The Complete Guide To Pinterest For New Bloggers

The Complete Guide To Pinterest For New Bloggers

How I Grew My Pinterest to 500k Monthly Viewers In Under Six Months

Last week something amazing happened, I hit 500,000 monthly Pinterest viewers! I have been blogging for under 6 months so this was a really exciting milestone for me. Pinterest for new bloggers is a must and I have really reaped the benefits of this awesome social medial site.

When I hit that 500k number I went on Instagram to talk about the milestone and got SO MANY RESPONSES! I get a lot of ideas for blog content off Instagram responses and direct messages so I knew that I needed to dedicate a blog post to this topic. Usually, my Instagram audience is excited about my lipstick color or the food I am cooking so this subject matter was an exciting new blog topic.

Pinterest for Bloggers

Lets Rewind.

When I first started blogging I thought well I know Instagram, that’s easy, but Pinterest is going to be tricky and really its been the complete opposite experience. The big difference between Pinterest and Instagram is Pinterest rewards you for your efforts and well Instagram, not so much. The Instagram algorithm and tricks of the app change at a much more rapid speed than Pinterest does, making Instagram tricky to keep up with. To be completely honest, when I first started blogging I thought Instagram would be the only social platform I would use to market my blog.

I have based my career in the B2B marketing world so I have a pretty good understanding of SEO and using social media to generate leads, what I have never used in a professional setting, Pinterest. Prior to blogging, I used Pinterest maybe once every 3 months. I got married just over a year ago, I had a very unique wedding so even for wedding plannng, Pinterest was not a tool that I used. 

At this point in my blogging career, about 75% of my monthly blog views come from Pinterest. It is a necessary blogging tool and I am here to help you use it better. I’m going to be so transparent here, Instagram does not equal blog views for me. I have done some awesome networking and have amazing interactions on Instagram but that still doesn’t equal blog views for me. I currently have 4500 Instagram followers and if I get .05% to read a new blog post, its a good day. Maybe once I have access to the swipe up feature that number will change, but who knows.

Let’s Talk About What I Did To Get These Results On Pinterest.

Quick Note: At this point I have never paid for pin promotion, it’s not something I am against just something I have yet to do. If you have paid for pin promotion, I would love to hear how that worked out for you.

Consistency

Like anything in life, you must be consistent. I love to go on Pinterest at night time when I am watching TV with my husband and just pin away. On average, I am pinning about 300 new pins a week. 300 new pins might sound outrageous but once you start that pin number adds up fast! I try to mainly pin things similar to my blog posts from that week. If I have blog posts that week about home decor and fall fashion, I’m going target those two topics.

Use Hashtags

I really thought hashtags were just for Instagram but that’s not the case. The first big influx in monthly viewers I saw was when I began using hashtags. I read once that you must use between 4 – 8 hashtags for every pin, so that has been my rule of thumb.

Why are hashtags so important? 

When users search for something, the newest pins that include that hashtag in the description will show up in the results in chronological order. However, pins without hashtags will appear in order of most popular pins as opposed to chronologically. So hastag it up!

 Claim Your Website

A few months back I was cleaning my house and listening to Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast with Yuka Ohishi (Episode 166). Yuka is an International Programs Manager at Pinterest and her insight was SO impactful to my Pinterest strategy. I learned on this episode of the podcast that, ” Pinterest rewards content creators who bring valuable pins from their own sites”. So claim your site, start pinning from it and Pinterest will reward you. After I claimed my website I saw a dramatic increase in viewers from Pinterest. If you are unsure how to claim your blog, Pinterest explains that here.

Join Relevant Group Boards

Until I was invited to contribute to my first group board I had no idea Group Boards were a thing. Being a contributor on a group board is a great way to expose your content to a brand new audience.

Learn from my mistakes – most people would be embarrassed to share this but who cares. I want to teach from my successes but also my failures. This past month I was removed from as a group board contributor and I immediately knew why. I was constantly adding pins to the group but I was no longer repinning other contributors, a big no-no. Obviously, this wasn’t a malicious move I honestly just forgot to do it. A good rule to follow as a group board contributor is for every pin that you add, repin one pin from the group.

Repin Your Content

Get in the habit of constantly repinning your own content. Self-promotion is mandatory in the blogging world, be your blogs number one fan! Here are a few guidelines that I follow when it comes to repinning.

