Pinterest Marketing for Authors
Hello and welcome to my first entry into the #AuthortoolboxBlogHop, a monthly blog hop where authors can share tips about writing, marketing, publishing, and anything else writing related. Pinterest marketing is my number one tip , generating most of my website’s traffic.
Pinterest is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists. It’s not all pretty images for bored housewives and soon-to-be-brides.
I’ve used Pinterest for years, back when you had to email an application and wait for approval. I didn’t get serious about using it to market my books and brand until September, 2016, when I signed up for Summer Tannhauser’s Free Pinterest course.
The day I completed the five day course, I had 73 Pinterest followers. As I write this (Saturday, April 15th, because I like to be ahead in my blogging schedule), I have 1,241. Quite a leap, yes?
As I’m pinning my blog entries (you do that, right?), and I’m taking part in the #AtoZChallenge in April, I’m pinning daily content from my blog, increasing the number of people who visit my website.
Some of the things I’ve learned:
Obviously, set up a Pinterest account.
Make it a business account. Go here for instructions. If you have an existing account, you can convert it in a few simple steps.
- Why a business account? You’ll have access to analytics. Over time, Pinterest will show your profile’s growth, who your audience is, and what type of pins they click on. From this information, you can narrow down your audience and tailor future pins. You’ll also be able to run Pinterest Ads.
- When you set up a business account, you will be asked to confirm your website. This involves adding a string of code to your website’s header section. If you—like me—break out into a cold sweat at the thought of coding, WordPress has a plugin that will make it easier. Install it, add the code, then go back to Pinterest and click on Finish.
Set up or edit your Profile
- Use a business name relevant to your industry. Add keywords. If you’re Joe Smith and you sell guitars, Joe’s Rocking won’t show up on searches. Joe’s Fine Guitars or Joe’s Guitars for Sale will generate more traffic.
- Upload a photo of you, a candid shot with a white or solid color background. It should be one you use on all social media profiles. A face is relatable to your followers.
- Add your website URL and a description of who you are, who you serve and what you provide (in a conversational tone, of course). A surprising number of profiles I’ve visited are titled something like “Carol’s Page” and have no description. This is valuable real estate—take advantage of it. Pinterest marketing couldn’t be any easier! Check out my profile page here.
- Set up several boards related to your field.I recommend 10-15. Do a keyword search of your competition and learn what they are using. The tabs below the Pinterest search are rated most popular from left to right.
- Board names should include SEO and keywords
- The board names should be short and focused
- Board descriptions should be two or three sentences, well written and related to the board. Keywords should be near the beginning of the descriptions.
- Making a board secret will protect its contents from public view. If you are a business, keep your public boards business-like and hide unrelated pins on secret boards.
- Once you have several boards set up, they can be arranged within their rows with a simple drag and drop, moving the most important board into the top position. Followers want to see the most relevant boards at the top and will rarely scroll down.
- Pins should be a mix of relevant, useful content from others and original content from your blog. An 80/20 mix is recommended.
- When repinning from others, it’s okay to customize the description to something stronger. Don’t use hashtags except at the end. Pinterest’s Smart Feed gets confused with hashtags and will drop any description after them. I use them at the end as my pre-scheduled pins which also post on Twitter (more on this later).
- Add a CTA (Call to Action) in your descriptions, such as “Click through to check out XYZ” or “Win a Free XX by visiting.”
- Pin only what your audience will like. Until your analytics kick in, take ideas from your experience and your competitor’s boards.
- Add video. Video is a growing trend and makes your audience feel connected. Search YouTube, DailyMotion and TED for videos related to your field, or start your own channel.
- Use bright colors with good resolution
- Use text in a clear, easy-to-read font on your images to tell your audience what they’ll find when they click through to your site.
- Pin vertical images rather than horizontal ones for maximum sharing. The ideal size is 735 X 1102:
Which will get more shares and pins on Pinterest?
Any other tips?
Yes! By adding Twitter and Facebook to your social media settings, you can simultaneously post to them. How? Go to your Pinterest settings, click on or scroll down to Social Networks, and click Yes on Log In with Facebook, and Connect with Twitter. Say Yes to the usual approval questions. The next time you Pin something, two little boxes appear below your pin: Post to Facebook and Post to Twitter. By checking them, your pin will also appear there. If you use BoardBooster, the posts will appear when it schedules them. I find this a win-win. I don’t have to be on all three networks to appear as if I am!
If you have a business account, you can set up a Showcase. In Settings–>Profile, edit Showcase. Pick five of your most favorite boards and save. A rotating slideshow of those boards now sits at the top of your profile. It is the first thing visitors will see, and you control their first impression by your board choices.
When commenting in other social media, and an opportunity arises for you to mention Pinterest, use the word Pinterest as a hyperlink to your profile page.
Add a save to Pinterest rollover button on your blog’s images. Check out the instructions here. The same instructions are valid for adding a Pin It button to your website.
Add a Pin It button to your browser’s toolbar. When you visit a site you’d like to share, you can pin it on the fly.
Revisit your boards and delete under-performing pins. BoardBooster‘s Pin Doctor will look at your board pins (for a penny a pin) and tell you about broken, missing or suspicious links, slow websites, and duplicate pins based on the same image or same links.
Join Group boards. I’ll admit I’ve neglected to do this, but it’s on my list. You’ll gain a larger audience for each of your group pins. Check out pingroupie.com for suggestions on where to find a group board that fits your needs.
Pin often. Just like other social media platforms, Pinterest is a moving target. What’s pinned is not always seen. By using tools like BoardBooster and Tailwind and posting 20-30 times a day, you’ll be seen as the expert in your field.
Schedule your pins when your audience is most likely to view them. There are many reports available about when to post. I used to schedule by them until BoardBooster’s analysis of my audience told me my peak times were not East Coast 8-11 p.m., but local time 10-11 p.m. I’ve adjusted my pinning times, adding in the later period. I try to pin consistently throughout the day to catch as wide of an audience as possible while still catering to my core fans.
Not all pins need to be new content. When I’m pressed for time, I’ll search my existing boards for high-repin content and repin to the same board or its twin secret board. BoardBooster has a looping feature that will automatically do this for you, but I like to give my audience proven content.
Be sure to pin YOUR blog’s content. If you don’t advertise your product (whether it’s your services, a physical product, you, or a digital product like my books), who will?
I can’t think of anything else from my notes or experience. Pinterest marketing is an awesome tool to target your ideal followers and drive traffic to your website. I highly recommend taking Summer Tannhauser’s Free Pinterest course to learn more. I can attest to the rapid increase in my Pinterest followers.
Follow other authors at #AuthorToolboxBlogHop
They’re talented and willing to share their knowledge. I’ll post my next AuthorToolBoxHop on May 17th, but you can find me here every day during April, and twice a week after that.
Until then, blessings to you,
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