Pinterest Content Strategy 2021 – how to stay relevant on Pinterest in 2021
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[Updated February 2021]
If you’re anything like me, Pinterest has proved to be a tricky wee beasty this past few months. With impressions dropping across the board and click throughs diminishing dramatically for many users.
Pinterest made massive algorithm changes back in August of 2020. And, since then the strategies that seem to have worked for people for many years have all of a sudden stopped working.
The IPO of Pinterest back in April 2020 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has also had an impact on the company’s strategy and direction.
With Pinterest becoming more of a hybrid search engine/ social network type platform. Pinterest is the third most relevant brand in the US, it’s a big deal and with the IPO this only serves to solidify Pinterests mark on the digital landscape.
In terms of what this means for you as a blogger or small business, think Facebook.
Think about an algorithm that is skewed towards keeping people on the platform itself. Think pay to play. Think limited exposure for organic content that is repetitive. Think fresh content discovery.
This is not a simple , here’s how I pin post. Nor is it a quick fix. This is an in depth dive into what drives Pinterest as a company and how you can best leverage Pinterests vision and mission to your advantage.
Lets dive into what this means in terms of actionable tactics to stay relevant on Pinterest in 2021.
1. Pinterest discovery journey
Remember that the buyer journey is not all about the destination! They don’t call it a buyer journey for nothing! When I talk about a buyer journey I’m talking about the stages a person might go through when they are looking to purchase a product or engage a service.
The buyer journey has a couple of important steps for consideration but this diagram below is a pretty basic way to help you understand your buyer’s journey.
From knowing nothing about your product or company or the options available to them to finding out about alternatives, weighing options and then finally making a purchasing decision.
As a general rule the buyer journey goes something like this:
- Attract – get people to notice you and your company. Your not talking about specific products at the point. General awareness stage.
- Engage – now people have noticed you, start to engage with them with offerings such as freebies and articles.
- Convince – get specific when it comes to your audience’s needs, provide value for them, email workflows and tailored content.
- Convert – now you can start to hammer home that you are worthy of buying from – social proof and testimonials.
- Delight – keep them delighted as customers so they come back and become fans and eventually evangelists for your brand and your products.
These steps loosely form a flow from the awareness stage to the consideration and decision making stages.
Remember that Pinterest is all about discovery! So don’t make your Pins all about the end of the journey.
Don’t ask for something before you’ve provided value. Pinterest itself commented that the way a customer or user interacts on their platform is in no way a linear journey. Keep this in mind!
Ways to use the Pinterest customer journey
- Keep in mind that you want to touch on every aspect of the customer journey on Pinterest.
- Be mindful of focussing too much on the end of the funnel
- Don’t ask for the conversion when you haven’t done the groundwork on the steps higher up the journey!
- Add value at every stage of their journey
- Build trust through offering content that isn’t an ask
2. Pinterest’s Mission
Pinterest is all about leveraging its existing user base and attracting a new user base to stay on site, browse, discover and ultimately shop. It is in Pinterest’s best interest to keep users on site as long as possible. Without linking out to a third party site too early.
The less users engage on site and go through all the steps towards discovery, the less potential revenue Pinterest makes. Remember, Pinterest is a listed company now.
They NEED to hit their targets now more than anything. They need to grow month on month, year on year to provide a return to their investors. Their stock price needs to go up.
For us bloggers, this means that we need to pay into this motivation. We need to not simply look to link out to our site as quickly as possible. We need to provide opportunities for engagement and interaction on the platform itself.
Some great ways to encourage interaction and engagement for your brand on Pinterest.
- Ask a question at the end of your Pin description
- Engage on other people pins with mindful and relevant comments
- Pin complete content- ie: content that doesn’t require users to click off site (see example below)
- Spend time on your feed looking for great new people to follow and interact with
- Mix up your Pins with a combination of text based and image only assets
Pinterest’s Value Proposition for Pinners
Pinterest aligns itself with four value propositions for pinners. These are crucial for bloggers to understand in order to maximise the benefit they can get out of using the platform. I’ll dissect each of the four values below.
1. Pinterest is a visual experience
First and foremost Pinterest is about visual search. Think about Google for instance. You need to be certain of your exact search terms when trying to find something of relevance.
Pinterest however lets you start from a place of uncertainty. And go on a content discovery mission to find the things that inspire you the most.
Remember their mission? – to bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love. This is poignant.
Pinterest is not about simply finding an answer to your problem or question. It’s about inspiration. It’s about a journey.
It’s not a linear function from desire to decision making. It’s all about finding true and unique ideas and inspiration to create something positive or meaningful in someone’s life.
2. Pinterest utilises human curation and personalization
Think about how Pinterest curates collections. They are hand picked and hand curated by millions of real people. The main thing to remember here is contextualisation.
When it comes to adding context to search results or content, humans beat computers hands down every single time. Each time a user adds an idea to a collection or board Pinterest gets smarter. It begins to understand how users are contextualising certain information.
For instance, the picture below might be added to varying collections by different users depending on their own unique context.
- Beautiful scenery
- Places to visit
- Couples goals
- Selfie inspo
As users organise and curate content, Pinterest learns their preferences. This allows Pinterest to then offer up a personal curated feed to each user that feels unique and highly relevant.
