Finally! I got my first viral pin for this post after blogging on Easy Blog Emily for nearly a year. The image above shows my current stats for an image in the post, that became a viral pin.
WHAT EVEN IS A VIRAL PIN?
I couldn’t really tell you what officially classes as a ‘viral’ pin. But I’d say 88,000 impressions and 1,500 click throughs to a single blog post in the last 30 days is pretty good.
Plus, almost a third of those numbers occurred in a single day! Check out my blog stats on the day that post gained a lot of attention on Pinterest:
And of those, over 400 sessions were for the viral pin post.
I had over 400 sessions for that post in one day. This might not seem like a lot for big time bloggers or people who pay for advertisements. But considering my blog is under a year old, has less than 40 posts, and I don’t pay for any advertisements. That’s a lot of free traffic!
WAIT A MINUTE. IS THIS ANOTHER TAILWIND PITCH?!
Before you think this is going to be another sales pitch telling you to sign up for Tailwind; I didn’t use it. I repeat, I did not use Tailwind.
For those of you who don’t know, Tailwind is a scheduler for Pinterest. It saves a lot of time having all your pins scheduled, as you don’t have to “show up” and actually be on Pinterest pinning to get blog readers. Tailwind pins the image for you.
Every time I pin I get blog readers, but it’s time consuming having to pin daily. Plus, lots of my readers are American…as a UK gal, I’d have to be pinning in my sleep!
It’s also brilliant for getting blog traffic, and most of the viral pin posts I’ve read mention they used Pinterest.
But this one won’t be, because I wasn’t using it at the time!
I have used it in the past, and I’m planning on using it again. I’m really missing some of the features, such as it measures the repin rates for boards. (I’m pretty sure I’m in some group boards that are dead and nobody is pinning from them!).
But I wasn’t using it at the time my pin went viral, so you definitely don’t need it.
WHAT MADE MY PIN GO VIRAL?
I wish I could say “I did exactly this! Now go and do it too!”. But the truth is, I was doing many of the things I was already doing. Perhaps this one just got lucky.
However, there are a few things about this particular pin, from a design and SEO aspect, which have resulted in it getting loads of impressions.
So, this post is a list of all the things that are important about that particular image, such as the design, how I pinned it, the description, etc. So hopefully, you can replicate my results!
THE DESIGN OF A VIRAL PIN
The design is seriously important for making your pin go viral. My pin:
- Used a bold, easy to read font. If nobody can read what’s written on the graphic, they aren’t going to engage with it! Make sure your font is bold and simple so it can be easily read.
- The text was large. Most people on Pinterest will be quickly scrolling through on their mobiles. If your text isn’t large enough to read, they won’t bother reading it.
- Used a unique stock image. This one I’ve only recently seen in action, but if you’re using free online stock images, you might want to stop.
Pinterest organises pins not only based on keywords written in the description, but also has a visual SEO system. Basically, if it can’t get queues from the text, Pinterest will show relevant images based on visuals.
Check out what I mean with the video below:
If you use a free stock image loads of people have used, Pinterest will show other pins using the same free stock image. Even if they’re not relevant (time for me to go back and update that pin…).
THE SEO OF A VIRAL PIN
Remember that Pinterest isn’t just a social media platform; it’s also a search engine. Because of this, if you want your images to be seen by lots of people, you have to search engine optimise it.
THE SEO OF A VIRAL PIN: BEFORE YOU START PINNING
- Name the image something relevant. If the image is called something like “img,087.8jwfjk”, Pinterest is probably going to think of it as spam and show it to less people. My viral pin was called “How to make $1,500 a month on Pinterest”, so it’s clear what the image is about. It’s actually exactly what’s written in the graphic too, and although I’m not sure how important that is, it’s definitely something to consider.
- Using lots of relevant keywords in the description. In the description section, you can write text on what the image is about. Use this to your advantage- write copy that uses lots of keywords relevant to the image, separated by commas.
