You may have heard the complaints: “Pinterest is getting harder.” I see once rabid fans and even Pinterest course creators and coaches jumping ship because they’re not seeing the traffic results they once were and they’re throwing in the towel.
And yet, I’ve more than doubled my engaged audience in the last couple of months!
Pretty sweet, right?
Now, I need to say right up front that audience, impressions, and engagements are ultimately not the metrics that matter. What matters is traffic that turns into leads, customers, and sales.
So I want you to know that my Pinterest traffic has doubled and I saw a 5x increase in email subscribers from Pinterest referrals too. Woohoo!
I’m more optimistic about the future of Pinterest than ever as a way to drive traffic and build visibility online. If you’re willing to let go of some of the old ways of doing things and work smarter rather than harder (who doesn’t want that?) you should be too! .
- Why & How Pinterest is Evolving
- Pinterest traffic and conversions: an overview
- 10 factors that drive traffic from Pinterest in 2020 & beyond
- #1 Know who your target audience is and what they want
- #2 Focus hard on relevancy
- #3 Tell stories that pique curiosity
- #4 Strong Pin Design
- #5 Stop sharing the same old stuff so much
- #6 Find the best time of day to pin
- #7 Consider trends and seasonality
- #8 Spread things out — consistency is preferred to bulk and sporadic Pinning
- #9 Use Tailwind to expand your reach – it's the best "paid traffic" deal out there
- #10 You must create FRESH CONTENT or more specifically, "Fresh Pins" — lots of them
- Workflow Strategies
Don’t even worry, I’m going to share all the juicy tactical stuff I’ve changed over the last couple of months to get these results. But first, it’s really important to take a step back and understand things from Pinterest’s perspective…
Why & How Pinterest is Evolving
Well, to be fair, Pinterest hasn’t changed their mission — which has always been to inspire its users with visual content and allow them to discover new ideas and collect things they need in their life.
But what has changed is rewarding the spammy tactics content creators and marketers have been getting away with up until now.
And no shade there. We’ve all had to play the game of doing what worked on Pinterest — sharing the same pins over and over again to as many places as possible — in order to compete in the feed.
Now, Pinterest is focusing harder on the user experience and the name of the game is value, recency, and relevancy. And I, for one, am much happier to play that game, if only because it just feels better.
But why this and why now?
Understand Pinterest’s business goals if you want to succeed in 2020
You may already know that Pinterest went public in the spring of 2019 and since then, there’s been a shift in how aggressively they’re encouraging promoted pins.
You may have seen that coming if you’ve been paying attention to how social media companies work…
Take Facebook and their massive algorithm update after going public.
They had sucked you in for free, encouraged you to build your business and community on their platform, rewarded you with visibility and traffic, and then when the time was right — they pulled back on the throttle and tanked your organic engagement so you had no choice but to pay-to-play if you wanted to get traffic from their platform.
And it’s understandable to feel worried that this is what’s to come with Pinterest.
This is not really what’s happening on Pinterest.
Pinterest will always reward high-quality, non-promoted content
Think of Pinterest as more like Google than Facebook.
People go to Facebook to interact with their friends and family and to participate in groups — that’s what keeps people engaged on the platform.
Your “content” isn’t really needed unless it exists on the platform (e.g. Facebook lives), so naturally if you want your content to be seen and to drive traffic you need to pay for that.
But with platforms like Pinterest and Google, users are there for the content. They’re looking for it. What keeps their users engaged is finding high quality content that helps them improve their lives in some way — the quality of the experience is what keeps them coming back for more.
They NEED creators to show up and inform, help, educate, entertain, and inspire their customer base.
If all Google or Pinterest showed us were ads, it would stop being useful and people would stop showing up.
Smarty McSmarterson engineers work tirelessly to improve the algorithms to make sure the highest quality content is served up to their audience.
Without happy users, they makey-no-money.
