I noted in January that one of my blog goals for 2019 (actually my only goal) was to start using Pinterest more to actually drive traffic to my blog. I’ve had a Pinterest account for years but always assumed that the site was better suited to things like cooking, lifestyle, parenting, etc. and that getting traffic to a book blog from Pinterest was probably not going to happen. (Here are the initial five steps I took to improve my Pinterest profile.) Now that we’re a couple months into 2019 and my Pinterest experiment, here’s what I learned about using the site and what seems effective–or not.
1. Vertical Pins Do Best
This is obvious, and you will find this advice on any post about how to succeed at using Pinterest, but since I wasn’t focused on pinning my posts for a number of years, many of our posts did not have Pinterest-optimized images. This included anything from lists and dicussions (horizontal headers) to reviews (square Instagram images). I had to make new, vertical graphics for any post that I wanted to add to Pinterest AND delete any old, non-vertical pins from my existing boards. A lot of book bloggers also do not have vertical, pinnable images on their posts, and best practices for Pinterest suggests that you do not pin others’ graphics if they aren’t good for Pinterest either.
2. Book Reviews Get Some Traffic–But Not a Lot
You can post book reviews to Pinterest, and they do get a small amount of traffic. Lovely Audiobooks even started a group board specifically for book bloggers to share book reviews that you can join to promote your reviews. However, book reviews do not get as much traffic as other book-related posts, so if you’re just getting started out on Pinterest, I would suggest focusing on other content before reviews. If you do want to promote your reviews, consider using a Canva template that you can quickly customize for each review, instead of simply posting the book cover as your pin. Here’s what I use:
3. The Most Successful Posts Are Ones that Are Already Getting Search Engine Hits
Reviews don’t necessarily do as well as other posts because, as people have pointed out, Pinterest is more of a search engine than a social media site. Users log onto Pinterest often looking for specific things, like recommendations for recipes, make-up tutorials–or lists of books to read. This means that if you have a post that is currently getting good traffic from Google, it will probably also get good traffic from Pinterest if you promote it correctly. Lists of books and blogging advice (or reading advice like how to read more or read quickly) will probably do well. This does mean, however, that discussion posts–which tend to generate a lot of traffic on book blogs–might not get a lot of traffic from Pinterest simply because the topic might not be one that users are actively searching. Here is an example of a pin that did well for us:
4. Pins with Lots of Book Covers Do Well
Finally, I learned that pins with lots of book covers tend to do better than pins with a single large image. People like books lists. This also, unfortunately, means that our branded Pages Unbound pins in purple and gray don’t always do as well as I’d like, so I often make a couple pin options to see what will do better. For example, the pin with the covers performed better than our original heading image with just a background picture of a hobbit hole:
Do you use Pinterest, either for your blog or for personal use? What kinds of pins do you post? What types of pins do you find yourself drawn to saving/repinning?