Last Updated on December 20, 2020 by scottkandh
What is a viral pin? Simply put, you’ve hit the Pinterest jackpot and your pin is generating tons of traffic from Pinterest to your blog.
Have you ever wondered how you can drive a whole bunch of traffic to your blog? The secret to this is by using a Social program called Pinterest. For more information on Pinterest (i.e. you are a new blogger and you don’t know anything about it) go to Pinterest Overview for new bloggers and then you can come back here and read the rest of the information.
With the help of this post, and my program PinArtwork Graphic Ease (which you can download once you’ve subscribed to receive posts on my blog delivered straight to your e-mail) you’ll be creating beautiful pins too.
It’s not a difficult matter to create viral pins, you just need to have the right tools. Then once you have those tools at your disposal, you’ll start seeing the results of images getting shared over on a repetitive basis (repinning).
In order for you to have a “viral pin”, the image that you have on your blog needs to be strongly worth sharing on Pinterest. A viral pin is a key ingredient in driving traffic to your blog.
- Claim your website by establishing a Pinterest Business account (it’s free).
- Ensure your pins are validated as rich pins
- Use high quality images (Canva)
- Only rely on vertical images.
- Your image needs to stand out with text so it’s not just another pretty picture.
- Use branding on your image.
- Use keywords in your description.
Steps 1 and 2: Getting Started with two one-shot deals: claiming your website and validating rich pins
Step 1: Claiming your website: The first two steps are one shot deals but are highly suggested if you want to take your blog (and Pinterest) to the next level.
If you haven’t already done so, create a Pinterest Business account and claim your website.
Step 2: Validating Rich Pins: If you haven’t done so already, you should validate rich pins on your website. This is an extremely beneficial aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you don’t have this enabled you are missing out on additional information that “automatically” gets added to your pin such as: your URL, the image’s description, author name, and blog post name.
The easiest way for you to set up validating rich pins is through a plug called Yoast SEO plug-in. There’ll be three steps for you to complete (as a one-time deal).
- Go to Yoast SEO, click on Social.
- Click on Facebook Tab (the one in the middle)
- Set the Add Open Graph Meta Data to Enabled (button on the left). Don’t forget to Save.
However, if you don’t have the Yoast plugin or a WordPress website, go to the Pinterest Rich Pins Validator, and follow the instructions. By using the Yoast SEO plug-in, you don’t have to manually use the Validator each and every time (that can get old amazingly fast).
Step 3: Use High Quality Images (Canva)
Once you’ve taken care of the two basics above, you can start working on your images.
The first step to create Pinterest images that go viral is to choose the perfect high-quality photo.
Be patient and look at all of the different variety of images that you can use for your pin. Go with your gut instinct when you see an image that shouts: “Pin Me!” Selecting your image carefully can’t be stressed enough (in order to have a “viral” pin).
To bring this home, let me illustrate a point. Pinners in Pinterest are going through the home feed at a very quick pace looking for pins that are of interest to them. Most of the time they may not even be looking at the description and they are solely relying on the information that’s contained on the pin. This is all the more reason for you to “selectively” pick your images.
To be a blogger you don’t have to be a photographer because there are plenty of websites that offer free stock photos. I’ve compiled a list of websites with free high-quality images for bloggers in my post 20 Recommended Free Stock Image Websites for your blog.
In addition to these Free Stock image websites, there are a considerable number of programs for you to use to make pins. My go to favorite is Canva; however, I realize that might not be the program that you want to use. I recommend that you use the program you feel comfortable using and still offers you a considerable number of great images to use.
Canva is one of the best sources for getting stock images. There’s a free version and a Pro version. With the Pro version your entitled to all of the information listed below:
- Everything Free, plus:
- Create 1 Brand Kit and upload your own fonts and logos
- One-click design Magic Resize
- 420,000+ free templates with new designs daily
- 75+ million premium stock photos, videos, audio and graphics free-to-use
- Save designs as templates for your team to use
- 100GB of cloud storage
- Schedule social media content to 7 platforms
There you will be able to design your pins (from scratch) or upload images and modify them.
When I first started blogging, I was using Power Point and Word, but they don’t allow you to have the photo nicely centered like Canva does. Now nearly all of my pins are done in Canva.
Pro Tip: If you like you can copy and paste information into Canva; however, for copy and pasting the Copy method works with Ctrl + C or Copy. But the Paste method only works with the shortcut combination of Ctrl + V (Paste). It won’t work if you click on paste which prompts you with a warning.
How to Import a Photo or Graphic for your Blog Design (in Canva)
You can import images and resize them. There are two easy options:
- To import an image from your computer desktop, go to the “Uploads” button (2nd from the top of your screen on the left). Select your image and then you can drag it onto your canvas and make edits.
- Use Canva’s searchable stock images without ever leaving your blog design (by selecting photos and then looking for the photo of your choice, 3rd button down on the left).
