How to Build Passive Income with Pinterest

Here’s why I love Pinterest so much:

  • It drives massive traffic to my site, easily OVER 60% of my total traffic
  • It’s fun to be on and look through all the beautiful images
  • I find great content to share
  • Unlike Twitter and Facebook where your post has a short shelf life, pins take on a life of their own as more and more people repin your content

So let’s jump into how to drive tons of traffic with Pinterest!


As with most things, getting results starts with a strong platform for growth. There are some things you want to do before you get going on Pinterest, like set up your account, boards and pins the right way.

1) Create a business account

If you have a personal account, turn it into a business account. This will give you access to analytics so you can see which pins are getting the most repins, comments and likes.

2) Tailor your profile to attract your target audience

Whether you have 100 followers or 5,000, there are probably tons of people who see your profile each month. You want to make sure it’s targeted to the right people so they stick around once they find you, right?

Include a friendly photo that reflects your brand and a brief bio that explains what you do and how you help. Tip: keep the focus of your bio description on your target audience and not you! Check out this post if you need help crafting a killer message.

If you’re featuring a course or a freebie, this is a great place to include it. Take a look at Sarah Morgan’s Pinterest bio:

drive traffic with pinterest3) Create boards that are relevant to your audience

To rock this strategy you want to have at least 10 boards that your readers would be looking for.

You probably have “categories” for your blog, right? Your Pinterest boards are kind of like that. Create different boards for each category or subtopic around your niche. This makes it easy for your readers to find the boards that interest them without having to sift through irrelevant pins and boards.

I like to name my boards in terms of what my readers want to achieve, such as “Start a Blog” or “Grow a Blog”.

While you’re here, delete any boards that don’t fit with your brand, personality or niche.

Note: When you delete a board, you will lose the people who are only following that one specific board. Don’t worry, though! It’s perfectly okay to lose followers who aren’t interested in your main message. By narrowing your focus, you’re going to attract more of the right followers and that’s what you want.

Ok, I know I just said to delete boards that aren’t relevant to your blog’s focus, but…

It’s okay to include others as long as you keep your most relevant boards higher up on the page so people can see them first. Why not let your peeps scroll down to see your other boards and interests if they want to? Hey, you never know, you may make a wonderful connection in the process!

4) Create a brand board

Out of the 10 boards you create, one of them should be a featured board where you only pin your branded content. Set this up so it’s the very first board that people see when they’re find you. On this board you’ll pin only your pins.

Take a look at how I set up my boards:

So when you publish your blog post, the first thing you want to do is to pin to your branded board. You can use the Pinterest Save Button to do this, or install Shareaholic or SumoMe plugins and use that to pin an image from your blog.

After you’ve pinned to your branded board, repin it from your main board to other relevant boards to get a bump in repin counts right from the start!

5) Add some pins

Nobody wants to visit a blank board, right? The next thing to do is to fill up your boards with pins that your audience would find interesting.

Here are some random thoughts about pinning:

  • To share other pins, repin the best content in your feed, or search for a specific topic (or brand in your niche). If you find something that your readers would love, share it!
  • The more you pin the better. I pin 13x a day. I know others who pin 30x a day.
  • Make sure you pin some of your own content as well as curated content. When I first started I didn’t have my own content to share, so I only shared other people’s pins. This is fine at first, just keep in mind that ultimately you want to share curated content in addition to your own.
  • Shoot for a mix of 30% your own content and 70% other people’s content



6) Join Group Boards

Group boards give you access to audiences beyond your followers. So if you have 1,000 followers and you join a group board with 10,000 followers, you’ve just 10x’d your ability to get eyes on your pins and drive traffic to your blog.

There are two ways to find group boards:

  • Search on Pingroupie for group boards around your blog topics
  • Join group boards that other bloggers and brand in your niche are in

It may take a while to get invited to boards but it’s well worth it! You may find that some that you want to join are not accepting collaborators, and that’s okay. There are plenty others to choose from. Follow the board description for how to become a contributor. In most cases you’ll need to follow the board and moderator, then send an email with our Pinterest profile asking for an invite.

