If you’ve tried to make money blogging for any length of time, you know how important Pinterest is for gaining lots of traffic, quickly.
Though organic traffic is heralded as the highest quality and most valuable, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) takes lots of time and hard work.
With Pinterest you can reach your very first blogging goals much quicker.
We’re talking weeks instead of months or years.
Yes, Pinterest is the little darling of blog traffic.
And how YOU can do it too!
Love/Hate Relationship With Pinterest
Though Pinterest is a great, cute, fun way to bring traffic to a new blog quickly, most bloggers have a love/hate relationship with it.
We love the free traffic and visual search engine capabilities, but the constant algorithm changes and inability to maintain consistency drive us batty.
The History With Pinterest Group Boards
If you’ve taken any Pinterest course, browsed any blogs about how to succeed at blogging, or spent time in any Make Money Blogging/Boost Pinterest Pageviews type Facebook group, you’re no stranger to group boards.
Basically, the idea is if you can join relevant group boards where everybody in the group agrees to share others’ content, everyone benefits by cross-audience exposure.
So, joining group boards means several things:
- You have more places to pin your amazing blog post pins
- Chances are if the group board has many followers, your pin will be exposed to those followers
- If members of that board re-pin your pin, you get exposed to their followers
- You get high-quality 3rd party pins from others to fill out your awesome personal boards
It sounds like win-win, right?
For a while I thought so too, but not anymore.
The Problem With Pinterest Group Boards
As I’m getting more comfortable blogging, my views on group boards have changed dramatically. Here’s why:
- Pinterest reps said they don’t matter: Earlier in 2018 after one of those dreaded crazy updates they made, Pinterest reps went on a live video and literally said they were going to start deprioritizing group boards.
- Group boards all have different rules: Some say no more than 1 pin per day. Some say no more than 5. Others say if you ever repeat a pin, you’ll be kicked out. Some say you can repeat a pin once every 30 days. It’s a lot to keep up with!
- It’s a lot more work: If you’re in 50 groups, you need to enter 50 groups individually and share other peoples’ content from each group board, or you’re a horrible board buddy. Who wants to be a bad board buddy?
- It’s not really necessary: When I checked google analytics every evening to see which pins have brought me the most traffic that day, it rarely said it was anything I pinned to a group board! It was always something I pinned to one of my personal boards. Same for pins that were saved. Never from group.
- They are hard to find/join: If you’ve ever gone on the hunt for good group boards to join you know how hard and NOT FUN it is! Finding how to apply, reaching out only to get no response. Joining and then you get in and it’s dead in the water. No thanks.
All this got me thinking…
Why would I continue busting my ass scrambling to add group boards?
Why not gradually phase them out and see how it goes?
So that’s what I’ve done over the past 3 weeks.
How I Gradually Phased Out Pinterest Group Boards
Afraid to make any sudden changes, I made a plan to gradually phase them out, testing the result each step of the way.
This took 3 weeks.
First, I’ll share where my Pinterest account stats started:
I sent out my first pins for my first blog, Sober Alley, in late June 2018.
At the time I had 50 posts to work with, and tons of pins.
I went from 30,000 monthly viewers to over 1 million in a little under 2 months using strategies from those two products.
For June I had 3,000 page views.
In August I had 19,000 page views.
In September I had 38,000 page views and got accepted to Mediavine (amazing by the way).
For October I had 64,000 page views.
It’s important to note that early October is when I began leaving all my group boards, and why I no longer believe they are necessary.
UPDATE 10/31/18: At the beginning of October 2018, I had 127 total boards (group and personal), viewership of around 1.2 million monthly and around 50k monthly engaged. On October 31, 2018 I have 80 group boards, viewership of 1.5 million monthly and 80k monthly engaged. September page views were 38,000. October 64,000.
Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t lie.
Leaving Pinterest Group Boards Step-By-Step
I’m going to share a very rough outline of the step-by-step process I took to leave all my Pinterest group boards in 3 weeks.
Week 1 Leaving Pinterest Group Boards
For week 1 I was a little scared.
In the past when I’ve made jarring changes to how, how often or when I pin, the Pinterest Gods have stricken me down with lightning bolts of terror and punishment.
So, I treaded lightly.
In the first week I archived (not deleted – archived, because you never know) all my general “pin anything” group boards.
