My friend Isra Hashmi is the blogger behind The Frugalette, a popular frugal living blog. And as most successful bloggers are, she is also a savvy content marketer. Her top traffic driving channel is Pinterest, where she has over 4,500 followers. She pins strategically, specifically for her brand and with the intention to drive blog traffic. And it works.
I asked Isra to share some of her favorite Pinterest strategies with my readers. Whether you’re a blogger or a business owner, Isra has some great tips to turn your Pinterest account into a traffic driving machine.
The Social Craft: What inspired you to change your Pinterest strategy? Talk about what happened, numbers-wise, after you did so.
Isra: For the first year I was on Pinterest, I looked at it as a great way to curate all those fabulous posts I find online and keep them in one place to check out later. I had boards dedicated to each child and their interests and places I would love to travel and things I would like to buy. It was all about me and my family. I didn’t quite understand how it would bring my blog traffic and it painfully took a year to gain 1,500 followers that were probably not even sure why they were following me either. Two years after Pinterest came out I still kept hearing how much traffic it was bringing bloggers and decided to invest more time in it and figuring it out. In one month of applying all the strategies I learned, I doubled my followers.
How is Pinterest driving your blog traffic now? You mentioned that Facebook was formerly your top traffic source.
Pinterest used to hover around in my top 10 referral sources. Since I switched my strategy it’s by far my #1 source and Facebook, formerly #1, is now #3. Also, the amazing thing about Pinterest is that if you hit just one great pin from your site, it could potentially keep generating traffic for months to come because it keeps getting repinned.
Explain the importance of pinning for your brand vs. for yourself and what steps you took to do so.
The first thing I did was to take myself out of it personally. I re-named my kids’ boards to appeal to others — instead of using my child’s name, I named a board “For Preschoolers” and started pinning things that would be great in that age range, regardless of gender. I deleted boards that followers of my blog would probably not be interested in. For example, a board dedicated to celebrity gossip, while fun to look at, was not something the readers of The Frugalette would be coming to me for.
What is your board positioning strategy? How did you choose which boards to put in the top row?
I focused on what my boards look like on the Pinterest app. The Pinterest app for iPhone is downloaded 200k times a day! Seeing that so many people are using the app, I saw that when you look at a profile only the 2 left-most boards are shown at the very top, so those are critical. I wanted to make sure one of them was a board filled with my blog posts.
How do you choose a cover image for your boards?
I try my best to pick a cover with words. While pics are great, reading the board cover is still the easiest way to figure out what other pins you’ll find inside.
How do you name your boards? Describe what happened when you renamed one of your boards.
A lot of tips I read said to name Pinterest boards according to searchability, but I don’t think that’s true. While I like it to be clear what the board is, I also want it to feel unique and catchy. I changed one of my boards from “Blogging Tips” to “How to Rock Your Blog”. I still pin exactly the same things I did before, but many more people regularly follow that board now simply because it sounds more exciting. Who doesn’t want to rock their blog? (Of course it helps to have a good blog to begin with, before you start giving out advice!)
How often do you pin, and how much? What advice do you have for someone who is pressed for time?
Set your timer for 15 minutes. That’s it. The key is consistency. You must pin at least one a day. Pinning too much will leave your followers frustrated. Not pinning at all, or enough interesting content will leave them bored and you won’t get new followers.
How do you find great content to pin? Do you pin content within pinterest or from the web, or a combo of both?
I work very hard to find original content from the web, that is the kind that does the best in terms of building a following. Re-pinning is great too, if it’s a really great pin, but my first choice is to pin organically from a site.
How do you balance sharing your own content with sharing others? What is your ratio?
At least 6 out of 10 pins are others’ content versus my own. Even with my own content, I am very selective to make sure it’s a good fit for Pinterest.
How do optimize your blog content for Pinterest?
If I know the post is good fit for Pinterest — a recipe, a how-to post, etc. — I make sure to add a great Pinterest-friendly image to the post with a text overlay on it. To do that, I use my own photo and add text with PicMonkey. I’ve gone back to older posts and added an image with text and pinned it and they’ve done really well. Again, scrolling through a page with pictures is nice, but when you see big bold text it’s much easier to pin and know what you are pinning instead of looking at that tiny caption under the image.