Why Canva is a Necessary Tool for Pinterest (Free Templates Included!)

I’ve been obsessed with Pinterest for many years, but about a year ago I started realizing just how powerful this platform is for bringing traffic to my blog and business websites. I’ve spent countless hours combing through tons of studies, articles, blog posts, courses — you name it — and finally, after a lot of experimenting, developed a system that works best for my brands and brings me consistent website traffic on a daily basis.

free templates to create pins in Canva

While there is a lot to talk about when it comes to using Pinterest to increase your website traffic (some of which I talk more about in my free five-day workshop), one of the tools that I simply cannot live without when it comes to using Pinterest is Canva.

Canva is an online tool that I use to create all of my blog and Pinterest graphics. I have a Canva for work subscription, but you can also sign up for a free account if you don’t have one already. Not only does Canva provide canvas sizes that are already perfectly formatted for Pinterest, but they also have pre-made templates to choose from if you’re not feeling super creative, or simply don’t have the time to create your pins from scratch.

I’ve spent a lot of time playing around with different styles, colors, fonts and images to create pins that convert (meaning, pins that get actual clicks through to my website, not just impressions or saves), and have learned a lot about what works well, and what doesn’t work so well.

To help make your life a little easier, I created 10 Pinterest templates for you to use with Canva. All you have to do is click here to grab them for FREE! There’s even a quick tutorial I’ve recorded for you so you can see how to customize the colors, images and text to fit your brand.

free pinterest templates for bloggers and business owners

When creating your pins or using the templates I’ve created for you, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always include your website URL or logo somewhere on the pin so users know the source of the image

  • Add a soft call to action as a text overlay (the words you see on the image) to entice users click through to your website. You want to include just enough information on the pin that will grab the attention of your audience, but not too much information that they’ll just save it or scroll on by.

  • Experiment with colors and typography styles that suit your brand but also appeal to your audience. Not sure which colors or typography combinations work best? Create a few different options, publish them to Pinterest, and track their analytics over the next couple of weeks to see which pins are performing better than others. Use that information to help you create your future pins! Remember to focus on the number of clicks your pins are getting, not the impressions.

  • Use stock images from Unsplash or the ones in Canva to spruce up your pins. You can do a quick search within Canva or on Unsplash to find your images.

  • Don’t forget to utilize pin descriptions! Please promise me that you’ll never leave the description box blank! This is a great area to really optimize your pins for search. You’ll want to include a couple complete sentences with keywords to target your audience (avoid stringing a bunch of keywords together in random order) and don’t forget that you can utilize up to 20 hashtags in your descriptions.

    Quick tip: If you’re not sure which keywords to include in your descriptions, enter in a couple words in the search bar on Pinterest that are relevant to your brand and see what comes up!

If you want to learn more about how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website, you can sign up here for my free five-day Pinterest workshop. In this training, we take a deep dive into your brand and I lay down all the basics you need to know to get started with Pinterest. Plus, I’ve included some free bonus goodies in the training to help you get the most out of the lessons! If you have any questions about your templates or the free workshop, you can join the free virtual community here and get in touch! Happy pinning!

xxElizabeth

What to Do When You Have Too Many Ideas

It can feel really overwhelming when you have a lot of different ideas for your blog or creative business. I’ve been guilty —many times — of coming up with a ton of new ideas and wanting to tackle them all, but not knowing where to direct my time and attention, or how to sift through all the ideas that come to mind. Something that helps me when when I have idea overwhelm is a 5-step strategy that I’m sharing with you below.

A couple of these recommendations are similar to the strategies I outlined in my content batching breakdown guide, but there are some slight differences. I’m going to make this post as simple and straight to the point as possible, so let’s just dive right in:

Step 1: Brain Purge

A lot of people like to call this a ‘brain dump’ but honestly that phrase just makes me cringe. I usually dub this my brainstorm session or my brain purge. Call it whatever you want, your brain purge session consists of taking all those ideas swirling around in your mind and putting them on paper. As I mentioned in this post — you can think of your brain purging session as the Konmari method for clearing out your mind. I always recommend doing this with pen and paper, not your phone or computer.

In the free strategy guide I’ve created, you have plenty of space for this process. Use that space and fill it up — print out another page if you have to. Let everything flow out onto the paper.

