Did you know that having no images on your blog posts could be costing you a flood of traffic and new readers?
If your answer is a guilty head shake (or an even more guilty nod), then it’s time to take advantage of the veritable gold mine that images can be. And how can these images bring in a surge in traffic and readers? Pinterest, my friend. Pinterest.
For those who haven’t come across Pinterest before, it’s a social bookmarking site, where users can ‘pin’ images attached to web pages and posts to their collections (called boards), saving them for future reference.
Whether you’re writing blog articles (like me on my own site, Writerology), posting stories on your site (like Taylor Eaton’s Little Write Lies), or advertising your own published novel, Pinterest can open a whole new channel of traffic for you. I can testify to that. In March 2015, Pinterest was my main source of traffic, introducing twice as many readers to Writerology than any other social media platform. In other words, if you haven’t already optimised your site for Pinterest, it’s a very good idea to do so.
Step 1. Create Good Quality Content
This one goes without saying. Whether you’re writing a blog post, a free story for your site, a collection of poetry, or a teaser for your book, make sure the content the pinnable image links to is top quality.
Step 2. Create an Eye-Catching Graphic
Next up, you need to create the image that’s going to capture a reader’s attention. If they’re scrolling through Pinterest, it needs to catch their eye, and if they’re on your post, it needs to make them want to pin it themselves. Photos alone aren’t enough. Add text, like the post title and maybe a catchy line or two, to the image to maximise its appeal.
But, Faye, I hear you cry, I’ve just spent a gazillion hours writing up a blog post and getting it ready to publish. Do I have to spend hours making a beautiful image to go with it?
No, dear readers, you do not. Do you know how long it took me to create the image for this post? 10 minutes. Isn’t it worth spending an extra 10 minutes each post to create something that can open so many new doors?
So what can you use to create eye-catching graphics for your posts? Picmonkey is a good one. We use it here at the Sprint Shack. Canva is another good option. If you want a programme on your computer, rather than the Internet, I recommend the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), which I use for all my Writerology graphics. Got any recommendations? Leave them in a comment below.
Step 3. Make It Easy to Pin Images on Your Site
People can’t pin your lovely graphics and share your epic articles if you don’t give them the means to. At a bare minimum, make sure your posts have Pinterest included in their social media share icons. You could make it even easier to share your content with a Pin It button that appears when you hover over an image. Pinterest have a variety of Pin It buttons you can set up. If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, a good plugin that allows you to design your own Pin It button is jQuery Pin It Button For Images.
The idea here is to make it as easy as possible for visitors to your site to put your content on Pinterest. That way, they’re doing the sharing for you. Great, right?
Step 4. Put a Good Tease in Your Pin Descriptions
Each pin comes with a little box beneath it for a description. Create a good description, which works with the graphic to pique the viewer’s interest, and you’ll have them clicking through to your site in no time.
So how do you create that description? When editing your image, there’s a field called ‘Alt (or Alternative) Text’. Insert pithy description to tease your content here. Keep it short and sweet, no more than 2-3 sentences, and consider using a keyword or two as well, so that people searching for pins on your topic can find you more easily. And voila, you’re done.
Step 5. Create Boards That Interest You and Others
Taking a different tack from Step 3, this tactic involves building a following on Pinterest and having them ‘repin’ your pins. In other words, they see your pins and put them on their own boards, where others can see them and put them on their boards, and so on… Boards are a good way of organising your pins into topics or themes or categories—and it’s these topics that can gain you more followers.
When creating boards, make sure they fulfil a need, yours and others’. What do people (you included) want to know about? Editing advice? Imaginative writing prompts? Gripping stories? Create boards that cover topics of interest in your niche and others will be more likely to follow you than if you just had a solitary board of pins from your own site.
Once you’ve created your boards, give them informative names and pin quality content to them on a regular basis. Just don’t spend too long each day on Pinterest—it can devour your writing time like no one’s business.
Step 6. Follow Other Pinners
Following other pinners has two benefits:
1. They might return the favour and follow your boards
2. Your feed fills up with their pins, giving you more content to pin yourself. (Note: You can follow all of someone’s boards or only the ones that interest you, so that your feed doesn’t become clogged with content you’re not bothered about.)
So, who to follow? People whose pins interest you. People who follow you. People with large followings. Especially that last one. If you follow and repin the content of influential pinners, they may wish to return the favour. Sometimes all it takes is one pin from someone with a large following to give you an explosion of new readers.
Feeling more confident about using Pinterest to grow your writer platform? Whether you want to bring more readers to your blog posts, free fiction or published books, Pinterest can be a source of continuous traffic that introduces your site to a whole new audience of readers.
What do you love most about Pinterest?
Are you already on Pinterest? Share a link to your profile below! I’m @Writerology.