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Episode 142: Pinterest Growth: 6 Tips That Will Stand The Test of Time with Megan Porta

Listen to episode 142 to learn about the new features you should be experimenting with, remember to stay consistent plus sharing your best photography!

Don’t get caught up in the month to month changes within Pinterest. Employ the tips inside this episode to help your Pinterest account gain momentum that will never go away.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.



Takeaways

  • Pinterest is a visual platform so you need to hone your photography skills to get good traction on this platform.
  • Pinterest is an amazing platform for sharing your content. However you need to understand the importance of diversifying your revenue so you don’t rely completely on one site to gain all your traction because it can change on a dime.
  • Adaptability and resilience are vital as bloggers and using platforms to gain traffic and a growing audience.
  • Food blogging is a constantly-evolving journey.
  • Honor the food photo.
  • If you’re wondering if your self-photography lens is skewed, seek out the opinions of trusted bloggers. Ask someone who is immersed in the world of food blogging and/or food photography who you KNOW will give you honest feedback. The more you practice your photography skills, the more quickly you will improve.
  • Show love to the new stuff that Pinterest features and asks you to participate using. Platforms like Pinterest know when you start using the features they are trying to promote, so USE THOSE FEATURES and you will be rewarded.
  • Positive talk, positive thoughts. If you declare your hate for Pinterest and in the same breath show exasperation about not getting traction there, it doesn’t take much to figure out why you aren’t getting results.
  • Pinterest holds so much opportunity for food bloggers and allows us to showcase our passions and our food. The icing on the cake is that we can get traffic and revenue
  • Experiment. One of the great things about Pinterest is that there is a lot of room for experimentation! So stay fresh. Pinterest has made it more clear than ever that they prefer new, fresh content. They don’t want users getting bored and seeing the same old pins circulating around and around.

Resources Mentioned

This is my awful guacamole photo that thankfully never made it to Pinterest!


EBT episodes dedicated to the topic of photography:

Food Photography with Tajda Ferko

Develop Killer Food Photography Skills with Jena Carlin

Determining Your Brand with Photography with Amanda Sager

Food Blog Photography with Stephanie Lynch

More About This Topic

Kristie Hill joins us on episode 123 to answer your burning Pinterest questions!


Transcript

Click for full text.

Eat blog talkers!! Hey! How are you? I’m super excited to talk about Pinterest Growth from my Perspective as a blogger..

First, though, if you would head over to itunes to subscribe, rate and review EBT I’d be so grateful. It literally takes 2 minutes to do this.. Those 2 minutes of your time are SO appreciated.. And they also add value to EBT, so thank you.. I’m really so grateful for every single person who takes the time to do this.

One more thing before we dive into PINTEREST.. If you have not yet joined the new amazing EBT community you’ve GOTTA do it. You’ll find so much value inside, including connecting with other food bloggers in a much deeper way and having access to exclusive value such as themed content bundles and challenges to keep you on track (and SO much more..).

Alexis from FancyApronCooking says: “This is the place to get what your blog needs. The EBT community truly is a community. You can connect with bloggers, view helpful resources, and get tips for your blog that you take immediate action on. I was blown away to see some big blog names here in the community and I that’s when I knew I was in the right place.”

Go to eatblogtalk.com for more information and we can’t wait to see you inside!

Let’s dive into Pinterest..

I love Pinterest. Pinterest has always been really good to me. Pinterest is also a hot topic these days because many food bloggers have seen volatility with Pinterest traffic, which is pretty timely because it is also our monthly theme and focus (here in oct 2020). We’re starting to theme each month, by the way, and that carries over from the podcast into the EBT community. We have an upcoming live webinar (conversation with an expert) we’re hosting inside the EBT community on Thursday 10/22 with Kristie Hill. She is going to answer all of your Pinterest questions and she is a wealth of knowledge on the topic of Pinterest, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to pick her brain. Join at the member level to have access to that and after 10/22 the video of our chat will live inside the EBT community, so you can always watch it at a later date if you are a member.

As I mentioned, I’ve observed a lot of commotion recently about Pinterest and some lost traction inside the platform, so I thought it might be helpful to talk through my own experience with it, not as a “Pinterest expert” but as someone who is a food blogger who has found success in the platform.

To start, I’ll tell you about my journey with Pinterest. Pinterest was a VERY new thing when I started blogging 10 years ago. Food bloggers saw really quick traction with getting their content seen because at that point there just wasn’t a ton of competition. I noticed right away that I didn’t have to work very hard to get saves and clicks, so I really dug in which helped to get the momentum rolling. I realize this is NOT how it is currently. Today Pinterest is extremely saturated, especially with food-related pins, but something that hasn’t changed from then to now is that getting the momentum going is really important.