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Your brain purging session should take you maybe 15-20 minutes, or slightly longer if you have a lot of ideas on your mind. I recommend using a timer and committing to stopping when the alarm goes off. Of course if more ideas come up throughout the day, feel free to add them in later after we’ve gone through some of the other steps in this process.

While you’re purging your ideas, write down anything and everything you can think of, even if it doesn’t all connect. It doesn’t have to be neat, organized, or anywhere near perfect. Just Get. It. All. Out.

Step 2: Topic Organization

Once you’ve completed your brain purging session, take a look at your list. Do you see any patterns? Does anything connect? When you start to see similarities, start organizing your ideas into categories or topics. I often find that this practice leads to even more ideas! If you have some ideas that stand alone, or don’t quite fit with anything else on your list, save them for later — you might find them useful in the future.

Step 3: Analysis

After you’ve organized your ideas from your brain purge, take a look at the categories you’ve created. This is where you’ll start to eliminate the ideas that aren’t going to best serve your target audience or target market, or rework certain ideas so they can provide something of value. No matter what you end up doing with these ideas, you always want to have your audience or market in mind. Some questions I typically ask myself are:

  • What is my goal with each idea?

  • How will this serve my audience? Is it valuable?

  • Will my audience benefit from these ideas? Which ones?

  • Which ideas do I love but won’t serve my audience?

  • Are there any ideas that are off-brand? Can I rework them so they fit within my niche?

We are often tempted to create content or offer products/services that we want to create — but you should be putting yourself in the shoes of your readers, clients, or customers and asking yourself if you they will want it or find it valuable. There is a balance between what we want and what they want. Always have your audience in mind — I can’t stress this point enough!

Step 4: Prioritize

This part can take some time. Once you have a clear picture of which ideas align with your goals and will be most beneficial to your readers, clients or customers, you need to start prioritizing these ideas before taking action. These can be prioritized according to season, demand, theme — whatever works for you and your brand. Listing them and actually numbering them in order of importance is a helpful way to get organized and see what you need to tackle first. If need be, add a completion date to help you prioritize a bit more. I typically keep this running list handy for quick reference, but I’ll also pick a handful of ideas and write them on my whiteboard so I know what I need to work on first.

Step 5: Take Action

Now that your list is prioritized, you’ll want to start thinking about how you can bring these ideas to life. I will often choose three solid ideas to work with first, and then develop my plan of action. Everyone’s plan of action will look different, but I have a few questions I ask myself that help guide me during this process:

  • How long do I have to make this happen? How much time is it going to take me? What is my deadline?

  • How much time will I designate to working on this idea each day?

  • Do I have a budget to consider?

  • What are the materials or resources I need to bring this idea to life?

  • How will I market or promote this idea?

  • What is the first actionable step I can take today to make this happen?

From here, I start drafting an outline for each of the first three projects so I can get a clear idea of what I need to do to make it happen. I usually like to start taking action as soon as this outline is completed and while things are still fresh in my mind. As I complete these projects, I check them off my priority list and move on to the next three ideas. Of course sometimes things come up (life happens!), but keeping your goals in mind and sticking to your timelines as much as possible will help you keep moving forward. Use the guide I’ve created to help you and always feel free to send me a message if you need further support in sifting through all your ideas!

How to you combat idea overwhelm?

xxElizabeth

How to Run Your Brand on Autopilot with Content Batching

If you’re a content creator, chances are you’ve experienced moments of overwhelm, stress, and frustration — I know I certainly have. As creators, it can seem that our to-do list is never ending, and just as we reach that glorifying moment of crossing off one task, another one appears in its place.

How to run your brand on autopilot with content batching

How to run your brand on autopilot with content batching

I spent months dealing with a roller coaster of emotions when it came to creating content for my blog, email list, and other aspects of running my online brand, until I finally hit my breaking point — I decided to search for a better way to deliver valuable and consistent content without (or at least less of) the headaches, tears, and sleepless nights.

I like to believe that I work better under the pressure of a deadline, and while that may be true, it doesn’t make my life any easier. Trying to keep up with blog posts and running a business means my schedule is jam packed nearly every day, and it can be difficult to find time for well, anything else.

So my solution? Content batching.

Content batching involves planning and creating significant amounts of content over a couple of days that are then scheduled to publish or post at a later date, so you can get back to enjoying other things outside of your online brand. Designating one or two days a week, for just a few hours, can open up so much more time and take a lot of pressure off your shoulders in the long run.

