I have been so lucky to meet some amazing crochet designers and bloggers since I started Dora Does. It’s a wonderful community full of amazing supportive people.
I love any chance I can get to meet up and chat with other makers, designers and bloggers. One thing that has come up in such meetings time and again is Pinterest. Usually followed by the sentence:
I don’t really get Pinterest”
A couple of years ago, those were the exact words which came out of my mouth. Then I started learning about it.
Now around half of the visitors to this website find me through Pinterest.
I have found it a far more reliable and long term way of putting my designs out in the world than any Social Media platform. I have pins which are over 2 years old that still bring users to my site every day!
So, I thought I would take some time to share my beginners guide to Pinterest for other crochet designers and bloggers. I am not a pinterest expert but have spent a lot of time experimenting and learning this platform, so feel confident to help get you started!
The information here could be applied to any type of blog but I have written it with you crocheters in mind!
Before I go any further, I want to stop and thank the Simple Pin Media group. Most of what I have learned about Pinterest I have learned from Kate Ahl’s Simple Pin Facebook Group and the Simple Pin Podcast.
They also have a great email course for those who are new to Pinterest. Visit their site and sign up to the ‘start’ course.
Note that these are not affiliate links. I just love everything this company are doing – they have helped me immensely by providing well thought out and tested Pinterest strategies. No get rich quick nonsense!!
There is a lot of information here and it’s written in a way that you can work through it step by step. So get this post bookmarked and come back to it as you work through each step.
What’s the catch?
I’m going to put this right out here up front. Pinterest is changing rapidly. It is constantly trying new formats and features.
As I write this, they are prioritising ‘fresh content’ and pushing story pins hugely. Sadly story pins do not have the ability to add a link back to my site so for a content creator, their efficacy is limited. Last year they tried creating ‘communities’, akin to facebook groups but, thankfully, these did not take off and have been dispatched with!!
The message I want to give is that, like all marketing platforms, you have to keep an eye on the changes. Overall though, the guidance below will still stand and I will do my best to update this post as Pinterest continues to evolve.
Lets dig in!
What is Pinterest?
It is not a social media platform.
Pinterest is a visual search engine. An enormously powerful one at that. It is closer to google than to facebook.
You can find an image you like, zoom in on it and find other similar images. Say you see a rug you like at a friends house you like. Take a photo of it, upload it into Pinterest (or take the photo from within pinterest) and find more like it.
You can also zoom in on any part of any image in Pinterest and it will conduct a visual search on that part of the image. This is called the Pinterest lens and it’s insanely powerful!!
Pinterest encourages you to curate and organise your ideas, whether it’s for a new kitchen, a Christmas list or to gather together all the crochet patterns you want to make!
It is full of ideas, inspiration and how-to’s.
How to use Pinterest to gather your ideas
Pinterest allows you to ‘pin’ images to your own bespoke ‘boards’. You can either pin images from within Pinterest, shown on your feed, or directly from other websites.
Most websites while have a little red or black ‘Pin it’ button somewhere to allow and encourage readers to share their content. Scroll to the end and you’ll see how you can pin this post!
You’ll also find that if you hover over images a little ‘save’ or ‘pin’ button will appear in the top left.
See if it works for the image below. Just click or tap it.
Let’s pause a moment and give you some definitions
What is a Pin?
A pin is an image (often with text overlaid), with a title and a description, which links to a web page.
Pins can be static images or videos.
You can also create carousel (multi image) or story pins.
What is a Board
A board is an area where you pin your image so you can collate your ideas.
I like to think of it as an online scrap book / pin board. Whilst that’s how pinterest started, it has become much more.
You can keep your boards public so that other users can see and follow them, or make them private so that only you can see your collection of ideas.
What is the Feed?
When you log into pinterest it will automatically show you A ‘feed’ of images it thinks might interest you. This will be based on your history. Though their new algorithm purports to throw some more random stuff in there to see if it sticks!
