In this post, I am going to show you exactly WHAT makes a pin explode in popularity, what it means for a pin to go “viral,” what makes a good pin (and a bad one).
In order to get blog traffic, people not only need to see your Pins but they need to click on your Pins too!
So how do you get people to click on your pins or better yet, what does it mean for a pin to “go viral”?
In short, “viral” means extremely popular content that generates a lot of organic traffic. Think cat videos on Facebook or MCM on Instagram…
Viral pins have serious potential to skyrocket your views, followers, and sales.
So I want to give you some examples of viral pins and share with you why they went viral and what a viral pin looks like so that when you are creating pins and creating content (because it’s not just the pin but the content behind the pin that makes it catch fire)….
Pinterest is all about visuals and images are everything on this platform. The design of your Pins is just as important as the quality of the content you are sharing, because it’s the first thing that will grab the attention of your target audience – So do not overlook this crucial piece of the Pinterest traffic puzzle.
Poorly designed Pins equals Poor traffic.
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is not optimizing their images for all social media platforms. Images that show up well on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are not ideal for platforms such as Pinterest and it’s important to recognize the differences.
If you want your content to get the love it deserves on Pinterest, you MUST design an image that is optimized for that platform.
When I write a blog post, I will typically create the following images:
- One (1) featured image (800 x 390 pixels) that shows up at the top of each blog post and can be shared on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- One (1) square image (800 x 800 pixels) that can be shared on Instagram
- Two-Three (2-3) vertical images (600 x 1260) that can be shared on Pinterest.
So now that you know what a viral pin should look like, how do you make one of your own?
01 | Viral Pins Go Vertical
When Pinterest first launched in 2010, users were Pinning images in a wide variety of sizes. Over time, Pinterest developers found that the longer Pins were receiving more engagement than the shorter horizontal or square Pins.
Since longer images get users more engagement, Pinterest began to recommend the 2:3 ratio, which means your Pins should be 1 1/2 times longer than they are wide. (source)
If you are not sure what I mean by a 2:3 ratio…here is a visual to demonstrate what a 2:3 ratio looks like.
Why longer pins perform better?
First off, vertical images really stand out in the feed because they take up more real estate, while Horizontal (landscape) and square pins do not as you can see in this visual below.
Can you find the short pin?
Also, long Pins contain more text and images than short Pins, which means you can turn your Pin into a mini tutorial or include a series of images or graphics that can be used to draw in the user, enticing them to click through to your site.
Take a look at the Pin examples below:
All three of these Pins make maximize length to feature more graphics and text that entice Pinterest users to click through to their site.
Imagine trying to smoosh the same amount of content and imagery into a square Pin that had a 2:2 ratio or even a horizontal pin that had a 2:1 ratio.
So what’s the ideal pin size?
According to Pinterest, 600 x 900 pixels is the ideal pin size. Now you may notice pins that are super long, I’m talking 600 x 3000 pixels long!
Well, some Pinners started creating these long Pins as a strategy to take up more real estate in the Pinterest feed giving them more exposure and more engagement BUT in early 2018, Pinterest began doing something about all of these super long Pins monopolizing the feed.
Pinterest now cuts pins off at 1260 pixels and anything longer will not get shown in the feed. You can check out the article here where they state, “Pins longer than 1260px high will get cut off, and people will only see the entirety of the Pin when they tap it for a closeup.”
So if you are creating pins longer than 1260, this could be problematic if you have important text or images on the bottom of your Pin. See how the text on this pin on the left is cut off?
So with the current changes and recommendations provided by Pinterest, I recommend creating Pins that are no longer in length than 1260 pixels.
This size will ensure your Pins don’t get cut off in the smart feed, and because they’re longer than the standard 600 x 900 size, they’ll still stand out and get noticed.
Because Pinterest has been promoting the 600 x 900-pixel image size I would not be surprised if they eventually cut Pins off at 900 pixels.
So to be safe, I recommend that you place your primary text within the top 900 pixels of your Pin. That way, if Pinterest does ever decide to change their pin size to a hard 600 x 900, your older pins will not be affected.
So now that you know what Pinterest expects, let’s break down the steps you need to take to design the perfect pin:
02 | Choose the right design tools
There’s no limit to the number of different tools and software programs you can use to design your Pins.
If you’re not a graphic designer or your find yourself struggling to create beautiful pins or templates for your pins, Canva is great for beginners. They have a free plan available which is more that enough to create some awesome pins. It’s easy to use and they provide predesigned templates that allow you to create images extremely fast.
Another option is Adobe Photoshop but if you’ve never used Photoshop before, I don’t recommend starting now. It’s very difficult to learn on your own and requires lots of training.
You can also create pins in PicMonkey, InDesign and in Keynote or Powerpoint. So use what you have.
03 | Choose high quality and eye-catching imagery
On Pinterest, it’s all about what you can do to capture someone’s eye. High resolution, high-quality photos, and imagery are key to helping your pins stand out.
You want to make sure your images are bold, bright, on brand and relevant to the content you are sharing on your site.
Pins with less distracting backgrounds get more traffic. So the simpler the design the better.
04 | Choose large, easy to read text
You want to include text on your pins that is bold and easy to read so people know exactly what to expect if they click through to your post or product.
For example, if you’re a food blogger and you have a bunch of photos in your blog post that showcase different steps in your recipe, it’s highly unlikely someone will pin one of those images and it’s even less likely that that type of image will go viral Pinterest.
Why? because there is nothing in the image that would pique a readers curiosity and there’s no easy way to identify that the image leads back to you!
05 | Viral Pins include great branded design
Consistency is key and all of your pins should have the same look and feel to them. I suggest that you create a set of templates, where you can basically just change out the text and then use a few different colors or variations that you align with your overall branding.
This is why it’s crucial to design branded Pinterest images. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to creating awesome pins, check out the Canva tutorial below:
06 | Connect your pins to evergreen content
Every single Pin on the platform leads directly to some type of content. Whether it leads to a blog post, a video, a podcast, an online store, landing page or sales page, it’s all content and we know that the best content is evergreen content.
Evergreen content is just content that is timeless. It’s as useful today as it will be in one year.
Now depending on your niche it may be beneficial to use seasons and reference specific times of the year but when possible make your pins evergreen so people will want to click your pins all year round.
It’s also important to note that well-designed Pins that lead to crappy or limited-use content are unlikely to go viral. So while, your Pins can link to a store, a landing page, or a sales page, Pins that lead to blog posts perform best on Pinterest.
So here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Create “binge-worthy” blog posts that your target audience would find extremely valuable.
- Make sure your post includes strong calls-to-action and multiple opt-in forms to access a free content upgrade. (Learn more about this here)
- Create multiple branded Pins for each one of your blog posts.
- Promote your pins using effective marketing strategies that drive traffic to your pins and blog posts.
Take action – Review your pins, create multiple pins for the same blog post and split test them to see which pins perform better. This is something you can do that will be extremely beneficial especially if you are just getting started on Pinterest and are not sure what will work and what won’t. See what works, what doesn’t and from there you can improve to make sure your pins are as perfect as they can be!
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