I’ll go over my exact method to content batching, but I wanted to let you know there’s a free content batching guide I created for you to help you get started. You can find the free guide here or click on the the button below. Use this guide to help you through each step.

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Download the Guide Here

Before you get started, think about what you want to content batch for and focus on one area at a time. You might want to content batch for your:

  • Blog

  • YouTube Channel

  • Podcast

  • Social Media Content

  • Email List or another area that you spend a lot of time working on

You might find that some of these things flow into one another, but try focusing on one area to avoid becoming overwhelmed. You can content batch for different areas on different days but just make one area your central focus for right now. When you’re clear on your area of focus, you’re ready to start batching out your content.

Brainstorm Session

Think of this as the Konmari method for clearing out your mind. This happens on the first day of your new content-batching routine before you begin creating any type of content. Find a quiet space, print out your free guide, grab your favorite beverage and get ready to write. I’m going to recommend doing this with pen and paper, not on your phone or computer.

A lot of people like to call this a ‘brain dump’ but honestly that phrase just makes me cringe. I usually dub this my brainstorm session or my brain purge. Call it whatever you want, your brainstorm session consists of taking all those thoughts swirling around in your mind and putting them on paper. In the free guide I’ve created, you have plenty of space for this process. Use that space and fill it up — print out another page if you have to. Let everything flow out onto the paper.

Your brainstorm session should take you maybe 15-20 minutes, or slightly longer if you have a lot on your mind. I recommend using a timer and committing to stopping when the alarm goes off. Of course if thoughts come up throughout the day, feel free to add them in later after we’ve gone through some of the other steps to this process.

While you’re brainstorming, write down anything and everything you can think of, even if it doesn’t directly relate to the content area you’re going to be focusing on. It doesn’t have to be neat, organized, or anywhere near perfect. Just Get. It. All. Out.

Topic Dissection + Organization

Once you’ve completed your brainstorming session, take a look at your list. Do you see any patterns? Does anything connect? When you start to see similarities, start organizing your ideas into categories or topics. Group similar thoughts together wherever you can. This is going to help you determine the type of content you will create, and this practice often leads to even more ideas. Make sure these categories are topics that will be valuable to your target audience — no matter what you create, you always want to have your audience in mind. If you have some ideas that stand alone, or don’t quite fit with anything else on your list, save them for later — you might find them useful in the future.

Plan + Outline

Once you have your ideas organized into categories or topics, you’ll need to start the planning process. Is there a certain order you need, or would like, to present each item? Does it make sense to create a series around any of your ideas? Is there any further organization that needs to take place? Take a good, hard look at your new list and see if there’s any room for adjustment.

The next step to our planning process is actually getting this content on the calendar. Will you be adding a new piece of content every week? Twice a week? You always want to make sure you’re providing your audience with valuable, consistent content, and content batching is the perfect way to ensure that happens. It’s up to you how often you want to reach out to your audience — just make sure you do it consistently. I keep a separate planner exclusively for my blog and freelance business, so it’s easy for me to plan out my content and keep everything organized. I don’t just write ‘blog post’ on every Wednesday block of my calendar, I write the title or topic of the post so I know exactly what to plan for, and what will be live each week once it’s scheduled.

I like to plan about six weeks (six blog posts, for me) ahead of time. That might work for you too, or maybe you want to start with only four weeks at first. Find out what feels right to you — you can always adjust down the road to determine how much content you want to prepare in advance. Use the guide to help you map out which topics you will cover over the next several weeks.

Content Creation

Now that you’ve brainstormed and planned out your content, I want you to take a look at your calendar and find one or two days that you can sit down for a few hours to create your content. I know we are all busy, but one or two days — or one or two evenings — of content creation will save you days worth of work, stress, and frustration. Just trust me on this one.

Once you have the day(s) picked out, put it on your calendar and stick to it. When that day arrives, know that you have an appointment with yourself to create your content — write your blog posts, record your Youtube videos or podcast episodes, put together your social media posts, write up your e-mails — whatever it is, it’s important that you stick to this creative appointment. Use these days to focus solely on creating content for your area of focus, and don’t worry about any of the ‘extra’ stuff just yet. If you’re batching blog content, I wrote this article about what to do after you publish a blog post, and while those are necessary steps to take after a new post goes live on your site, on this day you are focusing purely on the content. Save all that extra stuff for another day, or after you’re done creating your new pieces of content.

