Today’s episode is all about how to change your blogging mindset when it comes to Pinterest. We want to help you move from just being a daily pinner or blogger to really scaling higher and thinking bigger about your business.
I’m excited to interview my friend and client, Ruth Soukup, of Living Well Spending Less and Elite Blog Academy. Today we’ll dive into the growth she’s experienced since 2010 and dissect exactly what she did to generate that growth. She’ll end by giving you five brilliant tips to keep you motivated in your business.
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How Ruth Got Started
Ruth originally started out with a blog called Living Well Spending Less and then expanded into other areas. About two years after she started her blogging business, her husband was able to retire. Naturally, she gets lots of questions on how the blog made that possible. Ruth wrote a book that told her story in full detail — How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul).
The next major milestone in her business was the creation of Elite Blog Academy. Knowing that all of her readers had the same questions and that she had the information they needed, Ruth created the course, which launched in 2014. She then developed the Living Well Planner and has just recently launched a podcast.
Why Ruth Started Blogging
When Ruth started blogging, she was a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers. She wasn’t trying to create a huge business. She was just trying to stay away from Target! In her mind, every penny she spent at Target was the time her husband had to spend at a job he hated.
Ruth knew that something had to change, so they agreed to adhere to a strict budget. Ruth started couponing and then started blogging. She had never even read blogs before she started her own blog, but it opened up an entirely new world for her. She started reading everything she could about professional blogging, beginning with Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, which she read over and over again.
The Coupon Wave
Ruth was writing about her couponing system, but some people still had questions about how to get started. To address those questions, she wrote an 8-part series on how to effectively coupon. About three months after it was published, the show Extreme Couponing premiered. As luck would have it, Ruth’s blog series was the top search result when all of those people began to search for couponing tips.
Getting Back to the Core
The blog traffic frenzy from Extreme Couponing lasted for about six months before a group of new coupon bloggers came onto the scene. Interest in the topic started to die down at that time as well.
At this point in her online career, Ruth was running four blogs, not making much money, and was getting exhausted. She finally decided to close one of the blogs, sell two of them, and go back to only blogging at Living Well Spending Less.
She wanted to really focus on her heart and her passions. She knew she couldn’t be happy in a business where she always felt behind or as if she was constantly resetting.
Using Group Boards
Ruth was at a conference when someone mentioned Pinterest group boards to her in passing. She had a Pinterest account, but didn’t know anything about group boards. She went home and decided to check it out. She soon realized that the beauty of group boards was that they gave you access to everyone else’s followers as well.
She created a strategy to grow her blog traffic from Pinterest. Subsequently, her page views increased in 3 months from around 100,000-200,000 to over a million. Truly insane!
Ruth was spending at least 4+ hours a day strategically pinning though. She wasn’t using a Pinterest scheduler, and she was pinning between 75-150 pins a day by hand.
Giving Up Pinterest for Lent
There are so many “waves” in the online world. So it’s vital to find the thing that can stabilize you so that you’re not constantly bouncing from wave to wave.
For Ruth, being pulled away from those waves and pinning 4+ hours a day happened after she heard her pastor talk about what was taking the place of God in her life. For Ruth, at that time, it was Pinterest.
She gave up Pinterest for Lent that year, and let her assistant handle it for her. Up until that point, she had been the only one to ever pin to her account. Her assistant did such a great job that Ruth never went back to running the account herself.
After realizing that she could outsource Pinterest and take those 4+ hours every day to focus on other aspects of her business, Ruth hired us three years ago to manage her Pinterest accounts.
The Blogging Mindset Shift
Ruth described the huge mindset shift she’s experienced when it comes to Pinterest — that Pinterest page views can’t be what grows her business. Ruth wrote an article for Elite Blog Academy that talks all about when your Pinterest strategy isn’t working, just like hers wasn’t.
I realized I was chasing stats instead of building a business and that the path I was on—one completely outside of my control–would never allow me to feel safe and secure.
Throughout the rise and fall of Facebook and Pinterest, Ruth got some advice from Dan Miller to create a product. I love what Ruth says about this decision:
It was a game changer, one that transformed my low 6-figure business into a thriving 7-figure business, a business that has more than doubled in revenue every single year since. In fact this year, despite the fact that due to the Pinterest changes my blog traffic is only half of what it was last year, we still are on track to triple last year’s revenue. If anyone tells you that you need more page views to make more money, they’re totally wrong!
