My Pinterest Strategy Journey Part 2: How to Create a (Doable) Beginner Pinterest strategy
This is part two of my continuing Pinterest strategy journey!
If you’re totally lost on what Pinterest is and why I’m doing this deep dive, you can read part one here. It’s not necessary as my Pinterest strategy journey officially starts here and I’ll be covering some of the basics of Pinterest in this article as well. But, part one offers even more basic theory and “why should I do this as an author” advice that’s not as present in this article.
This second article in my series details the following:
Because as you’ll see, my personal biggest struggle in the beginning with Pinterest was, “I don’t know how to start doing this.”
Shout out to Meagan Williamson, Cara Chace, and Anastasia Blogger, whose websites/YouTubes I originally went to at the very beginning of my journey just to learn the basics of “uh so what am I supposed to do with Pinterest exactly?!” Remember that while best practices can change from year to year, the basic principles of Pinterest (hopefully!) remain more or less the same.
This article is my attempt to explain how I took all of my reading and research and transformed it into an actionable, DOABLE Pinterest strategy that I would stick to and augment over the coming months.
If you're new here...
Hey there! Welcome! My name is Clare, I’m the author-publisher behind the young adult science fiction & fantasy publisher, Faery Ink Press.
Each month I blog about a specific behind-the-scenes project or campaign I carry out on my very real publishing company—and share all the messy feelings and results with you, the creative reader.
Pinterest strategy overwhelm
I think any author – or any solopreneur – gets to a point in their online marketing journey when they have so many social media accounts, so many plans, so many projects to complete, that they frantically pace their office screaming into the void, “WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS?”
I’ve been there. I’ve certainly been there with Pinterest.
Previously, on Clare’s Pinterest…
Let me know in the comments if this is familiar to you.
You’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and you signed up for Pinterest when it was one of the newer socials grazing the meadow.
Someone told you, “Okay, now Pin!!!!!”
And you Pinned and Pinned.
But whether it was because you didn’t “get” Pinterest, or all you got was bored or frustrated, you stopped.
The Pinterest shame I feel about those early days is real. I mean, I feel that way **in general** about stuff I did more than 3-4 years ago, so…
I didn’t do this all at once, but as I started doing more research and formulated a Pinterest strategy, I deleted or made Boards private that I felt were no longer in line with the direction of the brand.
Have you ever felt stressed and relieved, simultaneously? Because that’s what it felt like to scrub my Pinterest account. Stressed that I even dared to throw spaghetti at the wall when I had no idea how to throw well. Relieved that I could start fresh with real intention.
But WHAT was I supposed to pin? More importantly: how was I going to develop an appropriate Pinning schedule that actually drove traffic to my site?
Developing a Pinterest Strategy
This took a lot of brain power for me, I’ll admit.
In the early days of my Pinterest research, I kept hearing things like, “I Pin 15 images a day!”
And I was like, whoa. That’s…a lot of content.
(For the record, advice for bloggers, product-based businesses, and services is going to VARY WILDLY. You may have a slightly different Pinterest strategy based on what you’re selling or promoting, so you do you).
But my feeling upon encountering the varied answers to “How many times am I supposed to Pin in a day?” was: How am I supposed to compete with that? I don’t want to be stuck on a content treadmill.
How am I supposed to create content for Pinterest and like, you know, have a life?
To answer that question, I’m going to lay it all out for you by explaining what it means to Pin “X” number of images per day and how to wrap your brain around a Pinning strategy.
Fresh pins vs. saves
Something I didn’t drill down into in part one was the concept of “fresh” Pins.
Apparently, Pinterest “favours” freshness. Meaning: a new image/video, linking to a new URL, is fresh. It is highly desired.
A new image/video linking to an older URL (something you haven’t shared on Pinterest before) is still desired, though not as fresh.
Then, there’s re-pinning or saving something you’ve already Pinned to a new board.
That’s the hierarchy of Pinterest activity, from most desired to least.
You’re going to be doing a combination of all three, just by virtue of developing a strategy for Pinterest.
(By the way? Maybe it’s my overactive imagination, but whenever I hear the word “fresh” in this context, I feel disturbed. There’s something off about chasing an inanimate “freshness” – something you cannot see or smell or touch or taste. Right? Is that just me? Let me know in the comments if this also strikes you as weird.)