When I write, I need my work space to be clean, organized, and free of major distractions. Sometimes I like silence, sometimes I like something on in the background. I make sure I take breaks after long periods of sitting at the computer, and try to avoid disruptions that might make it more difficult for me to return to my work. If you’re podcasting or filming YouTube videos, I’m sure you know the importance of a quiet, distraction-free zone! I also make sure there is hardly anything on the calendar that day that might interfere with my creation session.

Of course, life does happen and sometimes things get in the way — just try your best; but make sure you have at least a couple hours to sit down and focus on your content. If this is your first time content batching, be mindful of the clock and see how long it takes you to create your first four or six pieces of content, so you know for future reference. If you can’t get all six pieces of content completed in one day, spread them out over two days. You’ll get a feel for how much you can produce as you practice these strategies.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Schedule Finished Content

I blog and run my freelance business on Squarespace, and this platform makes it super easy to schedule out blog content. I’ll often write my content in a Google Doc, then copy and paste it into Squarespace so I can format it and schedule it to publish over the next six weeks. If you’re recording videos for your YouTube channel, you can also easily schedule your videos to go live at a future date. If you’re planning out social media content, I recommend using Tailwind to schedule your posts. You can sign up and schedule your first 30 posts for free here! It’s my favorite scheduling tool for Instagram; if you want to learn more about why I think it’s a necessary tool for social media, you can read more about it in this blog post.

Whatever you’re scheduling, just make sure it aligns with your posting frequency. Again, I like to publish new blog posts and send out emails once each week, so I make sure to schedule that content to go live every Wednesday.

The Final Touches

This goes without saying, but if you’re creating any written material, go over and proofread your work. Make sure you’ve added any necessary links, photos, and have formatted your content accordingly. If you’re recording videos or podcast episodes, make sure you have your files ready for editing. You can choose to edit your audio or video files on the same day you content batch, or reserve that for another day during that same week. Either way, have your show notes or video descriptions ready with necessary links and graphics.

Since I publish posts and send emails on the same day every week, I also like to prepare my emails ahead of time. I usually wait to content batch my emails until the following day, but if I can, I’ll work on them later in the day of my content batching date if I have time. I also create my pins for my blog posts and schedule them in advance with Tailwind, too so they go live when my blog posts are published. If you have multiple areas to content batch, designate different days of the week to create your content, but get the main portion of your content created first before you work on the ‘less’ important areas.

Once all the necessary content elements are set to publish, you can sit back and breathe. You have six weeks of content created and ready to go live, meaning you have some time until you have to get ready for another round of content batching. I know it sounds like a lot of work up front, and it is, but it will save you so much time in the long run. You won’t have to worry about rushing to get a post, video, or episode up every week — you’ll already have done the hard work. If you get stuck or confused, always feel free to send me an email. Your guide is there to help you stay organized and get in the routine of batching out content every few weeks.

If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share on Pinterest, with other content creators, or let me know in the comments below.

Have you tried content batching yet? Was it helpful?

xxElizabeth

How I Increased My Pinterest Views from 0 to 120,000

Pinterest is the hidden gem of online marketing. I spend a lot of time talking about it here and over on Instagram because I fully believe you can use it to your advantage to grow your blog or online business. People are really starting to catch on and are understanding just how powerful this tool can be.

When I started my first business I had such a difficult time coming up with an effective marketing strategy that would convert to more website traffic, new email list subscribers and consistent sales. When I started blogging again I had the same issue. I started reading about Pinterest, combing through research studies, courses, ebooks, blog posts — you name it — and also did some experimenting on my own. Before we get into how I grew my Pinterest views from 0 to 120,000+ let’s touch on some important things you need to know:

First of all — what is Pinterest anyway?

Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest isn’t just for finding DIY’s, creating vision boards or saving recipes that you may or may not attempt to recreate. It’s a place to collect information, shop, and get new ideas -- and for us bloggers and business owners, it’s a space to grow our website traffic and increase brand awareness. It also is NOT a social media platform or social networking site. While you can follow other users and comment on their pins, it’s not meant to be social the way that Instagram and Facebook are.

How can you use Pinterest to grow your brand?

One of the first things you should do to use Pinterest to grow your brand and increase your website traffic is sign up for or convert your personal profile to a business account. In The Pinterest Project course I’m launching soon, I tell you why this is so important and show you exactly how to do it. You can sign up to get on the wait list for the course here. In the meantime, just know you should have a business account before you do anything else.

