The Magic Formula for Viral Pins on Pinterest
Every blogger worth her salt (what does that mean, anyway?) hopes to go viral. Why wouldn’t you? Not only is it an amazing way to bring traffic to your site, it also completely validates your work to think so many people are finding it not just valuable, but worth sharing.
On Pinterest, the importance of creating the right kind of content just got a whole lot more serious. The recent changes there make it possible for you to see just subjects that interest you, not just whatever your followers happen to be posting at the moment.
What This Means for You
As a Pinterest user, this is a fabulous change… but as a blogger, it means we’re all going to have to work a bit harder to get attention. So how do you create pins that 1) get repinned, 2) get clicked through, and 3) go viral? Here’s the formula:
It really should go without saying that your pins need to be beautiful if you want them to get repinned. If you’re new to creating images for this platform, please take a minute to check out my other post, Why Won’t the Cool Kids Pin My Stuff on Pinterest? It can help you get started and avoid some of the common mistakes bloggers make.
Feel pretty good about your design skills? Take a look at these bonus tips from the fabulous Anna Bennett over at White Glove Social Media, if you want to maximize the chances that your design will help you go viral:
Images with multiple colors get repinned 3.25 times more than the ones with a single dominant color
Medium lightness is repinned 20x more than very dark images. Don’t post images that are too light or too dark, stay natural
Images with at least 50% color saturation receive 10 times more repins than de-saturated images
Predominantly red, orange and brown pins receive 2 times the number of repins as the blue ones
Images with less than 10% background get 2-4x repins than images more than 40% of white space
Images without faces receive almost 25% more repins. Only 20% of images on Pinterest feature a face
Images with a smooth texture are repinned 17x more than images with a rough texture
- Use only images that are a minimum of 600 x 900 pixels with 1900 pixels maximum in length
If you’re a frequent reader, you know we do a lot of talking about what makes for “shareable content” here at the Mommy Blogger Academy. As we discussed last week on the Ten Essential Secrets of Successful Creative Bloggers, the “rules” on Pinterest that govern what makes something shareable are somewhat different than they are on other platforms. People share more freely on Pinterest, but they tend to only pin content they find valuable, interesting, fun and relevant.
For more on this subject, make sure to check out 12 Reasons Why No One Is Sharing Your Blog Posts to learn the essential guidelines on how to create content that gets shared.
Pinterest-Friendly Subject Matter
Not all pins are created equal, even if they are beautiful, interesting and valuable. You have to know your audience if you hope to go viral here.
For the highest possible click through rates, focus on creating tutorials, guides, DIY & recipe pins. Things like inspirational quotes and infographics might get you quite a few repins, but they won’t necessarily get clicked (read: bring you traffic) unless the reader feels like they’ll find something useful on your site if they click. Your image needs to function as a “teaser”, a sort of visual headline even, for your article.
Stand Out Information
One thing I see a lot of on Pinterest is the same old thing, done over and over. I might have pinned “household uses for baking soda” or “5 things I’ve learned from being a blogger” before, maybe more than once, so there’s a good chance I won’t need to pin it again.
The more competitive things get on this platform, the more important it becomes to make your content different and interesting. One of my most viral pins from my personal blog has been Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing an Audition Song, which interestingly enough is not my best design work (it doesn’t even follow most of the guidelines we talked about in this article) but yet it continues to bring thousands of people to my site each month. It just goes to show that being different can hurt you on Pinterest, but if you’re lucky, it can also really help you.
Optimization for Search
Don’t forget that Pinterest is, in many ways, just another search engine. You need to optimize your images to be as searchable as possible if you want them to go viral, and this is even more true now that your followers won’t always be automatically seeing your posts anymore (assuming they choose to follow their interests instead… and after all, why wouldn’t you?)
This is all the more reason to optimize so you make sure that the people who actually ARE looking for the kind of content you’ve created can find it. In my opinion, this is where the changes in Pinterest in 2014 really can benefit bloggers: more and more, the people who see your content will be the people who really do WANT to see it, which means more qualified leads/click-throughs for you.
Remember those great bonus tips from Anna at White Glove Social Media? Here are a few more on the subject of optimization (don’t forget to check out her post to see the cool infographic she made!):
Edit pin descriptions using keywords that could show up in search
Combining a call-to-action on a pin description brings an 80% increase in engagement
Use trending hashtag or branded hashtag (do not use more than three hashtags because it looks too spammy)
Use the words; look, want, need and love
Use a description that contains about 200 characters
Do not use bitly. Pinterest thinks you might be spamming
Pins related to trending topics see an average of 94% increase in click throughs
File name on your images that contains targeted keywords
Pin descriptions are limited on Android so place your vital information in the first 125 characters
Like it is on any platform, you really can do everything “by the book” and still have no success. That’s why it’s important to keep trying, keep designing, keep improving your content and stick with it long-term. You’ll get there. You never know when you’ll create that “lucky pin” that turns you into a blogging superstar.
And if you’re too impatient to wait for luck, in the meantime, the greatest shortcut to Pinterest success, in my opinion, will always be Pinterest-stalking and copying the cool stuff you see. Why reinvent the wheel? Learn from the success of others and save yourself a whole lot of time and research!
Over to You
What are some of your most successful pins? I’d love to see them– maybe I’ll even pin them! If they’re awesome, that is… =)
P.S. If you know your images aren’t great but you’re not sure how to fix them, I’d be happy to review them/your site design with you. I’d love to help!