The Best Pinterest Strategy to Grow Your Blog Traffic: A Review of the Pinterest Launch Plan
Pinterest. As a blogger, just hearing that word conjures up strong emotions. Some bloggers love Pinterest while others hate it. Most bloggers know that Pinterest can drive insane amounts of traffic to your site. What blogger wouldn't want that? But getting yourself established on Pinterest to the point that you're bringing in those big numbers, well, that can be maddening. That’s why teaching materials on mastering Pinterest proliferate.
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Today I want to share with you my experience navigating Pinterest. That includes what I’ve tried, what worked and didn’t work for me, and how the Pinterest Launch Plan by Jennifer Maker Marx helped me grow my Pinterest traffic by over 400%! The PLP has been the solution to my Pinterest problems.
Soon after I started From Pennies to Plenty (FP2P) in the spring of 2017, I heard that other bloggers were growing their traffic by leaps and bounds using Pinterest. Now I knew very little about blogging early on and much less about Pinterest. I barely even used social media and found the Pinterest platform overwhelming.
Since I got most of my traffic organically from Google searches early on, I didn’t take Pinterest seriously at the start. The posts I write about thrift shopping and reselling on Poshmark got a lot of traffic from Google searches (and still do to today). But that only got me so far. I wanted to improve my traffic for the personal finance side of FP2P, so I started focusing my effort on Pinterest.
What I Tried
Read articles from other bloggers. There’s a wealth of information out there from other bloggers, but like with any topic, the information can be a hit or a miss. The information can also be rather superficial, meaning it covers the basic topics like how to claim your username to match your blog name, how to pick a profile picture, and telling you to join group boards to expand your reach. That information is great for the new user (I needed it!), but rarely went beyond that into pinning strategy and sustaining growth on Pinterest.
Attended webinars. I attended webinars by top bloggers who are killing it on Pinterest. I got a few more tips here and there, but their main purpose for the webinar was to sell their Pinterest products. I don’t fault them that because there’s value in what they teach and people want it. They should earn something from their expertise. But the products were pricey at anywhere from over $100 to about $400 each. As a new blogger that wasn’t making much money, I had to pass.
Signed up for free email courses. These are email series in which the expert sends you an email a day covering some Pinterest topic, usually the basics on how to set up your page. Again, I had gotten my account set up and needed more in-depth strategy than what they offered for free.
Joined Boardbooster. If you’ve been pinning for a while, you probably heard of Boardbooster before it went out of business. It was a paid service that pinned for you at regular times so that you didn’t have to spend your whole day pinning manually to Pinterest. It worked a bit for me, but I didn’t know how to use it well and therefore never gained traction with it.
Joined Tailwind. I joined another pinning service called Tailwind in the spring of 2018. The result of that was some slow growth. My Pinterest numbers went up and my traffic went up with it. But even with the training provided by Tailwind on how to use the tool, I felt I was still lacking an actual strategy on how to use Pinterest.
The Turning Point
In August 2018, after five months of Pinterest growth, it all came crashing down over the course of a week. My numbers just tanked! I was so, so disappointed!
I paid to use Tailwind’s service and spent additional time arranging my Tailwind schedule every week. What I got for it was a temperamental Pinterest with constantly changing preferences, rollercoaster numbers, and a huge dose of frustration. This is in addition to taking time away from working on the blog itself such as writing posts and emailing readers. I felt like I wasted time, money, and energy.
Side note: Pinterest is not set up for bloggers! Bloggers are not Pinterest’s primary target. As such, it’s not streamlined and easy for bloggers to use to grow their traffic. This is all the more reason for my love/hate relationship with the platform. One example is how difficult it is to join group boards that can increase your reach.
You have to read the group description, which may or may not have instruction on how to ask to join.
You might have to message the lead administrator or track them down through their blog.
Some ask you to comment on a pin, which could lead to Pinterest flagging you as spam.
After all of that, you may never hear back to even join the board! Group join rates can be low for all the time and effort you put into it.
I was so tired of dealing with Pinterest that I sat on it doing the bare minimum for months. I was so unmotivated to tackle it. I know I'm not the only one either because of one of my good blogger friends was going through the same thing as me. We had spent too many hours on Pinterest for too little return and were burnt out on it.
I even started researching hiring a Pinterest VA. Once I saw that it cost 250 to $350 a month, I shelved that idea and decided to tackle it on my own.
The Pinterest Launch Plan
Who is Jennifer?
The Pinterest Launch Plan (PLP) is a handbook created by Jennifer Maker Marx. I know of Jennifer from Elite Blog Academy (another awesome course). She’s incredibly successful, having grown her blog to a robust full-time income and reached over 500,000 pageviews per month in just two years. It’s inspiring to see how hard she works and how humble she is about it (I’ve met her in person). And she’s mastered Pinterest!
