Last month, I had about 1 000 impressions on Pinterest and 27 clicks to my blog; 30 days later, I had 20 000 impressions and over 160 clicks! What changed and how did I manage such growth in traffic in less than 30 days and despite the latest Pinterest algorithm update?
I thought I would write a post about that for 2 reasons:
Reason #1: I want to track my own traffic growth and seeing such big movement on my Pinterest account in the past month is pretty phenomenal for me! So, excuse you if I’m excited.
Reason #2: I’ve also been trying to see how bloggers navigate the recent changes in the Pinterest algorithm and if new bloggers still manage to get traffic from the platform in 2021. And, if yes, how?
And… I found nothing.
There are hundreds of crappy articles inundating the web on “How I gained 1 million views to my blog with my eyes closed in my first 3 weeks blogging”, but these articles are old.
It annoys me that bloggers simply edit the “published” date and just repurpose their old posts that are no longer relevant.
I wish that these bloggers would simply admit that things have changed for bloggers on Pinterest in 2021, and at least mention that in their article.
I’m sorry, but what worked for you in 2016 does not work for new bloggers in 2021.
Oh well. This is why, instead of complaining, I decided to document my own process as a new blogger experimenting with Pinterest for traffic in 2021… in a mental health niche! Another topic that appears somewhat neglected on the web.
Talk about a challenge.
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First, some context
I officially started blogging in January 2021. So, my blog is 9-10 months old at the time of writing this.
Technically I started pinning in May of 2021; I created 38 pins that I pinned throughout May and the beginning of June 2021.
During that time, I had reached about 2 000 impressions on the platform in May 2021, and about 700 impressions in June 2021.
And between May and June, I received 5 clicks to my blog.
This is how many impressions I had in May 2021:
And my impressions in June 2021:
Then, I got discouraged. I didn’t believe I could make it work, with my niche (mental health), and the latest Pinterest update. And then summer started, life, etc., and I stopped pinning for a few months. I kept working on my blog, I was just not pinning. During that time, I was in kind of a slump.
I didn’t believe my blog topic would perform well on Pinterest. I mean, mental health is not exactly visually friendly. Maybe it could perform on the platform, but let’s just say I had reservations.
But when I logged in to my account again in September 2021, after 3 months of totally ignoring Pinterest, I noticed an increase in both impressions and clicks to my blog.
- July 2021: 300 impressions
- August 2021: 1 200 impressions (!!)
As it turns out, one of my pins had started gaining some traction 3 months later (!) and was performing better than all the others. Combined.
Just the one pin.
And I had gained 40 clicks to my blog!
I know, 40 clicks seems like a ridiculously small number. But when you’ve been blogging for months and have zero page views, 40 is a lot!
And so, I decided to have faith and to give Pinterest a real try. Besides, I kind of enjoyed creating pins just for the sake of creating pins, so I thought: why not?
So, I started pinning again, and between September 10th to October 11th, 2021, I went:
- from 1 420 impressions on Pinterest and 27 clicks to my blog (between Aug 9th and Sept 10th)
- to 20 629 impressions on Pinterest and 168 clicks to my blog (between Sept 10th to Oct 11th).
I gained 6 times the number of clicks (i.e., pageviews to my blog) in a matter of 30 days!
And those numbers are still growing, and fast!
I’ve also had one of my pins (apparently) go viral(ish?) in the last 2 days, so who knows what will happen with that. I mean, it’s tiny compared to how established bloggers’ pins perform, but still… I’m excited!
Quick facts about my blog:
- Officially “launched” in January 2021
- Number of posts published in October 2021: +/- 50 posts, mostly long form.
- I blog about mental health and depression, but other stuff too: loneliness, friendship, diet, goals, black hair, minimalism, blogging, etc.
- I decided to use Pinterest for more immediate traffic growth but my overall strategy is SEO and organic growth. What I want is traffic from Google. I want the Holy grail. But it’s been a slow process. Very, very slow, and the fact that I blog about YMYL topics*** is probably not helping.
***Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) content is a type of content that “if presented inaccurately (…) could impact the reader’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability” (Source: Semrush). Examples include Finance, Health, children, etc. Google takes this type of content very seriously and it can be particularly hard for new blogs to rank on search engines for these types of keywords because they haven’t yet established their Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
How I gained 20k impressions on Pinterest in 30 days
My Pinterest strategy at the moment revolves solely around manual pinning. A big part of the strategies I’m using come from everything I’ve learned in Carly Campbell’s Pinteresting Strategies eCourse.
Let me tell you, I have purchased other Pinterest courses and for almost 18 months now, have been learning, reading, and researching everything possible about blog promotion on that platform.
Pinteresting Strategies is hands down, THE best Pinterest course for new and more experienced bloggers. Especially in 2021, as it appears.
And, don’t ask me how she does it. In a world where hundreds of bloggers try to sell you their “secrets” to their Pinterest strategies while all saying the same things, Carly managed to teach me A LOT of things I had never heard from anyone else.
I actually bought the course through Carly’s Course Bundle, which includes Pinteresting Strategies (!) but also Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers and Pin Design Rules to Start Breaking. Honestly, her prices are pretty fair (dare I say low?) compared to other Pinterest courses that mostly bring less value for your money. So I decided to go for the Bundle because I thought the price was fair.
Well, after purchasing it, I found out the content (not just the price) was more than what I had expected.
Anyway, I’m not a “fan” of many things, but I am a fan of her course.
How Pinterest works in 2021
Pinterest has changed for bloggers in 2021 and Carly has updated her course in 2021 to include the strategies that are working now since the Pinterest’s latest algorithm updates.
AND she also started a brand-new blog in the summer-fall 2020 to experiment firsthand with how things are actually like for new bloggers nowadays. That is, unlike all these established bloggers who danced the polka 5-10 years ago and keep claiming, to this day, how “suuuuper easy it is to grow a blog to a million page views in just 2 weeks!!”.
I won’t go into all the Pinterest changes here because others have talked about it enough. You can listen to that Simple Pin Media podcast episode right here if you want to know more about the Pinterest algorithm changes.
Let’s just say that gone are the days where you just scheduled 1 000 pins for the next month, through Tailwind, and then saw millions of readers just flowing in.
In short, what has changed for bloggers in 2021 when it comes to Pinterest is this:
- You can no longer pin 30-50 times per day. If you do, your account will most likely be marked as spam by Pinterest.
- You can no longer repin the same pin a hundred times to different boards. It might happen once or twice as part of the “natural life” of your pin, but it shouldn’t become a habit.
- Group boards don’t really matter much anymore, apparently.
- Pinterest wants FRESH PINS.
What Pinterest wants is for you to be active on the platform. So, scheduling 300 pins on Tailwind for the whole month and then forgetting about Pinterest for the next 30 days doesn’t really cut it anymore. Or at least, not in the same way it used to.
Enters manual pinning, and Carly’s awesome tips.
I won’t get into the details of her course here. It’s definitely worth checking it out if you want to learn more about manual pinning and how to grow on Pinterest in 2021.
But here’s what I’ve done in the past 30 days to gain 20 000 impressions on Pinterest for my brand-new blog (in 2021, people!). And multiply the number of visitors I get from Pinterest to my blog by 6!
The pinning strategy that helped me reach 20k impressions on Pinterest with a brand-new blog in 2021
I created 2-3 boards. Paid a lot of attention to the board’s description and I used keywords throughout the board’s name and the board’s description.
I started pinning other people’s pins first, during the first couple of weeks following the creation of a new board. This ensures that Pinterest understands clearly what my boards are about before I start pinning my own pins.
I batch created about 45 Pins for the whole month of September 2021.
And then I batch-created 90-100 pins that I’m planning to pin throughout the month of October. It took me about 2 evenings to do it all. The problem is, I keep fussing with my pins and editing them, so in the end, it takes more time than necessary.