When you’re looking for boards, try to join board that have more followers than you and a high engagement rate (aka lots of pins, repins and likes).

Another thing: pay attention to the board rules. Some allow you to pin 1x a day, others 4-5, and even others don’t set limits. Just make sure you don’t spam your best boards and run the risk of getting banned. I know this. I’ve gotten banned from a board simply because I didn’t look at their rules.

7) SEO your pins and boards

Pinterest is a little different than Facebook or Twitter in that it’s more than a social media platform. It’s also a search engine, much like Google. When you login to Pinterest and see the pins in your feed, what you’re seeing is the result of Pinterest search algorithms.

Pinterest uses a search algorithm to rank pins in the order they think will be most relevant to people. And all of this is based on the keywords you include in your profile description, pin descriptions and board descriptions.

If you want Pinterest to rank your content in their feed (and I know you do!), you have to implement search engine optimization (SEO). What this really means is that you should optimize your pins and boards so that they show up first in search results, the same way you would optimize a blog post to make it rank higher on Google.

1) Optimize your board descriptions

Now that you have your boards, don’t leave the descriptions blank! This is valuable space to add in important terms that your readers would be searching for.

Go back and add in some keywords to your boards. This is the best way to help them rank high on Pinterest, PLUS your boards can actually rank on Google too. When someone types in a term on Google, your Pinterest board can come up on the first page!

If you’re like me, when you enter a search phrase, you sort by either people, pins or boards. So having the right keywords in your board gives it a great chance to show up high in the feed.

Here’s what you want in your board descriptions:

  • The topics you’ll be pinning about
  • Any keywords related to your niche, not limited to just one keyword. Include any relevant terms so that Pinterest knows when to show your board. For instance, my “Start a Blog” board includes these keywords: entrepreneur, solopreneur, small business, blogging tips, blogging tools, driving traffic, epic content, social media, content strategies, content marketing, startup tips, online business strategies, SEO tools

2) Optimize your pin descriptions

We are on a keyword roll! For each of the pins you save from your website, you definitely want to add some keywords in there too. This is what’s really going to give your brand the biggest boost, so it pays to put the effort in to make your descriptions appealing for people AND for Pinterest’s search algorithms.

You don’t have to add your own descriptions when you’re repinning someone else’s content, although if you’d like to, you certainly can. This adds a lot of extra work so be sure you’re not doing this at the sake of your own descriptions!

What you want in your descriptions:

  • a friendly recap of your post
  • some relevant keywords that people would use to search for you
  • a call to action like “Click through to see all the tips.”

Tip: If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can amplify your SEO and save a few steps by adding a pin description to the alt text in your featured image. When people share your pin from your site the description will  automatically appear on the pin. For more on how to set this up, check out this post.

8) Create pin-worthy post titles

You can have the best content and the most beautiful images and graphics, but if your post title falls flat, people will most likely scan over it without even noticing. You want your titles to be actionable or inspire some kind of curiosity or urgency. Words like “the best”, “secrets of” and “ultimate guide to” make people curious so they naturally want to click through to find out more.

Just remember, there are good post titles, bad post titles, and “meh” post titles. You want yours to be pin-worthy!

Some general post title thoughts:

  • Benefit-rich titles will grab people’s attention right away. Will your post save people time, money, show them how to do something? Include your audience in the title too so that readers know it’s for them (e.g. “25 ways for entrepreneurs to grow your blog audience”)
  • “How to” post titles tend to catch people’s attention quickly because they provide a solution to a problem or answer questions your peeps have
  • Titles like “5 ways to” are powerful because they’re simple and actionable, PLUS they let people exactly what they can expect.
  • Don’t be vague or generic – This is what’s going to kill your post title more than anything else. If people don’t know what your post is really about or who it’s for, why would they read it?

