• PerOla Hammar

How Pinterest is Driving Blog Traffic, Taking Over Everything

OK, I’ll admit it. I was eavesdropping. But to be fair, the two flight attendants sitting behind me on my last plane ride made it too easy. What’s more, they were talking about social media. I couldn’t help it.

After about an hour or so of chatter – marriage, flight attendant gossip, a free trip to Iceland – one of the two women asked the natural question.

“Are you on Facebook?”

“Yes! Oh, friend me,” said the other back.

My thought was, well, everybody’s on Facebook. Then, the she added something unexpected.

“Have you gotten on Pinterest yet?”

Pinterest? Not Twitter. Not LinkedIn. Not Google+. Pinterest.

But is that really all that unexpected? According to third-party measurement data from Shareaholic, Pinterest drove more traffic to online publishers in February than Twitter.

In January, the company whose widgets are used by more than 200,000 online publications, reports Pinterest sent more viewers to blogs than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.

Pinterest is two-years old. It has about 12 million active users to Twitter’s more than 100 million. Bloggers, take my advice. Take those figures seriously.

But what’s the best way to use the image-heavy, female-dominated ‘pinning’ service to bring people to your blog?

Well, here’s the thing. It’s still young, so anything you try at this point will still be a best guess. That’s also means it’s full of opportunities.

Take a look at a more traditional online publication like Country Living’s Pinterest page. The magazine has numerous, specific editors. Each of them – the crafts editor, photo editor, etc. – manage a separate board on the magazine’s Pinterest page.

“Creating Pinterest pages [for our magazines] allows us to share what we see around the web, and not just our own content. [Our audience] wants to know what we see, what we like, and what’s inspiring us beyond the beautiful images seen in the pages of our magazines,” Allison Mezzafonte, director of Hearst Digital Media’s Shelter Network, said to Mashable.

But not everybody can be Country Living. Most blogs are lucky to have a writer that isn’t also the only editor. So what about the little known bloggers? Is Pinterest worth their time?  What about Pinterest for business?

In short, yes, especially if you blog about any of Pinterest’s big topics – home decor, clothes, cooking, DIY projects. Take blogger Crystal Underwood for example.

Technorati says before Pinterest, Underwood sometimes struggled to get 100 hits a day on her blog, Growing a Jeweled Rose, a blog full of fun mommy ideas.

But she says Pinterest has changed everything for her. Since she discovered the social network, she’s seen a 7000 percent increase in traffic, with one day reaching more than 7000 views.

Her Pinterest strategy is two-fold. First, she makes sure her blogs include “pinnable” images. A purely text blog doesn’t make for a good pin. But give it an image to hang onto, and it might see some life on Pinboards.

Aside from her new image focus, she’s part of a Kid Blogger Network of over 100 mom bloggers. These bloggers share one Pinterest page, which currently has over 90,000 followers.

This makes a lot of sense. If you can find other bloggers writing about the same kinds of stuff that might want to combine forces for a Pinterest page, you’d both be able to leverage each other’s reader-base. The more pins, articles and ultimately readers, the merrier.

And if Pinterest doesn’t work right away, don’t worry. You still have your Facebook page, which for most online publications still wins in terms of social media referral traffic (see Shareaholic stats). But if Pinterest continues to grow this quickly (it reached 10 million users faster than Facebook), don’t be afraid to shift your focus to where your readers are spending the most time.