Are you struggling to gain traction on Pinterest? I’m sharing the Pinterest strategy that led to my 6.9 million reach with over 40,000 followers.
I seem to be in the small minority when I comment that my reach, followers and traffic are still steadily growing. I am so grateful for the success Pinterest has helped me achieve, and I want to give back to other bloggers who want to support their family with their blog the same way I do.
I had previously planned to sell all of the blogging knowledge I’ve gained over the last decade in books and courses, but I decided to give it all away for free, as a way to give back. I am slowly writing posts to share my story.
So what’s in it for me? I make money in sharing my knowledge through affiliate links, which you will find in this post. If you purchase a service or product through one of these links, I’ll make a small commission, but you’ll still pay the same price 😉
If you’re not using affiliate links on your blog yet, you should be! Whether you purchase something through one of my links or not, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to pass my knowledge on to you.
My Pinterest Success Story
I owe most of my success to the fact that I’ve heavily invested in learning Tailwind and executing a strategy using this scheduling tool that keeps my content in front of my followers.
Keep in mind that these numbers reflect my personal results. Tailwind also publishes the Typical Results of its members each year, so you can see exactly what the average growth rate looks like for their members.
Right now, I’m currently gaining around 300 new followers each week and my reach has been steadily climbing as well. At the time I’m writing this post, my reach is 6.9 million and I have 41,692 followers.
My traffic is still on the incline as well. Below, the orange line is 2017/2018 and the blue line is 2018/2019 for the same time period (October 1 through today, February 18). You can see year over year, there is an increase. You can also see where there was a decrease after the holidays last year. This year, my traffic is still growing. It’s not a steep incline, but it’s steady growth.
This is what my Pinterest traffic has looked like since January 1, 2015. I didn’t use Pinterest much before 2016, so I won’t bore you with the flat line on my analytics before 2015.
If you’re struggling with Pinterest, don’t give up. Take a look at what’s working and what’s not working for you and make some adjustments.
I’ll share with you what my personal Pinterest strategy is. It’s a bit more loosey goosey than most strategies I’ve seen, as in, I don’t say, “You have to follow these rules!” Because I don’t follow too many rules myself. So while my strategy is less stringent, it’s pretty intense at the same time, mostly due to the fact that I have created so much content over the last decade.
If you are brand new to Pinterest, some of this info may be a bit of overload for you. You may want to start with the basics before diving too deep. In my opinion, I’d sign up for a Tailwind trial and start with their training videos. You get a free trial that includes 100 pins, so you don’t have to put money out up front.
One of the reasons I chose Tailwind is because they are a Pinterest Partner, and it’s important to me to only use programs that are approved by the various platforms. I don’t recommend choosing a scheduling tool that isn’t approved by the platform, so keep that in mind if you’re doing any comparison shopping.
If you’re looking for a good intro course after getting set up with Tailwind, the best beginner course for Pinterest is Pinning Perfect by Blog Clarity. It’s kept super up to date and shares information straight from Pinterest. I highly recommend it.
If you have the basics down, but need some ideas to shake things up, this is how I currently run my successful Pinterest account. Keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you. I’m not an expert and there is no scientific backing to my strategy – it’s just what my intuition has led me to do.
My Pinterest Strategy for Happy Mothering
As I said, I don’t have a strict strategy that I follow, so I’ll share with you how I approach different areas I see questions come up about repeatedly.
Pins Per Day
This is a question that always pops up and everyone wants to know what the ideal number of pins per day is. I worry less about the number of pins, and more about the quality of the content that I’m pinning.
I’ve tried all of the different recommendations, and I find that what works for me is pinning a lot. More than the current “recommendations.” I never set out to pin a certain number of pins per day. It just kind of grew to where it’s at naturally.
I think I started out with 20 pins per day, and I have been slowing adding slots in my Tailwind schedule as I needed to be pinning a lot more. We have over 2,000 posts on Happy Mothering right now, so we have a lot of our own content to pin.
In order to balance the necessary number of daily pins of my posts, I had to add a lot of slots for pinning content from other websites. I’m currently pinning around 80 pins per day. I want to reduce that number, but I’m nervous that if I decrease it, my reach and traffic will decrease right along with it.
I know that’s double what most people recommend, but since I have so many posts, it works better for me. If you have fewer posts on your blog, you may not want to pin as many pins per day. Experiment and find the number of pins that helps your account grow.
Another topic that comes up a lot is what ratio of your own pins vs pins from other blogs is best. I am all over the place with this one. Some days, I pin 80% my content. Other days, I pin 80% other content.
