In episode 195 we chat with Meagan Williamson, a Pinterest strategist, about bloggers’ challenges and questions on all things Pinterest.
We cover information about all the red numbers you’ve been noticing in your analytics on Pinterest, why you need to stop resisting changes inside the platform and the value of incorporating the Story pins into your content strategy.
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Bio Meagan Williamson, Pinterest Strategist, niche marketing expert and OG Pinner. Meagan helps overwhelmed and confused business owners + bloggers learn how to grow their audience with Pinterest. Unlock the power of Pinterest so you can level up and create a constant funnel of leads, sales and website traffic.
- Pinterest has changed the algorithm but the key metrics you should be watching won’t change: traffic, page-views and sessions and saves.
- Pinterest has changed the way they calculate impressions and engagements.
- One change Pinterest has made is a change in their algorithm in the sense of what’s being favored. Story pins are here and we should embrace the tool they’ve given us for the extra support to our other pins when we share.
- There’s really no use in resisting these changes made by the platforms we use. These changes are actually to serve the greater user base of Pinterest or whether it be Instagram or Facebook.
- The people who keep their head down, focus on “how I can continue to evolve my content to meet where the social media landscape is going”. Those are the people who continue to quietly be successful. Instead of resisting change, they’re thinking, how can I use this?
- Remember to “repurpose with purpose” what you share on Pinterest Story pins. Make sure that it makes sense for the platform. Don’t just slap up something that has a watermark from another platform.
- Video pins and Story pins are best uploaded manually. Part of video and Story pins is adding tag categories and you can’t do that if you schedule them on any of the platforms.
- Make your pins keyword rich.
- Meagan recommends scheduling 80% through Tailwind and 20% manually posting, that’s where she’s seen the best results for her clients time over time.
- Make sure you diversify your traffic streams as a content creator.
Focused on Pinterest?
Set realistic Pinterest expectations with Kate Ahl in episode 174.
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What’s up food bloggers? Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. This podcast is for you, food bloggers wanting value and clarity to help you find greater success in your business. I have Meagan Williamson with me today from meaganwilliamson.com and we are going to have a fun chat about Pinterest. Meagan Williamson, Pinterest strategist, niche marketing expert, and OJ pinner is here with me today. Meagan helps overwhelmed and confused business owners and bloggers learn how to grow their audience with Pinterest. Unlock the power of Pinterest so you can level up and create a constant funnel of leads, sales, and website traffic. Meagan, I’m excited to chat about Pinterest today, but first we all want to hear your fun fact.
Thanks so much for having me, Megan. So fun fact about me that not many people know, well some people know if they’ve listened to previous interviews. Two. I’m going to say two. One that hardly anyone knows is I was actually homeschooled until I was 13, which I think surprises people. I have a master’s in school psychology. So I actually specialized in helping children achieve academic success, but never went to primary school myself. If you don’t count homeschooling but I’m also a blogger so I started out in the online space as a DIY and decor blogger. So my original sort of entry into the online world was as a blogger, attempting to monetize a budding brand new website starting at zero 11 years ago.
Oh my goodness. Well, that’s very interesting. Wow. So cool to know your background, because now you’re just all about Pinterest and you’re a very well-known strategist and just a marketing expert. So you’re very well-rounded.
Yeah, it’s funny because people will say to me Whoa, you started out as this. I think some in fact my background and experience lends perfectly to helping other people because I have that bigger scope and I see things from all different angles because I have worked with bloggers. It really helped me when I started working with brands who sometimes struggle with content creation and understanding how to reach their audience. The background in psychology is always very helpful when you work in marketing.
Oh my gosh. I agree. And I think it’s so helpful to be well-rounded like that when you’re helping people, because like you just said, you have different perspectives, which is extremely valuable, you can see all sides. So I love that. That makes you extra valuable Meagan. So let’s dive into Pinterest because I was chatting with you a little bit about Pinterest before we started recording and in our food blogging circle, just this week, we were chatting about, Oh my gosh, what is going on? Looking at my Pinterest analytics, this is not typical for me. Usually my analytics are up, up, up great, doing fine. Awesome. They are way down. I think that is kind of the theme across the board for bloggers right now. Do you just want to talk about like, what are some recent changes? What is kind of going on with Pinterest currently?
Sure. Well, you aren’t alone. I think that it’s funny because bloggers always have their finger on the pulse, right? They really are some of the first people to know their numbers quite intimately and probably in a greater depth than most business owners. When I say business owners a few years ago, I often say like online business owners, bloggers, the bloggers that I work with are really people who are making a full-time income from blogging. It’s a full-time gig. I have assisted people who do it part-time and are looking to scale, but they really are very serious about what they do and because of that, they have an in-depth understanding of their numbers. It’s a real privilege to come from that experience of those relationships, because it’s really helped me to understand what key metrics we should be looking at.
