As part of my signature branding + website package, I give my clients the choice of choosing 5 branded collateral items, to help their brand look unique, professional and cohesive.
Collateral items can include anything from business cards to Facebook branding to custom icons to Pinterest graphics.
In this post, I’m going to explain what Pinterest graphics are, why you need them, and how to optimize them for the best conversions.
But first, let’s talk about what Pinterest is and why it’s one of my FAVORITE marketing platforms.
PINTEREST IS A VISUAL SEARCH ENGINE
Google is a text-based search engine that uses “bots” to crawl websites and search for text that it can use to identify content (this is where search engine optimization comes into play.) It then displays its results in text format on a search engine results page.
Pinterest is also a search engine, however, it’s more visual-based. It essentially works in the same way Google works, however, instead of displaying results in a text format, it displays results as images.
Pinterest is basically a giant database of categorized images (known as “pins”) that link users to various websites.
In addition to using it as a search engine, it can also be used as a bookmarking tool. People can save pins they find on Pinterest, or images they find on the web, to different categorized boards, which can help them keep their ideas and inspirations more organized and refer back to them whenever they want.
The coolest thing about Pinterest is that the images people pin become clickable, which means they’ll link users back to the website they originated from.
Just think about this for a minute and how potentially powerful this feature is.
Let’s take this blog post you’re reading right now as an example.
Maybe as you read through this post, you find the info to be valuable and think “Hey, I’d like to be able to easily refer back to this post in the future.”
You could then pin the vertical Pinterest graphic I created specifically for this post to a board on your Pinterest account using the social share button on the left-hand side.
Or, you could hover over the image below and click the “Pin it” button.
Not sayin’ you have to do that, but it’s just to get you thinking how powerful Pinterest can potentially be to help you drive traffic back to your own site, using your own Pinterest graphics. 😉
WHY PINTEREST IS AN AWESOME MARKETING PLATFORM
Pinterest is an awesome marketing platform for you because:
- It’s free to use
- It has the potential to massively grow your website traffic and email list
- It can lead to way more sales and conversions
- It can help you stand out from others who haven’t yet figured out how to optimize this marketing strategy (Yay! Less competition!!)
- It basically works for you on autopilot
- The pins last for a long time and can continue to drive traffic to your site for years after you pin something.
All that being said, if you want to do all of these things then it’s essential that you optimize your site for Pinterest by creating more pin-worthy Pinterest graphics. 🙂
WHAT IS A PINTEREST GRAPHIC?
A Pinterest graphic is a vertical image created to help you drive bountiful amounts of traffic from Pinterest to your site for FREE.
This could also be called a “blog post graphic,” a “blog post image,” a “pinnable image,” a “shareable image,” etc.
I like to think of Pinterest graphics as “visual advertisements,” that essentially advertise and promote things on your site like:
- Your blog posts
- Your products
- Your services
- Pieces of your portfolio
- Freebies you’re offering
- Recipes you’ve created
- Fashionable outfits you’ve put together
- Travel photos
- Home design ideas
Below are some examples of Pinterest graphics that come up when I search for Marketing for Female Entrepreneurs:
BUILDING A STRONG FOUNDATION
So now that you understand what they are and how important they are in helping you grow your traffic, let’s talk about how to create and optimize your Pinterest graphics so that you can start getting the attention you deserve sooner rather than later!
Before you start your Pinterest strategy, it’s important that you have a strong foundation already in place.
You should already know who your target audience is, have a clear purpose, have all your branding created, have your website fully up and running, have your email list set up, and maybe even have some freebies created.
Why? Because this is what is going to make someone a fan and want more of what you’re offering. 🙂
If someone clicks through to your site from Pinterest and feels very confused as to what you’re trying to do, or if your branding looks “blah” and everything just kind of falls flat, they are just going to bounce from your site.
Your goal is to keep people on your site, clicking around and ultimately taking some sort of action!
This is what I work on with my clients. I help them build that strong foundation so that everything just “works” for them, seamlessly and effortlessly.
All that being said, you should know that a Pinterest strategy can get pretty in depth, however, there are some things you can do to NOW to get the things rolling for you in the right direction.
Keep reading to learn the basics!
HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR PINTEREST GRAPHICS
1. Use a Vertical Image
The key to promoting anything on your site on Pinterest is to first create a vertical image optimized specifically for Pinterest.
Vertical images stand out more and get more click-throughs, so you should be creating images that have a ratio of 2:3.
Pinterest recommends creating an image that is 735px wide by 1102px high.
You can also make the height taller than this if you need to, just be sure to keep the width 735px. Any image that is super long, will just be cut off at a certain point and be displayed with an “Expand Pin” overlay in the Pinterest feed.
2. Stay on Brand
There are over 200 million active users on Pinterest, which means there are a hell of a lot of pins to compete with!
