Learn how one client’s long-term Pinterest marketing efforts create passive income when she was unable to work (and how she’s weathered many online business storms over the past decade and is still going strong!)
I’m so excited to have Cassie from Wholefully back with us today. Cassie first came on the podcast in episode 7 where we talked about using Amazon affiliates to boost your income.
She came back again to talk about creating images that really capture the pinner’s attention in episode 65. That episode is a fan favorite.
The Origins of Wholefully
Cassie started blogging in 2010 as a fun hobby and before she knew it, her blog had morphed into a business.
Her blog was originally called Back to Her Roots for the first six years. After she weathered a trademark infringement issue and was forced to rebrand in just five days, Wholefully was born. Fortunately, she was able to keep her original URL which made the transition fairly seamless.
This experience taught Cassie that it’s important to make sure you are on solid legal footing if you are planning to make a career out of blogging.
Stolen Images on Pinterest
The very first stolen pin I ever found on a client’s Pinterest account was on Cassie’s account.
Stolen pins is still a fairly common occurrence for Cassie. Since she is running a small operation, (it’s just her and her managing editor), Cassie simply doesn’t have the emotional bandwidth to get too upset about stolen content.
Rather than focusing on stolen pins, she focuses on creating content and on behind-the-scenes SEO work (which she considers a much better use of her time). Her goal is to make it really easy for people who really need her content to be able to find it.
Long-Term Pinterest Marketing Efforts Create Passive Income: A Client Success Story
Delegating During Illness
In 2017, Cassie thought she was coming down with a bad cold. The cold wouldn’t go away and her symptoms intensified. After three months of enduring countless doctor visits, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease.
At that time, she had been working 40-60 hours a week in her business. She went from almost singlehandedly running her business to being completely bedridden. She wasn’t able to work for 3 solid months.
Cassie knew that if she wanted to keep her business afloat, she was going to have to learn to delegate because she was no longer able to do many of the tasks herself.
Cassie couldn’t physically stand to take videos or pictures, so that the first thing she handed off. That was super hard for her, since it was one of her favorite parts of the business (fortunately, she’s recently been able to resume doing those business tasks herself).
Investing Now for Future Payoff
In episode 7, we talked about how affiliate marketing was working really well for Cassie at the time.
During the time she had to step back, the long-term investment she had made into her business with affiliate marketing and driving traffic from Pinterest enabled her to still generate passive income throughout the time she was unable to work.
When Cassie was starting her business and was grinding every day to set up her affiliate marketing and create great content, she never could have known that it would sustain her during an incredibly difficult time in her life.
Amazon Affiliate Links
Cassie was always very strategic about how she used Amazon links. She lives in a rural part of Indiana. It was important to her to make it convenient for other people who lived in rural areas to be able to access necessary recipe ingredients when they couldn’t easily drive to a Whole Foods store, for example.
Cassie sees a lot of privilege in the food blogging industry. Serving that type of audience never fulfilled Cassie. Instead, she wanted to help people who didn’t know how to make a smoothie and could only shop at the convenience store.
Amazon not only provided links to the things that these readers don’t have access to, but also provided more information for them. Fast forward a few years from our previous podcast interview…now Cassie uses a lot of Thrive Market links, in addition to Amazon links.
Serving Those Who Need Help
Cassie used to see fellow bloggers post smoothie recipes and she’d roll her eyes, thinking — It didn’t take them any time to create that.
She started getting emails from people who asked very basic questions about healthy eating. Her goal was to serve the person who actually needed her help. This led her to create her 8 Simple Smoothies post. These were not complicated recipes, but they resonated with her audience (it’s still one of her most popular posts).
She since created more “simple” posts for healthy salad dressing, overnight oats, and oatmeal cups. All of these posts serve as cornerstone content on her blog. They provide readers with an entry point into healthy living without being intimidating.
Cassie has stuck with the number 8 for her posts because it’s a single-digit number that makes you feel like you’re getting a lot of “bang for your click”, without being an overwhelming amount of information.
Google Changes for Recipe Cards
Cassie creates multiple types of formats for her Pinterest images.