So food bloggers are not alone, a lot of the blogging communities people are saying what’s going on. We have seen some huge changes coming out of Pinterest. I jokingly mentioned to you earlier that because I’ve been on Pinterest since I was a beta member. So really back when Ben used to send you a personal invite to the community, is when I joined Pinterest. So I’ve weathered all the ups and downs. One key thing to note with all the changes is actually there was a massive change with how Pinterest calculates or aggregates the actual numbers that we’re seeing in that Pinterest analytics dashboard. So just as a heads up, it’s weird because it’s sort of, I actually said to somebody, if you heard that a recipe was made a certain way and you’ve made it that way your whole life, and then you move out, you meet someone new and they’re like, Oh no, no, do it this way.
But the end result is still the same, but the recipe is completely different. It’s sort of shocking. Right? So I think that the way to think about this is that the way that Pinterest calculates some of those metrics that they’re reporting in your dashboard has changed. Now, what I always encourage people to do is to look back at your key performance indicators as a blogger or somebody who’s a content creator, of what actually. So I just had somebody in my own community say she’s a decor blogger and makes her full-time living. She said, Meagan, all of my numbers are in the red when I go into my Pinterest dashboard. And I said, well, let’s take a step back. You know, breathe, remember it’s social media, it’s changing constantly. How’s traffic to your website?
What are your page views and sessions like? What are your saves like on Pinterest? She said, they’re all up. I asked why do you care then? She’s like, because it’s that sticker shock. Right? So it’s important to know that how impressions and engagements are being calculated has changed. So literally the number, so that number that we saw last August or September is now calculated differently. So do we need to hyper-focus on it? No. What I would say is make sure that you’re evaluating your key metrics that actually are the things that grow your business. So page view sessions, time on site, all those things. When people actually step back and look at those metrics, they actually often report no change or an increase in their numbers. So everyone can relax. I encourage everyone to look at that first, but there have been big dips in impressions.
It’s often as a result of a few different things. One Pinterest has made a change in their algorithm in the sense of what’s being favored. So Story pins were rolled out worldwide in the last few months now. Interestingly not many people know this, but story pins were first rolled out in the UK almost two years ago. They did the pilot there. Then they shut them down in the UK, which is so cruel to give them this cool new function, then take it away, then rolled them out in the US and then from there, after kind of like playing around with them, lots of glitches, testing, how they worked and how they were going to function for us as business users and then how regular people were going to engage with them, they actually shifted. They rolled them out to Canada, the UK, and now they’re being rolled out worldwide, which is really exciting. But because of that, because they’re a very different type of pin than what we’re used to, this has been one of the contributing factors to why impressions and engagements are being calculated differently. So that is often why people are seeing drops in those numbers, because there’s been this shift in how search works and how content is indexed on Pinterest with a preferential treatment for story and video pins. So that’s sort of taking all the big stuff in China, boil it down. That’s why we’ve seen changes.
Yeah. That is such a great explanation. I have not heard anything even remotely like that, but it gives me a sense of calm because you’re right. When you open analytics and you see red, red, red across the board, and not just a little bit red for me, but a significant number of red, it’s alarming and it makes you stop in your tracks and go, wait a second. What? Cause I’ve been on Pinterest since Pinterest started. Forever, and I’ve never seen numbers like that, but to have you kind of explain why, and just tell me that things are being calculated differently and maybe to go over to Google analytics and look at my overall page views and keep an eye on that instead, that helps me so much. So thank you.
You’re welcome. Well, you know what? You’re not alone, Megan. I think that’s just it, right? That everyone’s it causes mass panic.
Yeah, it does. I know. I mean, I was doing a mastermind called the other day and we were talking about Pinterest and we were all looking at our Pinterest accounts and we were doing a zoom call, so I could see everyone’s faces and everyone was looking at their analytics and they were all just frozen, myself included. I was like, Oh my gosh, this is crazy. So, okay, you guys look at me, take your eyes off the numbers because sometimes you do just have to do that. I’ve learned that over the years blogging so long that you can’t stare at the numbers, you are going to go crazy. I love that reminder, but sometimes you just have to make yourself step away.
I think because I have a more intimate relationship with a lot of people who do blog full time and they’re very serious about it, is that I notice a big divide and I say this with a ton of love, but there seems to be two camps. There’s the people who keep their head down, they’re watching what’s happening, but they focus on those core elements. Producing high quality content, considering how the landscape is changing. We all know that video is really important. We all know that as things move forward, I just want to encourage people that there’s really no use in resisting these changes. These changes are actually to serve the greater user base of Pinterest or whether it be Instagram or Facebook.
