How To Design Viral Pins That Get Massive Traffic To Your Blog

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Today’s post is about how one of my pins went viral in the second month of using Pinterest!

To be honest, my personal account has been there for a few years, but it was dormant with zero to less than ten followers. In fact, for a very long time, I considered and used Pinterest just as a place where I found good templates and inspiration for different design projects, DIY crafts, food recipes and travel.   

I started really using Pinterest after launching this blog and after making some researches and reading how good Pinterest could be for driving massive blog traffic. I didn’t know that you could use it for promoting blogs in almost any niche. But as I am a marketer and I write about marketing, social media, content marketing and design, I wanted to give it a chance and see if Pinterest really is that kind of magical platform. 

In a very short time, I had the huge surprise to see that one of my pins went viral in just 1 week and in just a month it drove a significant amount of traffic to my website. Sure…. I wanted this. 😊. Who doesn’t? At the end of the day, this is the main reason for which we use Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and all the social media platforms: drive traffic to our websites and blogs.

But I didn’t expect to happen so fast. So, what’s the secret? Or… is it any secret formula for this? Personally, I don’t think so. But for sure, there are a few things you should consider for designing a viral pin that drives huge traffic to your website.

Before anything else…..    

What is a viral pin?

There isn’t a specific number of re-pins, saves or clicks that determine if a pin is viral or not. At least, I didn’t find one. That’s why I think viral means different things for different topic niches and for different people.

For example, maybe 100.000 impressions and 2000 clicks might not mean so much for a topic such as lifestyle, but it could mean a lot for a graphic design niche. Some people could define viral pins as they are driving 10x the normal reach and traffic to their website (blog, article, etc.) than other pins. 

Generally speaking, I would say a viral pin means it receives a large number of impressions, saves or clicks in a very short period of time.   

For example, this particular pin went viral: Top 10 Graphic Design Trends You Need To Be Aware of In 2018 – got 139k of impressions and 2.2k clicks in approximately 1 month.

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It might not be a very big deal for some of you, but for it was pretty shocking for me. Until then, most of my pins didn’t get more than 1k impressions and less than 100 clicks!

How do you make your pin go viral?

I don’t actually have a miraculous formula for this. And I also don’t know any blogger or graphic designer who will be able to guarantee you that a particular pin will go viral. But from my experience, creating pin designs that really stand out is the very first step to accomplish this goal. By having viral pins on Pinterest you can increase your traffic, which is huge if you want to turn your blog or online shop into a successful business. 

There are three key ingredients that make a pin go viral:

#1 – It’s visually appealing

#2 - It is relevant for keywords search on Pinterest

#3 – You have a great pinning strategy

In this post, I am specifically going to talk about #1 and share some useful tips about designing viral pins. They helped me with my Pinterest pins to go viral and I hope they will help you too.    

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1. Create vertical pins

Even if the optimal pin sizes have changed over the time, according to Pinterest for Business and Pinterest Creative Best Practices, the 2:3 vertical ratio has always performed the best.

“Pins are organized into columns, so vertical Pins take up more space and tend to stand out more on our platform. The ideal aspect ratio for a vertical Pin is 2:3—600px wide x 900px high. Pins that are much longer than that are not recommended as they may be shown truncated in some places, and Pinners will need to closeup in order to see the entire pin.”

There are many possible pin sizes for Pinterest:

But according to Pinterest recommendations, the golden ratio is somewhere between 2:3 and 1:2,1, meaning 600px wide x 900 px high and 600px wide x 1260 px high. Anyway, 600px wide is the minimum size for any pin to get noticed on Pinterest. You also have to keep in your mind that Pinterest will cut off in the feed any image taller than 1260px.

If you chose to use Canva or other online design tools, you will notice they have pre-made templates you can use that are set up with the correct ratio.

My favorite pin dimensions are 735px width x 1102px high, as they tend to perform the best for blog post pins and if you’ll follow me on Pinterest, you’ll notice that all my pins have this size

2. Use great photos

An old saying says that 1 picture is worth more than one thousand words. And this is true, especially on Pinterest, which is a search engine based on visuals.

That’s why the very first thing you’ll want to do when designing a pin is to use great professional images. They could be your own photos or you can use professional stock photos. Regardless of your option, a great photo can take any pin to the next level and make Pinterest users click on it when done right.

When picking an image, it’s important to choose photos that aren’t blurry or hard to see, because many readers skip the pins that can’t read or see. So, it’s very important to use high-quality images for your Pinterest pins.

Finding relevant photos for my pins is the first thing I do before creating any Pinterest pin design. Since my topics are focused on marketing, social media and graphic design, I tend to use a lot of business-like and creativity-like stock photos. Below are some samples of how I use stock photos for some of my successful pins.  

Where can you find great free stock photos?

The good news is that you can find free stock photos right online. My favorites websites are Unsplash, Pexels and Pixabay, but there are a lot of places that have tons of amazing free stock images. Everything you want and need, from food to nature, to architecture, business and much more. Check this if you want to see the full list of the websites to grab free stock images.

3. Headline

Another key element for a viral pin is the headline. No need to say that is important to add words to your pin images because that’s how you tell people what the pin is about.

Along with a great image, they are your only chance to make a first great impression – and they have to dazzle! So, for catchy headlines, you could use the keywords that you’ve researched or some other powerful and relevant words for your post and for your clients.   

Need some help? Click here to find how to write the perfect headline.

As with all headlines, you have to make them irresistible so that people will be willing to click on your pins. That’s why you should not pair more than two fonts for your headlines.

4.  Pin description

Having a great pin design will grab the attention of Pinterest users and make them re-pin it. But the description of your pins is what will make people click on it.

Add keywords

As Pinterest is a visual search engine, SEO is SO important. That’s why your pin description needs to include relevant keywords and hashtags that are based on what people are looking for. This way you will ensure that your pins have relevant content, so they appear in the Smart Feed and are re-pined.

You have up to 500 characters (including spaces) for every pin description, so you should try to use as many relevant keywords as possible.

A great way to search for keywords is the Pinterest search bar. When you search for “graphic design” for example, listed below is a bunch of different keywords that relates to “graphic design”. Use them for your pin description and title for optimizing Pinterest to your full advantage. 

In the example below, I tapped in the keywords “content marketing 2018” and one of my pins about Content Marketing Trends came up. Along with my pin, there are other pins focusing on content marketing.  

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Add Hashtags

Adding hashtags to your pin description is a newer feature on Pinterest. But it’s an excellent way to associate your pins with other similar ones. I tend to use 3 to 4 hashtags per pin description and I make sure they are relevant for my clients and for the topic of the article for which I create the pin.

For example, when I wrote the post about the graphic design trends in 2018, I used hashtags such as #graphicdesign, #trends, #photography. All of them are relevant to the post about graphic design trends.     

In the example below, I tapped in the hashtag #graphicdesign and one of my pins about 2018 Graphic Design Trends came up. Along with my pin, there are other pins focusing on graphic design.  

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5. Have a good pinning strategy

Now that you have a great pin image, a killer headline and a rich keyword description, you want people to see it! I have a pinning strategy that I tweak often, and I keep up to date on how my pins are doing.

But at the very basic level – just get your pin out of there and make it be seen! Pin it to your own boards, get it on group boards, add it to Tailwind Tribes, put it into your  Buffer Publish Plan. Just get it seen! And don’t forget to track your pin’s performance!

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