They have recently introduced some tabs for you to mix up your feed:
- ‘For you’ – serves you images based on your search history
- ’Today’ – which is a new feature akin to a newsfeed or ‘trending’ section. It seems to be based partly on your interests but has some standard content too
- ‘Following’ – will show you the most recent pins from the accounts and boards you are following. That illusive chronological feed that insta did away with!
As a user of pinterest you can follow whole accounts or individual boards.
Most accounts have multiple boards, each dedicated to a specific topic.
If your boards are private then they cannot be followed.
Having a ton of followers is not essential for Pinterest success. Although there is a follow tab on the feed, users rarely go to Pinterest to search for a specific account. They are looking for ideas.
Why do people visit Pinterest?
I’ve seen it called the introvert’s platform. I think this a great description because you can go down your rabbit hole of inspiration and dreaming, but you don’t have to talk to anyone!!!
Understanding why people are on pinterest will help you understand how to create your pins.
We’ve discussed that pinterest is about curating your ideas so, generally users are looking for inspiration.
In terms of my account I make some educated guesses about what s crocheter’s purpose on Pinterest might be. This informs the messaging on my pins. (More on that later!)
Perhaps they are looking for crochet patterns to make. Or possibly ideas to use up their yarn ends. Maybe they want to crochet a cushion for their new sofa. They might be thinking about making a gift for a loved one. Commonly they are trying to work out how to crochet a certain stitch or are after a tutorial.
You get the gist?
Who visits Pinterest?
If you have a business account then you will see some demographic stats on the visitors to your account. They also benchmark this against all Pinterest users which is interesting reading.
You can also see what else your visitors like and browse. This is extra useful because it can help you to give them more of what they want.
How to use Pinterest as a content creator (i.e. a blogger or designer)
Now we have the basics down, I can start talking about how to use pinterest if you are content creator.
You may be trying to drive traffic to your site, to a third party site like etsy or you may be trying to encourage people to sign up to a mailing list.
Below I will go through my top tips on how to get started and share the pinning strategy that I use.
Set up your account properly
If you’re a blogger, the first thing you need to check is that you have a business account.
It’s easy and free to convert. Just go into your settings.
In fact, go through all of your settings one by one and check they have the most up to date and relevant information such as business type.
You can also claim your Social media platforms and website. The latter enables you to activate ‘rich pins’ which is where pinterest pulls additional information from your site. It’s kind of an added depth of connection. There are lots of blog posts explaining how to activate Rich Pins so these are worth reading.
Update your Bio
What are your main keywords? Put them in a short sentence in your bio and make sure it reflects what you create.
Here’s a peek at mine:
This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click a link to a product and go on to make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here
Pinterest looks at this information to understand what you do and decide who to show your pins to. So no fluff!
Clean up your boards
What boards do you have? How specific are they? Are they related but different?
Make sure that each of your boards has a specific niche purpose. A board called crochet is probably going to be too broad!
Each board shoulde have a keyword rich title and description. Quirky board titles are fun but they are going to confuse the Pinterest algo!
Do not keyword stuff. Write in full sentences.
Here are some of my boards
Make personal boards private
If you run a crochet blog but are also looking at remodelling your bathroom and are collecting your own ideas, you might want to keep these to yourself! So just switch your bathroom board to private.
Do not delete old boards or pins. You can archive or make them private.
I have loads of private boards because I love to use Pinterest as a human as well as a content creator!
Do your research!
Think about what you’re offering and what people would type in to search for that thing.
Pinterest makes this super easy because as you start to type it comes up with suggestions.
Then once you hit search it gives you more options to filter the results.
These are keywords. Use the relevant ones in your board and pin descriptions.
What is the goal of each pin?
When creating your pins, you need to think about what you want people to do with them.
Make sure you create each pin knowing what its intention is. If you have a clear idea of the purpose of your pin then you can measure whether it is successful.
I have 3 typical goals for pins:
- Read my blog post
- Learn about a pattern: Either to buy it or visit the free pattern site to generate ad income
- Sign up to my mailing list
If you want someone to sign up to your mailing list, you need to give them an incentive. This is called a ‘lead magnet’ in marketing terms and is designed to get someone interested in what you offer.
Create Pin Images
Once you have your account set up, and know what you want to achieve, you can get to creating your own pins.