I create unique pins from scratch using Canva. I don’t use templates because I found them really hard to use. In the end, I was fussing with the fonts, images, and my titles just as much as I would if I were creating my own pins, so I just gave up the templates for now.
I try to make my pins as beautiful and eye-catching as possible. It’s a whole learning curve. I’ve been learning how to use Canva for pin creation (and other stuff) for a few months now. I’m getting better at it. Soon, I’ll be able to reuse my own pins as templates for future pins.
I use Canva to create my pins. I honestly love Canva. Canva allows me to express (and practice) my new-found creative side. It’s not easy when you have to figure everything out all at once in the beginning as a new blogger. And that includes learning how to use Canva and how to create pins. But I watched a few (many) tutorials and with a bit (a lot) of practice, I now feel a lot more comfortable on the platform.
Plus, Canva is super intuitive, way more than Photoshop. The Pro plan is definitely worth it and it gives me access to thousands of beautiful stock photos, illustrations, fonts, and color patterns. But they do have a free plan, if you just want to try it out first. I’ve become a lot more creative ever since I decided to play and just have fun with Canva.
How exactly do I pin manually?
In September I pinned 1 to 3 times per day, 3 to 5 days a week.
In October, I’ve been pinning about 3 times per day, every day. Sometimes up to 5 times per day on the weekend.
I don’t know if I will continue that cadence because it is demanding, and I do have a life. But for now, I don’t have anything better to do and I want traffic, so it’s fine.
I pin in the morning when I wake up, then I pin one more time before leaving the house for work, and then one last time before bed.
For now, I’ve been mostly pinning directly from my blog post. This means that I insert the pin image in my blog article, and then pin it to my Pinterest account. I have enough blog articles in-store (over 50 articles) for this to be doable for more than a month. I don’t know if it will make a difference long-term in the number of impressions and traffic I get. However, I have noticed that the pins I’ve pinned using Pinterest’s scheduler don’t seem to get as much traction as the ones I pin directly from my blog articles. But I also think it’s too soon to tell.
I think I will skip Pinterest’s scheduler for a few more weeks and either keep pinning directly from my blog articles or simply “create new pins” directly on the platform.
I write my keywords and pin description directly in the “comment” box available on Canva, next to each pin so that when the time comes to pin it, I can just copy and paste my pin description.
How much time does it take me to pin manually?
I’ll be honest, creating pins from scratch and manual pinning take time. A lot of time.
I use Canva and it currently takes me about 7 minutes to create one pin from scratch . I’m improving and so, I’m hoping that this number will keep going down the more I get better at it.
I mostly create my pins at night, when I’m in bed and I can’t sleep. It’s kind of “soothing” work for me, (VS writing a blog article at 10 PM. This, I simply cannot do).
You can probably do it faster because I am definitely not the fastest out there. I am a suuuper slow person who likes to take her time. I also WASTE A LOT of time obsessing daily over my Pinterest analytics. And I am a perfectionist. So manual pinning and Pinterest in general take up a lof of my time BUT… manual pinning will most likely take you less time than me if you are more disciplined.
And finally, yes, I am on Pinterest everyday. To be honest, after a month of this, I’m starting to get slightly fed up, so I might change that pretty soon.
Goals and final words
My goal was to double my September impressions and traffic to my blog (aka the outbound clicks) by October 31st. This means a goal of about 13k impressions and 170 clicks.
I’m happy to report that it’s October 10th and I’ve exceeded my goal in terms of impressions, and almost reached my goal in terms of clicks to my website.
So, overall I am a bit more reassured when it comes to the relevance of Pinterest as a traffic source for me as a new blogger. I’m hoping that I’ll continue to see traffic growth on the platform. It really is a great mental boost.
If you are struggling with your Pinterest strategy, I strongly encourage you to check out Carly’s Pinterest Course. It’s not the most expensive out there and it’s probably one of the most valuable courses when it comes to Pinterest marketing for bloggers and manual pinning. Not to mention the most relevant in 2021.
Did you start a new blog in 2021? How’s it been working out for you so far? Shoot me an email or leave a comment. I’d be happy to read your experience 😊