in Content Marketing

Pinterest Traffic: A Step-By-Step Guide


I’ll be honest…

I thought I had my Pinterest strategy on lock. It seemed like an easy platform — just pin images from your site and you’ll get some low-ish quality social traffic. Seemed pretty plug and play.

Well, I was wrong. Not only is that a terrible strategy for Pinterest, but it’s entirely possible to get a lot of traffic that is pretty good from Pinterest, provided you attack it the right way.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve completely revamped my Pinterest strategy, systemized it, and put it on autopilot. Instead of telling you the results, I’ll just show you:

Clicks – Up 250%

Impressions- Up 125%

Saves – Up 250%

Traffic – Up 130% and climbing

What You’ll Need

I don’t want my Pinterest activity to take a lot of my personal time, so I rely heavily on two pieces of software to do much of the heavy lifting.

  1. Tailwind Pro – This is the lowest-tier option, and I would recommend buying the annual plan as you save 2 months of fees. If you’re investing in Pinterest, you’ll be using Tailwind for > 1 year anyways.
  2. Social Warfare – Allows you to set Pinterest-specific social share images along with a wealth of other sharing options.

Those are affiliate links, so I’ll make a small chunk of change if you purchase through them. I’ll probably spend it on my graphic designer to create more pins.

Clean Up & Optimize Your Pinterest Profile

The first thing you need to do is some cleanup on your Pinterest account. If you’re like me, you probably have a combination of bad pins, worthless boards, and a poorly-optimized profile page.

Clean Up Checklist

  1. Delete all horizontal pins, unless they are performing abnormally well
  2. Delete all non-performing pins
  3. Delete all non-performing boards (if all pins suck on that board, delete it)

Optimization Checklist

Create a site-specific board at the top of your profile page. Pinterest now allows you to feature five boards at the top of your profile. The most successful accounts I’ve seen are only using one of these five boards, and its a board that houses the best content from their own blog. By creating this board, you’re making it easy for pinners to find and pin your content.

Create new boards based on what you’re missing. Chances are high that you don’t have anywhere near enough boards. If you’re in a large niche, explore some other popular Pinterest accounts and make a list of boards they have that you don’t. Then go and create all of those boards. In my case, I ended up creating 40-50 new boards. Make sure you write a description and choose a category for these boards.

Fill Boards and Join Tribes

By this point, you’ve got an optimized Pinterest account on all three levels: profile, board, and pin. But most of your boards will be empty or thin, so it’s time to hop into Tailwind and fill these boards up with awesome content.

Do not pin your own content to your boards yet. Pinterest likes accounts that share a breadth of content within a niche, not accounts that spam their own stuff (like I used to).

Schedule at least 10 pins per board. Choose pins that are already performing well for that particular sub-topic so your boards start out as strong resources for anyone who comes across them.

Tailwind Tribes

One of the best ways to fill boards and build relationships is to join a Tailwind Tribe. As of the time I write this, Tailwind Tribes is in open alpha and is extremely popular, so get in while it’s still easy to join a tribe.

A tribe is a collection of people who all have Pinterest accounts around the same topic. You can submit your content to a Tribe and everyone within that Tribe can pin it to their boards. The Tribe dashboard keeps a log of who’s shared the most content from other Tribe members, so being liberal about your pinning will go a long way in getting others to pin your content.

Optimize Your Site For Pinterest

Now that you’ve cleaned up, optimized, and begun to fill up your Pinterest account, it’s time to look at the other side of the equation: your site.

There are two main things you need to do here:

  1. Create a high-quality pin for each post
  2. Optimize your posts for Pinterest sharing

Creating New Pins

This is simple and I won’t get into the weeds on this one. Look at popular accounts in your niche and develop a Photoshop template, then hand that off to a graphic designer on Upwork.

To make it easier for them, paste all of your blog posts into the BuzzStream Extractor to get a sheet of your URLs, titles, and meta descriptions, and add a Yes/No column to track their progress.

Once you’ve got Pinterest-specific images for each of your posts, it’s time to optimize your site.

Optimizing Your Posts For Pinterest

In the past, I used to add my Pinterest-specific images to my posts. I tested top and bottom of the page, but eventually concluded that having a large 500 x 1,100px image on the page was not helpful to my readers.

However, I still wanted that image to be the one selected when someone clicked the “Pin” button on a post.

This is where Social Warfare comes into play. Along with being one of the best social sharing plugins I’ve ever used, it has a handy feature that allows you to set a Pinterest-specific image that is not visible on your post, but will trigger when a reader clicks the “Pin” button.

Now, all you have to do is:

  1. Get your Pinterest images back from your designer
  2. Go through and upload them to each post with a description (I used my meta description for the post)

And voila! You now have a site that’s set up to share amazing images in 1 click to Pinterest. This takes away a ton of the friction inherent in sharing, meaning more pins, which will feed the Pinterest engine we’ve been building.

Putting It All Together

We’ve done a lot of work so far. Here is how it all fits together to create a Pinterest traffic engine that runs more or less on autopilot, but delivers a ton of value to people who interact with your content on the platform:

  1. You clean up all of the trash on your account, signaling to users and Pinterest that you’re a high-quality resource.
  2. You create new, relevant boards and use Tailwind to fill them up with high-quality pins.
  3. You join Tailwind Tribes and start to fill your boards with content from other influencers, building goodwill and your reach on the platform
  4. You create incredible Pinterest-specific images for every post on your site
  5. You upload these images to your site so that they’re specifically shared on Pinterest alone

Now we’re at the final step, the piece that ties it all together:

You go back into Tailwind and schedule all of these Pinterest-specific images on:

  1. Your “Best of” board
  2. Relevant boards you’ve created
  3. Relevant group boards you’re a member of (here’s how to get in group boards)
  4. Add to Tailwind Tribe(s) you’re a member of

A single pin for a single article on your site is now going out to 15+ relevant boards, some of which you own and some of which are group boards. That’s not even counting how many times it’ll be shared by Tailwind Tribe members.

If you have good content and attractive pins, you’ll start seeing some pins blow up with repins, and your social referral traffic from Pinterest will explode.

Pinterest will reward you for this engagement, because you’re increasing engagement on their platform as well (which is what they care about). They’ll boost prominence for your account, pins, and boards and everything will start to compound.