I recommend creating multiple specific images for each pattern or blog post you want to share. Pinterest has expressly said that it wants ‘fresh’ content. This translates as new images.
I use Adobe Spark to create most of my images, though many people like to use canva which has lots of templates and a free version.
The way you design your pin will depend on what you want the Pinner to do with it, for me I generally want them to visit my blog, Maybe to get a free pattern, maybe to read an article.
So I need to produce an image that makes them want to do that.
What size and shape should a pin be?
The recommended size for pin images is portrait aspect using a ratio of 2:3 (e.g. 1000px wide by 1500px tall).
Thankfully those horrible tall images (sometimes called giraffe pins) are a thing of the past. Pinterest image size is optimised for mobile because that is where most of the browsing happens.
Square images are becoming more popular too
What should I include in the image?
Pins which combine images and text seem to do best. This may be a single photo or a collage. Have a look on Pinterest and see what kind of pin catches your eye.
Pinterest loves new content and different images with different descriptions for the same URL are considered fresh content.
You can use the same pictures but crop and position them differently and change the layout.
Add text to your images which gives additional information about what the viewer will get if they click on your pin. Pinterest can read text on images so here is another opportunity to have those key words picked up by the algorithm.
Pin Titles and Descriptions
Your pin title should be short and to the point. It should describe the function of the page you’re linking to. E.g. How to crochet Alpine Stitch.
When you pin a link, Pinterest (or Tailwind – which is a scheduling tool I use) will automatically pull the title of the page. But you can overwrite this.
Add a description (maximum of 500 characters) explaining what the pin is about and including a call to action. That is, tell the pinner what they should do next.
The description should be keyword rich but written in sentence structure. The Pinterest algo has got wise to keyword stuffing so your description should be conversational.
Hashtags: Don’t bother! Pinterest has experimented with using hashtags but at the time of writing they seem to be out of favour.
How to Pin your content
To schedule your content on pinterest, you can either pin direct from the website or upload an image and copy and paste a web link. For each option you will need to add a photo, title and description (as discussed above).
Scheduling vs manual pinning
You can either manually pin or schedule a link from within the Pinterest platform or use an approved scheduler.
Pinterest has it’s own native scheduler which allows you to pin content up to two weeks in advance. However, I use Tailwind to schedule out my pins much further in ahead.
I’ve been using Tailwind to schedule my pins for 18 months and it’s a game changer. It’s an approved Pinterest partner and worth every penny and was the first marketing tool I invested in. It saves me so much time over manual pinning!
Tailwind allows me to schedule my pins months ahead of time to multiple boards, ensuring I space each pin out (interval pinning). It also suggests the best time of day to pin for your audience.
Here’s a peek at my current schedule to give you an idea of the dashboard. It’s not the most wizzy user interface I’ll admit, but it does what you need it to do and they are improving all the time!
It has a ‘tribes’ function (shortly to be renamed) where you can group together with other content creators in a similar niche and share each other’s content. It’s an easy way to find other relevant content to share for your audience and is a great way to get others to pin your content too.
It’s based on reciprocity so most have rules where you share one, you pin one. Seems fair to me!
My approach to pinning
There is no specific right or wrong way to pin but here’s an example of what I do.
Let’s say I have a new blog post out. Typically I’ll create 5-10 images for Pinterest relating to that post. I’ll upload the pictures to tailwind and add the link to the post.
I add a title and description to each pin and try and vary them for each image. Then I will schedule the first image to pin to four or five relevant boards (starting with the most relevant). I use the interval tool to leave a gap of several days or a couple of weeks between pinning to different boards.
Then I will move to the next image and do the same, scheduling the first occurrence of that pin a week or so after the first image has gone out. I do this for each image.
The result is that I have pins for that blog post scheduled out for several months into the future.
How often should I pin?
There are no hard and fast rules about how many times a day you should pin. It’s totally dependent on your own circumstances.
Factors like how much content you have to share will tend to dictate how often you pin.
It’s better to schedule less content but pin consistently. If you pin a bunch of pins all from one page or site one day then do nothing for 3 weeks, Pinterest may think you are a spammer.