But these platforms have a predictable cycle too, the algorithms don’t start out anticipating all the ways people can game the system…
Spammy Behaviour → Algorithm Update → Improved User Experience = Spammers Get Upset + High-Quality Content Wins
In the early days of Google, you could stuff a page with thousands of keywords and go out and spam millions of websites with backlinks in comments, trackbacks, and forums and rank high in SERP.
The users suffered. The results sucked.
This isn’t a masterclass on the history of Google, I mention it because there are a lot of parallels to Pinterest and I think we should look to how Google has evolved to get a sense of what’s to come for Pinterest.
In the early (not so long ago) days, Pinterest creators were able to get massive traffic by spamming the platform with their content.
The users suffered. The results sucked.
So Pinterest — wisely — started making moves to improve the experience.
- They put the kibosh on tools like Board Booster that existed for the exclusive purpose of automating spammy behavior.
- They changed the way group boards work — once upon a time, people sent their pins to dozens of boards multiple times per day (ugh, who has the time) but now, content shared to group boards gets seen by the community but that’s the extent of the reach
- They penalized bloggers for pinning the same pin over and over again to the same boards too frequently
Yes, it sure does suck for people who would rather spend their time pinning the same pins hundreds of times per day over and over again… but I, for one, never wanted to spend my time doing that.
I wanted to spend my time creating value, not more noise.
And if that sounds like you too, I expect you have a bright future ahead with Pinterest.
Less wasting time doing boring, repetitive, spammy stuff just to keep up with everyone else and more time creating quality content. Heck yeah.
Just keep this in the back of your mind:
Pinterest wants to be a truly useful place for people to discover inspiring new ideas in a way that keeps them coming back to the platform.
Help Pinterest achieve its business goal to create a great experience and you’ll achieve your goals on Pinterest. A great user experience is what ensures they’ll not only retain existing users, but grow their userbase as well.
This means more ad revenue for them and more engagement and traffic for you. It’s an exciting time for everyone except spammers who’ve relied on gaming the system until now.
Allow me to drive this point home in plain terms because if you only take away one thing, this needs to be it:
Bad experience: Seeing the same content over and over and over again
Great experience: Logging in to Pinterest and seeing loads of interesting and cool new content to inspire them.
Pinterest traffic and conversions: an overview
Because always remember — traffic and conversions are the goal.
The first step is getting your pin noticed by the right people.
Getting users to stop scrolling and pay attention comes down to these basic factors:
- Creating & curating content that’s relevant to your audience
- A curiosity-evoking story
- Strong Pin design
Getting the reach you need with the right audience comes down to
- Avoiding spammy behavior & following Pinterest best practices
What we really want to know is, what takes the user from noticing our pins, clicking on them, and then rather than pinning them to a board (where it’s pretty unlikely they’ll ever get around to going back to consume your actual content), gets them clicking through?
Don’t get me wrong, when somebody repins your content that’s a good thing — it signals to Pinterest that you’re creating a great experience and they’ll show that pin to more people.
The more people see that pin, the more likely you’ll get clicks — but again, “reach” and “impressions” don’t guarantee a pin will translate into a business ROI for you..
So how do you get more people to click?
Well, that really starts with the basics of all good marketing so let’s do a refresher and then we’ll get into the changes Pinterest is looking to see from you in 2020 & beyond…
10 factors that drive traffic from Pinterest in 2020 & beyond
#1 Know who your target audience is and what they want
It always starts here. If you’re not clear about who your target audience is and what they’re interested in or looking for, it’s very hard to create a content strategy that drives traffic.
If you’re not seeing the results you want on Pinterest, the first thing to evaluate is whether you have a clearly defined audience and whether you’re clear about how you’re going to improve their lives with your content.
What do they need? What problems are they struggling with? What do they desire, hope for, dream of? What inspires them?
Make sure you can answer those questions before you create a piece of content and then go to Pinterest or Google to see if their “autosuggest” picks up the keywords associated with your topic. If so, people are looking for this content.
You can also get super nerdy and do keyword and topic research on Ubersuggest, BuzzSumo, or AnswerThePublic.com to see whether people are looking for and sharing content on this topic already.
