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.
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