Despite commanding a massive user base, many authors limit their Pinterest usage to idea boards and personal design and recipe collections. But, books are a huge presence on Pinterest, and it’s members are constantly searching for great reads.
To better illustrate the power of Pinterest and how to harness it to drive traffic and sales, I’ve asked Lisa McClellan of Runwiki.org, who has over 30,000 unique visitors at her site every month, primarily through Pinterest. Here she explains how she creates images, leverages boards, and channels traffic – as well as her insights into how authors can better use Pinterest to build their brand and market their books.
Hello ThirdScribe readers. My name is Lisa McClellan and my husband Rob is the founder of this service.
I started Runwiki, a fitness and lifestyle blog, in 2008 and have been happily creating content there for the past few years. In 2014 I hit a plateau. My readership was stale, my numbers went flat, and no new opportunities were coming my way.
When I analyzed my statisitcs, I discovered that 53 % of my traffic was coming from Pinterest. When I dug even deeper, I discovered that most of that traffic was coming from one pin and driving a crazy amount of new visitors to that one post. It got me thinking, why was I spending so much time on other platforms when they were giving me very few new and unique visitors?
That’s when I got to work learning everything I could about Pinterest.
For the past several months I have applied everything I’ve learned and my traffic has now tripled. For many years now, Rob and I have been discussing the various Social Media platforms and how they work as a marketing tool for businesses and websites. When Rob started Thirdscribe, I was busy writing and growing my own site, but today I’m taking a break to share my knowledge.
Pinterest has been the easiest way for me, personally, to grow my business. I am here to help you do the same.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to learn to be successful at Pinterest, but these were the few tips I thought the most important to get you started. I want to thank Rob for allowing me to take over ThirdScribe today and if you have further questions please feel free to comment below.
Be sure that your Profile is filled out and has a description of who you are with some key, searchable words in it. Do not make the mistake of not having a profile picture- people want to know you’re real.
Make Some Boards
Create 20-30 boards and be sure that each one has a description of what it is you’re pinning there. For example: New authors – “a board dedicated to discovering up and coming authors in the literary world”, or Inspirational Literary Quotes- “a place to collect the world’s most memorable quotes”
My advice is to put some key words into your boards’ descriptions like, “books” and “authors” but try and use natural language when doing so. Have boards other than book promotion. If you write Science fiction, have a Science and Nature Board. If you write Romance Novels, have a “Sensual Foods” Board.. Catch my drift?
Pinterest users love beautiful images. The number one tip I can give you is to up your photography skills and or invest in DSLR camera with a 50 mm lens. Once you have your camera, taking a basic photography class, reading the manual, and researching how to use it is advisable. Go on Pinterest and do a search for books in your genre and look at whatever comes up, then see what images stick out to you. Look at what is appealing and being repinned a lot, and try and use some of those elements in your own images.
- High quality
- The correct dimensions (720 X 1100 pixels)
- Watermarked with your web address
When you are first starting out, I recommend that you use either Picmonkey or Canva to edit your photos (Picmonkey’s collage tool is very helpful for Pinterest). Pinterest users also love a nice title or description of the image that you are pinning. See the above as an example. If you are pinning a motivational quote or a tips post, for example, you’ll need some high quality stock photos (these generally run about $1.00 on Canva or other Stock photo sites) – it’s worth the investment. These images are ten times more likely to repinned than unprofessional looking photos.
Give Your Photo a Title
When you have completed creating your image, have uploaded it into your site’s media, and are ready to place your image in your post, go to the right hand sidebar and give your picture a detailed title that includes searchable terms that would apply to the post you have created before inserting it into the article. Don’t worry about the small size of the title box in the Media tool — write a good, long sentence in there. A complete description of the article (with searchable terms) that it’s going to be placed in. When that image is pinned, that description will accompany the image, significantly improving interaction on Pinterest.
Pinterest tips to drive more traffic to your website #authors #selfpub Click To Tweet
Go Pin Crazy
After your post goes live, pin it to every board that might apply to the article. For example, let’s say you have written a post named “Top 50 Summer Reads for 2015.” Pin it onto any board you have that applies to summer, reading, or books.
Tip – DO NOT use hashtags when pinning on Pinterest. Their algorithm doesn’t recognize hashtags, only keywords. You can separate keywords with spaces, commas, or hyphens of you feel you need to, but it’s better to have them as part of a sentence in the image description.
Grow your Followers
Let’s face it, no one will see your pins if you don’t have any followers. Build your following by pinning at least 20 pins a day,and comment and like on images that have a high number of repins on them. Sound overwhelming? I get it, that’s why I use Tailwind which is a pin scheduler that will pin your stuff at peak hours automatically. I usually do all of my pins for the week on Sunday night. Tip – don’t pin more than 25 pins a day, as Pinterest might view this as kind of spammy. The perfect number is 20-25 per day. Ideally 10 of your own and 10 of other peoples. Tip- Pin only beautiful images that you feel will get many repins and make sure you have verified that the images leads to a legit website- DO Not repin spam! The more you stuff gets repinned, the more Pinterest will show you’re pinning.
Be Patient and Seasonal
It takes about two months for images to get going on Pinterest, so be paient and continue to pin your content on a regular basis. You should be thinking two months ahead, for example I am pinning Fall stuff right now and it’s August. Your posts right now should be seasonal – “Top 50 Festive Books to Read to Kids this Holiday.” I know what you’re thinking, “It’s not even close to the holidays” But, you really have to think ahead or you’ll miss out on the busiest time of the year.
Things That Do Well for Authors on Pinterest
The best thing to do is go onto Pinterest and do a search for “books”. At the top of the page, a series of popular search terms boxes will appear at the top. You should be putting those terms into your image title and this will also give you an idea of what goes viral on this platform. In my experience, the things that do well are posts that solve a problem, tip posts, quotes, and roundups (“Top 25 Romance Novels”) or something like that.
You may be wondering why and how using your blog and writing posts like this will help you sell your books. There are many reasons why Pinterest is so powerful, but the short answer is that if you create good content and pinable images, you will drive a whole slew of unique visitors to your site.
Will every person buy your book? Maybe not, but it’s exposing you and your books to a tremendous amount of people who may not have known who you were before. That exposure could possibly lead to more sales.
53% of all of my traffic comes from Pinterest and I know many bloggers that have similar results. The great thing about it is that anyone’s pin can go viral, you don’t need 10,000 followers to make it happen. I have one pin that has had over 4,339 repins and the person who originally pinned it had only 20 followers. That’s powerful!
Lisa McClellan blogs at Runwiki.org, a place for a fitness enthusiasts to explore the spiritual heart of our sport. Runners come from all walks of life, some are slow, and some are fast, Runwiki touches the common thread that binds them. Lisa is a 4 time Boston Marathon qualifier, 2013 Boston finisher, Ultra Marathoner, RRCA Certified Running Coach, Wife to retired US Navy Diver, and Mom to three kids. Click Here to subscribe to her blog.
Have you tried out Pinterest before? What’s holding you back?