Once you have your business account set up, you’ll want to make sure your business name and profile description are optimized. Optimizing areas of your Pinterest profile just means you’re using relevant, searchable keywords that will (ideally) attract your target audience to your profile, boards, and pins. In the course, I go into detail on how to optimize your content, what works well, and what doesn’t work so well.

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The next thing you should be do is create boards that are related to you niche. If you’re a health and wellness blogger, do you really think it makes sense to include boards filled with pins of your dream wedding? You know the right answer to this question.

From there, you’ll want to start creating pinnable images in something like Canva, so you can upload them to Pinterest, link back to your website, and create an optimized description that will attract your target. Again, I’ll show you exactly how to do this in the course! It’s so much fun to create these images, and doesn’t take a lot of extra time. Ideally, you’ll create 3-5 different images per blog post, freebie, or product/service. Eventually you’ll want to pay close attention to your pins that are performing well, and refresh any pins that aren’t bringing traffic to your website. I’ll get into the specifics of this in another post.

How I Grew My Pinterest from 0 to 120,000+ Views

Aside from converting to a business account, here’s what I did to grow my Pinterest views in a very short amount of time:

  1. I got clear on my target audience and my brand’s mission — my target audience primarily consists of other female creatives who want to learn more about creating or growing an online brand. My target audience also wants to know about some general lifestyle topics like time management, living at home in your twenties, and quick makeup routines for busy women. Get to know your audience. Figure out what they’re searching for. Ask yourself what problems they might have and determine how you can help solve those problems. This not only helps dictate your blog content (or the direction of your business), but also helps determine how you will structure your Pinterest profile.

  2. I optimized my business name and profile description — you should be including searchable keywords anywhere that you can, especially in your business name and profile description. A business name that simply states the name of your blog isn’t going to be as effective as saying something like:

    Elizabeth | DIY Your Blog or Online Business

    As far as your profile description is concerned, you want to give your audience a better idea of what your brand is about, while still including those keywords. For example, rather than writing that I’m an “East coast almost thirty-something girl” I would say:

    Former teacher turned Pinterest strategist, blogger and entrepreneur, helping other women grow their online brands.

    See the difference there? Optimize, optimize, optimize.

  3. I created boards related to my niche and optimized their descriptions with searchable keywords — I eliminated any and all boards that didn’t fall within my niche. If I was having serious issues separating myself from certain boards, I simply made them ‘secret’ or archived them so that I could still have access to what I pinned, but they would be hidden from my audience. I then started creating boards that directly related to my niche.

    Every time I talk about Pinterest, I talk about optimization — and that’s because it’s such a crucial factor in setting up proper Pinning practices. Business name? Optimize it. Profile description? Optimize it. Board Description? You guessed it, optimize it. Add complete sentences that include those searchable keywords so users can find your boards, find your pins, and find your website.

 

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    4. I started re-pinning content that related to my niche before I had enough of my own content to pin — There’s some speculation surrounding re-pinning. Should you do it? What happens if you don’t do it? Can you really just solely pin your own content? I’ll answer all these questions in the course, but just know that if you’re new to Pinterest or are a new blogger or business owner that doesn’t have a ton of your own content just yet, you’re going to need to start building up your profile a bit by re-pinning content that falls within your niche. This will help bring users to your profile, and in turn, increase your monthly views and engagement rate.

    5. I created pinnable, branded images in Canva to go with my blog posts — I have a very special place in my heart for Canva. They’ve made it pretty much effortless to create viral-worthy images to upload to Pinterest. They even have dimensions that are already sized appropriately for Pinterest users, and if you’re lacking in the creativity department (or just feeling lazy or a bit lost), they have tons of beautiful templates to help you get started. You’ll want to make sure you’re using appealing colors, easy-to-read fonts, and providing your logo or website somewhere on your pin. You can sign up and get started with Canva for free here.

    6. I optimized descriptions of pins and linked them back to my blog posts — Just as I mentioned before, you’ll want to optimize the description of your pins as well. Use searchable keywords that describe what your pin links to, and leave a soft call to action that will entice users to click on your pin to find out more information. Using a few hashtags at the end of your description is helpful too, but only on new pins. There’s no sense in going back to add hashtags to older pins that have already been floating around for a while.

