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1. Use Pinterest’s free scheduling feature
2. Set up a spreadsheet with links, description, title, and date pinned
3. Five pins per day
4. Pin other people’s pins like a regular user
First things first: I don’t recommend using this method until you have 50+ articles, for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, Pinterest (and watching your stats in general) can be distracting in those first few months of your blogging journey, and secondly, it should be a supplementary traffic source.
Search traffic should always be your main source of traffic.
I don’t think it’s necessary to have a Pinterest schedule, but I also don’t like to have all my eggs in one basket.
In the event that Google decides to hide all my articles on page 10 of the SERP, I’d like to have a backup plan.
Step One of my Pinterest Strategy – setup
Set up your Pinterest account.
Make it a business account and link it to your website by putting the code in your site.
I believe I used the Insert Headers and Footers plugin but you can get specific plugins to verify accounts that you can remove later.
Make a load of boards. I start with ten, and add more if I need them. Make sure that all of your boards relate to your niche.
Try to configure your Pinterest account so that if someone new to your niche happens upon your Pinterest account they’ll be able to find all the information they need.
In the beginning, you’ll mostly be pining other people’s stuff, and that’s ok. It’ll show Pinterest that you’re not spammy.
Pinterest likes new content, so get into the habit of sharing articles to your account – whether they have a fancy pin or not.
Some of my most popular pins don’t have a ‘proper’ pin that’s long with text.
I share Instagram and Reddit posts too, if I think my audience would appreciate them. Niche-related memes are always popular.
You can do this in the early stages of your website. Make sure to set up a board of just your articles, and share each article as you write it.
Step 2 of my Pinterest Strategy – spreadsheets
Set up a spreadsheet – I use Google sheets and I have it bookmarked.
Mine looks like this:
Please excuse the crappy photo.
Every time I add a new post I fill in this spreadsheet. When it’s time to pin the same article, I copy and paste this information into Pinterest and add a new pin.
Having this information ready saves a tonne of time.
You’ll notice it says description #1. Mainly because it’s modified spreadsheet someone else shared, but also because once I’ve pinned that description a few times, I might want to add another.
Step 4 of my Pinterest strategy – Prepping
I use a planner to prep my Pinterest schedule, but you don’t need to. I just find it easier.
It’s more convenient to have the date and time visible when I’m scheduling the pin rather than having to flip between tabs.
The week before I fill in my planner with a list of the articles I’m going to pin and the times. The times are random, and I’ll switch them up in a couple of months and see if that makes a difference.
It looks like this:
So on July 7 I’m going to schedule pins for the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th. I have the times I’m going to schedule them, the date, and a word that tells me which article it is.
I also add the date into the spreadsheet at the same time. That helps me keep track of where I’ve gotten up to.
I have 100+ articles on this particular website, so I just go down the spreadsheet.
Every article is pinned a little more often than every month, with a fresh image.
Step 5 – executing the strategy
I know it sounds like a tonne of work, but my weekly schedule only takes me an hour or two.
If you don’t have a spare couple of hours, then don’t worry about it. Concentrate on writing content. This is an extracurricular activity.
I’ve honed my process down so it doesn’t take long. You might make changes that make it easier for you.
I prepare a few pin designs before hand.
There are loads of templates on Canva.
Don’t worry about it too much – some will work better than others, and you’ll learn what sticks over time.
- Open up your tabs in this order: spreadsheet, Pinterest, Canva
- Copy the URL from the spreadsheet and open Pinterest
- Create a pin, and add in the URL. Select the board you want and adjust the time and date to when you want the pin to publish
- Go back to the spreadsheet, copy the description, and paste into Pinterest. Do the same for the title
- In Canva, open up your pin design (I use one basic pin design for every article, and then when I’ve cycled through my articles, I design another). Paste in the title.
- Edit your pin to fit the article and download – go for png since you don’t need to host it on your blog.
- Upload the pin to Pinterest. On a Mac you can drag and drop.
So I create a new design for every pin?
Er, yeah. Well not a design as such.
I create one design and change the text. So say every one of my articles has 12 pins.
That’s only 12 designs, and I just change the text to fit the article. Sometimes I change out the background image to fit it better, but that takes all of 30 seconds.
Basically what Tailwind does (as well as scheduling) is it shows you which pins you’ve put on which boards and when, so you can reuse the same pins every few months and save time without incurring a penalty from Pinterest.
But it doesn’t actually take that long to create brand new pins every time.
If you spend a day creating, say, twelve pin designs and filling in your spreadsheet, you’ll have a good few months of content.
How do I track of where I’ve pinned each pin?
Not only does Tailwind let you pin one pin to multiple boards, but it’ll tell you if/when you’ve pinned the same pin to that board.
It is useful, but if you’re creating a brand new pin image every time you pin an article, it doesn’t matter so much.
I just pick a board that fits my pin.
