Pinterest Traffic Secrets: How to make your pins pop - Benjamin Schwalb

Pinterest Traffic Secrets: How to make your pins pop

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Pinterest has been around for only about 10 years, and even thoughts that’s quite a bit of time, it’s still changing constantly. But despite these changes in the algorithm, two things will stay the same:

1) The goal will continue to be “improving user experience”. Just like Google, or any other platform, they want their users to get what they love seeing.

2) Optimizing for the algorithms matters, but especially as they get more advanced, the most important factor will be optimizing for the users/people.

We don’t know a lot about Pinterest’s algorithm, but Google is actively using user’s feedback to determine ranking – like time on site, bounce rate, how many people click a certain result and then go back to click another instead,…

So how do you design great pins that both Pinterest and your (potential) audience on Pinterest loves?

Let’s borrow a hundred years of experience from two very similar, but older and more mature industries: Books and Advertising.

When you walk in a bookstore (or browse Amazon), you see a whole bunch of book covers. Your eyes are going to scan them until you find the kind of books you’re looking for. You’ll look over the covers, and eventually pick one out to check out in detail. Just like Pinterest, isn’t it?

When you read a magazine, you’ll see ads almost everywhere once you start paying attention to them. Some are barely noticeable, but some will make you stop and read them twice. When you think about it – isn’t Pinterest like a magazine with ONLY ads?

How to apply bestseller secrets to your pins

Even only decently successful self-publishing indie authors often spend a few hundred dollar on a book cover because they know – it’s going to make all the difference.

Here’s a few principles that apply:

  • Your book has to look like books in your genre – your potential reader has to immediately know what kind of book it is. If you write romance, don’t put a spaceship with sci-fi font on it. (duh)
  • Your cover has to convey what the book is about – if you put a couple on it, it’s about them. A lone person on a mountain doesn’t make it feel like a happy romance story.
  • Your covers need to be branded – especially for a series. Your readers need to recognize your books, so they can easily spot and buy them because they are from you.
  • While looking like it “belongs” in your genre, your cover still needs to stand out enough to catch attention. This can/should be both with your images and with your title.

Pretty much all of these can be applied to pins as well!

Most blogging-about-blogging-bloggers use some kind of white desk background for pins, with a laptop, pens, a notebook, and other utensils strewn across the desk. When you see a pin like that, you know what it’s probably about.

When you see a pin with food on it, you’d expect it’s about either this food (like a recipe) or about food in general.

So if you create pins for your recipes but use desk arrangements as backgrounds – your audience on Pinterest probably won’t recognize them as recipe pins. Subconciously, they’ve ignored your pin before they’ve even looked at it.

But that’s probably obvious, right?

It goes deeper than that, though. What kind of fonts are mostly used in your niche? What kind of colors? Books, especially in a bookstore, are usually designed at least with professional help, or by a professional cover designer, so they look more uniform – because they know what they’re doing.

On Pinterest, it’s usually a big mess of chaos, because most people have no clue what they’re doing. (of course, not everybody is/can be a designer! I think it’s great that even non-designer bloggers still kick ass and create their own pin designs!)

But especially if you focus only on the highly successful pins, you should see patterns.

Mimic those.

Generally, you want bright images with vivid colors, and easy-to-read fonts that are big enough to read them on a mobile phone.

But you also want to look like highly popular/viral pins in your niche – so your pins tell your audience’s subconcious “hey, you’ll like me!” instead of “oh, I’m not relevant to you”.

How to apply advertising secrets to your pins

Imagine you pay $10,000 to run an ad in a magazine.

You’re gonna really spend some time on making sure that it catches your prospective client’s or reader’s attention, right?

Why not use the same principles for your pins? Aren’t they basically ads, in a feed full of ads, all screaming for attention?

Here are some tricks that you can easily use (without studying copywriting or psychology for years first):

  • Use high-contrast. If you use dark blue text on light blue background, it might look pretty, but no one will even see it next to a bright red-on-black headline on the next pin.
  • The brain is lazy. Make it easy. When writing the main headline/text on your pin – make it as easy to read as possible. Short text. Short words. Clear letters. “My ingenious strategies to consistently reduce your monthly expenses by up to $200” is not going to be read by 90% of people who skim through the feed. “Save $200/month!” will be.
  • Put the biggest benefit on the pin. If you have a long actionable list for decluttering – it’s not about the list, it’s about making it easier for someone to declutter! If I don’t know what’s in it for me, I won’t click the pin.
  • People love active verbs, how-tos, and lists.
    Save $200/m! Cook dinner for 5 in just 5 minutes! Check out this cool ___!”
    “How to ____”
    “7 best tips for___ – 5 great ways to ____ – 11 things you didn’t know about ___” (odd numbers work better – humans are weird.)

If you’re serious about making money on your own, no matter what business you’re in (but especially as a blogger, since words are your “weapons” of choice) – reading at least a single book about copywriting or advertising psychology can be super useful. You’ll learn soo many timeless tricks that will never stop working – unless humans fundamentally change (which is unlikely to happen within a single generation).

5 Actionable Tips to take away from this article

Your pins should reflect the topic of your article – when you show the pin to someone, they should be able to at least guess the broad topic without seeing the title. Your pin should fit right into the top, most popular pins in your niche/about the same topic.

Your pins need to stand out – they are surrounded by tons of other pins. What makes someone look at YOURS for more than a split second? That’s all you have to capture their attention, so make sure you have something catchy!

Give your pins a “branded” look to build up authority – When you use the same colors, fonts or certain design elements, people will start recognizing your pins. Assuming your blog is good, they are more likely to save and click your pins, since they recognize, know, and trust you.

Use short, easy-to-read text on your pins – make it easy for a brain in passive skimming mode to read it. Avoid long words when possible, and keep the word count per line short (and the words big enough to read).

Put a big benefit in the pin – give people a good reason why they should want to click it and read your article!

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