How I Got 25,000 Blog Subscribers from Pinterest — in 2 Months Flat

By Taylor Flanery

Pinterest is currently the fastest-growing social networking site on the web. It mainly attracts female users because of its visual appeal — it’s a way to “pin” images onto virtual pinboards and then look at what everyone else has pinned, too.

Because of Pinterest’s website bookmarking feature, it has also recently emerged as one of the biggest referrers of traffic to websites and blogs.

Here’s how my newest website, started at the end of October 2011, gained over 25,000 newsletter subscribers in two months thanks, in large part, to Pinterest. The beauty of my strategy is you don’t personally have to be active on Pinterest to do this. You don’t even need to be a member of the site — you can just encourage others to share your articles through Pinterest so you get more traffic.

How it began: a year long reader challenge

I’d love to tell you I had some kind of master plan for the phenomenal growth of my website, Home Storage Solutions 101, but instead, this is a story about being in the right niche, at the right time, with a graphic that is ideal for sharing on Pinterest. Also, I had quality content and enough foresight to set up my website to capture the emails of interested visitors who came to my website from Pinterest, for my weekly newsletter.

When I decided to start my website about home organization and storage solutions, I knew I had lots of topics to cover. I decided to do a year-long challenge, where I’d discuss organizing one small area of the home each week. I called it the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, and put the schedule for the weekly challenges on the site on a landing page, listing the topics I would cover over the course of the year.

I choose a popular niche for pinterest

I benefited from the fact that many pinners were already creating boards related to home organizing. Others who followed that board were often also interested in organizing. When they saw the pin they, too, were alerted to the challenge. The landing page of the Challenge was pinned and repinned over and over in this loop of interested users, which is what makes sharing so viral on Pinterest.

Take a look around Pinterest, looking at boards in the niches in which you write, and see what types of things are being pinned to get an idea of topics pinners are interested in, and what types of boards they pin them on.

The seasonal advantage

As it turned out, I started my challenge at exactly the right time. I started promoting in earnest in November and December, right when people make New Year’s Resolutions to “get organized.”

In fact, the most viral traffic and newsletter subscriber growth occurred from right after Christmas through the first weeks of the new year. One day, for example, I received over 25,000 unique visitors to the site.

Help pinners know what your article is about

Since Pinterest is a very visual site, having a compelling graphic — preferably not a stock photo — on your blog post or webpage is key to getting pins and repins. The graphic I created for the Challenge was very self-explanatory, as you can see above, which helped it spread like wildfire.

One thing I wish I had done with my main 52 Week Organized Home Challenge graphic, however, was to have my URL or site name on it. As of the time of this writing the Pinterest button on the main challenge page says it has been pinned over 28,000 times. I can’t even describe how much I regret missing that huge branding opportunity. Duh!

Sometimes pins don’t get attributed to the right source after they’ve been pinned and repinned a lot, and this can get people to the right source to read your article if they’re interested.

Add Pin It buttons to your pages

I got a lot of activity and traffic from Pinterest at first without actively promoting it on the site. Once I noticed all the traffic coming from Pinterest, I quickly acted to encourage it.

I went back and added “pin it” buttons to all of my challenge pages. (You can grab the pin it button on Pinterest here – scroll down to where it says “Pin It button for websites.”) When you add a pin it button to your page you can choose which graphic will be pinned, and in addition, you can suggest language to describe the pin.

I tried to encourage others to join the challenges with my suggested language. For example, for the Organized Home Challenge page, the suggested language is: “I’m Joining The 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge!” Further, when I pinned the page myself I said, “This is what I’m doing for the next year to get my home in order. Will you join me?” Both of these phrases have been popular on Pinterest, and been repinned many times.

If I had it to do over, I would have added my site name and had a better call to action, like, “I’m joining the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home Challenge on Home-Storage-Solutions-101.com to get my home in order. Will you join me?”

If you’ve enjoyed this article, I encourage you to pin it with this pin button: Pin It

Taylor Flanery is a former lawyer turned work-at-home mom. She is a home and garden and legal freelance writer and owner of multiple niche websites including Household Management 101.

Do you have questions about how to earn more from your writing? Learn more in my community Freelance Writers Den – take ecourses, attend live events, ask writing pros your questions in our forums, and use our exclusive Junk-Free Job Board.