#2 Focus hard on relevancy
I’m going to be using this word a lot on this post because it’s important to drive the point home: relevancy. You want to make sure your content is relevant for (I’d go so far as to say desired by) your target audience.
The KEY is to do everything you possibly can to “train Pinterest” to understand what your content is about so it knows who it will be relevant for.
When Pinterest shows your content to people who are interested in that topic, your chances of getting clickthroughs skyrocket.
The shift here is this: don’t just spray your content everywhere you can, focus on relevancy factors — your PIN hould only be shared to boards and groups that are relevant to the keywords for that PIN.
You’ll get better results sharing a PIN to 3 relevant boards than to 30 boards that don’t have much to do with the topic.
Share only to your most relevant boards & create unique images if you’re sharing that content to multiple boards
Lucy Matthews from Pinterest said in a recent interview that saving to only the most relevant boards is more important than ever.
Not only that, she dropped this gem too:
“If you’re saving to many boards, it will be most impactful to use as many unique images as possible across those boards.”
I used to have a generic “brand board” that I saved all my pins to first — everything from my blog would start there and then I’d save it to other boards.
I stopped doing that and started to FIRST share them to the MOST relevant board, and then scheduled them in Tailwind (using the SmartLoop scheduler) to drip out to other relevant boards over time.
And I’ve gotten much more conservative about how many boards I share them to. Less “spray and pray” and more careful curation, building up the strength of the relevancy of those boards.
Only repin content that’s valuable and relevant to users
I’ve stopped sharing a volume of Pins from whomever about whatever just to stay as active as possible and again, focused on sharing only Pins that will be relevant to my audience.
Put another way, I want to really train Pinterest what my boards are about by only pinning super relevant content to those boards.
#3 Tell stories that pique curiosity
It doesn’t matter how brilliant your content is, if the text on your pin doesn’t pique curiosity and get people to stop scrolling and pay attention to your pin, you’ve already lost the game.
Think of your pins like mini billboards or even mini-sales pages. You want to “presell” them on your content by using headlines that focus on the benefit of your content — what will they get on the other side of that click? Make. it. Clear.
What people tend to do on Pinterest is create headlines that describe the topic: e.g., “Want to be a professional blogger? Read this first!” but unbeknownst to them, they’re not giving people the reasons to click…
Why? Why would I read this first?
What if, instead, it were something like, “The five things you need to make it as a professional blogger.”
If that’s me, then I NEED to find out what those things are.
The great thing is, you can experiment with different headlines to see what works, and you don’t need to change your blog post title to do it.
Just make a fresh PIN with a different headline and make sure that your content delivers on the promise each time and you’re good to go.
Sometimes I even take a concept from inside the post itself and create a headline around just that one key point that exists within the larger topic.
You never know what’s going to work on Pinterest so if your Pin doesn’t take off right away, sometimes experimenting with language can make all the difference.
#4 Strong Pin Design
Good design is KING on Pinterest. If you’re not getting the results you want this is another good thing to check.
You don’t need to be a professional designer to win on Pinterest but you do need to understand what works.
This can take a bit of experimentation because everybody’s audience is different and what different people respond to will vary, but knowing a few basic principles of graphic design is going to help you a TON.
Use legible fonts, especially on keywords
I stopped using pretty swoopy script fonts in my pins and that one tiny tweak alone helped me to expand my reach. Remember that the FIRST IMPERATIVE of your pin design is to train Pinterest what that pin is all about.
What you may not know (that you REALLY need to) is that the smart engineers over at Pinterest have created a technology that can SEE and READ your pins.
That means it can recognise that you’ve used a photo of colorful cookies on your pin, so if your post isn’t about cookies you might want to rethink. My content doesn’t lend itself to relevant images as much as other niches like food or fashion, so I rely on the words on the pin to train Pinterest what it’s all about.
Sadly, this means NO USING FANCY FONTS FOR EMPHASIS ON KEYWORDS.
My font-loving friends have really resisted this, but you have to ask yourself… do you want to reach 3,000 people or 3,000,000? How important is that swoopy font?
