Pinterest can help your work get seen - whether you want more traffic to your blog posts, your products or your books, you need to be on Pinterest!
Most authors I see are completely under utilising this amazing resource!
And the good news is, it's way easier than other forms of social media. Because, in fact, "social media" is not the main thing Pinterest is - a better description is a visual search engine.
And the even better news is, millions of people are active on this visual search engine. And it's not just pins of aspirational baking and home decor projects that none of us will ever actually try! It's an amazing driving of traffic AND sales. 87% of users have purchased something because of Pins or something they saw on Pinterest. That's not to mention the millions of click throughs happening right now from Pins through to websites and blogs.
One of the best things?
Pins have a long life.
Unlike other forms of social media, where posts generally have a pretty short life - as short as a few days or a few hours, before it's lost to new content - Pins can have a very long life!
I'm talking months - even in some cases years!
I've had a popular pin for a habit tracker I uploaded once being the biggest source of traffic to that listing in my Etsy store for a couple of years now!
Sometimes a pin won't seem to get much traction at first, and then weeks later, it will start going viral.
So Pinterest is a long game - you have to stay consistent. But it will also keep paying off for the long haul!
Will Pinterest work for You?
It's important to note that Pinterest's demographic is mostly women, and the audience skews a bit younger, so you need to consider if this is your demographic.
If it is, awesome! Then there's no reason it can't work for you, whatever your genre or niche.
Keep reading to learn how to set up your profile and use Pinterest for success!
What Do You Do With Pinterest?
As a user, people will create boards to save groupings of ideas they come across and want to revisit later.
This can be from things they actively search for - they type in something to the search bar and get results, just like any search engine.
Or it can be from browsing pin suggested to them in their home feed - which is made up of a combination of pins from people they follow, and new ideas suggested to them based on boards they've created and pins they've pinned in the past. (i.e. if someone creates a board called "Growing Herbs" Pinterest will use that and the pins they pin to it, to suggest even more ideas relevant to that.)
What do these things tell us?
That keywords are KEY to getting found and in front of the right people. Pinterest needs to know what your pins and account are about, in order to deliver them up to the people searching for relevant ideas.
So from setting up your account, to writing Pin titles and descriptions, you need to consider your audience.
What are you trying to achieve with Pinterest?
- Who is your audience?
- What do you want to achieve - traffic to your blog? Online store? Email sign ups?
Create your Account
Sign up is pretty simple - create a business account (it's free) so that you have access to tools like analytics about how your pins are performing.
1. Optimise Your Profile
You want your profile to not only let people know who you are and what you do, but also contain keywords so Pinterest knows what you're about. (Your account can also appear in the search when people type in certain keywords.)
Name: you have a few characters to play with in this field, so don't just put your name or brand - add some relevant keywords too.
About: add keywords here too - explain who you are and what you do in a couple of simple sentences that contain terms people would use to search for someone like you.
You will notice their names contain their business or personal names first - then they've added some simple keywords to make it clear what they do.
Then the About sections start with their website and username - these are entered in a different section in your profile and show up automatically, so you don't need to write these in your About section.
You can see their bios are simple and brief, with a few keywords included. For non-fiction or product and service based business, these are topical and niche related.
For fiction authors, include genre, and titles of your main books or series.
Username: I like to make this the same as my other social media accounts (e.g. Instagram handle) if available. But making it clear and simple - between 3 and 15 characters.
Profile Image: For authors, I would usually use a headshot of yourself.
But sometimes a logo is appropriate.
Cover Image: you can upload a single image or a video here. You can create these in Canva. (As of writing this, the right dimension are 800px x 450px.) I don't see many people using video yet, and it's a wasted opportunity! Your cover image is such a big bit of real estate on your profile. You can make a video on Canva that's as simple as a carousel showing your books and a CTA.
See my Edge Effect profile for an example of a video cover made in Canva.
2. Claim your Website
This lets Pinterest know the website you own, to give you more info about pins published from it. And your profile image and a follow button will show up next to any pins from your site.
Rather than write out instructions on claiming your site here, I will link to > Pinterest's own instructions < in case anything changes - better to get it straight from them.
3. Create Boards
You can have up to 500 boards! But you do not need anywhere near this many, obviously. Create at least 10 to start with.
Consider the purpose of your boards. For a personal account, you would just create boards based on whatever kinds of topics you're saving. But for a business account, it pays to have a strategy.
You want to have boards that are for your own stuff - your books, your blog posts, your products.
But to attract views and get traction with your account, you don't want to be only posting your own stuff. You want to be pinning a range of related things. (At least at first - once your Pinterest account is established and has gain traction, then you can just pin once a day from your own site.)
