Pinterest for Travel Bloggers, done well, can be an easy way to drive traffic to your travel blog. But like many other strategies to grow your blog page views, it does require some knowledge and a degree of persistence. In this post, I explain how I have grown Pinterest referrals to my blog to represent more than half my page views. This includes strategies for increasing your Pinterest audience, as well as optimising your pins and how to drive traffic to your blog using Pinterest.
Pinterest for Travel Bloggers – the Basics
The most important thing to understand is that Pinterest functions more like a search engine than social media. Unlike social media, your content on Pinterest is largely evergreen, and even old pins can drive significant traffic to your blog without you needing to do anything.
After you set up your account you need to develop your boards. My recommendation is to keep your boards focused on travel-related topics so that your account aligns clearly with the travel niche. If you want to have other boards for your own personal use for recipes, craft or other non-travel ideas, either mark those boards as private in the board settings so only you can see them, or set up a personal account for your personal interests – see your Pinterest account as an extension of your blog, rather than a reflection of your personal interests. It’s not necessary to design spectacular pins for the feature picture on your boards, but do choose something on topic and professional looking.
Creating popular pins on Pinterest
The first thing to understand here is that not all content works well on Pinterest. Pinterest loves listicles, and travel planning pins. It doesn’t like reflective and more personal pieces. It also likes popular destinations rather than obscure places. It’s one time where the “Ten things…..” post will go well – my three most popular pins are all listicle-type posts.
So how do you make your pins repin-worthy?
If you don’t have it enabled on your Pinterest account, apply for Rich Pins here, now. Rich pins allow for more information to be included on your pin, meaning it is more likely to show up in a Pinterest search result. They also look a lot more professional in my opinion. Once you are approved for Rich Pins, you will need to include a tracking code into your blog and then the Rich Pins mark up should show up automatically on all your pins.
While there are travel bloggers out there who will cite their most popular pin as being horizontal, the most reliable way to create a pin that gets reshared multiple times is to use vertical images to create vertical pins. If you don’t believe me, check your Pinterest search results for a keyword you are likely to use – what percentage are vertical?
Create Engaging Pins on Pinterest
The best way to create engaging pins that are shared is to use a tool such as Canva, PicMonkey, Lightbox or Photoshop. Canva is particularly useful as it is free, has a size optimised Pinterest graphic template and is easy and intuitive to use (it is also an Australian company).
Many bloggers worry that the need to pin vertical pins means they need to have a stock of vertical photos. While taking some vertical shots when you travel is handy, it is not essential. In addition to cropping horizontal images to fit into a vertical pin, copyright free images are freely available on line, or you can purchase bundles of stock photos cheaply. Canva has a range of good quality images that are free or that can be purchased for USD1.00 per image (USD10.00 for eleven images). I don’t recommend using images you don’t own or whose approved usage is unclear – Pinterest does routinely remove pins that breach copyright or terms of approved use.
So what images should you choose to create your pins? Different Pinterest gurus will tell you different things, but this is what works best for me as a travel blogger:
- Images with bright, clear colours rather than muted tones (there are a lot of people who favour muted tones, but I find brights are better for my account);
- There is a lot of debate in Pinterest circles about images with faces. Personally, I find faces work well for me, but some people say they don’t work.
My suggestion to you is create a range of pins for the same posts, share them equitably and then measure which one works best for you. I think it is good to consider the different opinions you read (many of whom are based on other niches, rather than travel), but undertake your own testing and measuring to determine the best images for you.
The next question is graphics and lettering. Most of the pins that show up in my feed have writing on them if they are travel pins. My best-performing pins all have writing on them. I’ve done the test and measure of using the same image on two pins for the same post. In my experience pins with writing significantly outperform pins without writing in the travel niche. You should do your own testing and measure and determine which style of pin works best for your audience.
