With the HelloBar popup in place I know I can do that. A new visitor clicking over from Pinterest is here for the free tutorial and isn’t very likely to buy something from my shop on that first visit, but if they’re intrigued enough to put their email address in the box they very well may buy something a few months from now after they’ve gotten to know me a little.
I’ll check in on the effectiveness of my long images experiment in three months, six months, and a year out. I’m feeling pretty confident that it’ll work.
If you’re interested in learning more about Pinterest I’d like to recommend a few resources I’ve found to be helpful. Simple Pin Media has a great newsletter with weekly tips on using Pinterest better. I enjoyed this interview with Simple Pin Media’s founder, Kate Ahl, on the Food Blogger Pro podcast as well as this one with Susan Wenner Jackson of Ahaology. I’ve also learned a lot about Pinterest from Megan Auman who has a beautiful Pinterest feed. Hear her talk about her Pinterest strategy on episode #58 of Elise Gets Crafty.
Pinterest is free and it’s fun. It doesn’t take a lot of time and if you have any sort of business online it’s worth it to figure it out.