You can still use them as accents on words that are not keywords… like, I stick to “how to” or “free checklist” and other places that make sense.
Using big, bold, readable fonts serves a dual purpose too — if people can’t read it, they aren’t going to pay attention. If it takes them an extra NANOSECOND to figure out what that cool script font says, they’ve already scrolled past it.
This is especially important on mobile where just a simple readable font can help you stand out and dominate because SO many people serve up unreadable fonts … they look nice, but that’s not the point of good design.
Good design gets you business results.
The more you inform Pinterest what your pin is about by using clear typography and relevant images, using keywords in your titles and descriptions, and pinning them only to boards that are relevant to those keywords, the better results you’ll get.
Color is massive on Pinterest. The rule of thumb is that warm and bright colors perform best, but you don’t want to go TOO NEON and hurt people’s eyes. I think I teeter right on the edge because I’m a bright-color-lovin’ fool.
But, toning bright colors down with soothing neutrals is something you can try — your whole pin doesn’t need to be in full technicolor, bright pops of colour work too.
Now, I have to say that one of the reasons why this works is because everybody else is using soft, subtle, pastel and subdued colors. If everybody on Pinterest were using bright oranges, yellows, and reds — then the people who show up with pastel blue pins are going to stand out.
So take a look at your competition and look for common themes in color, then try experimenting with different colors to stand out.
CONTRAST is one of the most powerful principles of design. If everyone in your niche is using light pink, try NOT using light pink.
It’s incredibly common for people to get this wrong because we don’t WANT to stand out (that goes against our instincts as humans to blend in with the pack) – but BE BRAVE. I promise nothing bad will happen.
To brand or not to brand?
Now, I’m a brand strategist and designer and I know how important it is so stay consistent with your visuals — this helps builds trust and the good feelings that lead to sales.
Consistency (in color, typography, image styles, layout, branding elements) helps build the “know, like, trust” factor that gets people to recognise your content when they see it and share and click through with confidence.
But, some of my best-performing pins are ones where I went “off brand” and used a different style and different colors. So, don’t be afraid to experiment. Brand awareness on its own ain’t gonna pay the bills if you’re not getting any traffic.
Personally, I do both. I have templates that are “on brand” and I also experiment with different colors and styles (l don’t include my logo on “off brand” pins).
The ideal scenario is for you to choose a colour palette that works on Pinterest that you can use there and for your entire brand identity.
Develop a “designer’s eye”
A great exercise you can do is just go to Pinterest and pay attention to which pins catch your attention. Not the title or subject matter, just visually. (You can squint if you’re the type of person who notices the words first so the words go blurry and you can just see which designs pop out at you.)
I do this a LOT and I can promise you, if you take the time to up your design game and focus on creating EYE CATCHING pins, there’s a lot of competition out there you’ll easily be able to beat.
I just popped over to Pinterest and stopped scrolling the minute something caught my eyes. Do this for a couple of minutes every time you’re on Pinterest and really think about what made that design catch your attention and I guarantee you’ll start making more eye catching pins too!
#5 Stop sharing the same old stuff so much
This comes straight from Pinterest — they said they’re not going to distribute old, duplicate (stale) pins as much anymore UNLESS that content is highly relevant to your audience at that time.
For example, if you’re a food blogger and you’re writing about 4th of July Barbecue recipes, you can share your 4th of July recipe Pins from last year when Independence Day rolls around this year.
Yes, your older pins are still going to get shown.
Strangely, some of my pins from the darkest depths of my archives are getting lots of new traction lately and I’ve not yet gotten to the bottom as to why.
BUT… I can tell you these are pins I haven’t shared again or repinned in months. In other words, I’m not pushing that content, Pinterest is. How they decide that? I have no idea, who can really know. Now that’s just anecdotal, but interesting right?
They’ve explicitly said that they want to see that you’re sharing more new or FRESH pins than old stuff. From what I gather, the ratio plays some kind of role. That is — keep the ratio heavily balanced on NEW pins versus old and you’ll be good to go.
What is “stale content”?
Stale content in this context is essentially duplicate content. That means it’s been shared it to Pinterest before and already exists on the platform.
