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If you are new to Pinterest then you are in the right place. Before you use Pinterest for your blogging business it is important to understand how Pinterest actually works. In this guide we are going to take a deep dive into understanding what is Pinterest and how it actually works.

What is Pinterest?

Functionally Pinterest acts as a tool to bookmark and save your favorite ideas.

Each Pinterest user has his or her own individual profile that consists of boards that can be created around different topics or ideas.

When you find a website that you like you can create a pin and save it to one of your boards.

what is pinterest profile boards

What is a Pin?

A pin consists of an image with a description that links back to that website.

screenshot of pinterest pin

You can easily come back to your board, click on your pin to access that website at a later date like a bookmark.

screenshot of pin on pinterest board

Pinterest is a Search and Discovery Platform

Even though Pinterest functions like a bookmarking site it is so much more.

You can also search and discover ideas from within the Pinterest platform and this is important for businesses that want to use Pinterest as a source of traffic.

The first thing you must understand is Pinterest is a SEARCH and DISCOVERY platform.

People come on Pinterest to search not to socialize. DO NOT think of Pinterest as another social media platform.

Typically on social media you write a post and it may get shared within the first 24 hours and then it dies. This is not the case with Pinterest. You can SAVE a pin and it can be re-pinned and shared for years to come.

Pinterest is a SEARCH ENGINE at heart with some social components. 

Users can easily search for ideas using the search bar and Pinterest will display related pins in the search feed. Because it is a search engine, as a content creator you need to think about creating informational content that solves a problem for your audience. With this you need to use good SEO (search engine optimization) practices to help your content be found in search.

Socially, Pinterest allows you to follow other profiles. It does have messaging capabilities where you can communicate with other pinners and you can leave comments on a pin, but let’s be honest these features have not been widely adopted.

Bottom line People come to Pinterest to search for ideas and be inspired. They do not come to socialize and communicate with others.

How can you search on Pinterest?

Pinterest has a couple different ways you can search for content.

The most obvious is when you go to Pinterest you can type a term into the search box and Pinterest will provide you with related results.

What you will notice is that just to the right of the search box there is a drop down arrow where you can filter your search by all pins, your pins, Product pins, videos, people and boards.

screenshot of search bar on pinterest

You can search by Hashtags

The hashtag feed is a chronological feed. With the most recent pins using that hashtag displayed first. Although this feed is starting to be phased out.

screenshot of hashtag search on pinterest

You can perform a visual search.

When you see an image click on the bottom right corner with the circled brackets.

screenshot of pinterest visual search

Pinterest will pull up the visual search page where it shows you pins that are visually similar.

screenshot of pinterest search and visually similar pins

From here you can change the area and crop the photo to a specific area of the image that you are interested in. Pinterest will then display results relevant to your visual search.

In this case by narrowing in on the white vase Pinterest shows related pins with pictures of a vase.

screenshot of visual search on pinterest

Using Lens to find visually related products

Taking this one step further you can take a picture in real time using the Pinterest lens with the mobile app and then find pins that are related.  On mobile from the search screen click on the camera icon in the upper right hand corner.

screenshot of pinterest lens feature on mobile

Say you see a cool plant at someone’s house and you want to know if you can find one like it for your entryway table.

screenshot of lens feature on mobile

Snap a picture and Pinterest will show you visually related pins to your image. This is especially beneficial for shoppable pins that lead directly to a product page.

screenshot of how to use pinterest lens feature

One fun lens feature is you can even try lipstick colors out. Click on the lip icon in the lower right hand side of the screen.

screenshot of how to try lipstick color with pinterest lens

Scroll across to try out different colors. What do you think? I tend to like hot pink lipstick whenever I dress up, but a nice deep red looks good too!

screenshot of pinterest lens feature trying on lipstick color

I admit I digressed for a moment, but one thing I want you to take away from this is make sure as a Pinterest marketer that you actually spend some time on the platform to get a feel for the user experience and how people can interact with your content on Pinterest.

Pinterest is also a discovery platform

This is what makes Pinterest unique from Google. Pinterest is a discovery platform where you can find new ideas that you weren’t necessarily searching for.

I don’t hang out on google I only go there when I have a particular question in mind.

This is what sets Pinterest apart as a search engine.

I will spend time on Pinterest and explore through the various content feeds. Almost in a similar way to scrolling through my Facebook feed.

People go on Pinterest to be inspired and find new ideas. Because of this Pinterest is a perfect place for new blogs to start building traffic.