All your pins need a description. This allows you to make your pins more searchable, both on Pinterest and on Google searches. Make sure you have good, strong key words included in your descriptions, just like you would in your Google snippet. Pinterest works exactly the same, so target key words in your description exactly as you would in a post. Pinterest tends to change whether it will read hashtags or not – at the moment apparently it is reading hashtags. Personally, I don’t use them. Pinterest is a very visual platform, and there are people for whom the aesthetic of the pin on their board is very important – hashtags are a bit ugly, so I prefer to use key word phrases separated by vertical lines or good old-fashioned sentences. Far more aesthetically pleasing.
Grow your Pinterest following and drive traffic to your blog
If you’ve followed the steps, I’ve outlined you should have a Pinterest account and pins that will interest other pinners. Now it’s time to use your account and pins to drive traffic to your blog. There are four strategies I’m going to cover to drive traffic to your blog:
- Following other accounts on Pinterest;
- Using Pinterest group boards to expand your reach;
- Using scheduling tools to maximise engagement;
- Using Facebook Pinterest share threads to find high-quality pins to repin and expand your reach.
My advice is to follow other accounts that interest you and don’t follow accounts that don’t interest you. It is a waste of time to play the follow/unfollow game with Pinterest – most Pinterest people just don’t care. Instead, spend your time searching for accounts and boards with good quality pins that you can repin. The other thing with Pinterest that is a bit counterintuitive is that commenting on pins does not invite engagement or encourage more people to follow you. While you can comment, again, most pinners just don’t care. And if you look carefully on the pin, there isn’t actually an opportunity to even reply to a comment.
I have found Pinterest group boards an effective way to increase my reach and drive traffic to my blog. I have five group boards which I own. They are all travel based, but only three of them are explicitly related to my niche. I use two of them to broaden the appeal of my account. If you would like an invitation to my group boards, please contact me via my Pinterest account, and I will invite you.
In addition to owning Pinterest group boards, I also belong to about 70 group boards. Belonging to other people’s group boards increases your reach significantly. Boards not only increase your pin’s exposure, but they also increase your account’s exposure, so are a good way to drive traffic and increase your followers. Choose boards that suit your niche and that are well maintained – I steer clear of boards with lots of spammy, off-topic pins as they devalue my Pinterest account and my pins.
Before you go crazy pinning everything in sight onto every group board you are invited to, there is a particular etiquette that needs to be understood and followed:
- Have a basic understanding of the group board rules. It’s hard to keep track of every individual board’s quirky rules, but there are some basics. In particular, never, ever pin off topic. Destination boards are for that destination only. Theme boards are for that theme only. Pinning off topic is spammy. I remove off-topic pins from my boards, and remove repeat offenders from the board all together, without warning.
- Do not over pin. Don’t go pinning multiple pins all at the same time onto the same board. It’s spammy, and they will often be deleted. Use a scheduling tool to space your pins out.
- Don’t overshare the same pin on the same board. Yes, it is definitely OK to repin your popular pins onto boards you’ve already pinned to previously. But adding the same pin to the same board every week or so is also spammy unless it is a large board (of say, at least 1000 members). And yes, I delete those pins too. Instead, either make new pins or repin every month or more.
Pinterest Scheduling Tools
There are multiple scheduling tools available for Pinterest, including tools you can use for other platforms, such as Buffer. But most serious pinners are using Tailwind at the moment. I like Tailwind because it has great analytics (which help me drive even more traffic to my blog by targeting my pinning efforts better), and will suggest times for you to schedule pins based on your account’s engagement. There are whole posts on line about how to use Tailwind but do learn how to make use of the Interval button when you are scheduling pins.
Many travel bloggers find the Tribes function on Tailwind excellent for getting blog traffic, but personally, I have found they don’t work well for me. I think it is because I don’t publish a lot on my blog, so don’t have brand new pins to share every day. Looking at the accounts of people who say they do well from Tailwind Tribes, they are people who have plenty of new pins every week.
Facebook Pinterest Share Threads
Rather than using Tailwind Tribes, I find Facebook Pinterest share threads a great way to find good quality vertical pins to share. I am also guaranteed to have my pin shared on a large number of high-quality Pinterest accounts. Facebook Pinterest share threads have strict rules, so make sure you follow them assiduously. And it goes without saying, that you must meet your commitment to share everyone’s content unless an individual pin is outside the thread’s rules.