Creating Elite Blog Academy
Ruth was at a conference when she experienced a pivotal moment in her business. She hadn’t really wanted to go because just a few days prior, she had lost all of her Facebook engagement as the result of a Facebook algorithm change.
Ruth was feeling incredibly defeated and felt like her business was done. But she decided to attend the conference and that was where she heard Dan Miller say these magic words:
Anytime somebody asks me the same question three times, I create a product to answer the question.
It was mind-blowing for Ruth.
She went home and created Elite Blog Academy and released it that fall. It was a game-changer in her business that led to the creation of even more products.
The best thing about Elite Blog Academy is that it is the result of all the mistakes Ruth made in her business. She looked back and strategically pulled out the good things she had been doing in her business and turned it into this product.
Five (Brilliant!) Simple Tips from Ruth
Ruth sent an email to her EBA students just last week that contained some brilliant nuggets of advice. I want to share these five super simple tips with you today.
1. Check Your Stats Monthly, Not Daily
It’s so destructive to be obsessing over your page views (and it’s not strategic). Looking at that information daily won’t be helpful and it takes away time and energy that you could devote elsewhere.
Even more important, know what those stats and your traffic is actually bringing you by dialing in your Key Performance Indicators!
2. Compare Your Progress to Last Year, Not Last Month
Once you have a year of information you can look back on, it’s super helpful to see the growth and look at what posts performed well. This is especially helpful because blogging is so seasonal. If you’re prepping your blog for January, you want to be able to see what posts performed well last January so that you can create more of that type of content.
3. Focus On Providing Value
This is so huge for anyone in the content marketing space. Waves will come and go, but good content will always be good content. If you’re focused on providing that good content, good things will come back to you.
4. Seek Out Accountability
It’s easy to lose perspective, so seek out truth-tellers in your life to keep you grounded. Don’t try and get that perspective from people in random Facebook groups. Get advice from people who are not part of the online world, because they can help bring you back down to earth.
5. Just Keep Going, No Matter What
This is Ruth’s motto for everything in her life. The only difference between people who are successful and those who aren’t is that people who are successful don’t quit. Ruth’s story can make her path to success appear easy and effortless. But her succinct bio omits all of the pain, doubt, early mornings and countless other struggles she had to overcome to get where she is today.
Growing a business will be hard, and that’s how you know you’re on the right track. So be like Dory and just keep swimming.
Do It Scared
Ruth’s sixth book, Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love was released in May of 2019. This book is the culmination of everything that she’s been through in her life, and she’s so excited to release it into the world. You can listen to our podcast about overcoming fear here.
Even More Resources
And if you haven’t looked into Elite Blog Academy, make sure you go see what it’s about. It’s such an amazing resource!
Elite Blog Academy creates the BEST free resources for bloggers. Check out their most recent ones:
- The Beginner’s Guide to Branding Your Blog
- The Essential Blog Post Promotion Checklist
- How to Set Up a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
- 20 FREE WordPress Plugins
- 15 Mobile Apps Every Blogger Needs
Love to hear about our client success stories? Here are a few more:
- Gaining Exposure on Pinterest: A Client Success Story
- Visual Storytelling on Pinterest: A Client Success Story
- Using Pinterest to sell physical products (Kirsten of Julep Tile)
3:47 – How Ruth Got Started
7:13 – Why Ruth Started Blogging
14:1 – The Coupon Wave
18:03 – Getting Back to the Core
22:45 – Using Group Boards
28:16 – Giving Up Pinterest for Lent
34:34 – The Mindset Shift
38:25 – Creating Elite Blog Academy
44:55 – Five Simple Tips
45:15 – 1 – Check Your Stats Monthly, Not Daily
46:50 – 2 – Compare Your Progress to Last Year, Not Last Month.
48:39 – 3 – Focus On Providing Value
50:37 – 4 – Seek Out Accountability
54:14 – 5- Just Keep Going, No Matter What
59:48 – Do It Scared
Helpful Pinterest Resources
- Just starting out on Pinterest? Join our 4-week newsletter series that will help you get up and running fast AND the right way with your Pinterest Marketing.
- Rocking Pinterest and just want to make sure you’re maximizing your efforts? Join us as we walk through all of the most burning questions that will help you be more productive and efficient.
- Simple Pin Podcast — All Pinterest Marketing, All the time. Subscribe now.