We’ve talked about getting the best out of your personal Pinterest account. Today the focus turns to using Pinterest effectively for your blog. I was on Pinterest for some time before I started this blog. Here I’ll share some of the things I have learned so far about the differences between personal and blogging pinning, and some things to consider when using Pinterest to support your blog.
Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of this blog. What you see here is what I have learned in that time. There’s plenty more learning to come, and I’ll return to this subject when the blog is a little older, and I am a little older and wiser.
Protecting your privacy
While Pinterest was for personal use, you may not have given too much thought to your privacy. Even when people have followed you, you may not have considered that they can see everything you pin. Now I’m not suggesting that any of us have inappropriate pinning habits. But we might not want to share information about every aspect of our life with what will hopefully be a wider audience.
So if you have boards that support, for example, an issue experienced by one of your children, or your personal medical conditions, or even a framework for bright ideas you hope to share with the world when they’re hatched, consider the issue now. It’s easy to turn the privacy of those boards to secret. You can still pin away, but you’re not sharing, and that’s good.
You might also want to consider whether your blog readers will be interested in all of your boards. If your love for hair metal or Game of Thrones is a personal obsession rather than a blog topic, those boards could also become secret. My upcycle board is secret, as I don’t think my blog readers are so interested in my furniture renovating escapades.
Changing your Pinterest account to Business
This is the next step. I wondered whether I really needed to do that. So I went reading around, as you do, to see what benefits would accrue. The main two benefits mentioned were analytics and rich pins. To those, I would add Pinterest’s own support and information for business users, which has provided me with a mini training course in its own right.
First up, you need to link your Pinterest account to your website. There’s a handy help guide here. Pinterest also tells you how to achieve this on a lot of popular webhosts with a specific instruction guide for each host.
I am assuming at this stage that you have already added pinning buttons to your images. Once you’ve confirmed your site, your profile picture appears on every pin that comes from your website. You will also be able to see what people are pinning from your site.
Setting Up Rich Pins
You’ve probably seen rich pins without realising it. They’re the pins that have text in bold under the picture, and are designed to be more visible to potential pinners. Once you have enabled rich pins, the good news is that you don’t need to do more; that bold text happens automatically to everything you or anyone else chooses to pin from your website.
To set up a rich pin, you need to follow the process outlined on Pinterest here. There are different types of rich pin:
- Article pins link to original content that tells a story. These pins have a headline, author and story description.
- Product pins show price, availability and where the item can be bought. They should only be used where the pin links directly to a purchase point.
- Recipe pins can include title, ingredients, cooking time, serving information and ratings.
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, then setting up rich pins is easy. Go to the Yoast plugin Features tab, and check that you have the “Advanced Settings” enabled. That enables the metadata that allows Pinterest to deal with your rich pins. Head across to Pinterest and the Rich Pins Validator. Here you’ll be asked to drop in the link to any blog post – and it must be a blog post not a page. Then click Validate. You only need to do this once, and Pinterest will read all your pins.
Pinterest should recognise your site url, and the HTML tags that come with Yoast. Pinterest says that your rich pins will be visible within an hour. In fact mine went rich within a couple of minutes. All pins display your website name and icon.
A short while after you’ve verified your site, Pinterest starts reporting its data to you. When you go to your profile, you’ll see a little header for analytics appear on the top left. You’ll also start getting emails to your account with key pins highlighted.
When you call up the Analytics overview, it tells you how many page impressions you are getting each day, how many people view your pins each month, and how many people from that list see pins originating from your website.
Move on to the next dropdown option, Profile, and here you’ll find the number of impressions: the views that your pins and repins get on Pinterest. Here you’ll also find your five pins/repins with the most impressions over the past thirty days. Gratifyingly for me as a new blogger, one of my own is my second most popular pin. It’s about packing for a road trip and you’ll find it here. For each of these most popular pins, Analytics gives you the number of impressions, the number of click throughs, the number of saves, and whether the pin is a rich pin.
Analytics then tells you your five most popular boards for impressions, clicks and saves. My top performing board is On The Road, which fits in well with my travel focus, while the next two are Bullet Journal and Travel Journal, supporting the planner section of the blog.
Under People You Reach, Analytics tells you who your visitors are: their country, city, language and gender. A graph gives you your average monthly viewers and how many of them are engaging with your pins. This is presented as a line graph, so you can hover over it on particular days to see if any specific action on your part is reflected in the data.
The fourth Analytics dropdown is entitled website. Here you get the details of the top performing pins from your website, including the average daily impressions and the average daily viewers. You also get the number of impressions, clicks and saves for your top five pins. The boards driving your impressions are also shown; I can see that two of those boards belong to other Pinterest users who are driving traffic to my pins.
Using Analytics Data
I’ve found the data captured in Analytics fascinating. You get to know which of your pins are doing best, which gives you two courses of action:
- Assess what you think people like about these pins, and try to do more of it in new blog post pins
- Review your unloved pins, and give them a refresh.
You also get to know which of the pins you have repinned are performing well with your Pinterest followers. That’s been a real education to me, both in topics, and also in the kind of photography that seems to capture people’s attention. It’s all really useful information. Analytics data has also shown me which boards are driving traffic to my site, and which fellow Pinterest board owners have an audience ready to engage with my blog.
There are whole posts on Pinterest devoted to engaging with group boards. I will return to this subject when I have more direct experience. There are a number of group board lists which I found with the assistance of Google. I would urge you to be selective in the boards that you choose to engage with, so that your membership is meaningful.
If you are going to fully participate in a board, then you want, unlike Groucho Marx, to be somewhere that would be proud to have you as a member. You want to be part of a community that engages a similar audience, whose pins you can enjoy repinning for your own followers, and whose content will give your pins an airing to a new and relevant audience. So if you sign up to a group board, do all the good stuff. Read the rules and follow them. Pin and repin useful content, and don’t go spammy on them. None of us like the pink stuff.
If you decide to set up your own group board, all you need is a fellow pinner to begin. Then you can open up your group to other potential members. Be clear on your rules for pinning, and include them in the narrative for the board. Those rules might include only vertical pins, no more than two per day, and repinning from other board members. Tell people how to reach you by email to join the board. And don’t forget to check on its contents and moderate if needed.
In my first month of blogging, I learned this about pinterest
- It’s easy to change to a business account
- It’s simple to set up rich pins
- Analytics data is fascinating, and I could spend hours in there
- It’s easy to understand why some pins do well, but with others it’s more difficult to see why they caught on
- It’s driving most of my traffic
I’ll report back again once I’ve got more blog posts under my belt, and spent more time in Group Boards. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to furtle in my Analytics data. #geekon