Some Facebook Pinterest groups you may consider:
Pinterest for Travel Bloggers: run two threads daily that are capped, in addition to the uncapped Mega Monday share thread.
Mappin Monday: has a weekly share thread that is uncapped. This is a big group, so you need to be prepared to pin 200+ other pins from this group.
Travel Bloggers Evergreen Shares: if pinning 25, 50 or even 200+ pins sounds like something you can’t commit to, then the Pinterest thread on this group board might be easier. Just add your pin to the bottom and pin the ten above yours. Easy.
How many pins should you pin each day?
Based on the feedback I get from my Tailwind analytics I try to keep my pinning to around the 100-120 pins per day. This includes the pins I schedule on Tailwind, as well as any pins I pin manually. It also includes pins that are other pinners’.
Obviously the more boards you have, the more pins you can pin. If you only have 5 boards, then pinning 120 pins is spammy. But if you have 100 boards and you share them out among your relevant boards, then 120 pins doesn’t look so bad.
Pinterest, like most platforms, is a bit quiet about how their algorithm works and how to get your account noticed. Most experienced pinners will make sure they pin more pins that belong to others than their own. But the split does vary a bit. Most Pinterest experts will say 80% others, 20% your own, but I know other “good” pinners who run at 60/40. I must admit I have no idea what my percentage split is. I do the Mega Monday thread on the Pinterest for Travel Bloggers group and the Mappin Monday thread, then keep my Tailwind schedule about 80% full with my own content.
Pinterest is a platform that takes patience, knowledge and strategy. Produce good quality pins, share them diligently, but intelligently, and test & measure your results. Then you too can master Pinterest.
Bio: Jo Karnaghan is the Chief Frugalista at https://frugalfirstclasstravel.com. She got serious with Pinterest about 3 years ago when she realised that her target audience was all waiting for her on Pinterest. She currently averages 1200+ page views per day from Pinterest.
DISCLOSURE Some of the links in articles may be affiliate links where we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. We only link to products and services we recommend.
My name is Delphine Mignon and I’m the writer and photographer behind LesterLost, a travel blog. Originally from Paris, France, I moved to Australia over 20 years ago and I live in Sydney with my Australian husband. My first career was in the travel industry and I’ve always been passionate about travel.
LesterLost aims to inspire readers to explore more, whether it be far or near, with an open mind and a keen eye (behind a camera!). I write about places that move or wow me, in a way that adds value to prospective travellers. My photography is designed to inspire and showcase the best views, while being realistic and accessible. I aim to inspire travellers by giving them tips and ideas, and build their confidence to try new things or new destinations.
Partner with LesterLost
My audience is growing and diverse, mostly based in Australia and the USA. I travel solo or as a couple, or with my photographer father, and I’ve even tested multi generational travel! To me, travel is the ultimate freedom and the best recipe for happiness! Be it an adventure, a cultural experience or a road trip, I will pack a bag and go!
I am interested in building meaningful and personalised relationships with tourism boards, travel companies, product brands and accommodation providers in order to create honest and sustainable partnerships.
The destinations I visited with LesterLost include Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia), New Zealand (North and South Islands), Sri Lanka, France and Morocco. My travel experience is in fact much broader, and covers 5 continents but there was no Instagram or blogs back then…
I have an active presence on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also contact me on the blog: https://lesterlost.com
Travel Blogging and Working with Brands. For many bloggers, working with brands is like the Holy Grail. Here are some excellent tips to assist you.
By Johanna Castro
Travel Blogging and Working with Brands
Sponsored posts can pay well, and affiliate sales for products or services you know, use and love following a collaboration with a brand can also add up over time.
But in a crowded market it’s getting increasingly difficult to get picked up by brands, and you can’t expect to sit back and wait for companies to approach you. You do need to be proactive.
Before a brand decides to collaborate with you it’s beneficial to show some evidence that you either use or love their service or product, so don’t be afraid to mention brands on your social media channels in an effort to gain their attention first.
You need to spend many hours building your own brand, gaining a readership, writing great content, demonstrating that you’re up for business, and that you are a professional, before you start approaching companies for paid collaborations.