  1. Multiple times a week I go to the Analytics Overview Page and I repin my most popular pins from that month. 
  2.  Every Month I go to my blog and repin my blog post from the previous month. Sometimes that content is topical and doesn’t make sense for the new month, but if it does make sense I make sure to repin it.
  3. If I see a pin is doing really well, I repin it to a new board to diversify the audience. For instance: If I see a pin with a sweater outfit is performing well on my fall fashion board, I will repin it to my fashion board.

Use A Scheduling App

I use Tailwind and have found great success with their tools.  My tailwind is set up so even if I don’t manually pin that day Tailwind will automatically pin anywhere from 12 – 17 pins per day. Additionally, I took advantage of the free month on Viral Tag but did not find their services as useful or rewarding as I did Tailwind.

While on the topic of tailwind, use their tribes! Tailwind gives you a free month to use their tribes, take advantage of it! Tailwind tribes are very similar to group boards, its a great way to get your content in front of new audiences.

Analytics!!!

Numbers tell a very important story, so pay close attention to your analytics. If my analytics say I had a high-performance Pinterest day, I write down whatever I did to experience success that day and recreate those actions at a later date. Additionally, if one of my pins do exceptionally well I will then create future blog content similar to that pin. Example: I normally blog about affordable fashion BUT my top 5 best-performing pins were all makeup or skincare related. If I did not pay close attention to my analytics I would not have seen the popularity of these topics.

My best performing pin to date is the drugstore makeup dupe pin below. If you want to see more makeup dupes you can find those here, here and here.

Pinterest Tips For Bloggers

But Heather, I don’t have time…

Okay now that you see my long list of rules and tools you are probably thinking to yourself oh my gosh, what a time commitment!!! The action items may look intense but great Pinterest results can be achieved in 5 – 10 hours a week. Some weeks I have more free time to dedicate to the success of my Pinterest but most weeks, I spend a quality 5 hours a week increasing my Pinterest traffic.

I am such a new blogger and am really learning every day but I think its great to hear the perspective from all types of people on their blogging journey. I hope this list gives your Pinterest and your blog or business the traffic that it deserves. If you ever have any questions regarding Pinterest please feel free to email me, hatonthemap@gmail.com

Lets be friends! Follow me on Pinterest and Instagram

Amazon Fashion Haul: Last Minute Holiday Outfits

Amazon Fashion Haul: Last Minute Holiday Outfits
Casual Winter Outfits

Sweater Dress | Boots

Earlier this year, I started doing a monthly Amazon fashion haul and it has been such a hit! I search Amazon up and down and purchase about 10 pieces of the best quality, affordable pieces from Amazon. Well,  my December Amazon haul might have been my favorite haul thus far. This order has brought my favorite new winter fashion staples.

Can searching for fashion on Amazon be a chore? Yes, you must search and search some more but Amazon has some really cute items! I am able to find the exact pieces all the popular online boutiques have but on Amazon. The best part is, these pieces are much more affordable on Amazon.

The theme of the December Amazon haul is “cute outfits for a fun night out with your friends from high school”. Who doesn’t want to look their best when they run into the cute boy you sat behind in geometry?  During the holiday season, there are always so many casual meet-ups and a new, cute outfit is exactly what is needed for those nights out.

Holiday Outfits

Sequin Mules | Faux Leather Skirt | Star Sweater

Last week, I did an Instagram try on session of this December haul and that  is saved under my highlights on Instagram.

Okay, lets get to the fun winter fashion.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Hello, Nice To Meet You!

Today is my 25th blog post (wow, that happened fast!) and I’ve never given a proper introduction! I was so excited to get relevant content out that I forgot to introduce myself, also why is writing about yourself so awkward? If you want to really get to know me follow me on Instagram.

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My name is Heather Townsend, my initials are HAT and that’s been a life long nickname. Someday I plan on changing my last name to my married name but I really love Townsend and my HAT initials.

I’ve been searching for a creative outlet that I could control the speed and content. I’ve spent my career working on marketing teams for a myriad of industries but working on this blog has greatly increase my digital marketing and SEO knowledge. It’s crazy how much more you learn and invest in something when you are wholeheartedly passionate about it.

Instead of writing a traditional about me I spent my time writing 10 fun facts that help explain who I am, my passions and my real loves. It was still hard and SO awkward.


I’m obsessed with Hanson. Yes, that Hanson. I’ve traveled many miles, stood in long lines and waited many hours to see them. When I got married we used lots of Hanson songs; our first dance, my father/ daughter dance and the cake cutting song was all Hanson. The love is real.

We just moved back to California from Birmingham, AL. I was skeptical about living in the south but I loved it so much. I would move back tomorrow if I could, miss it so dang much!