Some of these things we could spend a lot of time getting together. I’ve done this myself, get together virtually of course right now, most places, but getting together, having a natter as my granny would call it, and kind of releasing that energy, right? Isn’t that frustrating? But the reality is that the people who roll with the punches, who instead of dedicating hours to hacks and following harebrained advice that isn’t rooted in information actually provided by Pinterest. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but I work directly with Pinterest. So when I share information, yet I am always very careful to make sure that I delineate, whether it’s from a personal experience, it’s a personal observation as somebody who sees a lot of Pinterest accounts, or if it’s something that I have been told as a partner with Pinterest or Tailwind, which is a scheduling app.
I do think I get it. There’s some people out there, they love hacks and they find these little tricks, tricks, and little hacks are only going to work for so long. So I really turned to my insiders at Pinterest. I spent a lot of time reading articles. I fall down a lot of rabbit holes. Actually that’s why in an attempt to understand all the recent changes, instead of spending hours reading toxic negative things in Facebook communities, I’m in them too Megan, I’m in a ton of Facebook communities for bloggers, business owners. I manage my own. My own group has 7,000 people. I noticed that the people who keep their head down, focus on how I can continue to evolve my content to meet where the social media landscape is going. Those are the people who continue to quietly be successful, get the best sponsorships, they’re making the most money there they’re being featured because instead of resisting change, they’re thinking, how can I use this?
So the early adopters of story pins, and I think this is the perfect example I saw in all the groups, all the bashing, why would I use them? I can’t put a destination URL. Why, why, why? So instead of actually just saying, Oh, this is interesting. How could I use it to benefit me and really assist my social media marketing efforts? You know, instead of spending that time and sure we all groaned and we’re all learning, but those are the people who are now 10 miles ahead. They’re the people who are being featured and they have growth day over day because they put their energy into saying instead of resisting change, they’re embracing it and seeing how they can continue to evolve their content to really serve their audience.
Oh, so well said. That is kind of one of the themes that I live by in my work, my business, is resisting change. Resisting anything is not good and it’s not going to be fruitful. It’s not going to be healthy. Surrender. Like you said, Meagan, okay. Story pins. Everyone was like, what? Why would I do that? I can’t put a URL in there. Well, it’s here. So embrace it. It’s not going away, it looks like, so why not? Right. It seems like the more you use story pins, the more Pinterest kind of favors you. Oh, Megan likes story pins. She’s awesome. So I’m going to maybe favor the rest of her content. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but it seems to be that way. So what are your thoughts on that?
That’s a great question. Really it leads into, I know there’s been a lot of discussion. How do I continue to evolve how I approach Pinterest and leverage it for my blog or my business. I think that that is going to be key. So embracing instead of resisting, embracing story pins. It’s interesting because I was not hesitant. I worked with a food blogger based out of the UK who was one of the like really early access to Story Pins. So I got to play around with Story Pins when nobody had them and kind of experimented how it could be used and leveraged. Again, it was very early days, but then once it started to be rolled out in North America, I sort of am a sitback. I don’t react right away.
I start to see the rumblings, right? Like, Oh my gosh, what’s this. So instead of reacting, I just start listening and I start watching and playing around myself. What I noticed very quickly is the accounts where we started using Story Pins in creative ways were they accounts that had no dips in traffic, we continued to have huge amounts of success. What we actually found is the days that we release Story pins, because we also were trying to figure out what was sustainable. Story pins do, take a lot of time. I find that depending on if they’re already part of your workflow, it’s quite easy for creators who are already doing maybe an Instagram series, story series that they can adapt that story series to be well-suited to a Pinterest pin. I always encourage people.
This is one of my favorite things that a Pinterest employee said to me, “repurpose with purpose”. So make sure that it makes sense for the platform, right. I think that’s a subtle way of saying, don’t just slap up something that has a watermark from another platform, but if you’re in Canva and you’re making your series or another other software, Adobe, Photoshop, if you are making a set of Instagram stories to go with a new recipe or maybe a sponsored post, think about how you could adapt it to be a Pinterest story. That’s what I find people are having a lot of success with. But what we noticed is those days that we’re putting out Story pins, we have high amounts of engagement and impressions, which then has a knockoff effect that we’re seeing the highest huge spikes in traffic on other pins.
