This transcript is from episode 20 of the OMGrowth podcast, published on March 31, 2021
Pinterest used to account for about 50% of my overall traffic but after a rebrand and almost 2 years of taking a Jesus-take-the-wheel approach, I have plenty of room for improvement with my pinning strategy.
Since I have a blog and podcast about improvement and I have some savvy-as-heck friends, I hired one of them to help me bring my Pinterest traffic back to life and in this behind-the-scenes episode, I’m sharing what the details and strategy are that came from my account audit.
HIRE AN EXPERT
My friend Jana from Jana O Media is a Pinterest expert.
Jana is my speed, she’s my vibe, she’s low on the sugar-coating and high on the strategy. Which is why I asked her to help me audit my account and give me some actionable feedback I could use to bring those traffic numbers back up to their former glory.
Now, that aforementioned “former glory” is exactly why I’m choosing to focus on improving my Pinterest traffic: I say this a lot, but…
You make bigger and better gains when you focus on making your own grass greener.
And my grass used to be green! On any given month, Pinterest would account for 40-60% of my overall traffic on any given month. That’s organic traffic that I don’t have to pay for beyond the investment of scheduling that content.
So I’m looking at my current results – which is a very sad 3% of overall traffic coming from Pinterest and that’s on a good month – and I’m comparing it to what I know is possible for me, and it feels like this is the low-lying fruit.
But like I said, it’s been a minute – almost 2 years, in fact – since that has been the case so I really wanted to get up-to-date on how and what I should be doing so I hired an expert who could help me see what strategies are working right now and how they could work for me.
When you’re looking to improve an area you’re not exactly an expert in, hiring one to discuss your strategy with you – even for an hour – is, more-often-than-not, a great investment.
Because even if you buy a course on the subject matter, having someone direct you like air traffic control for what your specific wants and needs are… that can be a huge time-saver and learning curve-shortener in the end.
So that’s what I did – I shortened my learning curve by hiring an expert who could catch me up to speed.
And whether you hire an expert to audit you or you DIY it, that’s the exact purpose of an audit.
With an audit, you’re identifying leaks and problems that you now have to acknowledge and fix.
We sometimes forget this and hope that an audit is a solution – and I include myself in the proverbial “we” – but the audit is just pointing you towards the solution; you still have to do the work to bridge that gap.
And I DID end that call with so! much! work! to do.
I’ll be honest, I felt very overwhelmed by how much there was to work on but I took my own advice and told myself the most valuable thing I could do was to just! get! STARTED!
KEYWORD OPTIMIZATION WITH PINTEREST
And the area I chose to get started with was keyword optimization for my pins because I felt like this would be good for my overall SEO as well, so that seemed efficient for me.
Jana’s suggested approach was to:
1) take each blog post or pin and start by identifying the keyword(s) I would want that content to be found for; then
2) I would take that word to the Pinterest search bar and find the related words and the search trends around that keyword; and finally
3) I would also go through the entire alphabet with that keyword – so if the keyword was “conversion rate”, I would type in “conversion rate a” and see what comes up, then do “conversion rate b” and note those results – and the goal of this is to see what other trends and language come up so I can use those in my pin descriptions.
I’ll be honest, that last one tripped me up and the idea of going through this tedious exercise for every! single! one! of my blog posts kinda made me want to cry in the shower…
Again, I took my own advice when it comes to improvement and overwhelm, and I took the “moving forward” approach I often recommend to others:
So instead of doing this for alllll my content, I did it just for my podcast episodes – which are also formatted as blog posts – and I hadn’t shared those to Pinterest yet so it felt like a good focus and starting point.
Doing something is always better than doing nothing, especially if the “something” you’re doing is strategic.
And let’s be clear – I am being strategic with my time and effort on this one – because yes, I have a lot of content on my website that I need to optimize for keywords, but there was also my Pinterest board descriptions and titles… and I wasn’t about to dedicate who-know-how-long to one-and-done it all at once.
And that’s OK!
That’s what growth and improvement is: dedicating yourself to ongoing reviews with the purpose of getting ongoing results.
So yes, I still have a lot of work to do in terms of keyword optimization of my content and Pinterest account, but my “moving forward approach” means that anything new going out IS being optimized and I’m very satisfied with that for now.
Another thing I’m satisfied with is my new posting schedule. Back when I was doing well with Pinterest, the “rule” was that you should be posting 80% other people’s content and 20% of yours; apparently, this has changed now and it’s more of a courtesy to post other people’s content. This certainly makes scheduling content easier when it’s mostly your own and I have more than enough content to keep that scheduler full.
