Going viral on Pinterest requires good ideas, unique content, great images, and lots of luck.
Firstly, I’ve been blogging for less than a year. Since the end of July 2013, when I first started tracking my Pinterest analytics, I have gotten an average of 200+ repins on my blog daily. That means my blog has been repinned well over 60,000+ times.
Very, very rarely will your blog go really viral. Like, one million views in one weekend viral. However, I read “viral” means receiving 5 times your average views, and so with that definition in mind, I’ve went viral once, but have had many other short “bursts”, where my traffic swells about 200-300%. At the time, the only social media I was using was Pinterest. That proved with Pinterest, you can go viral pretty quickly. Here are some things I have learned over the past months.
Learn the rules, then break them.
Listen to other bloggers’ advice. But, don’t let other bloggers tell you what to do. I’ve heard “have specific boards” but nothing drives me more nuts than 10 social media boards with 2 or 3 pins each. In my non-professional opinion, only have boards if you like them. Don’t pin content because you feel you have to or because the rules say to, pin them because you want to.
1. Step up your profile.
Verify your website, add your Facebook and Twitter. Add a nice profile picture and description. Make yourself look professional, but personable.
2. Set up a Pin-It button on your website.
With WordPress, this can easily be done with a Plug-In.
3. Watermark all of your images.
Put your website URL somewhere on all of your images.
4. Don’t use random pictures you find off the Internet for your site.
Make sure all images you use are in the public domain, use your own, or buy them. DO NOT use random pictures you find off Google.
5. Use hashtags, but don’t go crazy.
#Nothing #is #more #annoying #than #hashtag #overload. #Nobody #cares. #And #nobody #searches #for #”and”. Only use hashtags on the words that stick out. If your pin could only be summed up in a few words, those are the only ones you should use hashtags for. I personally do not use hashtags much.
6. The best time to pin is 8-11 PM.
All the mommy’s are putting their kids to sleep. This is tried and true and the only time I pin for my blog. I’ve heard Saturday morning is also good, but if you pin Friday night, people will repin your content, and if it is worth pinning, it will be all over Pinterest quite a few times by morning.
7. Don’t pin the same pin to more than a couple boards at a time.
NOTHING is more annoying then when someone pins a pin to 10 of their boards (i.e. a Coffee cake recipe to “Cake” “Breakfast” “Food for kids” “Homeschool” “School ideas” “Potluck” and “To try with Kids”, due to a bunch of people telling them to have 100 boards. Pinterest also frowns upon this as spam.
8. Have juicy content and an eye-catching headline
Personally, I do not pin pins with 5 or less tips. “3 tips for…” I feel “really? All you could think of is three tips?” Unless they are REALLY good, don’t bother posting it. People will visit your site for about 30 seconds and most likely not repin. In my opinion, 10 is a good minimum number for lists. Of course, it can vary on what you’re posting, etc.
9. Keep some of your sharp-est images and most popular posts on your sidebar.
But don’t make it too cluttered, so they stick out.
PINTEREST AND YOU
1. Reply to comments on your pins.
Interact. Be friendly. 🙂
2. Follow big name bloggers who pin quality content.
3. Pin quality content.
Pin beautiful, high-quality and beautiful, unique images and posts. People will be more likely to follow you if you have good content.
4. Pin other’s content.
Very few people can get away with not doing this. Pin off other bloggers trying to make it big. It also makes you seem less spammy as a whole.
5. Pinterest descriptions matter.
Both for searches, SEO (thats a whole other topic), and it just looks better. I also don’t recommend your descriptions like an ad. In your description, write what you’d think a reader who liked the article would write. For example, my post “11 Mystery Series.”
Bad: “11 Mystery Series”
Good: “11 Mystery Series. Great list with reviews by a teen blogger!”
It’s just more human, and less ad.
Note: I rarely do this, I just include the post title and my blog, and perhaps a little something extra. Occasionally I have repinned off of people who share my content and leave a kind message about the article.
6. Pin to the post, not your blog.
For my Math Cheat Sheet:
7. After editing photos, save under a compelling automatic title.
I used to save photos under things like “11 americancwbooks” for my post “11 American Civil War Books.” Well, on WordPress, it’s catching up on me as people pin off my website and that horrible description comes up. For my most popular articles I’ve changed this, but a few still remain. It stinks. 🙁
8. Get inspiration from your competitors.
Check out the big-name bloggers and their images. What are they doing that you’re not? What do their images have that yours do not?
9. Get to know your competitors.
Guest post, maybe. Make sure other big-name bloggers see your content.