When you are ready then approach smaller companies to begin with, perhaps local ones, and test the water from there.
If the collaboration with a smaller company is successful make sure to ask them for a testimonial and include this when you approach larger brands, both national and international.
Tip: Jo’s written about her own experiences in this post: ‘How to make Money Blogging’
What Interests a Brand in You?
A brand is interested in your audience, and the sales and promotion which will come from that.
What you should be trying to do is to engage in a mutually beneficial arrangement delivering value to companies who want to connect with your readers/followers.
From my experience you don’t need a huge amount of traffic to work with brands, but you do need good engagement.
Large amounts of SEO based traffic is great of course, but may not be the most interesting aspect for a brand. An engaged audience which hangs off your every suggestion might appeal more.
What to include in your introductory letter or email
Keep you introductory email short and sweet. People are busy.
It’s important that you ‘sell’ your biggest and most engaged audience to the brand, so if you have a huge following on Instagram then mention the benefits of this as the main advantage for the company you’re approaching, and if you have millions of blog readers then use this as the main hook.
Your introduction could include …
- Who you are and what your blog are about.
- Why you love the brand you’re approaching, and why it would be a great fit for your audience.
- Why a collaboration with you will be a win for the brand.
- Your blog’s readership statistics.
- Your social media following.
- Your email newsletter subscribers.
- Any awards you’ve won,
- A testimonial from a previous brand you’ve worked with.
- Link to your media kit, if you have one.
Try to let you personality shine through in your introductory email. The idea is to pique interest so that the company is intrigued to find out more.
Tips on Email Introductions
We all hate getting emails which either don’t address us by name, or otherwise clearly have no idea who we are at all, and others which just say, “Hi” or “Please let me introduce myself” as the greeting.
If you don’t have a contact within the company then do some investigation.
You could type into Google “PR contacts for (insert brand name)” , or “Media contacts for (insert brand name)”.
You might decide to ring the company from the contact number on their website and ask if you could have the email address for the person dealing with marketing and media.
Or if you’re faced with a contact form on the website then a short sentence or two to customer support might provide you with a reply and contact email.
Tip: Always foster good relationships with PR and Marketing personnel, and always have a can do attitude and be pleasant to communicate with.
What can you offer a brand?
You can offer much more to brands than just a sponsored blog post, and you should think about all of the following.
- Sidebar advertisements.
- Instagram promotion.
- Facebook promotion.
- A giveaway.
- Writing about a product or experience.
- Paid sponsored post.
- Mention of the brand in a post which is about a relatable topic. (If a company gets a good result from a simple text link, then maybe they’ll find the budget to work with you on a more in depth collaboration.)
Have a different rate package available offering different services so that you can suit small, medium or large budgets. My advice is to not publish your rate package on your blog, because if you do there’s no room for negotiation.
For instance you could offer a slightly discounted rate to include all of the above (1 – 6)
You could charge a certain rate for the blog post, and then include add-on rates for each Facebook/Twitter/Instagram post your publish.
Then Deliver, Deliver, Deliver and exceed expectations if you can.
A note on Experiences
I’m not talking about organised ‘famils’ here, but about independent experiences arranged between you and the company you’re working with.
Should you accept a complimentary tour, or a weekend away without being paid for it?
I think it all comes down to expectation, and how much the brand wants to engage with your audience.
A free trip can be considered a perk but freebies won’t pay your grocery bills.
If the experience comes with an enormous amount of publishing expectations, hashtags, time frames and dictates from the brand, then you need to weigh up if the experience is worth the work it will entail.
Weigh up what the experience includes, what the expectations are, and things like if your spouse or family can accompany you.
For any complimentary experience you should be prepared to write about it, but you don’t have to be hijacked by brand dictates, PR principles or gush in a tourism related way – no travel journalist writing for a mainstream magazine or newspaper would do this, but they would probably offer a fair and objective story.
Tip: Disclaim. A blog post of this nature should mention that the service or product has been ‘gifted’.
If you are writing about a brand which you mention regularly on your blog then it might pay you to become an affiliate first.