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The Alabama Theatre in Birmingham, AL

My favorite wine is Sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough Valley, it’s so dang delicious. We based our honeymoon off a trip to the Marlbourgh Valley and I was not disappointed. I’ve been to over 100 wineries; Ive toured vineyards in Marlborough Valley, Tuscany, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Napa Valley, Temecula and Edna Valley. Clearly, some of these regions are better than others.

I met my husband in a pool in New Hampshire while working at separate summer camps. It’s a great story I could dedicate 10 blogs to our super fun love story but I’ll save everyone. He’s from Florida and I’m from California so there were lots of coincidences that made it work.

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Engagement Photos in Birmingham, AL

Traveling is my favorite hobby. I’ve spent time in 45 of the 50 states. I used to travel a lot for work and it took me to those states that I probably wouldn’t have visited on my own. Still need to visit Alaska, Delaware, Ohio, Nebraska and Iowa. I only count the states that I have spent a night in or else my list would look a bit different.

I have a serious love for reality TV like not healthy love. My current favorites are basically everything on Bravo, I started watching Vanderpump Rules and Southern Charm this year and I’m obsessed. I try not to add new shows to my lineup, that’s why Im so late to those shows. I don’t watch the bachelor or bachelorette, nobody has time for all that

My sweet baby Penny is the love of my life. When we first moved to Birmingham I wanted a cat SO BAD! Mike agreed that if its meant to be it will be. Fast forward a few weeks and Mike called me while I was on an extended business trip to tell me he got a cat. I thought he was kidding but then he sent me pictures of the most precious baby I’ve ever seen. It was love at first look. Some horrible person dropped a litter of kittens off in the middle of the talledega woods and Penny was determined to find a family. She weighed less than 2 pounds and clawed and meowed at Mike until he took her home.

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My Sweet Calico Cat, Penny

I love the outdoors. I love it all; the desert, the beach, the mountains. Being outside is my favorite place to be. I spent a lot of my childhood going camping with my family, I didn’t appreciate it at the time but I know those trips crafted my love for the outdoors.

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On top of Half Dome, what an adventure.

I am obsessed with beauty and makeup products. My absolute favorite products are hydrating skin oils, sheet masks, full coverage foundation, a dark mascara, a great highligher and a bold lip.

I love, love, love to cook. One of my favorite things to do is make dinner while drinking a cold glass of sauvignon blanc and listening to my favorite podcasts. We eat little to no grains at home and very little meat so most of my meals consist of vegetables, beans, and maybe some cheese or other form of dairy.

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I’ve never met a cat that I didn’t fall deeply in love with.

Writing 10 facts about yourself should be easy right? but that was so hard.

 

The Best Weekend Adventures in Southern California

The Best Weekend Adventures in Southern California

Another great post by my husband Mike. A geologist by day, adventure writer by night.

Enjoy.

-Heather


Do you ever go on a trip or an adventure and afterward think “wow, I can’t wait to do that again” but then never do? Yeah, we do that at least once a month. When we moved back to California earlier this year we put together a list of places and things that we have done once and have been dying to experience it again. 

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Adventures by Mike

Whether you have lived in California for years or are just visiting Southern California and are looking for a few untraditional things to do; this list is sure to please all types of adventurers.

Malibu Winery, Malibu, CA

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Malibu Winery

For  Heather’s  25th birthday we went with friends up to Malibu Wines, a winery and tasting room in the hills between Malibu and Thousand Oaks in Southern California.  The wines are from the Saddle Rock Winery, just next to the tasting room at Malibu Wines. The views in and around the tasting room are excellent, the wine is also pretty great.  They have some add-ons now including a wine safari that we really need to adventure back to enjoy.

Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa, San Luis Obispo, CA

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Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort on top of Avila Hot Springs

This resort sits on top of the Avila Hot Springs, in a quiet, hidden, woodsy area.  Out the back of every room is a hot tub that is piped into the hot springs. You turn a valve and 100+ degree spring water flows directly to you.  Luckily the Sycamore Resort is located conveniently to the Edna Valley, a low key wine region in Central California. The Edna is a cooler wine region and produces lovely Pinot Noirs and Syrahs.  After a day of wine tasting, there is nothing better than unwinding with a bottle of wine, soaking up the ocean breeze, and hanging out in your own private hot tub.

Skiing/ snowboarding in the mountains and golfing in shorts the same weekend

California is one of the few places I know where you can legitimately accomplish this. for the overachievers, you can technically, do both in one day. I played golf on Friday in LA and snowboarded in Big Bear on Saturday.  Pick your favorite summer and winter activity, come to southern California, and accomplish both in the same weekend! (Best to plan in January or February).