I try to use at least three sentences, and in this situation I made sure to use the words “Make Money” and “Pinterest” as that’s what the image is about. (Bonus tip: if you’re trying to increase click throughs to your website, include phrasing like “click to read” or “check out this post” and tell people exactly what you want them to do!).
THE SEO OF A VIRAL PIN: AFTER YOU HAVE STARTED PINNING
These tips are more for once you’ve started sharing the image across different boards, but will still help.
- Check the ‘more results like this’ section. If you scroll down past the pin, it will show you images that are relevant. Check out the video showing when I did this for my viral pin below:
You can see that all the relevant images shown mention words like making money online and Pinterest. In this instance, thanks to good SEO practices, Pinterest has read my pin properly and knows what it’s really about. Pinterest will then show my pin to people who are looking at images about making money, and so will probably be interested and engage with my pin.
If you look at this section for your pin and it’s showing images that are completely irrelevant, it means Pinterest has read it wrong. You might want to delete it and start over. (Remember the previous video about Pinterest using images to suggest relevant images too).
- Search for a keyword you used. Another way to check if your pin is likely to do well is by searching for the keywords you included, and see how it ranks for that search.
In this instance my pin ranks pretty high. (I searched it using a different Pinterest account, just to be sure).
I’ve checked this on some of my other pins and I’ve noticed that when I tend to have more impressions, my pin also ranks high on searches. So the two definitely go hand in hand.
It’s also important to consider the volume of searches.
I’m not really sure how to check this, but my graphic about making money on Pinterest is a viral pin, but not my image on 30 Pinterest group boards for bloggers (in this post here).
Although both rank pretty high, presumably more people are searching for making money on Pinterest than for group boards. So keep this in mind- even if you rank first for keywords about stamp collecting, it’s unlikely to go viral as it isn’t a viral topic!
THE PINNING STRATEGY FOR A VIRAL PIN
Full disclosure here: I wasn’t using some secret strategy that is guaranteed to get you a viral pin. Because if I had and it worked, all my pins would be viral!
However, there were some things I did you can definitely replicate:
Pinned to my board about blogging first.
All the big time bloggers have a blog board called “Best of (their blog name)” or something similar. And this tends to be one of their best boards; I know it is for me anyway.
These are ranked in order, and my board for my blog is ranked top out of all my boards I’m in (which is over 100).
I always pin my pins from my blog to this board first. This makes sure to tell Pinterest “my new pin is about blogging”, so it has a general idea of the pin topic. It also straight away tells Pinterest this could be a popular pin, as it’s immediately going into a board with good engagement.
I think that’s why once you get a certain amount of followers, they just keep coming naturally. It’s a bit like a snowball effect; I’m pretty sure the pro pinners just keep getting more repins and followers because they’ve already got their snowball rolling, and it just keeps getting faster. Pinterest knows their images are good, and will show them to more people as a result!
Pinned to other relevant boards next.
After pinning to my main blog board, I pin it to other relevant boards. So for my viral pin, when I pinned it to a board about making money online, I told Pinterest the pin was about making money.
The more you pin to relevant boards, the more Pinterest will know what it’s about and show it to the right people (meaning it’s more likely to go viral).
And this needs to be done before pinning to random group boards or boards with no niche. If Pinterest already knows your pin is about bike riding, and then it’s pinned to a board with no topic, that’s okay- Pinterest already knows what it’s about. But pin it to the board with no topic, before Pinterest knows what it’s about? It’s unlikely Pinterest will be able to get an accurate understanding at all.
Repin the most popular version of the image.
I’m a little bit iffy on this one. But I’ve noticed that if I click on the same image, sometimes it has a different repin count depending on what version of the image I’ve clicked on.
So when I searched for “make money Pinterest”, one of my pins came up with the stats for the pin written across the top.
But at the bottom of this pin, was the repin count for that individual pin.
This was high, and not my version of the repin (it was by Emily at My Family Life). Which shows there are different versions on each pin, and some get more popular than others!
