Some Pinteresting Tips! Cardinal Sins, Optimal Pin Sizing and Many More
There are so many things that food bloggers need to keep track of. From cooking, testing, photography and promotions to keeping track of changes in Google’s algorithm, there are more things to do in a day than the 24 hours we have. Which is why, it is often daunting to think of starting anything new when it comes to promotional activity or traffic increasing exercises.
But the harsh reality is that we need to constantly be on the lookout for what to do right, if we want to make real progress with our food blogs. And one area that everyone really, really needs to focus on is, Pinterest. But in the sea of advice that is available out there, how do you know what to do?
Sometimes, you have to go with instinct, or trust. When I first saw Lorena Grater’s comments on Pinterest about the recent algorithm change on a popular Facebook group, something struck a chord. She was giving real, practical advise which I hadn’t seem from a lot of the Pinterest guides I was pouring through.
Clearly, that meant it was time for Coffee For Two, right? Meet Lorena of Green Healthy Cooking, and hear all about her tips for conquering that beast, Pinterest.
Let’s start with what you think are good practices on Pinterest?
So from the research and experience I have, it seems to all come down to one very simple thing: pin and pin some more and pin some more.
There are theories about deleting “underperforming” pins but I’ve tried that and it didn’t make a difference at all in my case. Maybe it was just me, maybe it used to work but not anymore. The only thing I experienced while deleting pins is that I was unable to fill my boards. My following is still so small that stuff that is pinned to my own boards doesn’t get repinned enough yet and by deleting all the underperforming ones I never managed to fill them.
Besides Pinterest itself says deleting has no effect on their algorithm so I believed them and stopped. As I said, I saw no difference in growth or repin rate when deleting and I saw no difference when I stopped. Talking to many other bloggers and analyzing their answers I came to the conclusion that pinning like a crazy person is what makes the real difference in order to grow a large number of followers. The more you pin, the more you show up in other people’s feeds and the higher the chances to find new followers. That simple.
What should you avoid on Pinterest? What are the cardinal sins?
I don’t think there are many.
Only maybe pinning too little.
Your own pins have to be pinned over and over and over again. Not in a row of course, that’s spammy for both Pinterest and people on Pinterest. I pin a new recipe to my main board and from there I schedule for it to go out to all appropriate group boards and own boards with a 24 hour break in between. Then I repin about a month later. I’ve found this to be a good strategy for me. Ignoring boards all together is probably another one. If you don’t pin to a board, delete it. If you don’t want to delete it pin at least one pin every other day to it. I have a simple excel sheet to keep track of that and make sure my boards stay “active”.
What’s power pinning? What’s your opinion on it?
I never felt this was something I could do. It’s so time consuming but I’ve come to the conclusion that it is one of the two things that can make you grow. The other one is hitting a viral post/pin but that’s not something we can control other than consistently putting extraordinary content out and pinning it. The viral post/pin has a lot to do with luck. The power pinning “only” needs grit and consistency.
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In terms of promotions, what should be the right approach for a food blogger? Does the 80:20 rule really apply?
I don’t really think the ratio matters at all. It’s more a thing of “how do I please the audience I’m trying to please?”
What I mean is, if you think your audience will love a board with healthy drink recipes you have to set up a board with healthy drink recipes, A LOT of healthy drink recipes, the most you can possibly find in the world wide web.
Since you probably don’t have 87363 drink recipes lined up for sharing on your own blog you’ll have to include other people’s recipes, too. You want to include only the “best”.
What “best” means depends on your audience again. If they are looking for pretty pictures, then only include beautifully photographed recipes. If they are looking for exclusively and strictly “healthy” ingredients you have to do your job revising the ingredients of all. You are basically offering a service to a follower. Finding the best of the best and put it all in one board for easy access. 90:10, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40 will all depend on how many recipes you already have on your blog, how well they fit into that specific board and how much of that you can find from other bloggers.
Do you think there is an optimum size even within long pins?
Apparently long pins do much better because they stick out in the sea of pins but now that more and more and more are making long pins I wonder if this still applies. My Pinterest presence isn’t big enough yet to start testing this myself. In general, I would say it’s important to consider the fact that most people watch Pinterest on their mobile phones and pins that are too long require quite a bit of scrolling. I try to stick to 2100px or shorter but that’s mostly personal preference. I have no statistics or anything backing up this is the best length.
