Welcome back to The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging! If you’ve never been here before you can catch up on previous posts in the series here.
Disclosure: This post contains a referral link.
If I were forced to choose just one social media platform to promote my blog, I would choose Pinterest. Pinterest is my #1 source of traffic–above Twitter, Facebook, organic search, and direct traffic. In short, Pinterest is the greatest thing that ever happened to my blog. Here are six key ways to harness the power of Pinterest to increase your page views and organically grow your readership.
1. Create a Pinterest-Friendly Graphic for Every Blog Post
A few weeks ago I wrote about how important images are in today’s visually oriented online environment. The best way you can take advantage of this environment and use it for your benefit is to create a Pinterest-friendly graphic for every one of your blog posts.
What is a Pinterest-friendly graphic?
If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, you’re probably wondering just what makes a graphic Pinterest-friendly. Pinterest displays images with a fixed width and adjustable height. This means that short and wide graphics, like the kind you commonly see on Twitter and Facebook, won’t look as good as tall and narrow graphics. Generally speaking, a 3:2 ratio looks best, though anything with a greater height than width will do.#Pinterest Tip: Images with less than 30% whitespace are repinned the most.Click To Tweet
Pins appear at a width of 238px in the Pinterest feed and expand to a full size of 735px. This means that an ideal Pinterest-friendly graphic should be at least 735x1102px. For simplicity’s sake and to ensure that my graphics are retina-ready, I usually use a 1000x1500px template.
What does a Pinterest-friendly graphic look like?
The graphic at the beginning of this blog post is Pinterest-friendly. It also doubles as an eye-catching header. A Pinterest-friendly graphic only needs three things:
- A background. This can be a photo, color, pattern, or design that you create yourself.
- The title of your blog post. This lets people know what they’re clicking on.
- Your website URL. That way if someone posts your graphic elsewhere on the web and doesn’t properly link back to you, people will still know where it came from and how to find you.
Need some inspiration? Here are some Pinterest-friendly graphics from various posts around my blog:
Tools for Making Pinterest-Friendly Graphics
I strongly recommend investing in Photoshop. It’s the perfect app for editing images and creating beautiful Pinterest graphics. If Photoshop just isn’t in your budget, GIMP or PicMonkey can provide some comparable editing tools for free. It can take a while to get comfortable using Photoshop and other advanced image editing tools, but there are tons of online tutorials to help you out. Lynda is a great place to find tutorials that will help familiarize you with all that Photoshop has to offer.
A Note on Image Copyright & Font Licensing
When creating graphics, it’s important to avoid violating anyone’s copyright or license agreement. In my post on photos and graphics I talked about copyright law and provided sources of free stock and Creative Commons images. If you use a Creative Commons image in a graphic, make sure it does not have an ND (NoDerivatives) classification. Whether or not using an image to promote a post on a blog that is monetized would be considered commercial use is up for debate. If you have ads on your blog and you want to be on the safe side, look for Creative Commons photos without the NC (NonCommercial) designation.#Pinterest Tip: Red images are repinned more often than blue images. #UltimateGuidetoBookBloggingClick To Tweet
Make sure any fonts you use come with a commercial license. My favorite place to find free fonts is Font Squirrel. All of the fonts available there are free for commercial use. DaFont is also a good source, but they have fonts with both personal and commercial licenses, so check before you download. If you want to get fancy and buy some high-end fonts, MyFonts is a great place to look.
A Note on Branding & Styling
Many small business bloggers recommend having a cohesive style (i.e. using the same fonts, logo, color scheme etc. across all your pins). There is definitely sound logic behind that advice and you may want to consider it if you’re just starting out. Personally, I find that model too constricting and I would be bored to tears if I had to make graphics that all looked more or less the same. Part of the fun for me is designing graphics that are new and different for each blog post. Whether or not you go eclectic or use your pins to define your brand is up to you. For examples of branded pins, check out boards by Elle & Co., byRegina, and Olyvia.
2. Install a ‘Pin It’ Button Plugin for Easy Sharing
In my post on WordPress plugins I talked about AccessPress Pinterest, a plugin that adds a mouse-over “pin it” button to every image on your blog. This makes it super easy for readers to pin your content and it reminds them that you want your content to be shared. It’s absolutely essential for every blogger.
3. Enable Rich Pins to Increase Engagement
Rich pins have a little bit more information on them than regular pins. Specifically, they feature the favcon and title of the site they’re pinned from, along with the name of the blog post they link to. Here is an example of a rich pin contrasted with a regular pin.
Rich pins look more professional and have higher click through rates than regular pins. Enabling rich pins is easy. Simply…
- Install the Yoast SEO Plugin. Once the plugin is activated, go to SEO→Social→Facebook. Under “Add Open Graph meta data” click “Enabled.”
- Validate your Rich Pins. To do this, go to the Rich Pins Validator and enter the URL of any post on your blog. Hit “validate.” When you see that your pin is validated, hit “apply now.” A new window will pop up; hit “apply now” again.
I also recommend adding alt text to images uploaded to your site. A snappy description of the post they’re attached to will do nicely. Alt text is what will appear in the area beneath the rich pin data. I provide instructions on how to do this in my post on photos and graphics.
4. Curate Amazing Pinterest Boards
Now that your blog is optimized for Pinterest, it’s time to start pinning. Brainstorm and create boards related to your niche. Of course I blog primarily about books, so I have boards on cover design, libraries and reading spaces, fiction, nonfiction, book lists, book characters, etc. I also have boards on other topics I blog about such as film and television, art, music, and feminism. Pinterest is a lot like Twitter in the sense that you’re better off sharing a variety of content from lots of different sources. For this reason I think it’s a good idea for every blogger to have one board dedicated solely to their own content. It makes it easier for readers to find your stuff. And don’t be afraid to pin the same blog post on multiple relevant boards. (Just space out your pins so you don’t spam your followers.)Supercharge Your #BlogTraffic with #Pinterest: An Easy 6-Step GuideClick To Tweet
I recommend that you make any boards not remotely related to your niche private. If you pin too far off topic people will be more likely to pick and choose which boards they follow instead of following your account as a whole.
5. Schedule Your Pins for Greater Impact
Just like with Twitter and Facebook, it’s smart to schedule your pins in advance. Scheduling tools make managing social media accounts so much easier. A good scheduling tool will also calculate the best times to post, giving your pins a higher chance of reaching their intended audience.
The best Pinterest scheduling tool I have ever used is Tailwind. Tailwind makes scheduling pins and tracking analytics a breeze. At $15/month or $120/year it’s also a bit pricey, but totally worth it if you have the funds. I highly recommend signing up for a free trial. (You don’t need a credit card.)
Sign up for tailwind and receive 2 months free!
(Ends April 1st!)
My second favorite Pinterest scheduling tool is Buffer. Buffer is great because you can schedule your Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest posts all in one place. The Buffer Awesome plan is $102/year if paid in advance.
6. Join Group Boards to Reach a Wider Audience
Group boards are the greatest thing ever because they allow you to reach a much broader audience than your followers alone. To find relevant group boards to pin to, search for your niche keyword + “group board.” For example, if you’re a book blogger search for “books group board.” Group boards will often have instructions on how to join. Here are a few of the bookish group boards that I belong to:
Last month one of my pins to a group board went viral. My traffic skyrocketed to 4x the norm in just a few days. Adding Pinterest to your social media toolbox can accelerate your blog traffic from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds. Any extra effort you put into it will pay huge dividends.
Questions? Leave them in the comments below!
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging for more tips and tricks on how to become a book blogging wiz!