So on our standard pins or static images, on our video pins. Actually I do work with a few people who sell directly and we’ve had the highest income days directly from Pinterest the same days that we put out Story pins. So what we’re noticing is a friend of mine, but she’s a deco blogger. She said, I’m willing to feed the beast if it’s going to help me overall. She has had massive success. She only started using Story pins six weeks ago, and she’s already been featured by Pinterest. Her traffic has never been higher. She said that part of it was just letting go and finding how she could reuse content that she was creating elsewhere, but adapting it for the Pinterest audience.
So making it keyword rich, making sure it made sense as a standalone piece of content. Then she was finding that all of her other key metrics that indicate growth for her website or blog go up if she’s engaging in a regular story pin strategy. So that’s my big tip going forward. What I find is a lot of bloggers who have all seen that huge dip, they weren’t necessarily gravitating towards creating a lot of video or Story pin content. So once they start using those formats, they’re seeing their numbers slowly rise. That’s part of the new Pinterest that we have to evolve with.
The new Pinterest. I love it. It’s constantly evolving. I always say this too. Of course it’s going to be, it’s a platform and it’s never going to stay the same. No platforms stay the same forever. So we’ve gotta roll with it. Like you said, Meagan, the more you roll with it, the more you just let go, the better off you’re going to be. So I love that theory and I think we can all be reminded of that. So super appreciate that reminder. What are your thoughts on Tailwind? I know there’s been a lot of talk out there recently about Tailwind helping. Can I just use the Pinterest scheduler? What are your thoughts on Tailwind?
Yeah, so in full disclosure, I’m a partner with Tailwind and I’m in close communication with members from their team. When I started to see rumblings again about differences, I did reach out to them as well as connecting through me to Pinterest, me to Tailwind and then making sure everything. Cause I always want to make sure that I’m keeping up to date with what’s what’s happening. So that said, it is my favorite Pinterest scheduler as somebody who supports other business owners and creators, just like you guys. I just can’t manually pin everything. Like there’s no possible way. Maybe if I only had one account, but as somebody at the height of my Pinterest marketing agency, I represented upwards to 40 accounts. Quite a few of those were content creators. So as full-time content creators, a lot of them were putting out three, four things a week. We got a lot of content to work with. So I’ve always loved Tailwind for being the most robust scheduler. I have my own criticisms of ways that they could improve the program. Now I know that there’s been lots of reporting about what’s been going on when pins are released or scheduled via Tailwind versus Pinterest. I’ve talked to tailwind staff quite a bit about it. Now, according to Tailwind and Pinterest who have been in close communication, Pinterest does allow approved partners and Tailwind is an approved business partner.
So from a business perspective, Pinterest is saying, nope, there’s no difference, but I think it would be silly for me not to acknowledge that some pins released via Tailwind seem to have lower impressions on those pins initially versus when they are pinned in real time manually within the Pinterest app. So one important thing for me to note is that I have always, always taught my folks in my world, as well as represented my clients, that we have never automated our Pinterest marketing a hundred percent. I’ve always engaged in a partial scheduling, partial manual pinning. That’s where I’ve always seen the best growth with all accounts. So that has not changed ever with my accounts. We have not seen any drop in our key metrics, even though I still do retain a small client load. My team and I, although not many. We haven’t seen a drop in website traffic, saves or sessions from Pinterest.
What we have noticed is that because video pins and Story pins are best uploaded manually. I’ll tell you why. It’s not because I don’t love scheduling them. You can schedule video pins. But what we notice is that part of video and Story pins is adding tag categories. So we know that that helps with telling the Pinterest gods how to index your content and whom to show it to, right. You cannot set those tag categories if you are using a scheduler, full-stop. None of the schedulers allow you to do that. So I’ve always engaged in a strategy where video and Story pins are uploaded manually. I do schedule video pins via the Pinterest scheduler. So it’s a little bit complicated, but I have done some testing about what happens. We’ve actually seen no increased results when we schedule exclusively via Pinterest.
But like my true tried and tested approach of scheduling about 80% through Tailwind and then adding fresh content and video and Story content via manual pinning seems to have the best outcomes. Tailwind or other approved schedulers, whether even be the Pinterest one, allows us to be in the right places at the right time. We got better things to do. We have families, we have dogs that need to be walked. Making a delicious, healthy dinner. I live in Toronto, Canada, and we just finally got spring. I can go outside without a jacket. So yesterday I went out with an iced coffee, watching my son learning how to ride a bike with the sun on my face. I was just like, this is the best, right?