What is your audience searching for?
If you're a non-fiction author, this would be related to your niche, especially the things you write about on your own blog and the topics of your books.
For fiction authors, this will vary depending on your genre, but focus on things your audience would be on Pinterest looking for, as well as things directly connected to you and your books.
(Don't make a bunch of boards about writing itself (e.g. Writing Tips) unless your audience is other writers!)
Brainstorm a list of searches your readers would type in - you can literally start typing these into the Pinterest search bar and you will get suggestions for related keywords. And create board titles from the most relevant ones.
See the image below: I started typing Finance Tips and the search auto-suggests more keyword strings - like Finance Tips Quotes, Finance Tips Investing, Finance Tips Saving Money.
You could create boards titled with any of these.
Notice it also displays accounts in the search - why keywords are important in your profile!
If I was a fiction author with books about mermaids, I could check on related keywords for people who love mermaids. Here, a board titled Mermaid Aesthetic would be a good choice.
Fill in the board description - use keywords here too, and you have more space to be more descriptive.
Upload a Cover image - you don't have to do this - a pin from the board itself will display instead. If all your pins fit your profile aesthetic, then this is fine. But if you feel like it's all looking a bit messy, board covers can make it look pretty and also visually clean and clear.
Other Board Ideas:
- Your Books - one board to make it easy to find all your books in one place
- Your blog posts - also make it easy to find all of your posts and articles in one place
- Review or Interview boards - links to reviews of your books or places you've been interviewed
- Favourite books - pin and share your own favourite books
- Giveaways board - freebies, book, downloads etc you have available for free
- Inspiration boards - if you're a fiction writer, create a visual board of scenes, characters and settings for your books.
- Quote board - inspiring quotes relevant to your audience.
- Humour - it doesn't all have to be serious business! Pin funny memes relevant to your audience and genre.
- Collaborate on group boards - you can add other people to a board as well, so you can all pin to it. Consider collaborating with other authors to share your reach. E.g. pin giveaways of your books, or related events.
- Fan Appreciation - repin things your fans have posted or shared, like pictures of your books in the wild, fan art etc.
How often should I be pinning?
There's good news on this front - it used to be a strategy to just pin the living sh*t out of everything, as much as you possibly could. It could feel like a full time job just trying to pin pin pin every day.
Thankfully, those days are well and truly over! Pinterest has cracked down on spam and repinning the same content over and over. So now, a few pins a day is all that's needed.
New Account: pin 2-5 pins of other people's content. 1-2 pins of your own content per day.
Established Account: pin 1-2 new pins of your own content per day.
Pin more at the start, so that your boards aren't empty. Then as your ongoing strategy, regularly pin a few of other people's pins each day, until your account gets a bit more established and your traffic is strong and consistent.
After that, once you've got some traffic going and people are clicking on your pins, then you can try out the strategy of just one new pin a day linking to your own content.
You don't have to have new content every day - you can just design a new pin for existing blog posts, books or content you've pinned before.
Just make sure it is NEW - either new content, or a new pin image for existing content. Don't re-pin the same exact pin image - Pinterest prioritises FRESH!
You can use a scheduler to make it easier, if you like to batch your content. (Especially useful for when you're pinning other people's content to fill your boards and get activity going consistently on your account.) E.g. Tailwind. < (This is a referral link - you'll get a free month trial, and we'll both get $15 credit if you choose to upgrade, but that's totally optional. It's just a handy tool I use!)
For pins for your own books and content, create a template of Pinterest pin designs in Canva, so you can just go in a tweak to quickly create new pins. And for these, you can even post/schedule straight to Pinterest from Canva!
Writing Pin Titles & Descriptions
You want to remember keywords here too!
Pinterest is a search engine, so the combination of your image, title, description and link all come into play, to tell Pinterest what this pin is about and get it in front of the right people.
It's the pin image that will get people to save or click on it - a lot of people don't even read the pin titles or descriptions. But you want the keywords in there to get found.
Research keywords again using the search bar, and use those keywords in writing your pin titles and descriptions.
Eg. a pin on vision boards. I'd search a few different terms to get keyword ideas.
Here is an example of what it looks like to post from Canva.
But you can upload and create pins directly in Pinterest too of course, or from a different scheduler.
Be consistent, check on which pins are getting views and clicks, use keywords, and keep your purpose in mind - and Pinterest will work for you. And once you get going, it can be one of the easiest, free forms of traffic you could hope for!
Any questions? Comment below and I can help you out!