Check out these stats too:
So even though the viral pin had 88,000 impressions, there are individual versions each with their own count.
And some of the total impressions won’t even be from my version of the pin. I’m guessing it was a viral pin because someone with a lot of followers repinned it. Then their followers, engaged with it, and it kept happening like a ripple effect.
Therefore, always repin the version of the image you can find with the best statistics. You’re making that image even more popular this way, and Pinterest is more likely to pick up on it and show it to more people.
OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES WHEN CREATING A VIRAL PIN
You can see from the rest of my post that there were definite things I did that have helped me get a viral pin. However, these other aspects are also interesting:
The viral pin talked about Pinterest
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the pin focused on Pinterest, as everyone on Pinterest is going to be interested about Pinterest (if that makes sense). If you were to put a post on Facebook all about how to get more Facebook likes, the people of Facebook would probably be interested.
So really, I’ve just engaged the audience the platform already has. My post popular pins are usually about Pinterest too (although I have a lot more pins on this topic, so it’s hard to say if that’s why they’re popular).
The viral pin mentioned money
I’ve interviewed a lot of bloggers (you can check out how these bloggers make $1000+ per month here). I noticed that lots of them who make significant money are talking about money itself.
Why? Because we’re human! The majority of people will be interested in money if it’s in a good way (how to make it, how to save it, etc). Whilst some topics are not viral worthy (e.g making model trains), nearly everyone will be interested in money.
However, I have to mention that I have other posts on making and saving money. But the pins for them have still not gone viral.
Plus, I’m not in a lot of boards about money. I’d say around a tenth of the boards I’m in are solely focused on money. Perhaps if I joined more of these specific money boards, more of my money pins will go viral, as I’m giving them to the right audience!
Had lots of comments
Remember I mentioned about Pinterest deciding whether you pin is popular or not? Well, my viral pin is one of my only pins that has comments on it.
I think by having lots of comments, it tells Pinterest that this pin is getting good engagement. Then, Pinterest says the pin should be shown to more people, to continue to get engagement.
So if you can, try to get people to comment on it. You can do this by:
- Joining Facebook groups and asking people to comment on a particular pin.
- Requiring your followers to comment to join a group board you own.
- Asking your subscribers to comment to receive a freebie.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO BEFORE HAVING A VIRAL PIN
I hope now you know how to get a viral pin.
However, you need to make sure that before you have a viral pin, it’s optimised. Whether that leads to a blog post where you gain loads of subscribers, or it contains an affiliate link for you to make money. Just do it before you try to make it go viral. Because once it’s out there, you can’t edit it!
Thankfully, my linking blog post was already optimised to gain subscribers, and had affiliate links throughout it. So when I got a surge in traffic for the day, I was prepared, and got 20 new subscribers from the one post!
THINGS I HAD WISH I’D DONE BEFORE HAVING A VIRAL PIN
Even though I did some things correctly, I wish I had:
- Taken better note of the exact board I pinned to when my pin took off!
- Got more than one viral pin. So I have a tried and tested strategy to give to you.
But I’m hoping after using Tailwind again, I can tidy up my boards and apply to better ones. Then I might be able to get a viral pin again.
And if I can, I’d like to get a viral pin that uses an affiliate link. My viral pin had over 400 click throughs in a single day. Even if only 1% of those click throughs had been for my affiliate link for making sense of affiliate marketing, I’d have made almost £250 in one day!
(If you’ve never thought about using affiliate links on Pinterest, I hadn’t either, until I read Get paid to Pin. You can read more about it here!).
HOW ELSE CAN I GET A VIRAL PIN?
If you’ve read this and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, here’s a little step by step to get you closer to having a viral pin:
2. Read this post on how to use Pinterest keywords, to improve your SEO game.
3. Get into some group boards for more exposure: you can grab a list of 30 group boards for all bloggers here!
Then follow the rest of the tips in this post!
If this post has helped you, please share it on Pinterest.
Otherwise, get pinning!