There are several plugins that put your blog posts on Pinterest and other social media, but Pinterest is always an option that costs money. But recently Pinterest made a change to allow you to send it an RSS feed. Here’s how to use RSS to put your content on Pinterest for free.
If your audience is largely female, being on Pinterest is a must. Even if your audience is largely male, being on Pinterest can be helpful, and is worth the effort, especially now that Pinterest has made it much easier.
Setting up RSS on Pinterest
Connecting Pinterest to your blog’s RSS feed is easy now. Create an account if you don’t already have one, of course. Once you create your Pinterest account, click the three dots in the upper right hand corner of the Pinterest UI, then select Edit Settings. Navigate to Claim. Scroll down to RSS Feed. Enter the URL of your blog’s RSS feed, which will probably be your main site’s URL plus the string “/rss” and nothing more. Pick a board to pin your RSS feed to. I created a new board for mine. Click save, and you’re pretty much done.
It’s also a good idea to go back to Edit Profile, scroll down to the About Your Profile section, and fill that out if it’s blank. Talk a little bit about yourself and your blog. Some SEO experts believe that search engines look at your biographical information and factor that into your search rankings. For example, if you blog about computer security and your biographical information all says you’ve been working in computer security for a decade, that helps your search ranking. If your biographical information says you’re a bus driver, that hurts it.
You won’t get a flood of traffic as soon as you claim to be an expert in a niche. But if you write useful content in that area and your biographical information supports it, that helps you to maintain your search rank when upstarts come along. And they will.
After you fill out your 160-character profile, click Done.
Pinterest pulls your RSS feed once a day. New content doesn’t show up immediately, but it does show up within 24 hours of publication.
How much blog traffic can you expect from Pinterest?
Your results from putting your blog posts on Pinterest will vary. For example, my audience is largely male, while Pinterest’s audience skews female. Some of my home improvement content picked up a following on Pinterest long before I had an account over there. So with doing nothing at all, I was getting a handful of hits from Pinterest regardless.
Once I set up an account on Pinterest and started putting my blog content in it, I started getting nearly twice as much content from there as I get from Facebook. And Pinterest traffic, in my experience, stays on the page longer and is more likely to read an additional page. That’s a nice return, especially now that all you have to do is open an account and set up that RSS feed. It’s a non-sleazy way to promote your blog. The exposure increases the chances of someone coming and staying a while, gaining you a reader. And, if nothing else, it’s one more external link to your content, helping your search engine rankings. The content that made it to Pinterest seems to do better on Bing.
The better your audience lines up with Pinterest’s core audience, the more traffic you’ll get from it. Mine doesn’t line up real well, so I get mixed results, but Pinterest is still my steadiest, most consistent social network from a traffic-generating standpoint, and I expect that to continue to improve. Facebook and Twitter increasingly seem to see blogs as competitors and treat them as such, while Pinterest treats them as partners. And the more traffic you have, the better monetizing your blog with Viglink or with Adsense works. So I can’t think of any reason not to put your blog content on Pinterest.
Optimizing your blog content for Pinterest
If your blog content doesn’t have at least one photo per post, and that image set as a featured image, it will do poorly on Pinterest. Pinterest will use text if it doesn’t have an image to use. But when you’re competing with 30 other images on the screen, it’s hard for a little block of text to get attention.
If you’re not putting a featured image on your blog posts, at the very least, your content won’t do well on social media, in general, but that’s especially true for Pinterest. An image relevant to your content with a bit of a text overlay selling the content tends to do best on Pinterest, and you can create those kinds of images quickly and easily with a tool like Canva. The trouble is, Pinterest may or may not pick up that image through RSS. You may need a plugin to ensure you get it. But you absolutely need to trot out at least one image with your content. Social media may or may not pick the best one, but any relevant image will be better than not having one.
Make sure your images are helpful and relevant. It helps on all social networks, and also helps make your content more engaging. It’s a challenge for word-centric people like me, but it’s worth it. Original images are best, but even if you have to use stock images, as long as they’re relevant, they’ll grow your audience.
Encouraging your readers to pin content
If you don’t have the Jetpack plugin on your WordPress blog, you need it. Its site stats are absolutely critical, but so are its sharing buttons. Having sharing buttons encourages your readers to post your content on social media, which only helps to drive traffic to your site.
Navigate to Jetpack > Settings > Sharing to configure your sharing buttons. Click the switch to enable the sharing buttons, then click configure your sharing buttons to ensure Pinterest is on the list.
When readers see other people have shared a blog post on Pinterest, I think it encourages others to share it too. I have content that’s been shared to Pinterest dozens of times that no one has ever shared on any other social media site.
Putting old blog posts on Pinterest
Entering your RSS feed in Pinterest will put your new blog content on going forward, but what about your old content? It’s definitely worth spending an hour or two pinning your most popular content from your back catalog. You don’t need to go through pinning every single old post, unless you don’t have a lot. But definitely use Jetpack to find your most popular content, then pull up those posts, make sure they have a featured image set, add one if needed, then refresh the page, scroll to the bottom, and click the Pinterest sharing button to pin it.
Popularity elsewhere doesn’t guarantee the content will do well on Pinterest, but it’s the best indicator we have. And the more people who share your content on Pinterest, the more people will see it.
Pinterest’s future potential
Tradtionally, Pinterest’s audience skews female. I think more males should use it, because Pinterest’s model is useful for men too. It’s a photo-centric place to save links. And based on the stuff you save, it shows you stuff other people have saved that it thinks you might like. When it comes to that, the difference between men and women is what kinds of links they’ll be saving. And even then there’s significant overlap. The model works regardless of gender, because what it’s doing at its core is storing links and images and using that to show you more stuff similar to what you already told it you like. It just happens that it caught on with women first.
If your blog content veers toward a female audience, putting your blog posts on Pinterest is a must. Drop everything and get your site on there now if it isn’t.
If your audience is largely male, I still regard Pinterest as a sleeping giant. Eventually men are going to start using it too. And when it comes to that, it’s much better to be a year early than a year late. Pinterest is an established social network and it isn’t going to disappear any time soon. But being a for-profit business, it’s going to have to find ways to grow. One of the more obvious ways to grow is to try to get more men to use it. You want to have a bunch of content over there before that growth happens, rather than afterward. That way, when the growth starts happening, you’re one of the first to benefit from it.