Why Pinterest is the content marketing secret weapon


By Alisa Meredith, {grow} Community Member

Pinterest … That’s for women and weddings! Besides, my customers aren’t there.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard something similar to that …

According to a January 2019 study from Statista, only 27% of marketers are using Pinterest.

I admit it. I’m conflicted. As someone who enjoys helping people get more out of their marketing, I want everyone to reap the benefits of Pinterest, but part of me likes having a secret weapon.

A secret, traffic-driving weapon.

The Potential for Content Marketers

It’s been years since Facebook began throttling the reach of business pages while simultaneously building one of the most popular, robust advertising platforms in the world. Instagram’s algorithm, while creating a great experience for consumers, has left businesses scrambling for engagement and feeling stymied by the lack of traffic-driving opportunities.

That’s where Pinterest comes in. In 2017, this visual search and discovery platform quietly became the #2 driver of all social traffic. And for those who embrace its potential, Pinterest can easily be even more impactful – sometimes rivaling search engine referrals.

“When it comes to traffic…Facebook marketing is like betting on a horse race and Pinterest is like a high performing 401K. It may take a while but it’s a better investment in the long run.” Jeff Sieh, Head Beard, Manly Pinterest Tips.

Add to that the reality of 300 miillion monthly active users and 2 billion monthly searches (97% of which are unbranded), and it’s clear that 27% of marketers are on to something.

Why The Pinterest Resistance?

There’s the persistent stereotype (women and weddings only), but the bigger problem is that:

Content Marketers do not understand Pinterest.

Not because they’re not capable. Not because lifestyle bloggers – who DO understand Pinterest – are smarter than they are. No, it’s because Pinterest isn’t like anything else they’ve ever encountered.

This is the place people go for inspiration and education. Despite the way its data is characterized in Google Analytics and the way it’s lumped in with social by marketing publications, Pinterest is NOT a social network. What works on Facebook and Instagram does NOT work on Pinterest.

How Content Marketers Should Think of Pinterest

Think of Pinterest as the introvert’s network. We’re not there to show off our lives or businesses. We’re there to plan our new and improved lives and businesses. Understanding THIS one key distinction can make a world of difference on Pinterest.

Surprisingly to some, it’s more like Google than social in that:

  1. Search engine optimization is vital.
  2. It can take time to see results.

Annnnd, it’s #2 where people who’ve “tried Pinterest” get tripped up. “Trying” this platform is a little bit like “trying” blogging for generating Google search traffic. If you try it just long enough for it to be a hassle and then quit before you start seeing results, ANY endeavor will be a fail.

Because of the way traffic builds as Pins are saved and “repinned” across the platform, it can take a while to see significant results from the content you save.

But, the payoff is on the other side.  In fact, the half-life of a Pin is 3.5 months. By way of comparison, the half-life of a Tweet is 24 MINUTES. In case you’re not big on math, that means your average Pin will give you traffic and distribution-building engagement for 638K% longer than your average Tweet accumulates interactions.

How does this translate to real life? My very first client still gets more traffic from Pinterest than from all other sources combined – and not a Pin has been added in YEARS. That initial investment continues to pay off even now.

Can it Work for Content Marketers?

In a word, yes!

While the most popular categories on Pinterest are what you’d expect, topics such as travel, health, and wellness, food and drink, etc., there’s plenty of room for other topics.

Case in point: I’m the Content Marketing Manager at Tailwind. We help people market more effectively on Pinterest and Instagram. Our audience is marketers. Not home decor. Not food. Not fashion. 65% of our social traffic comes from Pinterest.

Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted is a content marketer who understands the power Pinterest has to grow her business. She shares some of her favorite features of the platform,

“You can do well on Pinterest even if you have few followers.  It’s possible to get solid views, traffic and results with a small account.

Why? Because it’s search-based, and there are easy tools that allow you to create awesome visuals and share your content quickly and easily.

What’s more… your visuals have longevity in that they get shared for months and years down the track.  I’ve got pins showing up from years ago. And it has remained my number one source of social traffic for a few years now. The best part? That traffic takes way less effort than Facebook and can be tracked to subscribers, affiliate and program sales through my blog.”

Since implementing best practices for Pinterest, Simple Pin Media client Julep Tile has seen their traffic from Pinterest overtake that from all other sources, including search. In fact, traffic from Pinterest makes up over 73% of the total traffic to their site. They’re not just coming to dream and plan, either. Pinterest visitors are signing up for their email list, ordering tile samples, and sales? They’re “crushing it,” as Simple Pin owner Kate Ahl puts it.

Kate says Julep is not an outlier, “I have dozens of clients using Pinterest to amplify their content marketing with similar results.”

How to Make Pinterest Work For You

You’re likely already doing most of the work by creating useful content for your readers. You’re helping them solve problems and get things done – even inspiring them from time to time.

Now keep in mind the way Pinners discover on the platform – frame your content in such a way that appeals to people in discovery mode. Keep things positive and show Pinners how your product or service or content can make their everyday life or special event infinitely better. That’s the secret sauce of Pinterest.

Now all you need to do now is to create and strategically save Pinnable images. Create 3-5 images in a 2:3 ratio for each page or post to give your content even more distribution. Keep keywords consistent between your Pin (including Pin title, description, AND text on image), your Board title and description, and your linked page. Claim your website so Pinterest knows it’s yours. Create new content (even if it’s just a new image or 3) and Pin consistently.

That’s it.

The Next Big Thing For Content Marketers?

Maybe. With 300 million monthly active users, it’s certainly not the behemoth that Facebook is. Then again, Facebook would prefer you remain on their site; whereas Pinterest is all about discovery and taking action — which means traffic for you.

Those content marketers willing to look beyond the cliches may find a significant source of additional website traffic in amongst the wedding dresses and recipes. Will you make it work for you?

alisa meredith pinterestAlisa Meredith is a sought-after speaker and teacher on Pinterest marketing and the Content Marketing Manager at Tailwind – a Pinterest and Instagram scheduler and analytics platform. When not Pinning, you can find her on the beach in North Carolina or spoiling her two blind dogs and more cats than she’ll claim. Reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn and make her day by asking about Pinterest.


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