  1. CJJohnson says:

    Pinterest is tough cookie to crack it appears. But it is widely becoming the new “it girl” in social media. Thanks for sharing your success with the site, it was very encouraging. And your strategy and approach was awesome!

    • Carol Tice says:

      Taylor even got me to join it. I discovered you apply to get an ‘invite’ from Pinterest. Mine came in about 24 hours…so be patient if you’re trying to sign up.

  2. Josh Sarz says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Taylor. I haven’t been as active in Pinterest as a lot of people are, despite hearing about it again and again.

    You’ve definitely showed how Pinterest can give your blog a super boost.
    Josh Sarz recently posted..How To Keep Your Content From Flatlining

  3. Thanks for sharing this. It definitely gives me something to think about as I’ve been debating limiting my activity on Pinterest after hearing about the questionable terms of services as as it pertains to rights for pinned images.

    On a side note, I never thought to put a “pin it” button my website or blog.
    Terri Huggins recently posted..A Picture’s Worth a Business Deal

  4. Corinne says:

    I have been hearing more and more about Pinterest. I will definitely be checking it out more.
    Thanks!
    Corinne recently posted..Knowing When to Say No

  5. Leslie says:

    This is incredible. Of course, some businesses lend themselves to pinning and some don’t. For those of us like me, (I’m a copywriter) we need to think outside the box to use Pinterest for business.

    I made a portfolio of my work on Pinterest, pinning photos of clients’ products that I’ve written about on one board, and their logos and banners with some of my copy attached on another.

    Love to hear how some of you writers are using Pinterest to market, and if you are seeing any traffic from it. (I haven’t so far.)
    Leslie recently posted..As a Freelance Writer, Jobs Come and Go — Occupational Hazard, or a Great Gift?

  6. Thanks for sharing this info about Pinterest, I signed up for it about a month ago but have not done much with it; a learning curve and so little time… Thanks!
    Marcia Clarke recently posted..Share the love for the kids home tour

    • Marcia, there is definitely a learning curve to pinning on Pinterest itself, but I would encourage anyone interested in first just trying it personally, as a regular person not trying to market or promote anything, so you can get a feel for it, and how real users (not marketers) use it. I did that first, and since I was interested in my own niche, I used that time to really see trends in your niche (hopefully you’re interested in your niche, right?) and figure out how to share cool stuff that not only interests people, but gets you some traffic at the same time. Of all the social media sites, it is the one that feels like the least “work” if you know what I mean.
      Taylor @ Home Storage Solutions 101 recently posted..How To Stop Junk Mail: Instructions To Opt Out And Eliminate It

      • Carol Tice says:

        Thanks for all the tips on this, Taylor! I need to spend some time poking around on there as a user to see what sorts of useful things I might pin up that would interest my readers. I notice there is no obvious category for writers…or am I missing something? I felt a little like it wasn’t for me when I signed on because there was no category for anything business-related really, it’s more of a lifestyle focus.

        But I love your strategy of just using the button and letting others who are more proficient on Pinterest send you traffic.

      • Thanks, Carol. I have been slowly getting familiar with Pinterest as we speak. Just have to find enough time to play around to get the hang of it, especially the boards I’ll get there eventually.
        Marcia Clarke recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge: Distorted

  7. Rayven says:

    This is fantastic, and so inspirational! (And I will admit, the thought has disrupted my day now as ideas are floating around.) I have been having a lot of fun on Pinterest lately. Looks like I’m about to have even more fun! Thanks for the tips.
    Rayven recently posted..Savings Angel Review – Why Join SavingsAngel.com

  8. Tracie says:

    You are certainly putting a fire under me to get busy with Pinterest! Thanks Taylor :-)
    Tracie recently posted..Jan 21, How many HCG sprays a day?

  9. Melanie says:

    I love Pinterest too! I love your idea for the 52 week challenge! Did you set up the whole year in the beginning or do you create it month to month?
    Melanie recently posted..Mar 2, Visit Amsterdam Museums to see some world famous and spectacular pieces of art
    and history

  10. Jean Gogolin says:

    Interesting piece. But, um, where is it written that females are more susceptible to visual appeal than males are?
    Jean Gogolin recently posted..Writing lessons from Lady Grantham

  11. Cath says:

    What an inspirational story! Thank you for sharing it, Taylor. I have been using Pinterest even though it is more or less unknown in Europe, but it seems I need to think harder about the possibilities for using it as a business opportunity rather than just for personal stuff.
    Cath recently posted..Feb 13, The Colosseum of Rome : ostriches, elephants and ancient Roman gladiators.