When duplicate content is competing with an equally relevant pin, the stale pin will be distributed less and seen by smaller audiences than a more recent pin.
Besides getting less distribution, excessive sharing can even put your account in jeopardy. Lucy Matthews from Pinterest warns:
“In accounts that share far too much duplicate content could see suspension or penalties, although don’t panic — there’s obviously a lot of factors that impact our spam fighting algorithms.”
When other people save or repin your content, does that count against you as duplicate?
No, that’s natural Pinterest behaviour and it’s a really good and strong signal to Pinterest that you’re creating engaging pins.
By stale pins they’re really talking about you sharing the same pin over and over and over again.
In that scenario, they understand that some duplicate content is natural – they know that as creators, we all need to maximize our reach on each piece of content.
Because this gets confusing, just think of the bad type of duplicate pin (one that you are sharing way too much for too long) as “stale,” because some duplicate pins are really really good – i.e. when they originate from someone else’s account.
How much is too much sharing of stale content?
Unfortunately Pinterest isn’t ever going to reveal that information, much like how Google doesn’t share the secrets of their algorithm — doing so would invite people to game and abuse the system.
They do work with Tailwind to help them help Pinners share their content safely and to comply with best practices, which is one advantage of using Tailwind.
If you’re manually pinning — or even if you are using Tailwind — your best and safest bet is to focus as much as possible on creating and sharing fresh content.
Matthews offers her advice:
“In the long run, you’ll be best to maximize your reach by focusing your time and energy on generating more relevant and fresh content for Pinners.”
Note: Pinterest is watching out for content creators and marketers who focus on quantity over quality — those who overdo it by focusing primarily on curating tons and tons of content but aren’t really creating and sharing new and fresh content.
Quantity is no longer the name of the game. Hurray!
I’m excited about this change because I just HATE spending my time trying to queue up 100+ pins every single day — which is what I still see Pinterest coaches recommending.
You can throw that advice right in the garbage in 2020 because that’s not only not a good use of your time and never was, it contributes ZERO value to the platform and makes everything spammy and frankly less fun.
Those old tactics not only don’t work any more, but they can potentially endanger your entire account.
Pinterest is watching for “spammy behaviour” and will either stop distributing your content as much (because you are not seen as a high-quality Pinner) or even suspend your account. You can easily avoid this by keeping your fresh pin ratio high.
The great news is, this means less work + better results.
If you’re using Tailwind to schedule your pins, their new SmartGuide feature will even evaluate your account to let you know when you’re pinning too much or too frequently.
In my first “check up,” they found that I had too many older posts circulating in relation to my fresh pins (the ratio was off) and I had more than the optimal number of time slots.
Now, those I usually never fill up anyway, but I was surprised to see that they were recommending 15-25 PINS per day (a far cry from that old “100+ pins per day” advice) and that sharing more than 50 goes beyond their recommended “safe limit.”
By “safe limit” we’re really talking about Pinning behaviour that’ll get you flagged as a spammer by Pinterest.
If you’re not using Tailwind, you may need to adjust your post frequency to make sure you’re playing it on the safe side. I don’t know exactly what that means — only Pinterest and their partners like Tailwind do.
My advice would be to focus on creating fresh pins and worry less about duplicating your content to the same boards. If you do pin to the same boards, try to space that out by like a lot…
Since I use Tailwind’s SmartLoop to figure all this stuff out for me, here’s a snapshot of a couple of “stale” pins that are being shared at a safe limit.
As you can see, each pin is scheduled in a way that’s spaced out to be shared to different boards in the “loop” over many many days and the same pin won’t get shared to the same board for months.
I think that’s the one to be most cautious about: sharing a stale pin to the same board over and over again with frequency and without enough time in between that behaviour is just intuitively spammy and you want to avoid that.
And even though I do use the SmartLoop, I check in on it once per month and remove things that have been cycling for quite a while or pins that aren’t getting much engagement anymore and I load it up with newer pins.