This reminds us of happier times. So instead of spending my time manually pinning for my clients, which I do, but I do it in a very scheduled way. I’m able to live my life. So what we noticed and Tailwind did their own independent study, because they said, we’re not gonna ignore the fact that people from our community are sharing that their numbers seem quite low. When we say numbers, typically it seems to be impressions. They found similar results as what I have found through my informal testing I’ve done with myself and clients that yes, impressions do seem to be lower. I actually wonder if it’s because Pinterest has changed how they’re calculating numbers so quickly without consultation between the engineering teams. That is my own thing that I suspect, it has not been confirmed.
I’ve asked a few times. But I think when an app changes how it calculates numbers or how it performs a function and they don’t let partners be in on that, then all the numbers are going to be totally off. That’s why it’s really important as content creators to always make sure that you’re checking our numbers in something that is distinct from the platform. So Google analytics, or even if you’re comfortable going into your backend, using your web host and going in and checking your numbers there, or there’s lots of Supermetrics or these other third party analytic dashboards that you can use. I always make sure that people are using something to cross reference, so that we can actually have a more objective idea of if a change has had an impact on traffic. With my own clients, our key metrics are traffic, sessions and saves. Those are the metrics we care most about when it comes to our Pinterest marketing and we’ve only seen growth.
Oh, that’s great. I loved hearing you talk through all of that. Thank you so much. Here’s something that I say all the time to people in my community, is that we shouldn’t be giving up on Pinterest because food bloggers especially have such an opportunity with Pinterest because our content is visually appealing. It really captures that people because everyone loves food. Everyone loves looking at pretty delicious pictures of food. So we have an opportunity that so many other people don’t have, to pull people in with our delicious food photos. So when people get really frustrated with Pinterest, I’m like, you guys don’t give up because we have opportunities that others do not. Can you speak on that?
One thing I learned very early on when I was doing sponsored content, I remember I was sitting actually at a Wayfair event with a blogger colleague. She’s even a little bit more seasoned than me and that I think she had been blogging two years longer. We were at an event where there were a few people who were purely Instagram influencers and she said, there’s part of me that wants to go to them and say, Hey, I love that you’re big on Instagram, but remember, you don’t own Instagram. We don’t own Pinterest. We don’t own Facebook. Make sure you diversify your traffic streams as a content creator. It’s absolutely crucial. I think that when it comes to Pinterest, I’m actually just writing a blog post about this, because of my own growth as a creator and as a blogger, I always got a ton of traffic from Pinterest and that’s when I really clicked into Pinterest and the power of a visual search engine.
In that I created content that solved problems, that allowed people and how I used it as a regular person. I was looking for recipes. I was looking for ways to decorate on a budget. I was living in Europe and I didn’t have a job. I was looking for travel inspiration. So I was naturally, and I was always a blog reader. So for me, it always made sense in terms of that storytelling. For me, actually very specific to the food industry, is that I’m picky when it comes to food. So I make decisions not just on the keywords, but my eyes. So when I look for recipes on Pinterest, I do that quick visual search, with my eyes, literally, I’ll search cranberry muffins or chocolate cake or Irish soda bread. That was like some stuff I looked up recently.
I will decide based on how the photo looks, because I know that there’s certain looks or styles of food. Like I’m more into whole food. I have a four-year-old, so I’m trying to minimize how much refined sugar we have so that he doesn’t get a million cavities. All these things I’ve always loved cooking, but I would make that decision based on what it looked like. Or even if I was painting a dresser, I knew that I would probably gravitate towards the images that were in the same decor style as me, which if I can’t see an image, I can’t make that decision. I’m a very visual person that way. So as food bloggers, what I really encourage, or anyone who makes their income online, one, you need to protect your assets and diversify your traffic.
So even if Google loves you, even if Facebook is your place, it’s really, really important that you diversify your traffic streams in case something happens. It’s always the what-ifs. Listen, I had a fire in my house a week ago, and I actually am just writing an email to my list about what I learned as a business owner, because I had an emergency in my house where I had one to two minutes to decide what to do. Because I had a plan, because of the business I’ve built, don’t worry, everybody’s safe, but it shows how you think I’m never going to have a fire in my house, right? Like, what are the chances? But having those what ifs, what if Instagram goes down, what if Pinterest goes down? What if I get blocked? What if YouTube disappeared?
I think people who have been online for a longer time period recognize that, but this big long-winded story is basically to say though, what I’ve always noticed is search engines have always been my best friend. I think it’s because I am the actual type of personality maybe cause I was homeschooled maybe because of just who I am. I’m very extroverted, but sometimes I just, I don’t ghost, that’s not the right way of putting it, but I just don’t feel like showing up online, you know? So for me, like those more passive aspects, right? Those more private things, blogging, search traffic, Pinterest traffic, I’m now jumping into the YouTube world. But it’s all ways that I can have traffic finding me, discovering me. That doesn’t require me to be in my business every day. I think that when content creators really consider that, and that’s what I really worry about these baby influencers. I call them baby entrepreneurs, they found fame first on Instagram or YouTube, and they’re doing reverse engineering.