Check out if they have an affiliate scheme and sign up for it.
Then if you make some affiliate sales, approach the company, detail the success you’ve had, and pitch for a brand collaboration.
Writing the sponsored post
Many bloggers are anxious about including sponsored posts on their blogs in case it somehow interferes with their voice or their story.
But it doesn’t have to.
Make sure that the post is relatable and includes advice useful to your audience whilst highlighting how the brand you’re promoting can add to this.
Let your personality shine and maintain your voice even if the brand has several brand messages they want included. Nobody wants to read a commercial or a post that reads like a press release.
Make sure there are takeaway tips for your audience. What are they getting in return for reading?
If you read it through and it reads like sponsored content, then you haven’t done your job well enough. You won’t get clicks and you’ll lose readers.
Make sure your post is easy to share. Do you have share buttons for all the main social networks and are they easy to find, share or Pin. Personally I hate it when I have to scroll up and down a page to find them.
Consider having a call to action at the end of the post, followed with ‘share with someone who would find this post useful.”
Disclose. Disclose. Disclaim.
Trust and authenticity are important, so too is staying abreast of the law.
Always make a point of disclosing your interest with the brand.
If you received something for free, make clear that it was ‘Gifted.’
Write ‘Sponsored Post’ clearly near the top of your blog post if you are being paid to write it, as in this one. https://lifestylefifty.com/planning-a-trip-to-ireland/
I don’t think there’s any point in cloaking or veiling things these days as people are way too savvy.
So I think ‘in collaboration with’ is pretentious and wordy as is, ‘in partnership with’. Unless you really are in partnership, or you are a brand ambassador – that’s different and should also be disclosed.
Make sure you add #AD or #SPON upfront on Instagram,Twitter and Pinterest.
As you’re probably already aware, ‘do-follow’ links are not in accordance with Google’s guidelines for sponsored content so make sure the brand understands that they are paying for a no-follow link for advertising purposes, not a do-follow for manipulation of search results.
What to charge
There are all sorts of $ amounts flying around the internet about what to charge for sponsored content and advertising.
As blogging is such an unregulated and various industry I don’t think there’s a one rate fits all.
To protect the integrity of the industry and because everything is worth something, you shouldn’t write for free.
However, be realistic about what you charge.
- If you were writing web copy or copywriting as a freelancer what’s the rate you might charge clients as per industry standards?
- How much would you get paid to write a similar story for a magazine?
- Are you writing for a large corporation with a big budget, or a small non-funded charity?
- Is there likely to be follow up work?
How long will it take you to source ideas, to write the post, to format the post, to source, re-size and add photographs, and then promote the post on social media? Your time is money.
Let the brand know how many words you will write for this amount and how many photos you’ll include, and how and where you’ll promote the post.
Apply all these considerations to the blog post you will write for the brand and negotiate a price.
Don’t sell yourself short. It’s always easier to discount than it is to raise your prices.
I found this Rate Map which might be helpful for you : https://influence.co/go/rates
Do set yourself some guidelines from the start about how much you’ll charge, and how you’ll write content based on PR pitches you might receive, experiences you might be offered and product that might be gifted to you.
Tip: When you invoice a brand make sure you have a ‘Payment Expected by” date.
Don’t give up
All companies have different goals, strategies and opinions. Some will be happy to work with micro-influencers for a smaller fee, others will only want to work with celebrities with millions of followers.
You’re likely to get more rejections than yes’s but believe me, a Yes is worth a lot of No’s.
Jo Castro is a veteran freelance travel writer and online publisher. She’s lived in 11 different countries and travelled to many more. She writes ZigaZag (https://zigazag.com/seven-point-plan-for-successful-blogging/) a travel blog focussed on Western Australia, and Lifestyle Fifty (https://lifestylefifty.com/how-i-make-money-blogging/a blog catering to a mature audience interested in world travel and a healthy, stylish lifestyle. Find Jo reclining under a thatched cabana on a tropical beach sipping a long cold cocktail, or mostly just glued to her Mac.
