Getting more readers for your book blog takes a lot of energy, time and focused effort. Content alone won’t win you more followers. You have to connect to the wider community of readers and bloggers via social media.
If you’re already using Twitter and Instagram but not seeing all your efforts there convert to more followers, it could be time to branch out.
Pinterest has more than 320 million monthly active users worldwide. While that’s much smaller than Facebook which has 2.5billion, it’s still a sizeable social media platform. And it’s growing: in 2019, Pinterest gained 70 million monthly active Pinners.
How can you attract their attention and get them to visit your blog?
I’ll admit to being perplexed by Pinterest. I tried it a few years ago, created some some book related boards and pinned what I thought were attractive looking images. They did get shared but none of that interest resulted in additional traffic on my blog. So I gave up.
Turns out I was doing it all wrong.
One blogger who has made it work is Briana at Pages Unbound. Initially a sceptic, she’s now become a fan of Pinterest and has seen traffic blog site boom.
In this guest post in my A2ZofBookBlogging series, she shares how she got started with Pinterest, how you can begin your own journey and how to make it work for your book blog.
Beginning With Pinterest
I’ve been blogging at Pages Unbound for nine years, and I was as skeptical as anyone that Pinterest could be of any use for me as a book blogger. I had tried it a few times over the years, and it never resulted in anything. After seeing The Uncorked Librarian and Eline from Lovely Audiobooks post about how they were getting good blog traffic from Pinterest, I decided in January 2019 to do more research and give it one more chance.
By the end of 2019, I had 9,344 page views from Pinterest. As I’m drafting this post in mid-June 2020, I have 8,818 page views from Pinterest – so nearly the same amount of views in just six months!
I admit I don’t do everything “right” that many Pinterest experts would probably recommend, and there are book bloggers who have much more success than I do–very rightly if they spend more time making images, promoting them, thinking of good SEO keyword strategy, etc. But here are some of the steps I’ve taken that worked for me.
When you read articles online about how to use Pinterest, you start to notice that they all have generally the same advice:
- Use Pinterest daily.
- Pin multiple things a day (recommended numbers vary).
- Pin a combination of your own images and other people’s images.
- Use keywords in your pin title and description to help people search for the images.
- Make sure your images are professional looking, include (legible!) text, and are vertical.
- Join group boards.
And those are the basic steps that I took.
- I started creating a vertical, pinnable image for every discussion post and list (basically anything that is not a review).
- I started pinning daily. While many people recommend pinning anywhere between 25-100 images a day, I often only pin about 5-10. I don’t necessarily pin my own content every day either, though obviously the more unique pins you have linking to your own site, the more traffic you are likely to get. So try to strike a good balance of promoting lots of your own pins while still re-pinning valuable content from others.
- I found some book and book blog group boards to join, including The Readers Lounge, Book Blogger Blog Share, and All About Books.
- I started my own book blogger group board.
- I tried adding more keywords and hashtags to my pin descriptions.
That’s pretty much it. It sounds relatively simple, but of course the real key is the time commitment required to create images (I use Canva) for every post I want to promote and pin those images to multiple group boards. I also make new images for posts/pins that do particularly well and try to promote the post again a few months after the initial pin. I log on to Pinterest (nearly) every day instead of sporadically like I used to do.
Pinterest Tips Specific to Book Bloggers
Of course, general “how to use Pinterest” tips don’t always apply specifically to book bloggers, so this is what I’ve learned about promoting bookish content in particular on Pinterest.
The audience on Pinterest is not the same audience you probably have for your book blog.
Book blogs are often followed mostly by other book bloggers, but on Pinterest your audience is more general – and often includes librarians and educators. Because of this, I find that book lists do well on Pinterest.
Imagine people searching for things like “Books set in New York City” or “picture books about anxiety” or “middle grade books about mermaids.” Some discussion posts also do well. I get the least amount of views for reviews. So if you have limited time to devote to Pinterest, I wouldn’t start with promoting reviews or things that largely appeal to other bloggers like weekly wrap-ups or book hauls.
Seasonal content also does well, and you should start pinning it about a month or so before it’s relevant. So start pinning Christmas book lists in November or books about witches in September.
Pins which feature a lot of book cover also seem popular. If you have a book list, create a graphic that includes the covers from several of those books, instead of a pin with just one background image.
Pins related to popular books do well. You’ve probably noticed the same if you’re on Bookstagram, for instance, but pinning things related to popular classics or popular books like Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings will get you more views than pinning something more obscure.
Make sure you join book-related group boards. This is not something I did before revamping my Pinterest strategy in early 2019. I’m not sure I even knew group boards existed. But one of the keys to Pinterest is – making sure that other people are pinning your images, not just you. In a group board, each member is supposed to pin someone else’s image each time they add one of their own, which will help your pins gain visibility.
Pros and Cons of Tailwind
If you read any article on Pinterest, it will probably mention joining Tailwind, which is a paid service that lets you schedule pins, join tribes (where other people schedule your pins to their boards), and see analytics related to your pins.
Out of curiosity, I did a free trial of Tailwind, and I think I’ve paid for two months (not in a row) since then.
I see the major benefits of Tailwind as:
- Scheduling. Using Tailwind means you don’t have to log on to Pinterest daily if you don’t have time to pin manually.
- Tribes. I think these help your pins get shared more than just group boards.
- Managing content I also like that Tailwind will tell you if you are trying to add a pin to a board where you have already pinned it. Some people who aren’t on Tailwind maintain elaborate spreadsheets to track where they have pinned images already and on what days, so they can make sure they are spacing their pins out instead of pinning the same image to ten group boards all in a row.
But I don’t think you need to join Tailwind. Though it’s convenient and can be a time saver, I haven’t really seen a difference in my blog traffic from Pinterest clicks between months when I did have a Tailwind subscription and months when I didn’t.
It’s also worth noting that I’ve recently seen comments from people who are far more experienced that Pinterest is prioritizing fresh content over re-pins, which means you would want to spend more time creating fresh pins and less time pinning your pins to multiple boards or even re-pinning other people’s content to your boards–all of which makes Tailwind less useful.
Keys to Success
I know there are probably ways I can improve my Pinterest traffic even further, but I am currently getting a good return for the amount of time I am putting into the platform.
While I have found various tips and tricks that work for me, I think the number one thing that made a difference for me was actually having some semblance of a strategy instead of randomly pinning images to random boards, which was my previous approach.
Making pinnable images, pinning consistently, and pinning to group boards are the initial steps I would recommend to book bloggers, and you can always work on refining your strategy from there.
What do you think of Pinterest? Have you tried it and given up? Or have you never thought to try it to support your blog? Do share your experience, good or bad, by adding a comment below. Don’t forget to check out the other articles in the A2ZofBookBlogging series page.