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

    7. I scheduled content on Tailwind — if you’re familiar with my blog, you know how much I love Tailwind. Seriously, the word love doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about this Pinterest-approved scheduling tool. For me, it’s helped keep me sane because it ensures that I’m scheduling images to go live at the most optimal times. I can literally schedule out weeks worth of content, and don’t have to spend time aimlessly and manually pinning on Pinterest. The thing about Pinterest is they favor consistency over pinning a ton of content all at once at random times. Plus, Tailwind provides you with incredibly helpful insights to better structure your Pinterest strategy. You can test out Tailwind for free up to your first 100 scheduled pins here.

    8. I utilized Tailwind tribes — another perk to using Tailwind is joining tribes. You can join tribes relevant to your niche and find other images to re-share onto your own Pinterest boards. It really is a team effort in these communities — you share an image, and share at least one other image from another user. I noticed my views skyrocket after joining a handful of tribes, and really attribute this practice to a lot of the growth I experienced.

    9. I started sharing more of my own content, and less of others’ — once I had plenty of my own content to pin, I stopped re-pinning a lot of other users’ content. You don’t want your Pinterest audience to leave your profile and go to someone else’s website, right? You want them going to your page! Although this is somewhat unavoidable in the beginning, as you build up content on your website and create fresh pinnable images, you won’t have to rely on other users’ content so much. I’ll talk more about this in great detail in the course, so if you’re a little confused, don’t worry! And please — if you’re seeing somewhere that there is a specific “ratio” to follow when pinning your own content vs. re-pinning other users’ content — don’t listen to it. Tailwind conducted an interview with Sarah Hoople Shere (who is Head of Product Marketing at Pinterest) that debunked this ratio myth!

    10. I kept tabs on which pins were performing well, then refreshed others that weren’t doing as well — Pinterest and Tailwind give you access to important analytics that allow you to better understand your audience and how they’re interacting with your pins. I always recommend studying these analytics to see what is working really well. If you have a pin that is underperforming, see what you can do to change it (by creating a fresh pin in Canva), and upload a new batch of fresh pins linking to that same post, product, service, or freebie.

    Have you started using Pinterest for your brand yet? Do you want a little help? Send me an email at elizabeth@howshedoesit.co with the subject line ‘Pinterest Help’ and we can set up a consultation! If you’d rather wait for the course, you can pre-enroll here!

    xxElizabeth

    Basic Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting an Online Brand

    I get it. You may feel like everyone has an online business or a blog of some sort these days, but that shouldn’t discourage you from going after that dream business or that blog you’ve always wanted to start. I’ve always loved blogging, and started my first blog back in 2010, but I had absolutely no idea I would end up starting a small business one day. To be honest with you, I never created a formal business plan when I started my first business, and didn’t have any sort of strategy in place with my first blog. I went in blind and had to figure things out as I went along. Looking back, of course there are plenty of things I wish I would’ve done differently in the beginning, but something that helped guide me through and keep me on track with my online brands were a series of questions I made sure to ask myself, which is what I’m sharing with you below.

    Some of these questions may seem a bit tedious to answer, but getting super clear on your response to each is important when setting up your brand:

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    For starters — what is your brand about?

    1. First of all, are you a blogger? A business owner? If you’re a blogger, do you plan on turning your blog into a business by selling digital products or services? If you’re an aspiring business owner, do you currently run a brick and mortar business or plan to market your products or services solely online?

    2. What is your niche? What will you focus on when you start your blog? What area of business will you go into?

    3. If you’re a business owner, what products or services are you selling? If you’re a blogger, what topics will you cover?

    4. What problems are you solving with your brand? Why would people read your blog or invest in your products/services?

    5. What is your brand’s mission? What is your why?

    Take some time to answer these questions before you think about some of the items below.

    Getting clear on your target market or target audience

    In addition to getting clear on the basics of your brand, determining who you’re targeting is a crucial step in setting up your brand. Whether you’re a blogger or a business owner, you need to be marketing your brand with your ideal customers, clients or readers in mind. You should be asking yourself:

    1. Who is your target audience or target market?

    2. Who are you writing to? Who are you selling to?

    3. How does your product, service or content solve a problem they are experiencing?

    Something that can help you think deeper about your target market, and an exercise I ask many of my Pinterest clients to do, is create a personal profile of your ideal customer, client or reader. This gives you visual reference and helps put things into perspective. When I do this for my brands, I even go as far to find a photo from Unsplash of someone who fits my target market, then include the following:

    • Name, age, likes/dislikes, profession

    • The problem(s) they need solved

    • How you can help solve their problem with your products, services or content

    Identifying your target market or target audience helps you start to figure out how you can market your brand, bring more traffic to your website and create valuable content.