Take a random Las Vegas road trip

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Las Vegas at night

Mostly a rite of passage (at least in my opinion), Las Vegas is so close but yet so far from the cities in Southern California.  Although we have been to Vegas dozens of times (literally dozens) this trip was one of my favorites. Heather and I planned the trip with another couple on a Friday night, left on a Saturday morning, and came home on a Sunday.  Next time you got a free weekend, head to Vegas for a spontaneous weekend of fun.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park – Behind the Scenes Safari

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Visit this cutie at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Heather likes zoos, has a serious affinity for large, wild animals. This safari park has special excursions that take you right up to the animals and give you a much different experience than a traditional zoo. The Safari Park is experienced via tram so its a great activity for all ages and all abilities.

What are some adventures that we need to add to our Southern California list?

Happy Adventuring!

-Mike

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The Best Summer Cocktails To Help You Survive The Heat.

The Best Summer Cocktails To Help You Survive The Heat.

My ideal summer day at home is sitting in the hot sun with a cold drink while lounging by the pool. I like a beer in summer but I really love a nice, light, refreshing cocktail to help me through extreme heat that is Palm Springs in the summer.

What better way to celebrate the 4th of July then with a few nice, new summer cocktails? We are leaving for a Mexican vacation this week so for the first time we are having a quiet day at home for the forth and I can’t wait to drink a few of these cocktails!

Here are a few of my tried and true favorite summer cocktails.

Skinny Grapefruit Margarita

There is a restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama, El Bario that serves THE BEST grapefruit margaritas. To be honest, I had no idea that I liked grapefruit margaritas until I had one there.

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Grapefruit Margarita

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit, about 1/4 grapefruit
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime, about 1 lime
  • 1.5 oz triple sec
  • 2 oz  tequila
  • lime sparkling water to top

Garnish:

  • 1 lime cut in wedges
  • Kosher Salt

Directions:

  1. For salt-rimmed glass, begin by running a lime wedge around the top rim of a glass.  Fill a shallow bowl with salt, and dip the rim in the salt until it is salt covered.  Set aside.
  2. Add grapefruit juice, tequila, lime juice and Triple Sec to a cocktail shaker, and shake until combined.
  3. Fill glass with ice.  Pour in the margarita mixture over the rocks add lime sparkling water until glass is full.  Serve immediately, garnished with an extra lime or grapefruit wedge if desired.

Cucumber Collins

I mean lemon and cucumber together? Hello, summer!

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Cucumber Tom Collins

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 or 5 slices cucumber
  • sparkling water, to top.

Directions

  1. In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle cucumber slices, lemon juice and simple syrup.
  2. Add gin, along with ice, and shake. Strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass, then top with sparkling water.

Watermelon Vodka Punch

Who doesn’t have great memories sitting by the pool as a kid eating watermelon? This drink is the adult version of that.

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Watermelon Vodka Punch

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds watermelon, rind, and seeds discarded and the flesh cut into pieces, plus thin slices of watermelon for garnish
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Direction

  1. In a blender purée the watermelon pieces and ice cubes and strain the purée over a pitcher, discarding the solids.
  2. Stir in the vodka, the Triple Sec, and the lime juice, pour the drink into a glass filled with ice cubes, and garnish each drink with a watermelon slice.

 

Raspberry Lime Champagne Punch

This drink is the perfect summer mimosa substitute for a brunch with your boozy pals.

 

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Raspberry Lime Champagne Punch

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup lime juice, approximately 4 freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 bottle Champagne or sparkling white wine
  • 1 can lime sparkling water

Directions

1. In a large pitcher, stir the lime juice, vodka and soda water to combine. Stir in the raspberries and lime slices.

2. Just before you’re ready to serve, add the Champagne. Serve chilled.

 

Mint Cucumber Sparkler

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Mint Cucumber Sparkler

Ingredients

  • 1-inch piece of seedless cucumber, finely chopped
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice (that’s the juice from about half a lime)
  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • 2 teaspoons mint simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 3 ounces Prosecco or champagne
For the Mint Simple Syrup:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
For Garnish:
  • 3-4 slices cucumber
  • 1 sprig fresh mint

Directions

  1. First, you’ll need to make the simple syrup. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, water and mint leaves to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, swirling the saucepan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the chopped cucumber with the lime juice. Add the vodka, simple syrup and a few ice cubes, and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker becomes frosty. Strain into a glass filled with ice, and top with Prosecco. Garnish with a lime.
Enjoy responsibly and happy summer days!
-Heather