Whenever she has roundup posts of 8 recipes, she makes sure she has one image with all 8 dishes in the image.
This helps the user understand that they will get access to all of the recipes in one click.
Recently, Google has changed how they want recipe posts published. As a consequence, Cassie is in process of overhauling the format of her posts to conform to Google’s recommendations.
Instead of having many recipe cards in a post, Google only wants one. For some posts, this is an easy fix; just combine all the different options into one recipe card.
Answer Reader Questions with Pinterest Images
The biggest change in how Cassie approaches her Pinterest images is that she now routinely creates multiple Pinterest images per post.
Cassie hasn’t written a post that was less than 2,000 words in the past 5 years. This allows her to emphasize multiple elements of a particular post using different Pinterest images.
One awesome tip she shared was to use reader questions you uncover through her SEO research to inspire Pinterest images.
For example, she created a Pinterest image that centered around “the easiest way to clean pumpkin seeds before roasting them”. This is not the title of her post about pumpkin seeds nor the point of the post, but the question is answered in the post, so she created an image for it. (We talked more about this tactic in my interview with Jennifer Priest on a recent podcast about Pinterest visual search).
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I always reference Cassie’s images in consultations. I tell clients to look at the bright colors, the consistency in the font, branding, and how Cassie adds white space to her photos in order to add text overlays.
Cassie uses a Pinterest template which allows her image size to fit the 2:3 ratio that Pinterest loves. She uses TastyPins to hide her Pinterest images in her post, and Short Pixel on her blog to shrink the file size of all media elements.
Cassie doesn’t use her pin images in her posts on her website. This is totally personal preference. She prefers to omit them so that her posts stay “clean and pretty”.
Weathering Online Business Changes
Cassie has been through so much in the last 10 years of building her business. Now she sees traffic or social media changes as a nudge that something needs to be adjusted. It is nothing more and nothing less than the algorithms of the internet telling you to pay attention and move with the times.
Everything is constantly evolving and changing and as long as you’re paying attention to that and staying true to yourself and your brand, you can weather the changes.
There will always be an answer to the problems you will encounter, and an area you can grow in, as long as you’re willing to move with it.
There will be wonderful times, and not-so-great times. That is the nature of the ever-evolving place where we work: the Internet.
Back to Her Roots
In 2020 Cassie is going back to her roots (pun intended!). She will be posting a lot more about food.
When she became sick, she started exploring different options of how to heal herself and she loved sharing that with her readers.
Recently she’s fallen back in love with just sharing recipes and how to make simple things and will be focusing more on that in the next year.
Cassie’s overall goal is to make her reader happy with the best content possible. And who can argue with that?!
You can catch up with what Cassie is doing on the Wholefully blog, as well as on YouTube and Instagram. And of course, make sure you follow her on Pinterest!
For Further Reading/Listening:
- Long-Term Results on Pinterest: Why Patience is Vital
- Creating Images that Capture the Pinner’s Attention
- How to Use Amazon Affiliates to Boost Income
4:46 – Trademark Infringement and Rebranding
9:10 – Stolen Images on Pinterest
11:20 – Delegating During Illness
14:25 – Investing Now for The Payoff Later
17:30 – Amazon Affiliate Links
20:48 – Serving Those Who Need Help
25:12 – Changes in Google for Recipe Cards
29:11 – Answering Every Question with Images
32:22 – Cassie’s Images
39:15 – Weathering the Changes
45:18 – Back to Her Roots
We use Pinterest and link to our posts which contain Amazon links as well. When we first started on Pinterest we didn’t see much but as we’ve grown and have more pins “out there” we’ve seen a lot more growth.
It’s true, when you stick to something for the long-term, more people start to trust you because they see your content on a regular basis, in turn this creates more clicks = more profits.
Love seeing posts like this, thanks!
kate ahl says
Thanks for sharing your experience on the platform Garrett. So many peeps expect the same type of results that they see on social media platforms, but Pinterest definitely rewards those who are in it for the long-haul!
great episode!! very informative