When it comes to marketing a food blog, Pinterest is King. I get over 35% of my blog traffic from Pinterest, which means that while Facebook might send a few people a day to my blog, I get thousands of views each day from Pinterest alone. You can use your personal Pinterest account to promote your blog, but it will pale in comparison to the power and tools you'll have available to you if you use a Pinterest for Business account, which is totally free!
First, you need to set up your Pinterest for Business Account. Pinterest can walk you through this process -- it is very straightforward and should only take you around 15 seconds to fill out the initial form and get started. Next, set up your profile. Pinterest will walk you through this process, so I won't bore you with the bulk of that here, with the exception of one item: Confirming your website.
Confirming Your Website
Before you do anything else, take a quick second to confirm your website. Just do it. It seems silly, or maybe weird and technical, but it's none of those things. Confirming your website gives users the comfort of knowing when they've found your Pinterest profile, that it's actually yours. It's super easy, and definitely worth the few minutes it takes to set up. If you use WordPress, you can add the "Pinterest Verify" plugin, which will give you an easy interface to interact with for the process. If you don't use WordPress or if you are comfortable with a TINY amount of code, just do it yourself! Find the part of your blog's theme that contains the head tag, and insert the code that Pinterest gives you sometime after the opening tag but before the closing tag.
<head> // lots of code you don't care about . . . // insert the website verification code here, before the closing tag! </head>
Okay, so your website has been confirmed! Now stop whatever else you are doing, and apply for Rich Pins now. Go go go! The process is slooooowwwwwwww, so you'll want to kick it off as soon as you can! What are Rich Pins, you say? Rich Pins give pinners extra information right on the pin they are looking at. There are six different types: recipe, app, movie, article, product, and place. Each type gives its own unique information from your post. As a food blogger, I use recipe Rich Pins, which allow my readers to see the ingredients, time, and servings of any recipe I pin, right on the pin itself! Pretty cool eh? If you don't use WordPress, you can add the necessary tags directly to the code of your posts. Frankly, this sounds horrible and painful, as you will need to update those tags manually for each recipe you post. Instead, I highly recommend searching out a plugin to do this work for you. Luckily, if you do use WordPress, a few options for this already exist. I use Yoast SEO Plugin, and I love it. All you have to do to get rich pins is as follows:
- Install Yoast SEO
- Plugin Click on SEO -> Social
- Make sure "Add Open Graph Media Data" is clicked.
- Submit the link for the page you want to have Rich Pins to the Rich Pin Validator.
Once you submit one page ( or post ), any page or post you have that also has the Open Graph tags ( which will be all of them, if you used Yoast ), will automagically have Rich Pins when you are approved.
Collage pins are great for increasing engagement with your followers ( and others! ) on Pinterest. I saw a dramatic increase in my repins ( now technically called "save"s, but I still prefer the term "repin" ), likes, and follows when I started making collage pins over regular ol' single-image pins.
I use Pic Monkey to make all of my collage pins. ( Read about How to Create A PicMonkey Collage for Pinterest. ) You'll be making long pins in under FIVE MINUTES in no time! Their interface is super easy, browser based ( so no heavyweight software to install ), and best of all, it's TOTALLY FREE. They have a "Premium" membership available, but I've never found a need for it. I can create or find any special images I want to use on the web, and Pic Monkey lets me use fonts from my own computer, which means I can find whatever font I need on DaFont for free, install it on my computer, and use it instantly!
Hiding Images in Your Post
You may have noticed that I don't have any collage images in my blog posts. I don't feel that they really fit in with the "feel" of my blog's theme, so I prefer to hide them. Sometimes, I will also hide additional photos of my recipes in the post, so that the pinner can have more options to choose a photo they love. After all, I have learned from experience that my favorite photos may not be what everyone else likes!
To hide images: find the image in your post's code, then surround the image's code with the following div tag:
<div style="display: none;"> // your image code here </div>
Do that for any image you want to hide in your post!
When I first joined Pinterest, I didn't even know Group Boards were a thing. Now, they are the main source of repins for my blog, and account for about 30% of the traffic from Pinterest to my blog! Group Boards are Pinterest Boards that you collaborate with other pinners on. Not only are they a great supplement to your standard feed for finding new pins, they expose your pins to hundreds ( or thousands or hundreds of thousands ) of Pinners who may not already follow you. This helps you find new followers, and new people to spread your pins!
Joining Group Boards can be tricky. The description of the board often tells you exactly how to join the board, and if it does not, comment on one of the pins already on the board and politely ask how that pinner was added. Unless otherwise noted, comment on one of the pins added by the board's owner and ask to join. The owner of a board is listed first ( on the far left ) in the heading of the board. Some owners have separate boards where they manage all of their joining requests. Look at the owner's profile and see if they have one of these boards. They are usually named obviously, like "Add Me" or "My Boards". If each pin relates to a board in some way, add a comment to the appropriate pin, asking to join that board. If it's just a mess of pins that are not board specific, add your request asking to join on any of them.
Rarely, boards are completely open, and anyone may add other pinners to them. Check the list of pinners on that board for anyone who already follows you or interacts with you on Pinterest, and ask them ( in a comment on one of their pins ) if they will add you to that board.
Group Boards often have rules ( no more than five pins per day, only the owner of the board may add new pinners, etc ), and if you break those rules, you may be removed from the board or ( depending on the violation ) reported to Pinterest for spam! Also, just because you ask, doesn't mean you will be added to a group board. There are tons of boards that I have requested to join and have never been added to.
How do you find Group Boards? I look first and foremost for other boards of pinners and bloggers I already know I like. Often those boards fit with my content and style, and I already know pinners contributing to those boards, so I might be able to have them add me, depending on the board's rules, of course! After that, I also check Pin Groupie, which is a website that lists Group Boards, and their stats. Additionally, there are some great Facebook groups for finding Group Boards. Try searching Pinterest in Facebook to find whichever group is move active these days!
I hope these little tricks and tips help you as much as they have helped me! Pinterest is such a great promotion tool; I'm always looking for new ways to learn and improve my use of it.
Do you have any Pinterest tricks you love?