What does the PLP teach you?
The PLP gives you step-by-step instruction on how to set up your Pinterest account all the way through to implementing a long-term strategy to sustain your presence and growth on Pinterest. Some examples:
How to set up your Pinterest profile so that Pinterest suggests your content to users. I’m a frugal living blogger, so I want my profile and posts to come up when people search for frugal living related topics.
How to set up your Pinterest boards. This includes how to label your boards, how to write descriptions that lead Pinterest users to your content, and what to add to those boards.
How to find and identify quality group boards to join. Group boards are still important on Pinterest today, despite talk of them dying out. The PLP teaches you how to use them to grow your reach.
Strategy for launching your pins. You won’t be pinning your pins to any boards anywhere at any time if you want to want to maximize your pins’ popularity. This teaches you a pinning sequence to promote your pins properly.
How to set up your Tailwind account and use it to maximize the PLP strategy. You don’t need Tailwind to use the strategy but it will save you time. This is shown in a video so you can follow right along.
How to continue the success of your most popular pins. You’ll figure out how to install Google Analytics and find your popular pins so that you can take advantage of them to continue growing your presence.
Video. The PLP is primarily in written form. Some of the handbook is supplemented with video. This makes things like setting up Tailwind, finding quality pins, and using her strategy easier to implement. I had one window open with her videos running and another window open applying it to my account.
Tracking sheets. It’s important to track the launch of your pins. The PLP comes with detailed tracking sheets. I have my own that I’ve been using for a long time now.
Jennifer has tons of teaching experience. She began teaching over 20 years ago including running an online academy for AOL. She’s written over 60 guidebooks too. She understands the student’s perspective and teaches to it. By the way, I recently read an ebook about Tailwind that left me scratching my head about how to implement its strategies and what those strategies even really were. I felt none of that with the PLP.
Active Facebook group. Jennifer and a lot of other bloggers and PLP users are active in her Facebook group Blog What You Love. You can ask her and other members questions about PLP implementation and other things about blogging and get timely, useful feedback there.
Implementation of the PLP
One thing that scares people is how much time Pinterest can take to learn and then implement strategies for it. Let’s face it, Pinterest can be a beast! It can be a full-time job if you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re always on it trying to figure it out. That’s why I wanted a plan that would streamline the process and save me time too.
I spent roughly 10 hours redoing my Pinterest account. This includes the time I spend reading the PLP, studying what Jennifer does, and then editing my account. I already had an account and several boards set up, but they needed serious work to improve them. I spent about 4-5 hours over two weekend afternoons for the makeover. I work slowly, so you could probably do it in less time.
I now spend about 6-7 hours on Pinterest and Tailwind each week (average 1 hour/day). While daily involvement in Pinterest is recommended (e.g., pinning daily and requesting to join group boards daily), I don’t have time for it each day and instead take things by the week. Most of my time is spent creating new pins and scheduling my new pins to launch for the next one to two weeks. Then I schedule other quality content that I’ve found via a Pinterest search or on Tailwind Tribes. I try my best to repin top pins daily but it doesn’t always happen. I’ll squeeze in requesting to join more group boards too.
You can make things easier on yourself by using Tailwind, a Pinterest-approved pin scheduling service. Without it, you’ll be doing manual pinning, which will take up even more time throughout your day. Note that you’ll want to sign up for Tailwind’s annual plan as their free trial and limited plans do not provide you enough pins to make this strategy work.
Pinterest is not a set-it-and-forget-it method. Some people might say that they take 15 minutes to set up their Tailwind schedule each week and leave it at that. I think that works to a certain extent, but it will only get you so far. It didn’t work for me before I used the PLP strategy. So I want to tell you that there’s no way around investing some time into Pinterest if you’re managing your account yourself. If you hire a virtual assistant, then you pay with your money versus time.
My numbers have grown consistently since implementing the PLP in mid/late November 2018. Take a look at my Pinterest analytics.
This screenshot shows the number of click-throughs to FP2P for 5 months from August 1, 2018 to January 14, 2019. Clicks are the most important Pinterest analytic because it shows you how many people are clicking on your pin through to your site. Don’t mind the average daily clicks and visitors on the left. Take a look at the green line from left to right.
The number of click-throughs was initially really low from August to mid-November. A closer look at the analytics show me it was roughly 40-50 a day.
There’s an upward trajectory in click-throughs from when I started implementing the PLP in mid-November. I averaged about 250 click-throughs per day from mid-November to mid-January when I wrote this post.