I have a virtual assistant who schedules pins from other blogs, and I schedule the content from my blog. So it depends on who is scheduling content when.
I try to have around a 50/50 balance, but it rarely works out that way. I figure it looks more organic to have a random mix of my content and other content I think my followers will like.
I still use many group boards, but I’ve left more than I’m still pinning to. If you’re not aware, last year Pinterest essentially devalued most big group boards. Their reach is throttled because they weren’t being used as Pinterest originally intended their use. But, from my experience, they aren’t completely dead.
Every month or so, I look at my Tailwind Board Insights to see which boards are performing well and which aren’t. I leave group boards when both the Virality and Engagement scores drop below 1.
My reach initially dropped by around 1 million when I started leaving group boards. However, it has climbed by over 2 million since then, so the strategy is working for me.
I haven’t participated in regular support groups in years. I personally find the return on my time to be negligible, so I stopped participating. I find my time is better spent on creating new content.
I just started participating in one tiny support group for bloggers with a larger Pinterest reach. There are only around 5 of us each week, so it’s not something I spend more than 10-15 minutes a week on. I’m not sure whether or not it has had an impact as I have only participated for a few weeks so far.
If you’re a newer blogger, you may have a different experience and find that it helps your account grow. Just be careful that any support groups you choose to participate in don’t require you to pin content that’s irrelevant to your followers. You don’t want to appear spammy.
Scheduling vs Live Pinning
I am a huge fan of scheduling my pins. It means that my account is always active. As soon as Tailwind came out, I jumped on board and haven’t looked back.
I’ll occasionally live pin from my phone when I’m bored, but that only happens every few weeks. If there was a Tailwind app for Android, I’d probably schedule rather than live pin though.
I purchased the Unlimited Tribes PowerUp through Tailwind because I find my time is better spent going through content in tribes than in blogging support groups. I do believe that it has helped my reach because my content gets pinned by more bloggers. It also makes it easy for my VA to find relevant content to schedule for me.
I also purchased the Unlimited SmartLoops PowerUp through Tailwind. I have far too many posts on my site to use the small number that are included with the basic plan.
I love that I can schedule my more popular content to be reposted throughout the year. And I love that I can keep seasonal content in their own loops so I don’t have to remember to schedule it early enough before the holiday.
It saves me a lot of time. One thing to keep in mind is that you do need to look through the analytics for your SmartLoops regularly. You should remove any loops that aren’t driving pins and traffic. Give them time to gain momentum before removing them, but don’t hesitate to pull an under-performing pin from your loops. There is no point in repeatedly pinning something that isn’t taking off.
Make New Images
I am constantly making new images for old posts. If I have a post that doesn’t do as well as I expected on Pinterest, I make another image and try again. Sometimes the first image just doesn’t take off for whatever reason and the second one does. It’s always worth trying a new image.
If I have a pin that goes viral for a year, then drops off, I make a new image and pin that to all of my relevant boards. I find that content that was once popular can often be revived with a new pin image.
Pin Sizes and Style
The current recommendation for Pinterest images is a 2:3 ratio. I often make my pins a 9:16 ratio as that’s currently the longest size pin you can make that doesn’t get cut off.
Interestingly enough, a lot of my old “giraffe” pins (the really long skinny ones) still get re-pinned over and over again even though they’re cut off now. I’m not making new ones that size, but that does tell me that, at least for my account, Pinterest isn’t favoring the smaller 2:3 ratio for all pins.
A lot of bloggers have expressed that video pins get fewer click throughs because people already have what they need when they watch the video. I have put up a few video pins, but not enough to have a good feel for how they’ll perform for me.
It’s on my list to start adding more video pins in the coming weeks. I’m thinking of trying teaser videos rather than including the whole recipe or tutorial. I’ll share more information once I’ve had more time to experiment.
I typically add 2-4 hashtags on my new pins. I try to add ones that are both more narrow and more broad. I’m not sure how much impact it has had on traffic or new followers. I don’t go back and add hashtags to old pins. My time is better spent on adding new pins to Pinterest.
Many bloggers like to force their readers to pin only one specific image. I had a few posts set that way through Social Warfare and didn’t like it at all. So I disabled it and I allow my readers to pin the images they want to pin.
This is an overview of how I run the Pinterest account for Happy Mothering. I’m not claiming that any of this is best practice, but I hope you find my perspective helpful in developing your own Pinterest strategy.