I have horror stories. I hear them all. Instagram accounts that are hacked. Instagram accounts that are wiped while the influencers get off a plane going to a sponsored event where her obligation is to post all weekend and nothing will post on her Instagram account. So legally, what happens to an influencer, if you are locked out of a channel that you don’t actually own. I have people come to me that they’ve had that happen and it’s pure panic. Oh my gosh. But sometimes those emergencies teach us that we have to plan. I think that’s another thing in the blogging world is a lot of people feel that Pinterest owes them. We built you. Honey, we don’t own any of the platforms. Right. We own our websites and we own our email lists. That’s it. So you have to think about how you can use these platforms as they change to strategically grow your own business while not putting all your eggs in one basket.
Well, first of all, I want to say, I’m so sorry about your fire. That sounds terrible. I’m glad everything is okay and everyone’s okay. But yes, those moments where you have to think really fast and save people and save your things, requires you to think a little bit differently. Obviously that’s a little bit different than Pinterest, but kind of the same.
Yeah, no, it is and having a plan. What would happen if, or what would happen if even planning out your content or working with what you have? It’s so funny because I had a few things lined up and I was so grateful to have a business that could continue operating not maybe to the full degree, but it could continue operating without me. My email list continued to grow. I continue to get traffic, but I wasn’t showing up on Instagram. I was living out of a pair of harem yoga pants that I was wearing when I was told to evacuate my home. I’m living out of a bag right now. So this will make people laugh and I think only people in the online space.
So once our house was cleared, I said to the fire chief, I know you’re going to think this is really crazy, but I do my own business. Can you please go into my office and grab my computer and bring it out to me? Because it was, I had to make choices. I have an elderly cat. I have a hundred pound silly one-year-old dog. I have a four year old. When things happened, I evacuated the vulnerables, the pets, my son, I grabbed the iPad because I’m a mom. Okay, how can I keep my son calm while this is happening? Then I went back in and I grabbed my ID and I just said, everything else no big deal, we can survive. But then soon as we knew that the fire hadn’t spread, I begged that chief to go and grab my computer.
Oh my gosh. That is super funny. Because you’re like, all the important things are safe, but Oh my gosh, I really want my computer. I can totally relate to that.
It’s just one of those things that I thought, if I could keep, and then I was so thankful to have some stuff scheduled and I had a blog post in my drafts on WordPress and I was just like, whooo, things keep going, but it does. It’s a good reminder that you always have to have plans for when, if things go a bit differently than planned.
Yeah, absolutely. Things change all the time. So they are going to go differently than planned because we can’t plan what Pinterest is going to do. We can’t plan what changes Google is going to make or Facebook. So yes, diversifying your traffic, like you’re preaching here, Meagan is super important and something, I think you’ve said this too, that more experienced bloggers do, just because we’ve kind of learned that that’s what we have to do. If you don’t do that, you will quickly be reminded that you need to start diversifying. I love this line that you said, I have to repeat it. You’re doing things that don’t require you to be in your business every day. Because I think people think that figuring out Pinterest is too much work and that they just can’t do it. They’re going to go back to Google and rely on that traffic or Facebook or both, but there are ways to get things moving in Pinterest so that you don’t have to be in there every day.
I 100 percent agree with that. So funny because I come from it from such a different angle. So when I create content, I actually conduct all my research on Pinterest and then keyword research for SEO at the same time. Then everything else is an afterthought. That just shows you how I’ve designed my business though, is that those search engines are the most powerful for me. They leverage my authority and they get me in front of them. But you know, I have a very different business model. But I’ve always believed in that. I think that I’ve seen how it works for different businesses and because I started on the blogging world, I used to do a lot of consultation. Not because I wanted to, but I would start working with these big brands, food companies, home decor companies.
They just didn’t understand how to create content that people actually wanted to engage with and read. The difficulty with Pinterest and I think some people don’t realize this as you really won’t have success, unless you have high quality content that speaks to your audience. I think that that’s where some people get really discouraged. If people aren’t having success, go back to the books. It’s like anything, right. If you want to grow your Instagram, you gotta be consistent and dedicate some time. If you want to have more search traffic, what do we do? So much has changed that landscape. I actually had to kill my old blog because it was such a mess from an SEO perspective.
