In 2018, Pages Unbound received 523 pageviews from Pinterest referrals. In January 2019, I decided I was going to take Pinterest more seriously.
While I was skeptical that content from book blogs could really take off on Pinterest, many bloggers in general swear by the site and say it is their single largest source of traffic. After I stumbled across a few actual book bloggers, including The Uncorked Librarian and Lovely Audiobooks, saying they receive a reasonable amount of traffic from Pinterest, I figured I had nothing to lose (besides maybe my time).
The result: In 2019, Pages Unbound received over 8,000 pageviews from Pinterest.
Concrete Steps I Took to Increase Traffic from Pinterest
Honestly, if you read any article or blog post on how to get traffic from Pinterest, the ideas are generally the same: set up a business account, set up rich pins, post appealing graphics, make sure the graphics are vertical, etc. and so forth. I did all this, but here are some of the more concrete steps I took:
I created uniform board covers.
I don’t think there’s any actual need to create uniform board covers to succeed on Pinterest, but a lot of the “serious” Pinterest users have them. Board covers with the title of the board make it easy for people to see what each board is about, and your profile looks professional and attractive to potential followers. It’s an easy thing to do to update your profile.
I created a book bloggers group board.
(Good) group boards are important to help get other users repinning your content so it gets more visibility. The general rules of a group board are that for every pin you add, you must pin one other person’s pin. Other rules might include not spamming the board with your content and posting only vertical images, not horizontal or square ones.
I noted in an earlier post that I had trouble finding book or book blogger group boards, especially ones that are accepting new members, so I started my own. (You can request to join the book blogger group board here.) I’ve since found several boards hosted by others to join, some of which are great and some of which are a bit spammy. Some of them also trend more towards romance books, so I more recently started a YA/MG specific group board here that I’m hoping to grow.
I started pinning every day.
Advice on how much or how often to pin each day to “succeed” varies, but my basic rule in 2019 was to attempt to pin something every single day. I pin my own post of the day to a minimum of two boards, and then I log onto Pinterest and repin others’ content there, even if it’s only four pins or so.
I missed some days, and I wasn’t always consistent. Some days I pinned a lot, while others I pinned practically nothing. This is definitely not the “ideal” strategy. But since I had NO strategy for Pinterest in 2018, pinning at least a little each (or most) days in 2019 noticeably improved my reach and my traffic.
I created more pinnable images for the blog.
Of course, in order to pin things, I needed content to pin. In 2019, I made it a point to try to have a vertical pinnable image with the title of the blog post for any discussion post or book list posted at Pages Unbound.
(I have made some graphics for book reviews, and I see other book bloggers who have pinned images for reviews, but my experience is that these do not do nearly as well as discussion posts or other features–especially any type of list. If you have time, promoting your book reviews on Pinterest is worthwhile because you’ll probably get some traffic, but it’s not where you should put your focus if the time you can commit to social media is limited.)
I signed up for the Free Trial of Tailwind
Tailwind is a paid service that lets you schedule pins, join tribes to get your pins shared, see analytics on your pins, and more. It is fabulous because you can take an hour or two and schedule pins (at suggested optimized times!) for basically the whole month and then forget about them. You can also use features to ensure that you are pinning a single pin to all the boards you want, without overlap, and at staggered times–so I can pin something to 13 groups boards but schedule it so it only is pinned to one board a day. (People who are serious about Pinterest but don’t have Tailwind seem to get the same result by keeping elaborate spreadsheets detailing what they pinned, where, and when; without Tailwind, I just wing it and miss the opportunity to pin my content to all relevant boards.)
I wrote more about my experience with Tailwind in this post, and I really liked it while I had the trial. I just struggle with the idea of paying for it month after month when I make absolutely no money from this blog. But if you are monetizing your blog, or if you simply have the disposable income to spend some money on your blog, I would recommend checking it out.
Insights for Book Bloggers on Pinterest
- Book lists do particularly well. If you think of Pinterest as a search engine more than social media, this makes sense. People go on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration, not necessarily for book reviews or even bookish discussions. If you have limited time to promote your content on Pinterest, start with any lists you have.
- Seasonal content does well. Similar to the first idea, people like lists of books related to holidays, seasons, etc. Books to read in winter. Picture books for St. Patrick’s Day. Whatever. Make sure to start promoting the content early though. I’ve seen recommendations to start promoting 45 days before the actual holiday.
- Think of content that will do well with a “general” audience. The people visiting your blog from Pinterest are not necessarily other book bloggers. This is exciting because most of us know other book bloggers are usually our main audience. But this also means you have to think about what will appeal to readers/visitors who might not even know what a book blog is, much less be interested in the usual book blog discussions and debates.
- Pins with lots of covers do well. This is probably related to lists doing well, but if I create one pin for a list with a lot of book covers on it and one pin that has a single image, usually the one with tons of covers does better.