Do you blog in a small niche? Do you wonder if Pinterest can really help drive traffic to your blog simply because your niche is small? If so, then you’ll definitely want to listen to today’s episode. My guest is Crystal, one of my readers and listeners, who emailed me recently about small niche marketing on Pinterest. I know you will get a lot of value from today’s show, so let’s jump right in.
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Small Niche Marketing on Pinterest
Crystal’s blog idea began when parents of her preschool students would ask her for book recommendations for different situations they found their families going through. She really enjoyed solving that problem for those parents, and she also enjoyed the research she sometimes had to do to find the answer. And so her website, It’s Fundamental was born in 2012.
How a Viral Pin Got Her Attention
Crystal already had a personal Pinterest account, but she began a business account for her new site in 2015. For the first year or so, she only used it to pin her new blog posts and that was it. That all changed when she had one of those pins go viral in 2016.
She saw a sudden increase in affiliate income and site traffic, and freely admits to being so disconnected from Pinterest that it took her a month to even realize what was happening. But when she did realize it, she immediately thought, “What would it be like if more of my pins could do that?”
So in December of 2016 (that’s right, just 4 months ago!), she began to get serious about her Pinterest strategy. She began using Tailwind, and made Pinterest the main focus of her social media marketing strategy.
Don’t Despise Small Beginnings
As the owner of a Pinterest management company, I see so many people frustrated when they don’t see their follower numbers grow by the tens of thousands overnight like some people say they can expect. Crystal’s story was so refreshing to me, simply because she is seeing slow but steady growth, and she does not despise the small numbers.
Crystal began with a following of around 236 when she decided to focus on Pinterest, and at the time of this recording is up to almost 380. Her page views were at 600 per month in December of 2016, and now in April of 2017, are at just under 2,000 per month.
When Crystal started her Pinterest focus, she had friends who blog in the food and lifestyle niches tell her that focusing on Pinterest and using a scheduler had gained them 2,000 new followers in their first week. And yet she doesn’t have 2,000 followers at this time!
Her biggest take-away from that?
“The comparison game doesn’t help anybody.” ~Crystal
Benefits of a Small Niche
Blogging in a smaller niche means that Crystal doesn’t have the amount of competition that a food blogger or craft blogger would have. If people search for pins related to children’s books, her page is more likely to come up since there aren’t a lot of sites blogging about children’s books in the specific way that she does.
As an example, I went to Pinterest and in the search bar I typed “books about George Washington”. Crystal’s pin about that is in the top row of search returns.
She has also noticed that she gets traffic from her pins more quickly than what seems to be the norm of a few weeks to a few months. From pinning to increased traffic is about a 2 week turnaround for Crystal.
Maximizing The Search Feature
One thing that Crystal has done to maximize search is to have the word “books” in every board title. So instead of a board simply titled “Animals”, she has a board titled “Books about Animals.” Using the word “books” over and over throughout her account makes it clear to Pinterest what her page is about, and makes it more likely that her pins will be shown to anyone searching for certain books.
Another thing she did is add the word “book” to her profile. Instead of just using “It’s Fundamental”, she uses “It’s Fundamental – Children’s Books.” She uses the word “books” everywhere, to the point that she says it might be annoying. But there is no mistaking what her page or her site are about because she continues to tell you with every page and pin.
Crystal mentioned earlier that one reason she figured out that something was happening with her site is because she saw a huge, sudden increase in her affiliate income.
Affiliate income is Crystal’s largest source of income from her site. She says that a piece of advice she got early on has made all the difference in how she approaches her affiliate marketing. That advice was, “Set out to solve a problem for your readers.”
If someone is looking for a specific book, and they click on one of her pins and come to her site and see exactly what they need, there is a strong likelihood that they will then click on her affiliate link to purchase that book. So even as a blogger in a small niche, she is making between $200-400 per month in affiliate marketing because she is solving a specific problem.
If you are interested in learning more about using Amazon affiliate sales to boost your blog income, be sure to listen to episode 7 of the Simple Pin Podcast where Cassie Johnston shared all her best tips for using Amazon to grow your blog income.
Maintaining Your Focus
Crystal feels pretty strongly that focusing on books is what she needs to be doing. While there is a market for all things children, she isn’t gifted at crafts or cooking; she does know books, so that’s what she is sticking with.
Maintaining her focus on her specific niche helps her to not compare her blog to other bloggers who may be bigger or have more followers. People come to her to solve a specific problem, and because of that her numbers are only going to continue to grow.
Crystal continues to be asked by people in real life about children’s books, so she knows that her market is there. It’s just a matter of staying focused on that market and answering their questions. The questions that she gets asked in real life are the questions she tries to answer with her lists and her blog posts.
Growing an Email List (even if you don’t want to)
When Crystal first started her website, she didn’t even have an email list and wasn’t interested in starting one. She isn’t an avid email reader herself, so she had no interest in sending out emails of her own.
But a blogging friend told her that not everybody feels that way and she needed to at least explore the option of creating one. So she did her research using some of the information on how to build your email list that we offer here at Simple Pin, and she decided to go for it. She offered an email sign-up on her blog, and was shocked when people actually started signing up!
She currently has less than 100 people on her list, but her open rate is over 50%. That rate is unheard of in blogging. 25% of those who open are also clicking on links. Again, a huge number.
So while Crystal’s list might be small, her readers are faithful, and she is seeing benefits from it.
No matter the size of your list, talk to the people who are there, instead of always wanting more ~Kate
Crystal’s Tips for Pinterest Beginners
If you find yourself where Crystal was back in December of 2016, with a blog and a Pinterest account but not knowing how to make the two play nicely together, here are some of her tips for getting started.
- Have realistic expectations. Don’t look for a certain number; look for growth. So much of what you, as a blogger, do is completely out of your control. Algorithms and other factors come into play as far as numbers go. Don’t get hung up on meeting certain number goals by a certain time.
- Be consistent. It’s too easy to give up when you don’t see immediate results, but with Pinterest, you are in a long game. You need to give it at least six months. Crystal is currently in a season of slow content creation (38 weeks pregnant), but she is still scheduling pins for every day so that her Pinterest account has consistency to it.
Are you feeling discouraged by slow growth on Pinterest or on your blog? I hope that today’s episode has provided some much needed encouragement for you to keep plugging along, keep writing, keep creating, keep pinning.
Connect with Crystal-
FYI — I have a private Facebook group where I love to chat all about Pinterest. Join me.
3:25 – How A Viral Pin Got Her Attention
4:30 – Don’t Despise Small Beginnings
7:25 – Benefits of A Small Niche
10:00 – Maximizing The Search Feature on Pinterest
11:30 – Affiliate Income
15:15 – Maintaining Your Focus
18:25 – Growing An Email List (even if you don’t want to)
23:30 – Crystal’s Tips for Pinterest Beginners