What are the top three activities food bloggers should start this minute to get more traffic from Pinterest?
1. Get organized. Organize your boards, pay attention to their name and description following some simple SEO.
2. Pin and pin some more and pin some more.
3. Make sure you pin to every board at the very least once every other day.
What is one thing to keep in mind while trying to build followers on Pinterest?
The more group boards you join and pin to the more you are exposed to new followers. Yes, the algorithm change has had a negative effect on group board but I don’t believe they’ve died altogether. I still believe this is the fastest way to grow when you are very small. Since you can’t keep up pinning to a million group boards every other day, maybe join a group board, pin all your pins to it one a day, then leave after 100 days or whatever many pins you have and join a new one? Repeat. This is just an idea, nothing I have tried but it would be so logical to do that I definitely have to try.
Realistically how much time does it take for your efforts to show results with Pinterest if you are starting off with say a 100 followers? By efforts I mean, following more pinners, long pins for your own content, keeping meta descriptions SEO optimised, joining groups etc)
I’d say this comes down to how much effort and time you put into it. The more you pin, there more popular you become on Pinterest. Don’t forget you need own stuff to pin as well, so working on creating content should be #1 priority but Pinterest probably #2!
Who are the top pinners you looks up to? Who do you think does Pinterest promotion in the most intelligent way?
This question is maybe not really good for me. I don’t have much time to analyze other bloggers.
Pinch of Yum is probably a pinner to look up to. They might not be the blog with the most followers but they do a lot of testing and get great statistics out of their tests. I do take their advice very seriously whenever they give any because I know they’ve done excellent work researching the topic.
Do apps like tailwind work? Is there enough ROI to justify the spend?
Ideally you would just sit in front of Pinterest 24/7 pinning your life away but if you want a life outside Pinterest you just HAVE to resort to scheduling apps like Tailwind. I use Tailwind to schedule all the (every 24 hour pins) put I personally pin other people’s pins to my personal boards in the evenings to mis it up and to make sure I pin “popular” pins. Popularity can change within 24 hours. If you pin what’s popular “right now”, your reach is better at that specific moment.
What’s your top most pinned image and why do you think it’s the most pinned. Strategic pinning, quality or something else altogether?
This is my most pinned pin so far:
It has been pinned 16k times and I have absolutely NO idea why this one is doing SO much better than any of my others. If I knew I would create more like it…
Does Pinterest traffic follow the power law? Few pins bringing in all the traffic.
Yes, that’s true, at least for me and many bloggers I’ve spoken to, but I also believe we shouldn’t stop pinning a recipe because it isn’t doing as well as others because I’ve heard from many, many bloggers by now, that suddenly out of the blue an old recipe/pin that has shown close to zero engagement before will go viral a year later.
How does a day in your blogging life look like and how much of the time does Pinterest take? Does this happen every day? Is there fatigue to this?
Oh my, Pinterest is the most exhausting Social Media for me. It takes up a LARGE portion of my blogging time. I spend about three 8-hour days at the end of the month scheduling all my own posts to my group boards for the following month so the rest of the month is less stressful but those 3 days are really hard. Whenever I post a new recipe (3 times a week) I create a long pin for Pinterest, pin it to my board and schedule to all other appropriate boards in my profile with a 24 hour gap in between and I pin the individual pins to my own board as well. All of this takes about 10–15 minutes. Then, in the evening I pin other blogger’s stuff to my own themed boards. For this I have to search for good content first so it takes about 1 hour to find 2 pins per board (I currently have 15 themed boards).
How much of your total traffic in % can be attributed to Pinterest?
This is a difficult one to answer because Pinterest has done some changes to their reporting apparently and some of it’s traffic is now reported as “direct traffic” apparently. I’m not completely sure though. Still trying to find out. Before that change is used to be 25% of my total traffic though, so it’s a large portion.
There you have it, Pinterest decoded in the simplest way possible. Write to us if you have more interesting questions about Pinterest and we will try our best to answer them :)