Then, on top of this, was the backflipping math.
Pinterest Strategy Math
I don’t hate math, for the record. Math is good and useful, and if you’re afraid of math, I want to encourage you to examine that fear for the next couple of hundred of words as I break something down for you.
How much I was “supposed” to Pin was a big question mark, so I had to work to make this more concrete. All I knew was, there was no way I was pinning 5 times a day. Even THREE times a day seemed excessive. Not with my product business, where I have 10-15 things (books, podcast, freebie) that I’m promoting at any given time. Maybe if I had a large blog with a lot of content? Three to five images a day would make more sense then. Not for what I’m doing now.
So if you’ve been searching around for a magic answer to the “how many Pins per day?” question, let’s just give ourselves permission to ignore advice that doesn’t make any sense for what we’re trying to achieve, especially if you’re a product-based business like me!
Instead, I asked myself: what would it look like if I Pinned a fresh pin every day?
That’s 7 Pins/week.
Okay, that seems…doable, right? I can publish or schedule seven things a week. That’s thirty Pins a month, give or take. Batchable, for sure.
When you’re just starting out, it’s best to keep things simple. Don’t do more than you think you can handle. In fact, do way, way less. I could have started with three pins a week. Or two! But I wanted to make a daily pinning schedule, just to see if it would make a difference in my website traffic.
Here’s the wrinkle – and where my brain had to do backflips to understand what Pinterest wanted me to do.
Adding in the re-pinning/saves
When I say, “I’m Pinning 3 times a day” – this includes saved and fresh Pins. Saving a Pin to a Board is still Pinning, in Pinterest’s eyes. But it may or may not “weigh” as much as creating a fresh pin for the platform.
As I explained in part one: a big part of Pinterest is re-pinning or saving already existing content (including your own) to your Boards. That’s because Pinterest is for inspiration and discovery – you want to share ideas that resonate with people so they will say, “Oh, I’ll hang on to that for later when I need it.”
Just for the record: re-pinning and saving are the same. Pinterest recently changed some of their terminology.
I think re-pinning as a term is CLEARER in that it wholly describes the intended action. You are taking an already existing poster and tacking it up on your Board, in effect, making a copy of the original. However, saving is the official term for this now. So that’s why I’m still using them interchangeably, even if saving is the preferred term for Pinterest marketers.
For my purposes, I’ll be differentiating and mentioning the ratios between fresh and saved pins as necessary: “I am saving 3 Pins per day (2 fresh & 1 saved).”
So not only are we Pinning fresh content to our Boards, but we have to take our re-pined content into account as well in our schedule.
Still with me?
I decided that I was going to break down my schedule in the following way:
Week 1: 1 Fresh Pin/Day
Week 2: 1 Fresh Pin/Day + 1 Re-Pin/every 2 days
Week 3: 1 Fresh Pin/Day + 1 Re-Pin/Day
Week 4: 2 Fresh Pins/Day + 1 Re-Pin/Day
I’d see what happens from there, I thought. I wasn’t sure I could handle much more than that currently, but surely that would be enough for me to gather some data on how Pinterest users interact with my account.
To be extra clear, that meant on a whole I had to create 35 images/videos ((7x3) + (2 * 7) = 35) to Pin to relevant Boards over three weeks. Over the weeks and months that followed, I would re-pin that same content to other relevant Boards…while continuing to make fresh pins each month.
Which is where ANOTHER layer of math comes in.
The Life of a Pin
Each Pin can fit in a number of categories – or Boards. First, you Pin to the image’s most relevant or most popular Board. Let’s call that Board #1.
Then, after a while (best practices vary, but more than a week later, at the very least!) you save it to another board. Let’s call that Board #2.
And so on and so on: Board #3, Board #4, etc.
For how long do you keep saving a pin?
Again, best practices vary. You don’t want to re-pin too much and anger the Pinterest gods. You want to keep your ratio of fresh pins to saved pins in favour of the fresh pins. The gods like freshness, you see.
My rate of Pinning in general is quite slow. As long as I kept feeding the platform fresh pins, I’d always have something to re-pin.
I decided, for my purposes, the life of my Pins was probably limited to 5-7 boards, and certainly not more than 9-10. Why? Well, there’s only so many ways you can categorize and describe a book.