Some boards get loads of pins, others don’t. If you have boards that you don’t have pins for, maybe there’s an article you can write to remedy that.
Remember that most people won’t check out your profile/boards. You’ll just crop up in their feed.
If you want to pin all your pins to one board, that’s fine. Not ideal, I guess, but ok.
What I do is this: the first time I used the spreadsheet, all my pins were pinned to my website board. The next time around I pinned to other boards, and now I alternate, or pick at random.
What’s most important is that you’re adding new content that’s cropping up in other people’s feeds, not that your pins end up in the correct board.
What about descriptions and keywords?
Pinterest’s search algorithm isn’t 100% yet, which is why I don’t recommend going all in on it.
If you search for long tail keywords on Pinterest, it often doesn’t understand – especially if you ask question.
Instead, pick a one or two word keyword, and check out the suggestions Pinterest gives at the top, and try to incorporate them.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t write pin descriptions for Pinterest’s algorithm, because in house plants, the competition is too fierce. Instead, I just write a short description of the article and hope for the best.
Pinterest and hashtags
Oh my god.
Pinterest can’t make its mind up about hashtags. I don’t use them, but I have in the past. It’s up to you.
Pinterest’s preferred practices changes like the wind. It’s one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of it.
Does it work?
Ok, here’s the thing. You need to track your website’s analytics, not Pinterests. In my opinion, Pinterest metrics are, by and large, vanity metrics.
I logged onto my Pinterest account today, and on my plant account, my stats from the last 30 days looked like this:
Impressions: 632.7k (up 246% on last month)
Total audience: 415.02k (up 203%)
Engagements: 33.75k (up 177%)
Engaged audience: 20.21K (up 184%)
Those are big numbers. I’d love to have a total audience of 415K on my website per month.
But Pinterest metrics mean NOTHING if you’re not getting clicks through to my blog. So you need to go into your analytics and see if Pinterest is worth your time.
So how many hits did I get from Pinterest?
So, like 1% of my traffic. Hopefully it’ll grow, we can but try.
Do you have to add the pins to your article?
No, you don’t. Pinterest can point the image to whatever URL you set.
The purpose of putting pin images in your article is to encourage people to share them.
You don’t need to give people a choice of 12 pins to share.
I just put one pin image in my article when I’m writing it, and delete the others off my hard drive as soon as they’re published (I like an organised laptop).
Does Pinterest prefer manual pinning strategies?
Pinterest wants to you use Pinterest. I assume they’d want you to use their scheduler.
It’s a pain that you can only schedule 30 pins in advance, and only schedule them two weeks in advance.
Although I have managed to schedule 35 pins this week. Perhaps they upped the limit.
To be honest, it’s kind of easier to just set aside a few minutes every morning to schedule them out. It takes about 2-3 minutes per pin, I’d say.
One thing I have learnt is that Pinterest LOVES video pins, and will boost them in the algorithm.
If you create your pins in Canva, it’s super easy to make video pins – just click on the animate feature in the top left corner and pick an animation style.
The only problem I have with video pins is that they take longer to both down and upload, so I only schedule one video pin a day, and the others are normal pins.
Don’t even think about implementing this Pinterest strategy until you have a lot of content. I recommend 100 articles. Honestly.
Not because Pinterest is bad, but your time NEEDS to go on creating content in the beginning.
This is a work in progress, so I’ll keep you updated on my stats, and any tweaks I make. I’m interested to see how long i can keep recycling the same description before I get penalised.
I’m not promising any super high numbers because I want to keep this quick, free, and accessible.
Oh, and I don’t want any of you to jump ship to Pinterest and forget about Google. I’ve heard too many horror stories about people getting permanently blocked from Pinterest.
Feel free to leave any questions/tips in the comments!
2 thoughts on “My 100% free Pinterest Strategy (no Tailwind)”
Hey, I checked out your other blog post and I am wondering, are you a full-time blogger now or no? Also I was wondering you keep saying how you shouldn’t rely on pinterest traffic and such. But, on Pinterest I see a ton of bloggers talk about how they made X amount via pinterest traffic. You think they are outliers and that it’s always better to focus on SEO Traffic?
Hi Linda! Yes, I’m a full time blogger now, though I’m not in the $100k per month crew or anything. I think the days where Pinterest was ‘easy traffic’ are gone now. I’m in a Mediavine Facebook group and a lot of people are giving up tailwind for the built in scheduler or just ignoring Pinterest altogether.
I’m sure there are some niches for which it’s useful BUT keeping up with the algorithm and making pins etc is pretty much a full time job, so unless you have the time to devote to it, I’d stick to writing articles.
Bloggers kind of made Pinterest a self-fulfilling prophecy by clogging up the feed with pins that they repinned for their strategy rather than because they liked them. But Pinterest didn’t help by not having a clear view of what it actually was. If I were them, I’m go back to the old model (chronological pins and all!) and try to appeal to people that miss the og Instagram.