Something else I would not have known about was that group boards are kind of seen as an out-dated strategy, but one worth testing.
So for the next month, I’ll be posting to the group boards to see if they are driving traffic, and then I’ll make a decision about whether I’ll be using them in the future or not based on those results.
Finally, I also learned that the days of posting 50 pins a day are gone. In fact, posting that much content is a straight-up “no-no” these days, which is also good to know.
See how discussing your specific situation and experience with an expert can feel like you’re in a results-driven express lane?
I think of how many headaches and unnecessary errors – or even an account suspension – I was able to avoid from simply not knowing any better. Mega-helpful!
FRESH PINS AND LESS BRANDING
So I have a “work in progress” strategy with optimizing my keywords, and I have some clarity around my posting schedule… but there’s one more thing I’m working on: my visuals!
Jana suggested I try integrating new pins that would have:
- fewer words/shorter titles;
- less “in your face” logo use/branding;
- use an on-brand hashtag that communicates who this is for like #dataforcreatives
I would NEVER have thought to do any of this on my own.
I know Pinterest values what it calls “fresh pins”, meaning new images to promote URLs you’ve already shared. But everything I was going to start sharing WAS new content and it would never have dawned on me to 1) create new pin templates and 2) be kinda-sorta off-brand about it.
Getting a fresh set of eyes on your brand can help you see things you’re blind to.
Now, I say this a lot – but change doesn’t actually equal improvement – but you don’t know if you don’t try. You have to test these types of things and I’m excited to see what kind of results I get from these new visuals and I’ll keep you posted.
Here are my LESSONS LEARNED and what I’ll be looking at over the next few months to see how these strategies are paying off:
1) KEYWORD RESEARCH
I really “got” the importance of it by going through the annual Love At First Search SEOctober challenge hosted by Meg Casebolt – which I can’t recommend enough, by the way – and I actually followed her method of keyword research to help me generate 95% my podcast topics and titles.
It’s a pain in the booty to do – I’m not going to lie! – but it actually makes content creation so much easier, all-kinds-of efficient and I know the work I’m doing is targeted.
Moving forward, I’m actually leaning towards dedicating an afternoon per month to overall keyword research and optimization: I’ll apply it to my new posts and I’ll use it to help me develop content that actually gets found by the people looking for it, the people I’m trying to reach.
And I figure if I can reframe this business activity into an exercise that I look forward to – like an afternoon of favorite take-out and champers – I can shift this tedious task into something I actually look forward to doing every month.
I’ll keep you posted on how that’s going, too!
2) START SCHEDULING
If I’m being honest as to why my Pinterest traffic tanked so hard… I have nobody to blame but myself, and I did two very un-boss things:
1) I didn’t put a system in place around what I knew and could see was working; and
2) I started outsourcing it… without my system in place.
(Did I mention I didn’t document my system? The one that accounted for 50% of my website traffic?)
And I outsourced this to at least 3 or 4 people – none of whose fault it is that my traffic tanked because that’s 100% on me – because I didn’t create a system, I didn’t lead, I just took a Jesus-take-the-wheel approach to something – GAH! – that was already working.
So this lesson is hard-earned but this time, I’m going to manually schedule my Pinterest content to my Tailwind scheduler my! self! until I have a system in place that I know delivers the results I’m looking for… and THEN I’ll outsource the work to be done MY way… like, with a system and intention and accountability so this doesn’t fall through the cracks ever again.
Because being the boss isn’t just about making smart business decisions… you have to enforce them, too, or at least put the systems in place to be able to enforce them.
Which is easier said than done and I’m still a work-in-progress, too.
And 3) GROWTH IS A PROCESS
Just like I’m getting a process in place for my Pinterest strategy…
Just like it’ll be a process to implement all the other recommendations I received from Jana…
Just like making the types of decisions and choices that will help me fit into my bossy pants is a on-going process…
Growth, better results and improvements are an on-going process that we all have to continuously remind ourselves we’re invested in.
All this business improvement starts to sound a lot like “self-improvement” after a while, doesn’t it? I need to create more CEO time, I need to put accountability measures in place, I need to see and work with – not against! – my own boundaries.
It’s like, “weren’t we just talking about improving Pinterest traffic?” and yeah, sure, we are… but the skills and decisions you and I bring to the table to make those improvements that are just as important as the strategy itself.
Wanna know the rest of the story as to how that went?
Check out: “Behind the scenes: Improving my PINTEREST click-through”