The spikes in the picture are from an increase in popular and viral pins. I didn’t have viral pins before and have had several since using the PLP.
Pinterest analytics can be a little off, so this is a look at my Google Analytics.
Pinterest is now FP2P’s primary source of traffic!
The first pie chart on top is from August 1, 2018 to mid-November.
Organic Search = 73.9% of traffic (blue slice). That’s things like people typing their queries into the Google search bar.
Social channels = 17.4% of traffic (green slice).
The second pie chart on the bottom is from November 15, 2018 to January 14, 2019.
Social channels = 55.4% of traffic (blue slice).
Organic Search = 39.4% of traffic (green slice).
What a reversal! Social channels now account for most of my traffic. I expect that that percentage will continue to rise with continued use of the PLP.
***Note: Pinterest accounted for 99% of those social referrals, not Facebook, Instagram, etc. A further look into Google Analytics determined this.
I want to show you percentages instead of specific numbers, so I’ve kept these screenshots to just the pie charts above. In case you’re wondering though, my traffic numbers have gone up too in relation to this. Google Analytics shows me that I’m averaging more that 4x the traffic directly from Pinterest and an increase in overall traffic per month.
It’s only been about 2 months since I’ve implemented the PLP, so I can’t give you a picture of how this looks 6 months or a year after implementation. I’ll update this when I get to that point in the future.
For now though, I no longer sit at my computer grumpy and wanting to scream at Pinterest. I’m actually happy that Pinterest is helping me meet my blogging goals!
1 | I don’t know anything about Pinterest. Could this work for the new blogger?
Yes! I started blogging knowing absolutely nothing about Pinterest. I didn’t even have an account. I began piecing information together here and there but nothing really stuck with me or worked long-term.
The PLP takes you through Pinterest from the very beginning including how to set up your account, profile, and boards to implementing a strategy that will work for long-term growth. That’s what you really want – consistency and longevity on Pinterest.
The PLP also works for the experienced blogger who is having trouble gaining traction on Pinterest.
2 | How do I know the PLP will work for me?
The PLP strategy is proven to work. Jennifer did The Great Pinterest Experiment, in which she started a new blog and used this strategy to grow it on Pinterest alone. She didn’t tell anyone about the other blog so that traffic wouldn’t come from any other sources. She shows the results in her PLP handbook.
That said, everyone will get will get different results to a certain extent dependent on a number of things.
How closely you follow the PLP handbook.
The quality of your pins. Are they visually appealing and easy to read?
The type of content you produce. I implemented the PLP during the holidays and put out multiple posts related to how to save money at Christmas. This may have accounted for some of the increase in popularity, but I didn’t have any of this response to similar articles I published the year before that.
Some niches are better suited for Pinterest. If that’s where people go to look for your topic’s content, you have a great audience waiting for you. I think most mainstream niches have the potential to do well on Pinterest.
I do think that if you implement the PLP, you will see an upward trajectory in your Pinterest growth and blog traffic. Exact numbers are impossible to predict.
3 | How does the PLP compare with other courses?
I haven’t taken other full Pinterest courses, so I can’t give direct comparisons between the PLP and other courses. I have taken one other paid training on Tailwind scheduling and found Jennifer’s explanation easier to follow. Beyond that…
The PLP is a great value. I purchased it for less than $30 when it first launched in 2018. Most Pinterest courses will cost you from about $150 - $400. Their formats may be a little different. Those are heavily video-based, whereas the PLP is a handbook with some supplementary videos. I still think it’s packed with useful information and a great value given the low price.
The PLP is up-to-date. Jennifer uses this strategy currently on her blog, which is wildly successful. If she changes her strategy in the future, she will update the PLP to reflect that. Just this month she released an updated version covering how to use the Smart Loop feature and Tailwind Tribes. I would like more of my questions about how to optimize Tailwind Tribes answered, but I can ask her and others in her FB group for information on tribes and the most up-to-date Pinterest news.
Wouldn't it be nice to save yourself the headache of Pinterest by having a proven strategy that works? If your current Pinterest strategy is not bringing you the results you want, then it’s time to change things up.
I purchased the Pinterest Launch Plan because I was so, so frustrated with Pinterest month after month. My Pinterest numbers started going up immediately after I started implementing the PLP and now 2 months later, they are the highest they’ve ever been. I’ve experienced several viral pins and gotten loads more traffic to FP2P. Pinterest traffic to the blog grew by over 400%. Pinterest is now my number one referral source!
I went from ready to give up on Pinterest to getting the results I want from it. My outlook has shifted. Whereas I used to feel disappointed and drained of mental energy trying to figure out Pinterest, I now feel positive about using it well to support the growth of FP2P. It’s been a wonderful way to start off the year!