While you still can share 100 pins per day, you don’t NEED to so why would you? Your time is much better spent creating fresh content IMHO.
#6 Find the best time of day to pin
A while back I was pretty blown away to hear this advice given during a webinar with Sarah Hoople Shere from Pinterest and Alisa Meredith from Tailwind:
AM: “Does it matter when I pin?”
SHS: “Time of day does not matter from our perspective. But do think about the first several pins that you’re saving each day… you might start to see over time that your audience [the people who are actually following you] does tend to engage with your content at a certain time of day, but from our perspective, it does not matter what time of day you actually pin.”
Let’s pause here and break that down.
Essentially what they’re saying is that”time of day” only matters when it comes to those people who are actually following you — which is only one aspect of getting reach on Pinterest.
But! It’s an opportunity to get your content in front of them in “real time”– so it helps to have a sense of what time of day works best. As soon as you pin that pin, your followers will see it, and naturally you want to reach as many of them as you can.
Here’s how I approached this…
I’ve experimented with Pinning at different times of day and then I watch to see what happens over the next 1/2 hour or so. There are certain times where I’ve literally refreshed the page and found that a pin has already been saved dozens of times.
Other times I’ve shared pins and *crickets* — nada.
While “followers” aren’t the end-all-be-all in terms of reach (remember Pinterest wants to show your content to people who they think it’s relevant for), this DOES give you an edge if your followers start engaging with your first pins.
Their engagement will expand your reach — when they save it to a board, your pin gets off to a smashing good start.
#7 Consider trends and seasonality
One of the “relevancy” factors to consider is whether your content has a seasonal aspect to it. If so, you want to be sharing lots of fresh pins that are relevant for that season.
This is obvious for things like “back to school tips” and “holiday cookie recipes” but not so much for those who blog about mostly evergreen topics.
But, think about ways you can give a “seasonal spin” on an evergreen topic and test headlines and even your designs!
Say you have a blog post called “Top 5 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read” — try turning that into “Top 5 Summer Reads for Entrepreneurs” or “Top 5 Books to Read to Get Your New Year Off to a Great Start.”
Experiment with your designs too — try warm and cozy colors and images during the coldest winter months and during the hottest months of summer, you test out cool and refreshing colors and summertime images!
#8 Spread things out — consistency is preferred to bulk and sporadic Pinning
Speaking of what your followers see specifically… if you show up and share 100 pins on Monday morning and Pinterest showed them your spam attack, your followers would get a pretty crappy experience: their entire feed would be bombarded with only your pins.
If you have 100 pins you want to share, it’s MUCH better for you to share 5 pins per day over the course of 20 days than it is to just throw all of them up on Pinterest at once.
A high-value creator in the eyes of Pinterest is someone who is active consistently, not someone who shares a volume of stuff in one big dump and then peaces out for a long time.
#9 Use Tailwind to expand your reach – it’s the best “paid traffic” deal out there
This is optional advice but it does fall under what’s working for me in 2020 and that’s to use the Tailwind scheduler.
As my Tailwind annual fee was about to renew, I spent some time digging into my analytics for the year to determine whether it was directly translating into a a financial ROI.
As much as I didn’t want to shell out the cash, it definitely was –far beyond just the time savings it brings to my life, it also drives traffic and conversions that far exceed the price.
I’ve done manual pinning before and I totally believe — especially now with all the ways Pinterest is evolving — that doing it that way is a totally valid way to go and if that’s working for you now and you like your method, I say keep doing it.
But, I find that the time I spend tracking things and figuring things out is just time that I can’t afford and I appreciate how much Tailwind frees me up to focus on other things.
As things are evolving with Pinterest, Tailwind works hard to make their platform work with the changes in order to stay relevant and that means a lot less things for me to worry about.
Now, I classify Tailwind as “paid traffic” rather than organic because there’s a fee associated with it. I know that it’s a hefty fee for most people and I am always looking to save costs wherever possible. But…
I calculated it for the previous quarter and the traffic generated from Tailwind alone — specifically Tribes and the Smart Loop functionality –calculated to around 3 cents per click.
That? Is cheap.