Something else that hasn’t changed and another thing I observed right away is that Pinterest is a VISUAL PLATFORM. As food bloggers we communicate about the food we make through words on our blogs, but on Pinterest, we communicate through photos. Yes, we can add words and add descriptions, but if our photos don’t make people’s mouths water and invite an emotional response, the words honestly don’t matter. Because of this, the quality of our photos is vitally important on Pinterest, so back in 2010 through 2013 this realization propelled me to hone my photography skills in a new way. As my photography started to improve, my Pinterest traction only got better. 

Pinterest is actually the reason I started doing the super close-up hero shots because when you’re scrolling through pins those are the ones that have always stood out to me. It’s funny to think that Pinterest has shaped the way I photograph food, but it totally has. I’ve basically created this photography style that caters to Pinterest. I saw what a huge traffic driver Pinterest was right off the bat and that has never changed.

For the first 8 years of blogging, Pinterest delivered between 65-80% of my total traffic. After a big Pinterest update in 2018 my traffic from the platform tanked, which is what launched me into exploring other avenues to get traffic (Google, Facebook, etc) and that is the reason it is no longer quite as big as a traffic hog. But I still do get a lot of traffic from Pinterest.

Over the years my Pinterest traffic has slowed down. In 2017, 3.5M users visited my blog from Pinterest and this year (2020) I’m on track to get 1M users from Pinterest.

For some that might seem like an alarming decrease, but for me it makes sense and I’m ok with it for the following reasons: 

1. My huge Pinterest focus early on worked, but as Pinterest has grown and the food blogging scene has become more saturated, I learned the importance of diversifying which has done so many good things for my business.

2. What works one year isn’t going to work the next and as a food blogger it is important to be reminded that adaptability and resilience are VITAL when it comes to being in this space.

3. Even though my Pinterest numbers are down from where they were a few years ago, IT IS STILL WORKING. My followers are constantly growing, traffic is still coming my way and people are more engaged than ever within the platform (I can’t keep up with the comments). As of today, my engagements, link clicks and impressions are on the rise. 

4. I just don’t freak out about numbers or changes anymore because I have fully accepted that food blogging is a constantly-evolving journey as TRUTH.

Now you know more about my story with Pinterest, so I’m going to talk through a few things to keep in mind when trying to grow YOUR Pinterest account, no matter what year it is and no matter what stage of the game you’re in.

1 – Honor the Food Photo. This is the number one focus on Pinterest. If you don’t have food photos that make people start salivating all over their keyboards (ok, gross, sorry..) then you have to back up.. And keeping trying with this. You HAVE to nail this one or all of the other points are moot. It’s hard to critique your own food photography because I remember thinking the first photos I took of guacamole were actually decent when in reality they look like dog vomit. Promise me you’ll visit the show notes for no other reason than to see proof of this (eatblogtalk.com/pinterestblogger). By the way, this breathtaking photograph never reached the likes of Pinterest THANK GOD.

If you’re wondering if your self-photography lens is skewed like mine definitely was in my early years, I strongly urge you to seek out the opinions of trusted bloggers. Don’t ask your mom or your best friend. Ask someone who is immersed in the world of food blogging and/or food photography who you KNOW will give you honest feedback. And ask a couple trusted someones just to cover your bases.

If the feedback is positive, GREAT! You’re on the right track. If the feedback comes with a lot of constructive criticism, you will know that you have to rewind and put some serious effort into improving your food photography. There are so many great photographers who have courses and who offer workshops and insights. Visit the show notes for this episode (eatblogtalk.com/pinterestblogger) for a list of podcast episodes to listen to for food photography help.

[list and link to eps in show notes]

More importantly than seeking outside help for improving photography, practice A TON. The more you practice, the more quickly you will improve. I spent years taking food photos EVERY SINGLE DAY and I got better very quickly because of that. Commit to taking photos daily for a stretch of time, then ask your trusted sources for a re-evaluation and go from there. 

And just to hit this message home, how often do you scroll through Pinterest (as a user) and click over to a recipe that resembles a pile of dog vomit? I hope your answer to this question is NEVER. You click over to recipes that make you HUNGRY and appeal to your senses. You have to nail this point in order to build a killer Pinterest account.

2 – Show Love to the New Stuff. Pay attention to new features Pinterest rolls out and be sure to put a focus on those things, even if it seems like a waste of time. They’ve been pushing video pins for a while and giving preference to videos, so this is a clear message for us to UPLOAD OUR VIDEOS TO PINTEREST. Story pins is a new new feature that I believe a lot of us have by now (don’t quote me on that). Click into your Pinterest business account, then click on “Create” and you should see an option to Create Story Pin. If you don’t see this, you should soon.. So keep peeking back. This feature is very new, as I mentioned, and while it does not deliver traffic directly to your site like other pins do, it does focus on increasing engagement within the platform. Every story pin we have created for my food blog gets TONS of impressions almost immediately, which tells me that Pinterest is rewarding me (aka, showing the story pins in people’s feeds) for the creating them.