I saw no change in traffic either way.
At the same time I did this, though, I created 20 NEW personal boards to pin to, and began feverishly filling them with tons of 3rd party pins according to Jennifer Maker’s VERY effective strategy in her Pinterest Launch Plan course.
THIS is an important step to win at Pinterest and is hands down the key to understanding the why behind the steps we take to gain Pinterest traffic.
If you buy ONE Pinterest resource, it needs to be this one.
Anyway, I removed all those boards and gave myself new ones to pin to in their place.
That was week one.
Week 2 Leaving Pinterest Group Boards
After about a week and seeing no real change either positive or negative of leaving those “Pin Everything All Bloggers Come One Come ALL!!!” boards, I felt confident to level up with nuking even more!
So, next, I removed all my niche specific group boards.
This was a little scarier because highly relevant niche boards (as you’ll learn in Jennifer Maker’s course) are helpful in a trackable, noticeable way.
But I wanted to go for it anyway!
So… I nuked ‘em.
Then my traffic exploded.
Seemingly right after that I went from 1,000 to 1,500 page views per day to now getting 2,200 to 3,000!
And it’s easier!
Week 3 Leaving Pinterest Group Boards
Now that I’m coasting with a much easier and more effective Pinterest life, in week 3 I’m starting to reduce my 3rd party pinning altogether.
Jennifer Maker’s PLP course teaches a very specific way of knowing when Pinterest “sees” you as a credible source of information for your niche.
That requires 3rd party pinning for a while.
For all my older boards that has already happened.
I no longer pin any 3rd party pins to those boards unless I just see some that I really like and feel like it. (I actually enjoy Pinterest… it’s not a chore for me).
For my new boards I go in and manually add 3rd party pins here and there… but am phasing that out too.
So, this third week I’m pinning exclusively to my own boards.
I’m pinning about 95% my OWN pins to my OWN boards.
And the goal is 100% of my own pins to my own boards by January 1.
That’s right. By January 1, I intend for my Pinterest account to be 100% content creator, 0% content distributor.
Why you ask?
Because it makes sense.
My Theory On Solely Pinning My Own Content
If you look around enough, you see “Pinterest doesn’t like you to only pin your own content! You need to spread the love!” I call bullshit.
That’s the consumer’s job.
I’m a creator.
If They Can Do It, So Can I
Early on while browsing other accounts in my niches, I stumbled upon a handful of Pinterest accounts where I found zero evidence of ever pinning 3rd party content, and their reach was in the millions.
My motto for anything I want in life is “if them, why not me”?
I figure if any single person or account can succeed only pinning their own stuff, I should be able to as well.
Everybody Wins When There’s More Great Content
It also follows naturally that Pinterest would actually prefer someone like me to spend my time writing excellent new posts and designing really attractive pins that make their consumers click, share and come back for more!
It’s SO time-consuming finding 3rd party pins to pin. Joining group boards. Adhering to pinning schedules.
I’ve been able to write 1-2 posts most days and if I’m not writing, create amazing new pins and send Pinterest fresh, new content EVERY SINGLE DAY since I’m not wasting my time on other things like group boards and finding other peoples’ stuff to pin.
I think THIS is what Pinterest wants, and THIS is why my traffic is exploding.
I’m feeding the Pinterest monster some really yummy food and they’re like “please give me more!”
If you’re a good creator, you shouldn’t have to also be the consumer.
It’s the consumer’s job to re-pin and share. Not yours!
I don’t believe I should have to do both jobs.
I don’t wanna work that damn hard!
No Pinterest Group Boards – A Happier Way To Pin
Since I’ve left all my group boards and only pin my own content, I’ve found a much happier, more balanced blog life.
I didn’t realize just how much time and energy I was spending doing all that… stuff and trying to keep up with pinning schedules, not spamming, joining a never ending number of boards.
I even temporarily lost my account as I was marked as spam for ASKING someone if I could join their board.
What? NOT COOL.
I don’t have to do any of that anymore.
Now I enjoy steady traffic, audience growth, and freedom to do what I came to do – create.
My non-blogger followers enjoy fresh new pins daily.
And I think the Pinterest Gods are pleased with me continuously offering up good sacrifice in the form of cuter pins and more frequent fresh new posts too!
The only way I like to play.
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