3. Pinterest is designed for action
A whopping 85% of people say they go to Pinterest because they are starting a project of some sort! Think about that for a second! This is a massively valuable piece of information!
Pinterest says that they want to make sure that users get the information they need and that every pin links back to a highly valuable source. They are actively seeking for users to be able to visualise their dreams and turn them into reality by offering a discovery journey and a final destination for their users.
4. Pinterest is an empowering environment
Oh my gosh! This one is awesome! Pinterest wants to help people to feel better about themselves. Not worse! It actively seeks to help people create the life they want and a life they love.
“Pinterest enables a personal journey toward action that is focused on the self and the future, away from the noise”Pinterest
Think about this one a while! Remember this when you’re making pins or engaging on the platform.
Are your actions aligned with this Pinterest value proposition? Are you creating an atmosphere of positivity and acceptance or playing into some other more underhanded human emotion?
Now, as a blogger, think about how you can ensure you’re creating content for Pinterest that aligns with what they are trying to achieve.
How to create Pins that align with Pinterest’s Mission
- Create content that inspires
- Forget fear or FOMO based tactics
- Foster positivity
- Remember the journey, not just the destination
- Think about content for every stage of the buyer journey
- Think visuals, not just words
- Consider context
- Remember why the user has visited Pinterest
3. Manual Pinterest Pinning Strategy
I’ve definitely wavered these past few months on what the best way to combat the ever changing algorithm and the changes this has meant for impressions and click throughs.
Any marketer who tells you that their way of pinning or their pinterest strategy is the be all and end all of Pinterest marketing is lying to you. There is no one right way to use Pinterest as a marketing tool for your blog.
There are however some general guidelines that might make your life easier and for me- changing from using a scheduler to pinning manually is one of them.
Everyone is different, and what works for me might not work for you… so test test test!
I started manual pinning as a way to combat the new changes on Pinterest. I was using Tailwind really successfully up until recently when things changed, as they did for everyone.
I love Tailwind and it took me ages to decide to pull the pin. I’ve kept my account there and depending on what happens with Pinterest, I may reactivate it in the future, I still want to get the benefit of all the pins I’ve added to my favourite Tailwind Communities and I want to keep my analytics.
So, the account stays. I just lost the ability to schedule by dropping my monthly upgrade.
I now do two things differently though. I’ll tell you what these are and the reasoning behind this decision below.
Why I chose manual pinning
Tailwind was fantastic in the height of the Pinterest success days. When impressions were banging and click throughs were high. But once the new algorithm changed things started to not make sense anymore.
Impressions and monthly viewers were dropping.
So, I’ve switched things up. I now pin manually directly to Pinterest and use the Pinterest native scheduler to schedule posts in advance.
It was evident that Pinterest was no longer interested in having you Pin a pin more than once… or twice to different boards … there seemed to be no big advantage in pinning pins to multiple boards… they were not being recognised as new or unique pins. And the algorithm was being brutal on them.
I also found that the necessity to repin others pins from Tailwind Communities was becoming redundant.
Repins were not doing well on Pinterest and the calibre of pins in the Tailwind Communities had deteriorated so much so that I always had to check the URl to make sure it wasn’t a spam link.
Plus, the pins were sometimes not high quality and I spent a long time trying to find great content to reciprocate.
So, I now only manually Pin a new Pin first to my most highly relevant board directly on Pinterest. Then, I schedule it to Pin to a second and sometimes a third (not often) highly relevant board 7 days later using the Pinterest scheduler.
In Pinterest, you can schedule Pins up to two weeks in advance. Take this as a cue! Pinterest is not interested in you scheduling Pins many weeks or months in advance. They want new stuff. They don’t want you reschedule the same pin months out and then repeat it.
I also changed my frequency of pinning. I’ve moved from 30 a day – whopping – but it was working… To only 2-6 a day. But, they are high quality, new URLs, new content.
Pinterest Manual Pinning Strategy
- Pin 2-6 pins a day
- Pin directly from your blog if it’s a new post and new URL
- Pin only to one highly relevant board
- Schedule via the Pinterest scheduler to one or two (max) more highly relevant boards
- Do not pin the same URL within 24 hours
- Space the same URL out by 7 day intervals
- Pin the same pin only 1-3 times max only to different boards
The other thing I’ve invested in is using the new Canva content scheduler and planner. It comes free with a Canva Pro account and is REALLY good!
You can Pin directly from Canva. Again, be mindful of using this with the tips above. Pin less, pin high quality content and think about frequency of URLS.
I’ve given you a lot to think about here. But as I said in the beginning. Nothing is a quick fix for Pinterest and anyone that tells you they have the magic formula is probably not being completely truthful.
There’s certainly a lot of great advice out there… so take what makes sense to you and forget the rest. But if you can understand the driving forces behind Pinterest as a company and their goals then you are definitely on your way to aligning yourself with a great success formula for your blog.
When it comes down to it, it all boils down to ensuring that your Pinterest strategy is closely aligned with Pinterests mission and value propositions for pinners.
Make sure you’re serving up content that fulfills every stage of your customers’ buyer journey and ensure that you are ultimately making their life better with your offering.