Now, your results might be VERY different — much better or much worse, there’s really no way to know unless you try it out.
(You can check out their Typical Results for Tailwind Members report here.)
But I can tell you that last year I upgraded to unlimited Tribes and unlimited submissions and I’ve seen a direct ROI on that in terms of lead generation and sales.
Tailwind Tribes & Smart Loop accounted for 16% of website sessions in the last year. Not Pinterest traffic, TAILWIND TRAFFIC. And that ain’t nothin’. As engagement continues to go down on social media and SEO becomes more and more competitive…
Tailwind is one of the few remaining platforms out there that allow you a bit of control over how much traffic you’re getting and to expand your reach for a very affordable price.
Tribes is the real darling there. Basically, you share your content with people in your niche and you help each other out by pinning one another’s content to your Pinterest boards.
But here’s the kicker: because these are people in your niche, they are interested in your content. Tribe members are very likely to get click directly through to your content without ever seeing you on Pinterest. This is a secret gem way to get your content in front of the right people.
If you’re not already using Tailwind to get your content visible on Pinterest, you can use my referral link to get a free month to try it out. The trial allows you to schedule 100 pins (it’s not based on a time limit so you don’t need to rush as you’re kicking the tires.)
If you do move forward with Tailwind, you can upgrade your SmartLoop and Tribes functionality with “power-ups” that fit your budget.
#10 You must create FRESH CONTENT or more specifically, “Fresh Pins” — lots of them
In a pretty earth-shattering interview conducted by Tailwind with Pinterest last month, it was made crystal clear that the focus on fresh content only grows with time as they see users responding positively to it…
“Our algorithms for our home feed and search results really favor recent and relevant content.”
— Lucy Matthews, Pinterest Partnership Manager
Recency and relevancy are key factors when Pinterest evaluates how to distribute your content. The more recent and relevant your pin, the more it will distribute it in the home feed and search results (in comparison to stale content) and the larger the audience you’ll reach.
Let me show you a real example of this. Last night before I went to bed I cranked out a few fresh pins and shared them on Pinterest. About 10 hours later I checked Pinterest to see the results.
Now, this is the same piece of content — take note that the design and text is COMPLETELY different because we’re going to get into that more in a sec.
Both are visible under the “pins” tab that show recent activity in pretty close proximity. The one on the left is “stale”and the “fresh” pin is on the right.
Fresh content works.
Pinterest has already been moving in this direction but they will be moving even more in this direction in 2020 and beyond, so take heed.
Everybody’s panicking about this for some reason but this is a GOOD thing and it’s not as difficult as it sounds! (Stay tuned for workflow strategies to make it easier to create this fresh content.)
First, let’s be sure we’re clear on the terms. We’ve talked about what stale content is, but…
What exactly qualifies as “fresh content”?
“The easiest way to think about fresh content is that new images count as fresh pins. You can still link to a blog post or product listing or a page on your website that already has a pin linking to the URL, as long as the image is new it will count as fresh content.”
Can you just use the same pin but re-work your headlines and text descriptions?
“It’s okay to test your copywriting this way but that alone will not count as fresh.”
So how different does the image need to be?
“This threshold will change over time, but making minor tweaks like moving the background a few pixels — that’s not really the spirit of this. Thinking about A/B testing and using different backgrounds and text overlays seems like a valid strategy. My advice would be to really focus on creating unique images that are really helpful and inspiring to Pinners. The better you are at that, the more future-proof your process and strategy will be.”
I was pretty happy to hear this so clearly stated because it’s EXACTLY the one specific change I had made to my process that lead to doubling my engagement and traffic:
I focused on sharing 1-2 Fresh Pins on most days — I don’t always have time to do more — and while it was a bit scary letting go of the old way of doing things, the results speak for themselves.
I started with my best performing content first and aim to have at least 5 pins for each of those pieces of content. Now I’m getting around to updating older content to see if I can breathe new life into them by creating those unique images that will be helpful and inspiring.
I know you’re thinking, “How on earth will I find the time to be creating all of these fresh pins?”
