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.
- 1 Pinterest for Travel Bloggers – the Basics
- 2 Creating popular pins on Pinterest
- 3 So how do you make your pins repin-worthy?
- 4 Create Engaging Pins on Pinterest
- 5 Grow your Pinterest following and drive traffic to your blog
- 6 Pinterest Etiquette
- 7 Pinterest Scheduling Tools
- 8 Facebook Pinterest Share Threads
- 9 How many pins should you pin each day?
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.
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.
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