March was an interesting month.
If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you already know about the traffic explosion on my art blog, Carrie L. Lewis, Artist and how I traced the sudden influx of activity to two pins of the same meme from my lowly Pinterest account. The bulk of the traffic was for the same post, which you can see here.
I wrote about it in length at EmptyEasel and, since that’s exclusive content, the best I can do is suggest you read 7 Pinterest Tips that Grew My Traffic 500% Over One Weekend there.
However, I can tell you some of the things I’ve started doing since that article was published and which have already begun reaping benefits.
Pinterest Best Practices
Inspired by such sudden activity, I started looking at Pinterest more closely, looking for ways to improve performance. The best tool I found is a free download titled, The Creative Guide to Promoted Pins (the link is to the download itself.) I read all eight pages in about ten minutes and immediately began implementing some of their suggestions and pinning the memes. I started seeing results within 24 hours.
I’m still seeing results.
The guide is written with the idea that the reader—me and you—will be doing promoted pins. I probably will be in the future and will tell you how that goes when the time comes.
But it’s also helpful for those of us who just want to make better pins and promote our businesses—read, books—more productively.
So what do they suggest?
Vertical Versus Horizontal
This was a surprise. I’ve always thought horizontal designs were most pleasing and that square ones were next best. Just look at all my posts here for the last few months. Almost every single one is…you guessed it: Square.
But according to the Pinterest gurus, vertical pins are seen more easily and get more attention. Pinterest displays are set up in columns. Horizontal pins are reduced to fit the width of the display columns. Vertical pins aren’t as subject to that restriction.
Here is the same pin set up two different ways. Which one catches your eye first?
Words, Words, And More Words
We’re writers. We love words. If we can’t convey a message in words, the message can’t be conveyed. Right?
Not when it comes to Pinterest.
When you’re making images for Pinterest, think like a book cover designer, not a writer. The image you use should say something about the content linked to it. It shouldn’t need words at all.
Look at the two images above. If I removed the words, the image would still have a message, wouldn’t it? That message should echo the written message as closely as possible.
Did you know you can write a description for your memes?
If you did know about writing descriptions, how often do you take the time to do that?
You don’t need to write a page of description. Well, you can if you want, but it’s going to hurt you.
But it will also hurt you if you don’t write any description at all. At the very least, add a link to the post or page where that meme appears.
It’s better to write a description that validates the image, confirms the text on the image, and includes key words relevant to the post or page AND to the audience you want to target.
You knew that would be mentioned, didn’t you!
It turns out that knowing your target audience with Pinterest is just as important as knowing who you’re writing your book for. Hint: They should probably be the same people.
Your target audience will help you decide what images to use, what to add to the image, how to write your description, and what key words will work best.
But the target audience doesn’t have to be the same for every pin. For example, the target audience for any pins attached to this post will be people who want to learn how to use Pinterest more effectively.
The pin for my previous post will be for people who want to learn about free alternatives to Microsoft Word.
Those two groups are definitely different.
These are just three of the things I’ve started implementing for all the memes I make—for Indie Plot Twist as well as for my art blog. Yes, it takes a little more time and effort to create memes, but it is time well spent.
It’s too early to see how these best practices affect traffic at IPT, but I can already see the results at Carrie L. Lewis, Artist.
Go ahead. Give them a try and see what happens.
I dare you!