There’s no doubt about it: Over the last year, Pinterest has exploded into the top referrer of traffic to many food blogs, replacing even Google and the so-called “food porn” sites as many people’s primary source of traffic. It’s more important than ever to perform a kind of self-audit to your website, to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to encourage readers to pin your posts, attract followers, and maximize your readers’ use of Pinterest. Over the last few days, we’ve completely overhauled the way we use Pinterest on our own websites, using the following ideas as a rough guide:
1. Make sure that you’ve got regular Pinterest “Add It” buttons at the top and bottom of each post.
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about whether the placement of social media icons (including Pinterest) should be at the top, or at the bottom of each post. When do readers make the decision to share your post? Is it the moment they see your big, gorgeous, glossy photograph of something delicious? That would make placing your social media icons at the top of your post make sense. Or is it later, after they have had a chance to read the entire post and carefully consider all of your photographs, that they decide to hit the share button? That would make placing your social media icons at the end of your post make sense.
It’s a question I wrestled with for a long time. I considered funding a case study, tracking visitor’s eyeballs with sophisticated equipment (including lasers) to track the moment a reader decides to share, to determine whether I should place my social media icons at the top of the page, or at the bottom. Then, I decided to just put them in both places. You should, too.
2. Consider placing a gigantic plea for pins (with counter) at the bottom of each post.
At the bottom of each post, consider placing a giant plea for readers to share your post via Pinterest (you can see an example at the bottom of the post here). The bigger, the better. Remember, Pinterest is now one of the top referrers for food blogs…so there’s nothing wrong with a little shameless begging.
3. Use vertical photos in your posts.
This one may seem obvious. But Pinterest only resizes photographs horizontally to create the thumbnail for your post. This means that shooting vertically, or creating miniature collages with multiple pictures vertically, will create a bigger “footprint” when your post gets published to Pinterest.
4. Create additional Pinterest boards, particularly niche and list-type boards.
Create a few Pinterest boards around a particular niche, or even-list type Pinterest boards, using a mix of links to your own recipes and links to other people’s recipes that you admire. These boards serve a couple of purposes. First, they establish you as an “expert” or an authority in a particular niche. Second, including links to other people’s websites displays a true passion for your subject, rather than a transparent attempt to grab traffic. Finally, arranging a new board around a themed list (such as our own “25 Taco Recipes We Love” board) creates a permanent resource that users can bookmark and return to again and again.
5. Create reader-curated Pinterest boards.
Have you noticed that a few of your followers are serial repinners of your content, pinning your content over and over again? Reward them by creating a “user-curated” board separate from your other Pinterest boards, and invite your most loyal readers to contribute to it. You get a frequently updated board without doing any of the legwork, and your contributors get to feel like they are contributing to a website that they love. Even better, other readers may start repinning your posts more often in an effort to get noticed and earn “contributor” status. Your mileage may vary; you will have to carefully consider whether you have a large enough reader base to warrant the creation of this type of board, since there’s nothing sadder than a user-submitted board with no submissions.
6. Be an active member of the Pinterest community. Engage.
This one may seem like a bit of a no-brainer as well, but it bears repeating. Spend a little bit of time each day actually using Pinterest the way regular users do. Comment on people’s pins, do some re-pinning of recipes that you like, and generally be a good citizen of Pinterest. Doing so will get you noticed by other influential pinners, attract more followers, not to mention act as a source of inspiration when you are strapped for new post ideas. It also reminds you that Pinterest, in addition to a great tool for generating traffic, is a lot of fun to use.
What do you think: What strategies do you employ to encourage people to pin your posts to Pinterest?