DISCLOSURE Some of the links in articles may be affiliate links where we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. We only link to products and services we recommend.
Untold Morsels is a travel blog and community featuring cultural and food experiences for families, couples and friends traveling together creating memories.
About Untold Morsels
Since 2015 our blog and social media platforms have showcased unique experiences, accommodation and products from destinations around the world in particular Italy, the UK, Australia and Scandinavia.
Our travel style is affordable luxury and we are strong advocates for sustainable travel, preferring to support local cultures and businesses where possible.
On our journeys we aim to uncover the details and special moments that turn every trip into the stuff of lifelong legend.
Our readers and followers
Hailing mainly from the US, UK, Europe and Australia, readers of Untold Morsels are women aged 30-55 who enjoy planning and researching their dream trips and destinations for their family and friends.
They seek out memorable vacation experiences, and unforgettable activities such as devouring the local dishes at a food festival in Italy or staying on a houseboat in Amsterdam.
Founder, writer and photographer Katy Clarke has 20 years’ experience in strategic marketing for blue chip and small luxury brands. Collaborating with like-minded brands to put their offerings in the spotlight is her passion.
We work with destination marketing, travel PR, hotels and tour companies on integrated promotional campaigns and destination guides leveraging our blog and social media capabilities and audience.
Some of the brands we have worked with: Visit Brescia and Italian Tourist Board, Fjord Norway, Roman Guy Tours, Visit Parliament (UK) and Hotel Adele et Jules Paris
We have been featured in: Marie Claire and Lonely Planet’s blog for our work on Instagram and for our family travel content
Currently we are building long term affiliate partnerships with brands in Europe that we hope to extend to Australia and Asia.
For more information on how you can work with us, hit this link
Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube
The Sweet Wanderlust is a blog for people with a sweet tooth and a taste for adventure. Chief wanderer and dessert-eater, Brittany Kulick, has visited 54 countries and is passionate about sharing unique activities, delicious desserts and epic itineraries as she travels. Her upbeat, bubbly personality comes through in her enthusiastic posts as she writes about old favorites and up and coming attractions.
In 2015, Brittany left Dallas, Texas and a career in marketing to travel full time. Since then, she’s completed every bungy jump in Queenstown, New Zealand, skydived Mission Beach, Australia, swam with humpback whales in Tonga, and consumed more than 30 freakshakes on her search for the best one in the world.
About The Sweet Wanderlust
The Sweet Wanderlust’s New Zealand itinerary has been shared over 11,000 times and her post on Dallas, Texas’ awesome activities has been shared more than 17,000 times. CultureTrip and Hostelworld included The Sweet Wanderlust on their Instagram users to follow in 2018 list, and her work has been published in TRVL and Huffington Post.
As an American based Down Under for more than two years, her audience is equally split between Australians and Americans. More than 9,000 people visit The Sweet Wanderlust each month for travel inspiration and practical tips. On social media, her combined following of 28,000 tune in daily to see over-the-top desserts and colorful adventures.
Over the past three years, Brittany has formed partnerships with hotels, tour operators, brands and tourism boards all over the world to share their story and introduce her audience to new places and products. Whether glamping in the Yarra Valley, touring the Great Ocean Road, or promoting a new tourism destination in Ireland, Brittany goes above and beyond to share these unique experiences with her readers and social media followers.
Here’s what some of them have to say about her:
Brittany is the perfect brand ambassador for Lily Claire. She left a comfortable life in the US to travel the world and see its wonders. Her joyful voice and engaging images draw a loyal and enthusiastic audience and she has been extremely successful in communicating the story and values of our brand. We have received orders and inquiries from around the world thanks to Brittany’s representation.
Founder, Lily Claire
We first came across Brittany after her photo was posted on Instagram of our glow ice cream at White Night Melbourne. We loved the pic that we awarded her best pic of the night. From then on Brittany’s eye for detail in capturing our desserts and reaching out to her audience was amazing. Her Instagram campaign was great for us in attracting new followers.
Creative Director of 196below
If you’re looking for someone to promote your destination, product, or hotel, get in touch with Brittany to discuss promotion ideas.