YOUR PICTURES WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOU
1. Make sure your pictures are 600 pixels wide.
They can be more, but really try not to be any less. The Pinterest pixel width is 600 pixels. (550px also works)
2. Edit your images.
Start with Picmonkey.com, a free and easy site to use. You can do transparent backgrounds (with the “fade” slider that pops up when you click on a shape), which is my personal favorite. Plus, they have tons of cool fonts. When you get to know Picmonkey, I recommend Ribbet.com, also free, but with Ribbet, you can use your own fonts downloaded from the internet, and it has free vector images you can use.
3. Have beautiful, simple, pretty images.
Ultimately, what will attract Pinterest users to your blog is beautiful, aesthetic images, not the post. Great writing will keep the reader. But, as people begin to recognize your brand from Watermarked images, you should be gaining followers, likes and repins. Study veteran bloggers’ images.
3o+ Ways To Teach History Without A Textbook is one of my best posts.
And finally, my best post. My Math Cheat Sheet received well over 1,000 repins within two days. (this was my “viral” post.)
Here is an example of how I have grown over the years. When I was creating the first image (the left image), I remember picking out yellow to make it “stand out.” I’m aware it’s bad. 🙂 I just needed something to go with the article. Umm…in retrospect, it was under 600 pixels wide, therefore very blurry, and there were WAY too many fonts and colors that did not go together.
The second image was my next attempt. A step up and the right size, but a bit too busy.
My last attempt was my big hit.
Same post, different picture. The last image was the one that really hit it big. The picture was a free professional stock photo from istock.com, (free photo of the week) which I believed REALLY help. It is more simplistic, and less cluttered. (I could still probably make the image even better with a vertical image)
Basically, photos are everything. And with serious bloggers with fantastic images, you have tough competition.
THE GROUP BOARD SECRET
Group boards are the reason my blog gets 200+ repins a day. It probably is more by now, but half my traffic is coming from my .blogspot.com URL and half from my .com URL, and I don’t have time to do the math. I began blogging with a message and a mission, and people liked it, and my age. (“YOU’RE A TEENAGER?? I thought you were a mommy blog!!” I get that a lot..:) ) If you’ve got something great to say and the audience to say it to, people will share your content.
1. Join group boards in your niche.
Secret: A good group board has a ratio of about 1 member to about 100 followers or more. Why a lower member-to-follower ratio? If a board has a million followers and 500,000 members, that firstly means the board really has only 500,000 non-members. Secondly, it means those if those 500,000 members pinned 2 pins daily, you have a million pins, and your pin is buried.
2. Check out your competitors in your group boards.
If you are part of a large group board and you are getting very little repins compared to your competitors, something is wrong with your images. Either they or too cluttered, have a poor color scheme, poor lighting… Better photos will come as you have more practice. As you can see from the 70 Christian Workout Songs post, your skills will improve. You will get better. It takes time.
3. Find more group boards via group board members.
Yes, I do this. Yes, it’s gotten me a lot of good group boards, pins, and blog views.
4. Use this (group board) large audience to test and see if you really have good content.
At the beginning, I knew my ideas were 100% original and I knew people would want to read them, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that with the couple thousand of followers I had at the time. The first giant group board I was invited too, I remember being stunned at the traffic pouring into my blog. Two minutes after I posted my first blog pin, it got 5 repins. And then another 5 repins. And when I woke up, it had been repinned over 12o times and my eyes bulged out of their sockets. I knew a few people would like my blog, but I was not expecting it to get where it is today.
Get to know your audience. On a certain group board with nearly 22,300 followers, I can expect about 100 repins overnight for my new posts. Older posts, about 50 repins. I know which pins will get only about 20 repins, and which ones I can expect about 150 repins. The highest number of repins on a single pin that I have ever seen on that board (that has been posted for less than a week) was nearly 300. My highest was about 175 for my Math Cheat Sheet.
5. Check out how many repins you are getting compared to your competitors on group boards.
On some group boards, I only expect to get a couple of repins. On others, any new content less than 50 repins was a flop.
6. HOW TO FIND GROUP BOARDS
Use this awesome guide to find group boards in your niche.
THEY CLICK YOUR PIN. THEY’RE ON YOUR SITE. NOW WHAT?
They liked the image and/or title. (Congrats!) They clicked on your pin. They’re on your site. You have about 15 seconds to reel them in before they leave. You’ve got your chance to earn a follower. I don’t know how to say it more plainly. If they like your content, they will share, repin and possibly follow. You will not grow your blog by writing anything boring, or if you have poor writing skills. People will close out of your website and probably won’t share. Try thinking from a reader’s perspective.
THE RECIPE TO PINTEREST SUCCESS:
1. A large fan base (Group board or otherwise)
2. Eye-catching images to lure Large fan base.
3. Interesting title with good keywords to go with Eye-catching images.
4. Great, unique content and something worth sharing.
For more information, check out Unskinny Boppy’s great guide to going viral.
Also check out my Facebook marketing tips!