By genre, by series, by book title, by author, by how it’s displayed in a picture…
That means I have a board for every book series I write, every book title I publish, every genre I publish in, and a board for the “theme” of the image.
(More on themes and trends in a future article – I can’t wait to talk about it, it’s my favourite part of Pinterest)
Here’s an example.
Life of a Pin Example: Stars In Her Eyes
Let’s take this image I pinned a few months ago. It’s part of a fall series I did in September. It shows Stars In Her Eyes, book one in my YA science fiction series, outside, resting on a brown chest. Surrounding it are yellow dried leaves, red berries, my red-and-white decorative scarf (covered in leaves, sigh), and my brown knitted wintery scarf. A white candle lays on the still green grass, but the image is warmly lit.
It’s very fall!
I originally pinned this to my “Fall Aesthetic Books” Board. My re-pinning schedule MIGHT look something like:
Board #2: The Sparkstone Saga (the book series)
Board #3: YA science fiction books (the genre)
Board #4: Stars In Her Eyes (the book title)
Board #5: Beautiful Book Flatlays (describes the quality of the image itself)
I hope you’re beginning think more deeply about how to use Pinterest for yourself.
All of this would happen over the period of several weeks to several months, alongside every other Pin in your account.
Again, the order in which you re-pin this image can matter. Honestly? At this point, this wasn’t something I was too concerned about. Blank slate, remember? Nearly all of my Boards were new.
But Clare – doesn’t this mean your Boards will end up looking 100% the same because you just keep re-pinning the same content?
I was honestly worried about this too when I started, but trust me when I say that you’ll be surprised by how many Boards you end up creating for your Pins. Some Boards will be similar but you’ll end up having so many Pins that…it will be okay (in my experience).
More on this in my article about Pinterest trends.
You can, of course, re-pin other people’s content too, so long as it’s relevant to your Boards. Honestly, this isn’t part of my strategy at the moment.
Saving your images doesn’t have to be quite this much of a headache. You can automate this, to an extent. That’s what Tailwind is for. Even with Tailwind, you still have to know WHICH Boards a Pin is going to. I keep track of this in an Excel spreadsheet.
But I wasn’t Tailwinding at the beginning. Mostly because I didn’t want robots all up in my accounts when I only had a beginner’s level of understanding of the mechanizations. (Lol!). However, my Tailwind experience comes into play a little later in the Pinterest journey.
What's the next step in my Pinterest Strategy?
I explain all this to you because it helped me develop a content creation strategy. It helped me break down how many Pins I needed to batch-create to get ahead and what exactly I needed to do every week to breathe life into my account.
I’m sorry if this made Pinterest MORE confusing for you. If you just want to make Pins and put them on any-which Board? Cool. You do you.
Now I knew the following:
- I was going to pin 1 fresh pin/day for the foreseeable future, possibly escalating to 2 fresh pins/day if it felt sustainable to do so.
- This would escalate to re-pinning 1/day as well once I had Pinned enough fresh content.
- That meant: ~35 pins/month, half of which (~17) I’d start to re-pin to relevant Boards, according to their own relevancy and schedule.
Figure out how many Pins/week you can manage to create and/or post.
I wanted to post 7 Pins/week, but I wanted to create 30-40 Pins before I even started Pinning to get ahead. I certainly didn’t want to be creating Pins every day.
Start writing down Board Ideas.
We’ll be exploring this a little more next time but I think with the example shared, you may be able to get yourself started.
Write down how many products, blog posts, freebies, or podcast episodes you want to create Pins for.
Depending how many THINGS you have to promote, this could be a little or a lot! Just remember: every unique URL counts on Pinterest.
Will this Pinterest strategy actually result in a lot of traction in my account?
Honest answer: at the time of creating this strategy, I didn’t know that answer. My primary motivation for creating it was to just get started.
For as to how it turned out, well, you’ll have to continue reading 🙂
Join me next time as I...
- Figure out which pieces of content I wanted to create Pins for FIRST.
- Figure out how to message my content appropriately.
- Create my new Pinterest Boards!
- Then, you know, actually Pin on Pinterest? The thing we’ve all been waiting to do?
But I’ll save that for next time 🙂
Let me know in the comments: what scares you the most about getting started with Pinterest? What excites you about the platform?
Talk to you soon!