When it comes to Google it can take a long time before you can get your content to rank in the search results, but because of how Pinterest is designed with its discovery features there are more than one way to have your content be found.

How can you discover new ideas on Pinterest?

1. Home feed:

The most common way to discover ideas is within the Pinterest home feed, which is also known as the Pinterest smart feed.

In the early days of Pinterest, the home feed was chronological and displayed content pinned from those you followed. In 2014, Pinterest introduced the smart feed, which now consists of a curated feed based on the topics, profiles, and individual boards you follow. Within the smart feed you will also see promoted pins from those who are paying to advertise on Pinterest.

screenshot of pinterest home feed

From the smart feed you can easily discover new ideas related to your likes and interests, which uses the Pinterest taste graph.

The Pinterest taste graph takes into account different interests and how they relate. From an advertising perspective with promoted pins you can use Pinterest analytics and audience insights to help target users who will most likely interact with your content based on their interests.

2. Following feed

The following feed is dedicated pins from those you follow on Pinterest. This feed is shown chronological with the most recent pins displayed first. You will also see the occasional promoted pin in this feed as well.

screenshot of pinterest's followers tab

3. More like this section

When you click on a pin for a close up and scroll down you will be shown a more like this section where Pinterest will show you similar content. This is another way to discover new content on Pinterest.

screenshot of the more like this section on pinterest

New blogs can start building traffic from the beginning

Because Pinterest is a search and discovery platform it gives new blogs and websites a chance to start building traffic from the beginning.

Pinterest is still a long game like Google, but it is easier to start getting traffic from Pinterest as a new blog than it is from Google. Although you don’t want to just focus on Pinterest. You need to write with SEO in mind for both Pinterest and Google. Pinterest is just one part of your traffic strategy. You also want to make sure you are making Google happy by following good SEO practices.

Why you should be using Pinterest for your blogging business.

Pinterest is a platform that is built on content creators like you and me and that is why you need to be taking advantage of this unique opportunity. Pinterest is a great way to start driving traffic to your website.

It is one thing to drive traffic to your website, but like I mentioned before you need to also have the strategies in place to take advantage of that traffic.

Before creating your Pinterest account there are a couple of items you need to have in place before you can get started with Pinterest.

1. Set up your website

If you don’t have a website or somewhere to send your audience then there is no point of being on Pinterest. The ultimate goal of Pinterest is to drive traffic to your website or shop to convert them into paying customers.

When I was in the early stages of starting a blog I had a thought that I would just start a Pinterest account right away to help build out my profile and then when my blog was ready it would help with sharing my content.

Well guess what that blog never happened. In that instance I was basically wasting my time on Pinterest.

I did learn an important lesson and that was that your account doesn’t really grow without your own content to share. The number of followers you have is more of a vanity metric, but what I found is that just sharing third party pins didn’t really help with the growth of my Pinterest account. From a followers perspective it was pretty stagnant.

You need to have your own content to share on Pinterest. As your content begins to spread and become more distributed around Pinterest it will help with the organic growth of your Pinterest account and ultimately growing your reach, engagement and Pinterest followers.

If you haven’t set up your website yet, I highly recommend SiteGround as a hosting provider. They offer a range of hosting options and have excellent customer support.

With Pinterest you will find that there are 2 phases of growth

Phase 1: In the first initial phase you are working on building out your Pinterest profile and building up your blog content. In this phase you save your content and a lot of third party content.

Phase 2: The second phase happens when you start to have enough of your own content to share regularly. In this phase you can easily cycle through your content and share regularly to your boards without looking spammy because you have enough content and pin variety on your boards.

2. Understand your blog structure and content planning

When I talk about blog structure this relates to the type of content you will be creating on your website. With WordPress you can organize your content by categories and tags. Every post requires a category, but tags are not required for every post. It is important to see the overall picture and map out your website’s categories and understand the type of content you will create.

Knowing your categories and having a content plan will help with your Pinterest strategy and setting up your Pinterest account because you want to create a Pinterest account that will support the type of content you create.

Once you have your website set up and a clear idea of your content strategy you can get started on Pinterest.

How can you start attracting traffic to your website with Pinterest?

Pinterest has stated the 3 biggest pieces of advice to be successful on Pinterest as a marketer are:

  1. Use a business account
  2. Claim your website
  3. Pin regularly

Obviously there is more to it, but make sure you complete these three things in order to start seeing success on Pinterest.

Looking for more Pinterest Tips?

Don’t forget to pin and SAVE this post for later!

hands typing at computer with text overlay why you need pinterest as a new blogger