I just couldn’t bear the thought of going back and optimizing. But looking back and I’m going through that myself as even optimizing or updating content where there’s opportunity for more growth for search traffic and Pinterest traffic because people change and the words that they search and the way that they search has changed. We know that this is a nice little insider tip for everybody who’s listening, is that in September, October of 2020, Pinterest did a massive search engine upgrade and it’s called Manis real time. And Manis real time is actually a particular type of technology that helps Pinterest. They’ve created their own indexing technology. So Manis real-time, much like the latter half of the name suggests, is a way to index video and Story pins in real time. So when they say real time, they’re hoping within a matter of 15 minutes that the technology can understand.
That’s why we see explosive growth in a very short amount of time for video content and Story pin content. So that wasn’t even a thing. If we’d had this conversation four or five years ago, we didn’t even have Story pins. So it’s really important to always think, how can I continue to grow? What are the trends for how people are searching for food related content? I know in the springtime, pantry staples or cooking on a budget was very top of mind for Pinterest users. As people were impacted by the pandemic, shopping became more difficult. As some food supply chains, I know I couldn’t buy blueberries and that’s a very privileged thing to say, but my son loved blueberries and we could not get blueberries for about five weeks.
My brother actually works in the supply chain. He said, this is what’s happening with the pandemic, right? Some of the farming communities have been impacted. We can’t get all the things we’re used to. The way that people search though, is it is valuable to look back if you have things that are budget savvy, low ingredient, pantry staples, things that are sort of trending right now. Or even how to grow your own food and cook with it, all these sort of things that people have adapted in the last 12 months, that’s going to help you to evolve your content and ensure that it fits in with a trending topic.
This is a really good conversation. I really appreciate all of this because I think that food bloggers need to hear this because we get so caught up in the numbers and the frustration in the moment, that we don’t sit back and look at the big picture and the Tortoise and the Hare story keeps coming into my mind. As we’re talking, just consistently slowly keep putting in effort and plugging away at Pinterest, don’t give up on it. There’s such opportunity and potential for food bloggers on Pinterest. If you could give food bloggers one takeaway today, knowing everything we know that happened in 2020, all the changes that are currently happening, what would be your number one takeaway for them?
To really consider how they can continue to evolve their content, to meet how Pinterest has changed. So looking at leveraging Story and video content is going to be crucial for your growth in 2021 and moving forward. Don’t bother wasting your time, resisting. Looking at how you can continue to evolve and engage your readers in a new way, is really going to help you to continue to experience growth. Story pins and video pins are here to stay. They’re not going anywhere. So I would encourage everybody to take some time thinking about how they can evolve their content and make it part of their content workflow.
Great advice. Can I ask you one more quick thing before we wrap up? I just thought of this. So in my Pinterest account, I would say within the past year, I started noticing that, Oh my gosh, all of these people were commenting on my pins and leaving pictures, and there are so many Meagan, I can hardly even wrap my head around this. Why are people going there and not my blog? Do I need to take the time to comment on all of these people’s comments?
Yeah, that’s a good question. So Pinterest has really moved towards encouraging people to easily engage in apps. That is actually the function of Story pins. So what we’ve noticed is a real uptick in reactions, obviously on Story pins or leaving comments, and yes, so comments and engagement on pins will help accelerate your growth. They’re trying to make it very easy for people to sort of store their ideas, the things they’ve tried. Essentially Pinterest was designed for people to go out and live their lives. Find the recipe, make it go, go buy the ingredients, make it that night, but they really are encouraging people. So I still use Pinterest almost daily for recipes and I’ll look at something on a Monday and on Tuesday it will say, so did you try this? It encourages me in a very organic way to come back, comment, leave a picture if I made the meal.
It’s hard because I manage accounts that have volumes of comments that I can’t keep up with. So what I do is I dedicate time once every two weeks, so every week or two to reply and just say Oh, thank you. You know, like I try to keep it human, but I also have to be realistic that I can’t be giving full out. They are encouraging people to stay in the app in some ways. So having people to leave comments and if you do have time responding to the high quality ones is never a bad thing. Because you’re just encouraging and nurturing your audience, which I think we don’t really associate with Pinterest. It was always this really anonymous, sacred place where we weren’t expected to talk to anybody. But it does help if you can respond and say things back.
I think it also just reinforces that we are real people and humans, and we appreciate that they took the time to tell us that our recipe looks delicious or they’re going to make that. Or you have to think about how regular people use Pinterest. I have regular reality checks with different people who are in my life who do not for the life of them understand what I do. Do I work at Pinterest? No, I don’t. Oh, I saw this on Pinterest. Have you ever seen it? No, I haven’t. It’s this hilarious thing that I’ve just given up. So I think that when they tell me how they use Pinterest or even last night, because of the fire we are living at my mother’s home and she follows this influencer who does 65 plus makeup.