Experiment with your pinning schedule and see what works for you. And give it a chance to work over a few months. Do not expect immediate results.
Pinterest is seasonal
It’s important to remember this when planning and scheduling your content.
There are no absolutes but it’s good to pin your content 4-6 weeks in advance of when you think people will start looking for it. Pins can take a while to pick up steam. It’s really important to understand that Pinterest is a slow burner, not an instant response platform.
For example, I will start to pin Christmas content in August because I know that the conscientious makers out there will start to think about Christmas makes in September.
Do I need to pin other people’s content?
Pinterest will not penalise you for publishing only your own content.
I see a lot of talk and questions about ratio of pinning your own content to others and there isn’t a magic answer.
If you don’t have a lot of your own content to pin then you may want to pin other’s content to allow you to pin consistently without spamming your own pins.
Pin only good quality content from others that you think your audience would find useful.
Although followers are not an indicator or guarantee of success on Pinterest, it is always good to develop your band!
What about group boards?
These can be a great way of getting your Pins more widely shared and seen. But make sure they are specific to your niche.
Since pinterest shifted their focus to fresh content, I pin less to group boards. Mainly because I choose my most relevant board first so by the time it gets to a group board, it is no longer ‘fresh’.
But it’s worth trying different strategies!
Watch out for spam and stolen pins
The biggest problem with Pinterest is the amount of spam and stolen pins on there. I’m sure pinterest are working their hardest to rectify this but it is rife!
People with no scruples set up scraper sites which find popular content, steal the image and then link it to their own blogs which require you going round and round in circles and you never actually find the crochet pattern or content that the image shows.
This is beyond frustrating but you can help weed it out. Report any spam content you find.
When repinning other’s content, check the link is authentic. If you see a nice picture and repin it without checking the source only to find out it’s one of these scraper sites, then you are helping perpetuate the issue. So take a moment to check it.
How do I know if it’s working?
Because you knew what you wanted to achieve when you created your pin, you can measure whether it has been successful.
This is why it’s important to define your measure of success upfront.
Generally success is a high number of saves; people saving your pin to their own boards, or clicks; people clicking through to your site.
Good engagement with a pin tells pinterest it’s useful so they show it to more people, so more people engage with it, and so on. This is the crux of what you’re trying to achieve.
Pinterest has a suite of analytics and though it is notoriously glitchy, it is great to get an overview.
Look at what works and do more of that!
Below is an example of one of my pins and, as you can see it includes stats for the past 30 days (though this pin is only 5 days old).
What do all the numbers mean?
If you post anyone else’s content on pinterest then you can basically ignore the monthly views metric on your pinterest account. It might tell you you had 1.5million monthly views. But that relates to anyone who has seen any of the pins you have saved, whether they are yours or someone else’s!
This is commonly called a vanity metric. It’s the number all those ‘Pinterest success’ courses scream about, but it’s largely meaningless.
What you want to look at is the close-ups, saves and clicks.
This can help you work out what is working. Perhaps people are looking at the pin but not saving it or clicking through. Why not? How can you make that pin better?
A lot of people sniff at the Pinterest analytics dashboard, preferring to use their google analytics analysis.
Google analytics is much more in depth and more accurate. But, in my experience at least, it is not the easiest to navigate.
The Pinterest dashboard gives you a great top line idea of what pins are working and which ones need some extra thought.
Remember that unless you’re using promoted pins, Pinterest is showing your images to millions of engaged users for FREE!! It’s a symbiotic relationship for sure but such a powerful tool!
Pinterest is a long term game
I told you there was a LOT of information in this post, but I hope you have found it useful.
I’m going to leave you with an important takeaway.
If you want the instant dopamine hit that you get from instagram likes, then Pinterest will disappoint you. If you want to build a long term strategy to bring consistent traffic to your website then Pinterest is a must!
I have pins over 2 years old which still bring me traffic. I can’t say the same for a single instagram or facebook post.
I have really just started to scratch the surface here, despite the length of the post. So if you have any questions, just drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!