If you’re a new blogger, you have two choices:
- You have to either take your own photos or
- Find stock photos that you won’t have to worry about copyright infringements
Don’t rely on Free Stock images that are overused. The goal here is to get your pin to become viral, so get into the habit early of using programs that offer a variety of images for you to use.
For the best results, use these tips for every pin you create.
There’s one more site that isn’t listed on the pin above for sites like Canva and it’s called Graphics Creator made by Laughing Bird Software. Today is the first time that I’ve used it and it’s helpful for me to create new pins that might give me a little more inspiration. Download the Free Graphics Creator. However, the free program does come with watermarks (squiggly lines) which now I remember is why I didn’t look too hard into using it (but it does have some nice templates). Here’s a screenshot of some of the templates available for the program.
One last note about websites to create pins. One other program that I’ve heard that seems to be popular with other bloggers (although I haven’t used it myself) is PicMonkey They have a free trial program but I don’t like the trial programs that you have to put in your credit card information before you have even tried it. To the best of my knowledge, Canva doesn’t require your credit card information for the free version.
You have several options to choose which program you like the best. To get a feel for the software, click on different menu choices and play around a bit until you find something that “you” like.
Before we move on the next steps, let’s get back to Canva
If you decide to use Canva, you can select from pre-built Templates or design a pin from scratch and use photos. For the sake of discussion and to show you an example, I selected viral pins (in templates to see what would come up). Then you can pull that template into Canva and rearrange it to tailor your specific pin.
I didn’t like any of these images, so I dug a little deeper.
Initially I had in mind the pin below as my draft to create the pin. But I like the format of the one below that which has been prompted in the template much better. So, I’ve integrated the two pins into the format that I want to use (below, 3rd pin).
Step 4. Use Vertical Images Only
Pinterest is a visual search engine that sorts pins into columns so vertical images work best.
Pinterest suggests an aspect ratio of 2:3, there are several sizes to choose for your pins. I’ve also heard when in doubt use 735 X 1100 pixels. However, I’ve noticed recently in the last few pins that I’ve made that Pinterest is starting to make suggestions that the pin should be a minimum of 1000 X 1500 pixels.
Don’t use longer images unless it’s for an infographic which does require more room. The important thing to remember is that your pin shouldn’t be any longer than 1,560 pixels. The reason is that the image has a possibility that it will get cut off if it’s too big.
There’s nothing to say that you can’t have rectangular images. Just realize that the vast majority of pins are vertical images. Personally, I seldom click on the smaller pins or rectangular pins because they don’t look good next to my other pins.
There’s also a growing number of people that do use rectangular pins for Twitter and/or Facebook. If that applies to you, my suggestion is to make another separate pin (Vertical this time) exclusively for Pinterest that you place within your post.
Here’s an article from Pinfluential entitled: 7 Characteristics of viral pins that talks about the importance of using vertical images for your pins.
When designing your Pins, it’s really important to use a vertical image. Pinterest recommends a 2:3 ratio for its Pins, so go long! Your images should be 1.5 times longer than they are wide. Long Pins win on Pinterest for a couple of different reasons.
First, you have more space to optimize with text and imagery than you would have on a short Pin. With a long Pin, you have more real estate to use for showing a step-by-step process or for giving your readers a detailed call to action.
A second reason that long Pins do well is that they stand out better in Pinterest’s feeds. It’s very easy for a short Pin to get lost in a sea of bigger, better Pinterest-optimized images.
Make your featured images Pin-sized images. There are a lot of bloggers starting to do this because of the popularity of Pinterest.
Step 5. Add A Text Overlay
Once you have chosen your vertical image, you will need to add a text overlay.
The text should include your blog post title or other text that entices pinners to click through to your blog post. Please refer to my blog post: SEO Checklist items for WordPress blogs that discusses a program called Headline Analyzer that will increase the likelihood of your pins getting clicked.
Suggestions: Use large, easy to read fonts to convey your message.
How-to posts and using numbers in your text overlay will get you more repins, so try to add them when appropriate. For example, use the bold-faced items over the italicized items.
- 21 Time-Management Tips for Busy Moms vs. Time Management Tips for Moms
- How I Lost 15lbs. in 30 Days vs. How to Lose Weight
- How to Create Viral Pins in 5 Easy Steps vs. Pinterest Images that go Viral
If you are offering a cool opt-in, mention that (or display it) on your text overlay. You can even create a separate pin just for your opt-in that links directly to the sign-up form. Everyone loves free stuff.
Step 6. Brand Your Image
Every image that will be shared on Pinterest should include your branding. Pinners want to know the pin is coming from a reliable source before they click.
What Is Branding?
Branding an image is as simple as adding your blog’s URL to your image. If you have a logo, add that as well.
Branding also consists of the colors and fonts that you use on your website. If you want to learn how to add branding colors to your website, visit my post: Making a color palette to make your blog distinguishable.
Why Is Branding Important?
Branding your Pinterest images will help pinners become familiar with your brand. If pinners recognize your branding as a trusted source of valuable content, they will pin more of your images that show up in their feed.