First, you can stop worrying about sharing SO MUCH on Pinterest and that alone will free up lots of time, time you can be spending creating fresh Pins instead.
Batch your Pin designing time
It really only takes me a few minutes to crank out a set of fresh pins, and whenever I can do this in batches believe me, I do. I’ll sit here on a Saturday morning and crank out a ton of them while I’m listening to YouTube.
And even though I’m a designer (which actually puts me at a disadvantage because I tend to spend too much time fussing), developing a set of templates with a strategy behind them made all the difference…
Use templates with a strategy behind them
Okay what do I mean by “strategy behind the templates”?
It’s all about having different TYPES of templates to pull up (no recreating the wheel!) so you can easily tell a different visual story for the same piece of content.
I’ve essentially broken it down into five different categories…
1. Simple text pin templates
These are the quickie pins you can create by typing your blog title as the headline and calling it good. They’re in 2:3 aspect ratio (I use 1000px by 1500) and can be seen completely in the feed even on mobile. These are easy to create once you have your templates set up and should only take a couple of minutes to crank out.
2. List post pins
This is a subset of the “simple text pin.” Because the “list post” is such a common content type, it’s helpful to have templates that include numbers in the pins ready to go. It’s all about workflow, and not having to figure out how to display that number shaves off a bit of time creating these.
3. The Promo Pin
This style is helpful to demonstrate your lead magnets or products – any time you can SHOW instead of TELL, it captures attention and piques curiosity and gets more people clicking through. Plus, you don’t want to forget to really “sell” your free and paid offers so having them set up helps remind you.
4. Long Pins
Long pins – 1:2.1 aspect ratio (e.g. 1000×2100): Even though Pinterest now “cuts off” the bottom of your pins if they get too long, my long pins are still some of the best-performing pins. They are more eye-catching and allow me to tell more of the story.
This is a SUPER easy way to take a simple, list, or promo pin and turn it into a “unique and inspiring” image.
5. Tutorial style pins
Tutorial-style pins: These are longer pins and again, they’re very eye-catching in the feed. When you have a list post, you can quickly and easily create a long pin. Faster to create than an infographic but just as visually impactful.
My #1 top performing pin of all time is a simple tutorial pin that took me just a few minutes to create, it’s been repined thousands of times and has had a long shelf life of driving traffic (that converts too, I get tons of email subscribers from that post!)
I recommend creating a few different templates within each category so when you sit down to create a batch of pins, you’re doing so in the most efficient way possible. Getting organised is going to be your best friend here — nobody has the time to be creating 15+ new pins every week from scratch.
If you’re not confident in your design or template-creating skills, I’ve got your back. I turned this process for telling unique visual stories with my pins into a template system to help you do the same.
It’s all about having a system and a workflow — being able to pull up the template you need QUICKLY and then having enough versatility to create unique visual stories for the same piece of content.You can learn more about it by checking out The Fresh Pin Generator (templates system for Canva) but in a nutshell, it includes the 5 template types with 40 unique pin designs and 3 variations for each pin design — technically it’s 120 individual templates total, but the variations aren’t unique, they’re set up that way to give you ideas for how to create ‘freshness’ with each template.
I’ve also included a template map so you can find what you need quickly and easily and created tutorial for managing the templates and creating an efficient workflow in Canva.
Pinterest marketing in 2020 is more exciting than ever before. With increased emphasis on creating an amazing user experience — distributing recent and relevant content to their users — we can expect that Pinterest will remain a traffic powerhouse for organic content.
Focus on FRESH PINS and be mindful to build up boards that are relevant to your audience filled with high-quality, relevant content.
Stay grounded in the basics of good marketing — know your audience, create content that will delight them, and use design and copy to pique their curiosity and command their attention.
I hope you found this helpful! If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them, just hit me up in comments. I wish you much success with your Pinterest marketing in 2020 and beyond!
Taughnee Stone is an award-winning designer, brand strategist, and location-independent business owner for over 15 years. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now lives in Croatia with her husband, energetic Samoyed, and three bossy cats.