    Marketing your brand

    When I started my first business I had absolutely no idea how to market my brand online. I struggled for quite awhile to figure out the best practices to reach my target customers, and definitely tried my hand at a variety of methods. Having a published website is great, but you need to get people there and have that traffic convert, right? If you’re running an online brand, there are several options you can look into:

    Disclaimer: This section contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

    • Pinterest — registering for a business account and implementing specific strategies to grow your brand and drive traffic to your site to increase sales, clients and readers. I’ve even created a course to show you exactly how to increase your website traffic by using Pinterest!

    • Facebook — running ads, creating your own page and/or group, joining other groups that allow promoted posts

    • Email — setting up a solid email marketing system, building an email list, providing subscribers with valuable, informative content

    • Instagram — building a following, running ads, collaborating with influencers or other bloggers and business owners

    • In-Person — networking with people in your area, attending local events, cold calling, visiting local businesses

    I’ll get into some specifics around online marketing in another post because there’s a lot to talk about here, but in my experience I’ve found it most manageable to focus your efforts on two to three platforms so you don’t spread yourself too thin. Try and figure out where your target market is hanging out the most, and get really good at marketing on those platforms first. It’s tempting to want to tap into all of the platforms above, but it can be incredibly overwhelming to juggle everything at once, especially if you’re just starting out.

    Regardless of where you are in establishing an online brand, it’s always helpful to refer back to these questions before and during the process. While there is certainly so much more to consider when creating a new blog or online business, getting clear on these essential questions helps to shape some of your future decisions.

    xxElizabeth

    5 Mistakes You're Making with Pinterest

    Pinterest is my number one source of traffic across all of my websites. Once I started taking consistent and strategic action to grow my brands through Pinterest, my website traffic more than tripled in just one month of getting serious with my business account.

    When I speak with clients or readers on social media, they always ask me the same thing: How!?

    They usually follow up this question with asking me one or all of the following: Why do I need to use a business account? Can’t I just pin from my personal profile? Is this going to take a lot of extra time? How long will it be until I start seeing the growth I’m after?

    Luckily, I have quite a few blog posts already written addressing some of these questions — and I have a top secret project currently in the works that will help you learn more about maximizing Pinterest to grow your brand — but before you dive into those other resources, it’s important to double check your current usage on Pinterest to make sure you’re not making these 5 common mistakes:

    LMDPins (3).png

    You don’t have a business account

    This is the first thing I do for my clients when they hire me as their Pinterest Assistant. Creating a new business account, or converting your personal account, grants you access to a whole new world on Pinterest (and it’s free). Setting up or converting to a business account will not only allow you to create viral-worthy pins that link your audience back to your website, but it will allow you to monitor your Pinterest analytics. You’ll be able to see how your pins are performing and which ones are being saved and how many people are clicking on them to go to their original source (your website). These analytics will give you exclusive access to the behaviors of your current and target audience. Having access to this information may not seem like a huge deal, but if you want to learn how to truly grow your brand on Pinterest it’s important to pay attention to what the data tells you.

    A lot of people will ask me if they can just pin images directly from their blog or website to their personal Pinterest, rather than setting up a business account. Of course that’s certainly one way to go about it, but resisting a business account isn’t going to do you much good, plus it literally takes just a few minutes to set up. If you want to learn more about why and how to set up your business account you can take a look at this post here where I get into the details, or you can have me set up your account for you.

    You’re pinning images that aren’t relevant to your niche

    If you’re a health and wellness blogger, does it make sense for your audience to see your “Dream Wedding” board when they visit your profile? I think the answer is obvious there, yet I see so many clients making this mistake! You have a target audience that you want to attract — whether you want them to read your blog, buy your products, or utilize your services — so you need to create boards and pin images that will bring forth your target audience. If I’m browsing Pinterest and stumble upon a health and wellness profile, I expect to see boards filled with content related to their brand.