In order to stand out and get people to recognize your brand on Pinterest over time, you absolutely have to make sure you are staying on brand and sticking to the same colors, fonts, theme, template, etc. If you’re using any photos in your Pinterest graphics, make sure they also fit the style and vibe of your brand.
This is where a mood board and branding board come in handy, which are two things I create with my clients as part of their full branding + website package. These can be used as a guide to refer back to in order to make sure you are staying on brand with all of your marketing collateral going forward.
If you choose Pinterest graphics as one of your branded collateral items, I will create three Pinterest graphic templates for you (usually in Canva to make things easier) so that you can easily change out the title or switch up the photos yourself for any blog posts you create going forward. This will save you SO MUCH time when it comes to promoting your content!
By staying consistently “on brand,” you will be able to strengthen your brand over time. When people feel like they’re constantly seeing the same images popping up over and over again, they’ll subconsciously judge them as more valuable and trustworthy, which means they’ll be more likely to click through to your site, either out of admiration or curiosity. When they click through, you’ll have a better chance of converting them into a subscriber, customer or client. Yay!
Side Note: I highly recommend upgrading to Canva for Work so that you can upload your own fonts, your full-color palette, your logo, etc. By having all of your brand elements available to you in one place, you will not only be better able to keep everything “on brand” and cohesive but you will also be able to continue creating things quickly and efficiently. They let you try it for 30 days for free to see if you like it, so I definitely recommend you trying it out!
3. Keep Your Design Simple Yet Beautiful
Humans are designed to care more about what’s in it for them. So, as people are scrolling through Pinterest, they are going to be subconsciously asking themselves, “If I click through to read more, what am I going to be getting out of this? What’s in it for me?”
That being said your marketing efforts should always be focused on communicating what kind of value you provide for your clients and potential clients.
When creating Pinterest graphics to promote a blog post, you should always focus on keeping them simple, beautiful and straight to the point.
When you do this, you make it easy for people who are scrolling through Pinterest to understand in a matter of seconds what the post is all about/what kind of value they’ll be getting from it.
Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Use large, easy-to-read text (remember to stay on brand with your fonts and colors!)
- Write a catchy, compelling title
- Highlight any freebies you’re giving away in your post
- Include a call-to-action (what you want them to do, like “Learn More” or “Shop Now”)
- Less is more so don’t use busy backgrounds or a ton of text
If you are in more of an artistic niche, like fashion, photography, interior design, etc., and you’re creating blog posts to share fashion styles, photos you’ve taken, or designs you’ve created, it’s important to know you don’t have to add text to each of the images you’re including in your post.
Instead, create one Pinterest graphic that serves as a “Blog Post Title,” and will essentially summarize what the blog post is all about and what kind of value your audience will be receiving from it if they click through to your site from Pinterest.
For example, maybe you blog about fashion and travel, and in your latest blog post, you put together a bunch of travel photos from your recent girls trip to Paris. You could create one Pinterest graphic for your blog post that includes a collage of photos from your trip, along with a title.
Something like this one: Girls Trip Guide to Paris
In their blog post, you can see that they have one Pinterest graphic that serves as their “Blog Post Title,” but they have also included a bunch of other fashionable photos that don’t have any text on them.
Another example is this sassy little unicorn mug. Jessie Swinger created an optimized Pinterest graphic to promote the mug on Pinterest, and then linked the graphic directly to her Etsy shop, SheMugs.
Free advertising. 🙂
No matter what you blog about, what services you provide or what you are trying to promote, coming up with a title for your Pinterest graphic depends on what your target audience is searching for. This is why it’s important to know exactly who your ideal audience is and why you really need to learn more about what they really want and need. Once you have this information, you can then write and create things specifically for them, making your overall marketing efforts MUCH easier.
By communicating the value you’re providing in a simple, beautiful way, you should start seeing more traffic coming to your site from Pinterest. And more traffic means you’ll have a much higher chance of making more conversions, and more conversions ultimately lead to more sales!
4. Include Your Logo or URL
At the bottom of your Pinterest graphic, add your logo or your website URL so that people will know who created it. It should be relatively small compared to the rest of the content so that you don’t distract readers from the title (the title should always be the main focus because that’s all people really care about initially… they are going to be asking what’s in it for them?!)
People who have already read your posts or visited your website before will start to recognize your brand name. If they feel like they’ve gained some sort of value from you in the past, they’ll be more likely to click on anything new you create, to see if they can gain some additional value.
When people see something over and over, it becomes familiar, and familiarity builds trust.
On the flip side, if someone has never heard of your brand or been to your website, your logo or website URL will tell them exactly where they can go to gain this kind of information, knowledge, inspiration, etc.
And then the process of building familiarity and trust in your brand begins all over again with this new person. Maybe they realize they’re beginning to love all the stuff you’re putting out so they start saving your pins and sharing your posts with others. When more and more of your stuff is saved and shared with others, that’s when you really start to gain exposure and increase your website traffic, which should always be the goal. Because traffic means more conversions and more conversions mean more sales. 🙂
Adding your logo or URL also protects you against bad links, so if someone uses your image but changes the link to something else, people will still know what domain to go to if they really want to find that information.