By branding you are putting your name out there for people to see and hope that they start recognizing your name when they see your pins. The more pins you put out there in Pinterest the more recognizable your pins will be and people will start to recognize your brand.
Also, branding your pins keeps your images safe. It will be much harder for thieves to take credit for your hard work if your pins are branded.
Create a few Pinterest templates that can be edited easily. Use these templates for all of your pins. You’ll save time and build a consistent brand.
Step 7. Keyword Rich Description
The seventh and most important step to creating the perfect Pinterest image is adding a keyword rich description. Pinterest uses an algorithm to decide which pins will show up in users feeds. Part of that algorithm has to do with the keywords that you use in your description.
Pinterest relies on many factors to pull information from your image, the more information that you can put into your pin increases the likelihood of your pin being fed into someone’s home feed.
When a pinner taps your image for a closeup, they’ll also see your description. Long-tail keywords and phrases work best. Make abundantly sure that the keywords used are relevant to your blog post.
Offer compelling descriptions that drives the pinner to click through to your content.
Create Pinterest Images That Go Viral – Bonus Tips
The tips above will set you up for success on Pinterest. The bonus tips below will help make your blog post get more traffic with the help of Pinterest.
Be sure that when it comes time to pinning your pin that you place the pin in the most relevant board. Don’t duplicate it on any other board. Let your pinners do that work for you if they want to repin to their boards.
Here’s another quote from Pinfluential regarding strategically pinning.
“Selecting boards that have closely-related keywords will help your Pin rank higher in Pinterest’s search results. Finally, you should extend the reach of your Pin by sharing it with as many Tailwind Tribes as possible.
Strategic Pinning should be a part of your regular Pinterest workflow, but it’s especially important if you’re hoping to push your Pin toward viral status. Even if your Pin gets a lot of organic shares from your Pinterest followers and visitors to your website, it’s virtually impossible to produce viral Pins without a little help from Pinterest. You can get that help if you make it easy for the Pinterest algorithm to correctly categorize your Pin by following these recommendations for Strategic Pinning.
Because of the change in the Pinterest Algorithm that is requesting fresh new content, don’t pin to other boards. It used to work in the past, however, the days of doing that are over. Don’t get caught up in Pinterest’s algorithm that it will flag you as spam if you start having too many duplicate pins.:
Pinterest favors pinners that are actually using their platform regularly and using Fresh new pins.
Create a pinning strategy that incorporates both manual pinning and scheduled pins that will drip throughout the day.
To bring your Pinning Traffic to the next level be sure to check out my post: How to triple your Pinterest Impressions
Create Multiple Pins
Once you’re creating pins using these tips, you’ll start to see what works for getting your content pinned and repinned. Use that knowledge to create two or three alternate pins for each blog post.
Change up the images completely, use different titles (still relevant to the content) and you can increase your blog’s exposure even more on Pinterest.
Important Advice: Use an image that’s relevant to your blog so that the search engines and Pinterest have a good understanding of what your article about. This will help it rank higher in both.
You don’t have to be a professional designer in order to have viral pins on Pinterest. Follow all of the tips above and I think you’ll be on your way and I’ll be pinning “your” viral pins.
Thank you so much for visiting my blog. My goal is to provide tips and strategies to help you build your own successful and profitable blog. Happy Pinning!
More information that I’ve written regarding Viral pins (below). I wrote these to give you an idea on viral pins and talked about what sets them apart. By looking at these, hopefully, you’ll get a better idea.
- How to make Viral pins for Pinterest to boost your SEO
- 50 Pins to inspire creating your own Awesome “Viral” Pins
- Blogtober Day 25 – Top 20 Favorite “Viral” pins from Pinterest
Other related posts regarding Pinterest to grow your newly created viral pins:
“Creating visually-compelling pin designs
I previously touched on how using Pinterest’s best practices as a guideline to creating pins is an important factor in going viral on Pinterest, but the pins themselves need to go beyond being the correct aspect ratio and easy to read.
They also need to be pin-worthy and eye-catching. Before I started offering pin creation as a service in my business, I spent a while asking myself what makes Pinterest users stop scrolling and read a pin before clicking on it.
For me personally, I love pins with easy to read fonts where the keywords stand out from the supporting text. These pins also have some mystery or propose a solution to a problem that causes me to click. You can see a visual example of what I mean by this in my post, How I Increased Pinterest Traffic by 4,000% Instantly.
How should you go about creating eye-catching pins? I am a huge advocate for using the web-based design platform Canva for anything and everything. They make it super easy for beginner designers to create beautiful graphics and offer a lot of tips, tricks, and shortcuts for creating designs fast.
Within the platform, you can customize one of their free Pinterest templates or design your own from scratch. They also have thousands of free stock photos and videos that can be used within your designs. A lot of the higher quality images and videos are exclusive to Canva Pro members that pay a monthly or annual fee for the platform, which is totally worth the money.”