Pinterest: from 400 to 1 million views in 4 months

Ten steps to grow your Pinterest in a few months time:

So Pinterest. Some love it, some hate it, some just hang around a bit. I used to be a bit of all three: Pinterest is an amazing tool when it came to all that moodboarding and gathering inspiration. But I would check in and find my work plastered all over the suggestions (I had a record of 17 images in about 4 rows; most of them without proper credits). That was back in late 2018 and I decided to do some 30 minutes research into Pinterest and spend my next few days uploading about 700 images to a variety of boards I set up - mostly out of sheer frustration about it. While by then I did had a handful of work on there which gained me a few hundred views on average - I never spend much time on it for the rest as I was too busy with Facebook and especially Instagram. And life. And everything else beside Pinterest.

Until that faithfull day I got basically fed up - and decided to try and get at least some of that repinning to my website. That was in december 21018, when I’m writing this on april the 8th 2019 - I just hit my one million unique views on an average month with 40k unique interactions.

And honestly: I didn’t do too much special. I still am learning “the ways of Pinterest” and I’ve know from more recent articles I came across there are plenty more ways of interacting, gaining traffic and getting noticed; I will keep this as honest as possible and try to dive into the things I did and what I’ve learned so far.

First of all: why Pinterest? It’s an amazing place to get found. Sure a lot of people go there for their own work and moodboards; but I landed some smaller jobs like bookcovers because people where looking for work. I have made my peace a while ago I will always find my work on there with no credits or links, but considering that if you get picked up and you got that link back to your website - it can gain some serious traffic. I call it a more “slow media” channel like a blog or youtube as it needs more time; but your work will “drown less” if battling social media and those whole strategies of getting noticed. It’s also this: you don’t want all your eggs in one basket; while yes it is a lot of work, it’s just another part of marketing which can generate more traffic (and potential income) beside your “fast social media”.

But enough talk: lets get to the actual business!

  • My first steps into Pinterest and what I did:

  • 1. Less is not more: the more you have on there - the more chances you will get reblogged. At the present time I’m at about 850 pins I have uploaded manually one by one.

  • 2. Descriptions matter: I’ve read (and have noticed) that these matter a lot. Similar to SEO it will be used to generate keywords. I had a few standard descriptions I copy pasted to save time (as I had to uploaded hundreds of single images).
    Example of a description: “Photography by Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan's Art - Available for Fantasy, Creative Portraiture, Fine Art & Fashion Photography. Based in Antwerp, Belgium

  • 3. Keywords I included where what I did in full sentences/descriptions: photography, fantasy, fine art, portraiture, creative & fashion. When I went more niche I started adding or removing: jewelry, product, lookbook, … or writing entire new ones. When I uploaded for Jesters, Arcadia, Requiem and Moth Girls (a few series, old and ongoing) I wrote specific new descriptions to include search terms like knights, warriors, shieldmaidens, … while still staying true to my work as a whole (photography, fine art, …).

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  • 4. Boards: I never really uploaded files twice but I did organise my boards: this was also in mind for if potential clients would check out my profile. I like to see it as a huge digital book or catalogue of my services where people could quickly check in and see. My boards right now are roughly divided into a few main categories: series get each their own, fashion & editorial have one, portraiture, creative effects (prisms, kaleidoscope, filters, …), product, commissions, …. I tried not to get too many, but also just enough to not get my work too mixed up.

  • 5. Link to your website. Not your social media, not your blog. Your main home on this world wide internet: If you don’t have a website you, even just as a single landing space - go make one now! I highly recommend Squarespace but there are plenty of other options. Do this for évery single pin. I always simply included "www.sheridansart.com” - which brings you straight to my portfolio which I keep up to date as much as I can.

  • 6. Link your Pinterest to your website (through settings): this will allow you to follow traffic, including what people pin from your website. This is an incredible insight as it may help you to determine which image(s) to keep on your website. For example I have a few clients shoots who do incredibly well and keep getting reposted!

  • 7. Make it a business account. This will give you insight in the traffic - what gets repinned, how much, how many views, interactions, visitors, … you name it. It’s a bit of a rocket science feeling in the beginning, but I find this a great tool to determine what people may like images wise - say for example for a campaign, a pitch, a new promo you want to run or on a personal leve: what is maybe cool to write about in a blog, what to get inspired by if you got an artblock, …

  • 8. Keep it up to date. I have found if I don’t post enough - my views & traffic will drop (significantly). It’s not that I really care, but I think it’s important to mention if you’re looking to grow and keep it growing. Once I found that out I did try to just spend some time (30 minutes a day in the busy upload period & now about once to twice a week) to get some new work on there. Just to keep things rolling on a steady pace without feeling too overwhelmed and bored, but also as I found it an awesome way to gain traffic while I am basically sleeping and making new work. Even just one or two photos is enough.

  • 9. Gaining traffic: I found some images do great, while others don’t at all. While it’s uncredible unpredictable with Pinterest (and social media in general) - please do not get discouraged if something does not take off as you want. If you read this, you may know my work (and if you don’t - just check out my portfolio) - my most loved work is often within the fantasy & painterly realm still - though my product work is also gaining significant traction. Create new work and try to post those every few days; just one. I never shared my Pinterest with others - I just uploaded and did email duty after.

  • 10. Have patience: it’s an INSANE amount of work, it’s super boring and you may want watch some good series like Love, Death & Robots on Netflix. Mine kicked off surprisingly fast - but I’m a workaholic with too much work to update and a freelancer who takes any excuse to watch some of that good old Netflix - so I made the best of it. The actual process took me 2 to 3 full days to get the major amount of work on there, doing this non-stop in the beginning (which is starting at about 8 am until 8 to 10 pm). To give an idea.

And that’s about it! Again, I am pretty lowkey about Pinterest and I did barely any research on it. I just thought I would finally battle all those uncredited images and start uploading it myself with a link to my website; but it took off like that and I thought I would share this with all of you! If you got more experience with it, got something to add or want to share some of your awesome knowledge do let me know! I would love to ready it :)