5. Save Your Image Using Keywords in the File Name
This doesn’t actually apply to Pinterest SEO, but it is good practice for Google SEO which is another way to drive major traffic to your site. Google gets way more searches than Pinterest so optimizing your content for them should always be your first priority!
Fun fact: Google and Pinterest are personally my top two traffic driving resources!
It’s important to know that Google can’t read images without text, so by providing detailed, informative filenames for your Pinterest images, you are creating another organic way to gain additional website traffic from people who are searching for content like yours on Google.
So, instead of saving your Pinterest graphic as something like “IMG035824.png” save it with something more descriptive, using keywords to describe what’s on the image or what the image is all about. I usually recommend saving it with some keywords from the title of your blog post.
For example, I saved the Pinterest graphic I created for this blog post as “Ultimate_Guide_Optimizing_Pinterest_Graphics_Best_Conversions.png”
6. Add Descriptive Alt. Text to Your Image
Once you upload your image to the WordPress Media Library, you’re going to want to click on it to add some descriptive Alt. Text (also known as Alt. Tag).
The Alt. Text will become a hidden description of your image that exists in your website’s source code.
Primary Uses of Alt. Text:
- Used by the visually impaired who need to have the text read out loud by software in order to understand what is on the website page
- Used by search engines for context and indexing
- Used to display text when there is a problem loading the image
You will want to enter in the something like the title of your blog post or describe what is being displayed on the image. Your goal should be to keep it both concise and descriptive.
Tips for Optimizing Your Alt. Text:
- Google only looks at the first 16 words
- Screen readers that read your Alt. Text out loud will cut off at 125 characters
- Do not stuff it with keywords, URLs, hashtags or call-to-actions
Related: How to Craft Alt Text for Images
The Title of your image will auto-fill with what you saved your filename as. I usually just edit it a bit by taking out any dashes. This attribute usually pops up as a tooltip when someone hovers over your image.
Google states that it doesn’t use this for ranking on SEO, so it’s best not to worry about it too much.
7. Write Keyword-Filled Pinterest Image Descriptions
In addition to having beautiful, on-brand images, you’ll also need to create a way for users to find those images on Pinterest.
To do this, you’ll need to write keyword-filled Pinterest image descriptions that describe each one of your images. The descriptive information will then be displayed along with the pinned image on Pinterest.
How it works: When you or someone else pins an image from your website, Pinterest will use and auto-fill the most specific description for the image that it can find. It will pull this info from one of the three places below, in the order listed:
- The image’s “Data-Pin-Description”
- Image Title attribute
- The Alt. Text attribute
- The article’s title
- The first few sentences from your article
In order to optimize your pinned images for the best conversions without hurting your Google SEO, you should focus on creating Pinterest image descriptions using the image’s “Data-Pin-Description” attribute instead of using the Alt. Text attribute.
This requires you to add a magical little attribute to all of your images, which will exponentially help you separate yourself from all the businesses and bloggers who don’t know about this and who aren’t applying this.
You can do this one of two ways:
- This special attribute can be coded into the HTML for your image tags.
- If coding is not your thing and you want a more user-friendly option to manage this, you can get the Tasty Pins plugin and easily add these Pinterest descriptions to your image in the WordPress media library (recommended).
This means your stuff will naturally start being discovered more in a Pinterest search, start getting shared more by other Pinners, and will massively help you get more click-throughs to your website.
Here’s an example of what it looks like in the WordPress media library:
The “Pinterest Text” area is something that is added by the Tasty Pins plugin so you can easily add your Pinterest description as well as any relevant hash tags.
Here’s what your optimized Pinterest graphic would look like once pinned on Pinterest:
HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SITE TO GET MORE SHARES
If you don’t already have a “Pin it” button or Social Share buttons on your site, I suggest you install a FREE plugin called Sumo. This is my absolute favorite plugin for growing website traffic and increasing conversions because it seriously WORKS. I use it on all 4 of my own website/blogs and also recommend it to all of my clients as well.
It has so many more features to it (I love all-in-one things!) but I might have to save those ideas for another blog post… don’t want to overwhelm you here! 😉
Anyways, once you install it, you can then activate the Pin it button and Social Share buttons, customize them how you wish, and then use those buttons to easily share your Pinterest graphics/blog posts to Pinterest after you publish them.
Going forward, anyone who finds your content valuable will also be able to save your posts to one of their own Pinterest boards or even share them on another social media platform, in an email, as a text, etc.
Pretty cool, huh?
QUESTIONS FOR YOU
Do you use Pinterest as a marketing strategy? Did this blog post help explain how it all works better? Is there anything you still have questions on that I forgot and can answer for you? Comment below and let me know!