    If you are going to be converting your personal profile to a business account, you can easily turn some of your off-brand boards into “secret” boards so you don’t lose all the content you’ve pinned over the years. I have plenty of secret boards on my business accounts that I still pin to often, but I don’t want my audience seeing them because they don’t pertain to my niche and will attract the wrong audience. Save the dream wedding and hair color inspo boards for your personal profile or secret boards, and keep your business account specific to your niche.

    You’re treating it like social media

    Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by the ridiculous algorithms on social media ::raises hand::

    I think Instagram and Facebook are secretly run by Regina George (if you don’t get the Mean Girls reference you can ignore that first sentence), because it feels like they’re always working against us. I lost faith in Instagram when they got rid of the chronological feed and made it harder for people to be seen unless you spent countless hours posting, engaging and paying for ads. Don’t get me wrong, social media is still a useful tool, but I’ve seen so much more growth and conversions by utilizing Pinterest, and it all started happening within that first month I got serious with my business account.

    A lot of people have what I call social media syndrome when they start working on their Pinterest account — they think that followers are the end all and be all, and have this belief engrained in their minds that if their follower count isn’t going up on Pinterest they aren’t growing. Well my friends, lucky for us, that couldn’t be further from the truth! What matters most on Pinterest is that people are seeing your pins, saving them to their own boards, and clicking on them to land on your website. Those are the numbers that matter. Your audience doesn’t have to be following you to see your content — they just have to see it in a search or on their feed. Sure, it’s nice to see your follower count increase but it’s not a critical measurement of success. Pinterest is not a social media platform: it’s a visual search engine.

    This leads me to the next mistake:

    You’re not optimizing your board and pin descriptions

    Think of Pinterest like Google, but with pictures. When you go to Google you enter certain terms into the search bar and Google pulls up a ridiculous amount of resources that are relevant to your search. Pinterest does the same exact thing but with pretty images. How and why do those images show up in your search? It’s all in the descriptions.

    This is another huge reason why you don’t want to just use your personal account to pin images from your website. Those images may very well be pinned without any type of relevant or searchable descriptions, which means your audience could be missing out on finding your content. Every time you upload your own image to Pinterest, you have the opportunity to craft a description that will hopefully show up in your target audience’s search results. This requires a little strategy on your part, so let’s take a look at some examples.

    Here’s a somewhat-recent pin I created that has specific, searchable terms (keywords) in the description. I’ve included a few hashtags (no need to go crazy like on IG), but notice some of the words I’m using:

    Even looking back at that description there are some things I would change to make it even more searchable, but you get the idea. You want to imagine what your ideal reader, customer, or client would search for when coming to Pinterest (or Google), and try to include some of those keywords in the descriptions of your pins and your boards. This is how your content can end up on the screens of your target audience.

    Please, please, please promise me though, you won’t just jam a bunch of keywords into your descriptions. Write out a couple sentences, put some effort into it, then end with just a couple hashtags if you feel so inclined, but don’t just type out random terms or hashtags and throw them in the box.

    If you’re stuck on what to say in your description and aren’t sure how to really optimize your pins or boards, think about who your target audience is and what they might be searching for to arrive at your profile. Think about your brand, your content, your products, or services. Once you get used to writing descriptions, you’ll get the hang of it.

    You’re not utilizing Tailwind

    This last mistake is a BIG one. I’ve talked about Tailwind before and how much I love it for running my Pinterest and Instagram on autopilot. It’s also a huge reason why I was able to triple my website traffic in just one month of consistent and strategic use in conjunction with Pinterest.

    If you haven’t seen the post I mentioned above, Tailwind is a Pinterest-approved scheduling tool that allows you to create and schedule pins that will automatically pin to Pinterest at the most optimal times. You can literally schedule out weeks worth of content and save SO much time since you won’t be stuck pinning aimlessly at odd hours. You can even join Tailwind tribes (general or niche-specific groups within the tool), to share your content in order to help get re-shares, drive traffic, and add additional content from other users to your boards. I use Tailwind for all of my clients and it just makes everyone’s lives so much easier.

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

    You can learn more about Tailwind by checking out this post, or if you’re ready to dive in and see what it’s all about you can sign up for your account and get started using it today.

    Final thoughts

    If you find that you’re making any (or all) of these mistakes with your Pinterest, don’t stress! They are relatively simple fixes that make a massive difference. If you’re still struggling after making some adjustments, you can check out my Pinterest services here and I’ll be more than happy to help you out! Stay tuned for my special project announcement that will provide you with even MORE Pinterest help!

    xxElizabeth

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