9) Make pins that stand out

One of the things I love most about Pinterest are the beautiful, eye-catching images. You want your images to stand out and grab people’s attention. Here are some ways to do that:

1) Use images with nondescript people (aka no faces)

Images of people (but not faces) get more clicks than images with just graphics or a background color. Why no faces? It allows users to see themselves in the image that way.

2) Use whitespace

When I created my first pins I wanted the text to be as large as possible so it would really jump out in people’s feeds. Turns out larger text isn’t always better. Leaving some whitespace will actually help your images stand out more in contrast to all the other pins.

3) Create contrast between elements

Take a look at your feed and see which pins stand out to you the most. The ones with the most contrast between the background image/color and text, right? Make sure you play with the contrast between your background and your title so that the title really jumps out.

4) Use strategic color combinations

I’ve experimented with everything from dark backgrounds, light backgrounds, reds, oranges, blacks, and even blues. Overall, lighter background colors seem to jump out more and get more clicks and saves. Reds and oranges catch my eye more than blues and blacks. What do you think?

5) Longer pins are better

Yep, it’s true. I get many more clicks when my pins are longer and a bit infographic-y. Longer pins give you more room to play with and get creative. For instance, I could create a long pin for the post you’re reading, with each step listed to give people a peek at what’s inside.

10) Brand your pins

When you find something that works, don’t change it! It’s okay to play around with the look of your pins at first, but when you find a style you really love and can recreate easily, stick with it. Lock it down in a template with the exact colors, fonts and other brand elements you will use over and over again. I’ve seen many people (including me) use different fonts and colors on every pin image. Your boards can start to look a bit all over the place if you do this. You want consistency and harmony with your pins so that when people look through their feeds they instantly recognize your brand.

Note: Another brand tip, make sure you include your logo and web address in each pin. Check out this post for more branding and style guide tips.

11) Apply for rich pins

Speaking of branding, before you start loading up your boards with pins, set up rich pins. Sounds techy, right? Really, it’s so super easy to set up and will give your pins and your brand a major boost. Rich pins allow your brand name to appear below your pin image.

Take a look at one of my pins to see what I mean:

When you use rich pins plus add brand elements to you pin image, you will have a leg up on your competitors because people will instantly recognize your pins and your brand. Here’s more info on setting up rich pins.

13) Clean up your boards

Every once in a while, take a look at your boards and get rid of pins with low engagement (aka repins). Pins with low repins will not show up in people’s feeds or in search results, so they just kind of clutter up your boards. This repin count is relative to each board, so if most of your pins on a particular board have 100 repins, delete pins with less than 10 or 20 repins, make sense?

13) Display share buttons only on posts and strategic images

If you use SumoMe image sharer icons, the default setting applies to all images. What that means is that people will be able to share any image from any page on your site, including your logo, background images, header images, and more. But you want more control than that, because if people pin random images from your site, they will wind up on pages where you don’t want them. Since we’re talking about driving traffic, you want to keep them on your content and posts, right?

You can easily tweak the setting so that the share buttons display only on your blog posts. PLUS you can control which images display on your posts.

Let’s say you have some secondary images in there to give your peeps some visual guidance for your post, but those images aren’t pin-worthy. Just add <rel=”noshare”> to the image you don’t want people to pin and the share buttons will disappear. This way you only display the image sharer on your primary images (featured images, infographics, etc).

12) Schedule your pins

I use Tailwind to schedule my pins and love it. I must confess I will be checking out Board Booster soon too, but for now I’m 100% happy with Tailwind.

The Tailwind dashboard is really user-friendly, so it’s pretty easy to find what you’re looking for. For the most part, you’ll live in the Publish > Drafts or Publish > Scheduled sections on the left. On the right is where the scheduling magic happens! That’s where the virtual calendar lives and where you create the timeslots you want. Then just schedule away.

You can even create board lists and group boards of similar categories, so all you have to do is select the board list and schedule your pin once to multiple boards. I love this features, especially since I discovered how to loop my pins with it, which you can do too!