  12. Suzanne says:

    Taylor – Thanks for sharing your experiences with Pinterest. 25,000 blog subscribers in 2 months – that is fantastic! …. no, it’s AMAZING!!!
    Suzanne recently posted..Mar 5, Acoustic Guitar Lesson

  13. Neil says:

    Pinterest has certainly grabbed my attention. I’ve spent some time looking through all the comments on this page – its motivated me to do something about this – maybe I can use my writing skills to show more people how to play guitar?
    Neil recently posted..Steve Winwood heads Cheltenham lineup

  14. Ruth Terry says:

    I just read a few articles on the copyright issue today. Here are few sources with more info on liability and how Pinterest is responding to criticism:

    http://blog.noisettemarketing.com/2012/03/why-i-deleted-my-pinterest-boards/
    http://directmatchmedia.com/pinterest-copyright.php
    Ruth Terry recently posted..Writing Hangovers and Post-Project Breakdowns

  15. Ruth Terry says:

    P.S. There’s quite the lively discussion in the comments on that second article.

  16. I’m not sure how well this would work for my blog genre. On a 25,000 subscriber gamble though, it might be worth giving a try.
    Jacob Duchaine recently posted..How to Write Like a Professional: Less is More

  17. Amielle says:

    This is an interesting way to use Pinterest and definitely what I’m going to start using mine for! Now to blow the dust off of my account and get to it. :)

  18. Kellie says:

    This is fabulous insight into building a following via Pinterest… but more importantly, I need to learn how to organize my house. SO a huge help! Thanks a bunch… for covering both topics. :)
    Kellie recently posted..Strong Curves Hits the Pre-Sale Market with a Bang

  19. Sharon Thoms says:

    Hi great idea, and use for Pinterest. Was wondering if you had the crowd subscribe to your challenge, to be able to take part in it?
    I once was going to use a picture that I found on Pinterest, so I was looking for the original author and you would not believe. The pic had been shared by someone on Tumblr and so I followed it backwards. From what I remember, It kept coming up with shared by, and the next one back, then shared by, next one back, never giving credit to the original author until I guess, when you got back to the very end, and the very first person that shared the picture. I gave up well before that.
    Sharon Thoms recently posted..What is a Blogs and how do you Blog?

  20. MNB Achari says:

    I haven’t used pinterest yet. It seems it is a great idea. I will start using it immediately. Thanks for the wonderful tips!

  21. I don’t have a long experience on Pinterest but for the short time I have used it I have realized that it has various tools you can use to improve your site. They include
    Repinly, Url2pin.it, Pinstamatic, Pinzy, Pinterest Right-Click, SpinPicks, Pinspiration, Snapito, Woobox Pinterest Tab, Pin Search, Reachli, Pinpuff. Great post though.

  22. Love this post. What an inspiration. I’m so happy to have found this post and read about ways that I can appeal to more readers and get them to subscribe. Thanks!

    Jessica @ All She Cooks
    Jessica @ All She Cooks recently posted..MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate Review

  23. I love Pinterest! It’s a great way to showcase the places we’ve been. I never thought of using Pinterest to build an email list, however. I can be a bit slow to catch the train. ;-)

    Thanks for a great article, Taylor. There’s quite a bit of inspiration to be found here.
    Laura Townshend recently posted..Affiliate Marketing: Why in the Heck Are Those Ads on Your Blog?

  24. Rebecca Lutz says:

    Guess how I found your blog? …. that’s right – PINTEREST! I just started a blog of my own where I share all I know on graphic design, working from home, and creating a life that I’m passionate about. I am beginning to pin some of my imagery on Pinterest and know there is so much potential Im excited to see where it goes. Thanks for sharing!
    Rebecca Lutz recently posted..The New Blog Challenge: 500 New Email Subscribers in 30 Days

    • Carol Tice says:

      Cool to know — I’m increasingly going to be using the strategy of letting other people pin ME on Pinterest while I’m not personally that active on the platform. I’m hoping to create more pins for some of my blog posts in 2014.

  1. [...] a great guest post on my blog today from Taylor Flanery, on how she got a slew of subscribers to her blog via Pinterest in just a couple of months. Just click that link to read all the details on how she did [...]

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