Platforms like Pinterest know when you start using the features they are trying to promote, so USE THOSE FEATURES and you will be rewarded. This is a concept that will never change.

3 – Be consistent. This advice applies to ANY platform, but Pinterest is no exception. I mentioned momentum earlier and the only way you’re going to gain momentum is by BEING CONSISTENT. Pin your own content to the platform consistently (at LEAST a few times a week, but daily is even better) either directly or by using a scheduling tool such as Tailwind. I hear food bloggers all the time mention they don’t see the Pinterest traction they’d like after being consistent with pinning after a few months. THIS IS NOT ENOUGH TIME. In order to get results, you have to pin content to boards relevant to your niche consistently.. Day after day, week after week, month after month.. And on and on.

4 – Positive Talk, Positive Thoughts. Don’t dismiss this point because it’s a biggie. Thoughts can for-real change things. In all the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve announced to anyone who will listen that I hate Facebook and I love Pinterest. Go look at my accounts on each of those platforms and you will see that Facebook and Pinterest have shown me the same amount of love back that I’ve shown them. Every time I see or hear someone declare their hate for Pinterest and in the same breath show exasperation about not getting traction there, I think: WELL, OF COURSE! If someone wandered around telling everyone in sight how much they hated me, then came to me asking why I didn’t want to hang out? WELP… And yes, I do realize Pinterest is not a PERSON, but the same rules still apply. Speak and think positively about Pinterest! It is an incredible platform that is used by bajillions of people. It holds so much opportunity for food bloggers and allows us to showcase our passions and our food. The icing on the cake is that we can get traffic and revenue, too. Pinterest is your friend! It is a beautiful platform that invites YOU to be a part of its beauty. So talk nice. Remember those numbers I shared earlier? My Pinterest traffic went from 3.5 million users to 1 million users within 3 years. I could have started cursing Pinterest, flailing my arms around, complaining to anyone who was willing to listen, but I didn’t. I accepted it and continued to love the platform despite it.

5 – Experiment. One of the great things about Pinterest is that there is a lot of room for experimentation! Experiment with pin graphics and placing different types of text on pins. Also experiment with using different types of photos. I mentioned earlier that close-up hero shots work really well with my account, but maybe you can pull people in with perfectly styled overhead images. Or by including a few process shots. You could also play around with different types of fonts to see what people prefer from you. 

Experiment with times of day you save pins and boards you pin to. Engage with people and reply to any comments or photos they leave on your content and see if this helps your engagement. Spend TIME in the platform and learn what people want from you. Standing outside the platform and wondering what those Pinterest people want from you is like refusing to go into a party and then wondering why nobody wants to talk to you.

6 – Stay Fresh. Pinterest has made it more clear than ever that they prefer new, fresh content. They don’t want users getting bored and seeing the same old pins circulating around and around. New stuff is fun! And.. NEW! This doesn’t mean you have to create new recipes every day. It just means you need to deliver fresh visuals to Pinterest users that won’t make them want to gouge their eyeballs out. As food bloggers we take TONS of photos, so USE THOSE PHOTOS. Show a different angle of the same recipe, plop different text over it and THAT is new, fresh content.

I kinda feel like I could go on and on because as you can probably tell I’m mildly obsessed with Pinterest, but I have to stop somewhere. Pinterest has given my blog so much love over the years and I just think it’s a beautiful platform. I hope this episode gives you some ideas about how you can reap some of the magic it has to offer because it is THERE. I’m going to repeat a few things I already said, but that I feel like you need to hear again: Talk and think positively about your friend Pinterest and join the party! If you don’t spend time inside the Pinterest party, you don’t really have a right to say that the party sucks.

And don’t forget to check out my spectacular guacamole photo in the show notes (eatblogtalk.com/pinterestblogger).

Have a wonderful day and week, food bloggers. I’m so grateful for you and thank you SO much for listening, I will see you next time! 

142: Pinterest Growth: 6 Tips That Will Stand The Test of Time with Megan Porta

Don’t get caught up in the month to month changes within Pinterest. Employ the tips inside this episode to help your Pinterest account gain momentum that will never go away:

  • Mouth-watering food photography is a Pinterest necessity (THE most important tip of all!)
  • Utilize the new features (even when you don’t want to).
  • Be consistent, be consistent, be consistent.
  • There’s so much to experiment with inside the platform, so EXPERIMENT!
  • And more!

The workshops offered are meant to have bloggers walk through a process so they have something already done when they leave.

You won’t come and then you leave with a list of a hundred things to do. Their goal is that you have done something or you have taken, you know, your first step towards something when you leave.


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pinterest graphic for pinterest growth: 6 tips that will stand the test of time

Questions or comments on this episode?

Head over to the Eat Blog Talk forum post about episode #142 to leave any questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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