This is the story all about how I got 20,000 sessions in 2017 via Pinterest without doing anything..
That title is not clickbait, I promise you. This actually happened to my blog over the course of 2017 with little to no effort on my side.
I’ll admit - in 2017, I didn’t pay as much attention as I would have liked to my blog. I started my job in April and from there it’s a blur. However, before I started my job - there were a few posts that I had already published which started to gain traction via Pinterest.
For example, my Ultimate London Bucket List gained a lot of traction via Pinterest as soon as I published it. Another one would be my 10 day Itinerary for England, Scotland, and Ireland where I detail a full 10 days that encompasses each of these countries.
Once these were already published and shared via Pinterest with specific keywords and via relevant boards, I didn’t have to do much else - Pinterest did the work for me, which was amazing to watch over the last year.
So, I want to detail for you how you can gain new users via Pinterest and passively increase traffic to your blog.
You ready? Let’s do this.
1. Look at Pinterest trends & do research
First things first,
I would start by looking at Pinterest to see what’s trending and make a list of posts that you know you can write to contribute to that BUT they must have a different twist on them.
For example, I wrote the London Bucket List post but what I did to accompany it was add a downloadable that they could take with them to London. A simple checklist that I created in Canva (which I swear by for doing design as a newbie because it’s FREE) that was at the bottom of the blog post for them to enjoy and utilize during their travels.
What’s better than that? They don’t have to keep looking at a particular blog post or their notes app - they can either have a physical copy of the checklist or they can download the PDF and have it with them at all times. It’s interactive and very easy to implement in a lot of your posts.
You want to provide value to the readers but you also want to know a little bit about what your writing about. So, if you’re a blogger who mainly writes about fashion and lifestyle but not really travel - maybe a travel bucket list or travel guide isn’t something you want to focus on. Maybe you want to focus on a gift guide for holidays/birthdays/etc. Or you want to focus on a recipe you’ve been whipping up in the kitchen (which can easily be translated into a downloadable or a recipe guide, etc). There are many ways to go about finding what’s relevant for your blog via Pinterest and then going from there.
2.create a visual to coincide with your blog post
Second things second,
After you’ve written the blog post, you’ll want to create a great visual to go along with it. This is where Canva comes in.
You can sign up for a free account on Canva and get started there. *FYI, these are not affiliate links and I won’t get paid for them - I’m just a massive fan of the platform and think that it provides exemplary value to bloggers who are either just starting out or veterans.*
First thing you want to do once you’ve logged in is create a design. I recommend using the Pinterest graphic ‘layout’ because it’s already got the exact size you need that Pinterest requires.
Once you’ve clicked on the ‘Pinterest Graphic’ example, you’ll be taken to this page. This will be where you make the necessary edits and find the right layout for you.
I recommend that you find a design that works best for you and test a few of them out on Pinterest to see which one gets the most traction and then continue to use that for brand consistency purposes.
One the left-hand sidebar, you’ll see several templates that you can choose from and it scrolls for quite a while. You can also design your own from scratch if you’ve seen something that you like via Pinterest but don’t see it here.
A way to do that would be by clicking on the ‘elements’ tab and seeing what shapes, typography, etc. they have and then building the canvas from there. You can also click on ‘backgrounds’ to change the color of the background or add in a picture (which is what I most frequently do for my Pins).
*The way that you upload the picture is by clicking upload and using that as your personal, photo library. Canva also has stock photography that you can use if you don’t have any that you’ve taken, however, some of them you have to pay for so it might not be economical just starting out.*
A few good examples of Pins that have worked for me are:
3. track everything via google analytics
Third things third,
You will want to create a specific tracked link so that you can see exactly which pin is driving the most traffic to your site. You can actually do this via the Google Campaign Builder.
This will allow you add in specific utm paramters (coming in another blog post) that you can track via Google Analytics. You want to know the source of the traffic, campaign name, medium (which would be social), and the content name.
So for content name you’d add something like ‘londonbucketlistpin’ or ‘londonbucketlistpin(andDATE)’. Sometimes, it’s nice to add the date to the specific url because it will allow you to see at which time/pin drove the most traffic.
So to be transparent and honest with you - I actually haven’t ever done this for my blog YET. I’ve been doing this at my job and so I’ve learned a lot in the past year about tracking and how important it is to see the source of where your traffic is coming from as well as which creative is driving all of that traffic.
For example (and transparencies sake)...
This is 2017 - notice that when I filtered in ‘Ad Content’ it says (not set). That means that I haven’t added specific tracking to my url’s that I place on Pinterest. If I were to add specific tracking to the URL - it’d look something like this:
What you want to be able to do, is filter Pinterest by Ad Content and see the list of creatives that are driving the most traffic to your site. This is easy to do and execute once you get the hang of it.
So, what you’ll notice is that I’ve had 23,000 sessions via Pinterest in 2017. This is from January 1, 2017 to January 2, 2018 shown below.
You’ll notice a complete dip in June and it’s just seasonality. People are already traveling and might not need as much inspiration content.
It started to pick up again in July and this is WITHOUT me doing a single thing all year. No joke. I shared the bucket list pins at the beginning of the year and didn't do anything else. I didn’t promote them, they aren’t rich pins, there’s nothing special about them. They are just pins that ultimately went viral on Pinterest.
If you click on ‘Behavior’ in Google Analytics (and please tell me you DO have this set up for your blog…) then click on ‘overview’ - it will show you the most popular content, page views, etc. You can see the break down over the past year of the most popular content that’s coming from Pinterest to my blog.
When I say that I’ve done nothing, I truly mean that, which is why I fully believe in the power that Pinterest has for bloggers, websites, businesses, etc!
It has the power to totally transform your blog, gain new users, more traffic and growth. Blogs who don’t utilize Pinterest - I’m always curious how you gain most of your traffic starting out - unless your SEO is just super on point and your keyword game is strong?
Either way, I hope that this post has inspired you to really dive into Pinterest as a blogger or small business owner and start killing the game. You can see that it’s a very passive channel once a pin gets going, there’s really nothing that you need to do unless you want to promote it - which is completely fine to do!
I just like to use Pinterest as an organic growth channel and not really pay for campaigns if I don’t have to (and clearly in 2017, it wasn’t necessary).
If you have any questions regarding traffic to your site, how to kill it on Pinterest in 2018, designing pins that will gain traction and more - just reach out. Whatever you want to know, I can answer or construct in a blog post for everyone to utilize.
Coming up, I want to write a post detailing how to track your campaigns (paid and unpaid), really doing a full Canva tutorial, etc. If there’s anything you’d like to see - let me know and I’m happy to write something up.
Also, I will continue to write travel themed posts (obviously) such as travel guides, eateries, budget tips for Europe, etc. It’s all coming your way.
Get ready, 2018 is going to be amazing!