She showed me her YouTube channel. It was so interesting because my mom is a regular person who doesn’t have a lot of high tech computer skills, but she has YouTube influencers that she really enjoys watching. I said, well, what is it about her? She said, well, she publishes once a week. She’s very lovely. At the opening of this recording, you mentioned my blog post about how to name your boards. Listen, I created that on the fly. I don’t know why I even created it. It is my most popular blog post that will not go away.
I’m somebody who I’ve been doing long enough that I really love the high level stuff. I call myself a niche marketing expert, because Pinterest is so particular, but I know website optimization, SEO, email marketing, lead magnets, all these things, monetizing your website. I know a little bit, I know enough to be dangerous and know more than most people do. I just focus on Pinterest, but the way that I really help my clients and the people I work closely with is having that bigger scope. So asking those questions. I actually did a consult a year ago with a food blogger who is very, very successful. It was interesting because the conversations that her and I had were very different.
I’m sure everyone can identify who’s with Mediavine or AdThrive. Your income was throttled when your traffic was at an all time high when food searches surged last March and April. So we talked about it, how could we continue to pivot? How could she continue to grow other things, even her ad income, even though her traffic doubled during the pandemic, but her actual ad income was lower. So how could she battle that? Just identifying opportunities for continued growth. I think that I laugh about that blog post because it’s so simple. It’s often the type of advice that I give the people I work with. Keep your content super simple, super basic. My husband watches a video about how to boil an egg and it has like 7 million views on YouTube. I said, what are you doing? He’s like, I’m making sure I boil eggs properly. I’m like, what? But it’s a good reminder that often our really simple content is what goes crazy. Because of my experience, I tend to go higher level right away. My blog posts that are very in-depth and complicated, they don’t get as much love.
That’s so true. I think all of us can relate to that. We all have those anomaly posts or videos or whatever it is that just go wild. They’re, really, I kind of threw that out without even thinking about it. Just like your post about naming boards. I have plenty of those recipes that, okay, well, that’s not what I expected, but we’ll just run with that.
Right. The gift that keeps on giving, but you’re not always sure why. I think that too though, often the undercurrents of that type of content is I notice it’s super simple and it solves a very simple pain point that even, my husband’s not an advanced cook by any means, but when we got married, I thought he knew how to boil an egg, but he’s that person like reading those very simple, cause he wants to double check his knowledge. So as in the food industry, I think even, you’re always, it’s that one little tip from somebody who cooks and is our professional cooker. It has a food blog and knows this is their passion and it might just be the way you mix. We were talking last night with my mom or two nights ago about mixing muffins and being very careful not to overmix. My husband said, I need to watch a video because I don’t understand how people. How could I possibly get the ingredients to fold in, in three strokes? Well, there you go. So there’s probably a video for him.
You can’t get simpler than that; a three stroke mix. Oh my gosh. That is so funny. For some reason I love it. So yeah, I mean it really is. You can take things and just be so simple and be wildly successful with those simple concepts. So I love that. I’m going to make that video for your husband and send it over to you.
Yes, please do. Because you just cannot wrap his head around it. How it could possibly be mixed sufficiently.
Thank you for the laugh Meagan and tell your husband thank you. I absolutely loved that. Thank you for this conversation. This was so valuable and it’s been just a pleasure to talk to you and get a new perspective and a new, fresh way to proceed with Pinterest. Because as we’ve mentioned through this entire conversation, things just seem to be changing and evolving, and that can be really frustrating. So thank you for removing that frustration and allowing us to proceed with a new set of eyes.
You’re so welcome.
Thank you for taking the time to be here. Before you go, I always like to ask my guests if they have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share.
I love the old, “done is better than perfect”. I live by those words.
Great words to live by. I love it. Thank you for sharing. We will put together a show notes page for you, Meagan. If anyone wants to go peek at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/MeaganWilliamson. Meagan is spelled M E A G A N Meagan, tell everyone where they can find you online.
Sure. So obviously my favorite place is always my website. So Meaganwilliamson.com. You can often find me. I have a Facebook community that’s over 7,000 people in the online space. So that’s a Pinterest Marketing and Strategy with Meagan Williamson or on Instagram as MeaganAWilliamson. I’m kind of in everywhere, right? But if anyone has any questions in particular, just reach out to me. I don’t bite. I’m a friendly person and I love chatting. I love chatting all about Pinterest.
Awesome. Thank you very much for that. It’s been such a pleasure. Thank you for being here and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.
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