Bloggers know how important Pinterest is for generating traffic to our sites. This guide shows how to get started with Tailwind SmartLoop for easy seasonal and evergreen pin scheduling on Pinterest.
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The Power of Pinterest with Tailwind
You know when winners thank the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Oscars? Well, my equivalent as a blogger would be to thank Pinterest for the providing the platform that makes my content seen, and Tailwind for saving me hundreds (and hundreds) of hours of pinning time to get it there. Precious time that, as a content creator, is much better spent making, writing, photographing, and engaging.
Back in 2012, I was ready to give up on my dream of becoming a full-time blogger. And then, I had one simple pin go viral, and everything changed. You can read the whole story here on the Tailwind blog: How I Became a Pro Blogger with One Pin.
Introduction to SmartLoop
Now, all these years later, I’m still living my dream job, and recent changes at Pinterest have made it better than ever for content creators.
I’ve been using Tailwind for eons, with Board Lists as an epic time-saver, and now we have SmartLoop to further kick it up a notch.
As someone with a pinning system in place, and one that seems to work very well, I wanted to be sure my transition to SmartLoop was as seamless as possible, both to ensure I stay in Pinterest’s good graces, and, to ultimately save me even more time.
I wish I could tell you it’s just a click of a button and you’re set, but, for me at least, it was a bigger process—completely worthwhile, but not instant. If your pins are ready to go, it’s probably an hour or two at most.
Through this process, you’ll conduct a mini review of your both your site and your Pinterest account, which can open a whole bunch of opportunities for refreshing old content, dreaming up new content ideas, and updating old pin graphics—or creating new ones—to give your web traffic a healthy boost.
Steps for Getting Started with SmartLoop
1 Be Pin Worthy
Before you dive into SmartLoop, do readers love your pins? If not, it may be worth revamping them.
A few months ago, Pinterest made some big, positive changes for creators and I knew my pins were looking outdated. You may not want to go to this extreme, but I actually created new pins for every post on my site (over 600 of them!), coming up with a consistent style and branding that (I believe) gave things a fresh new look. The timing was great: by scheduling one or two new pins each day for several weeks, my traffic from Pinterest skyrocketed.
If new pin creation sounds like a good first step for your site, you might want to jump to Step 4 first, where we create a spreadsheet listing all your content.
If designing pins is not your strength, it’s a good task to outsource, so you can focus on what you do best. Moving forward, pin quality is more important than ever.
And, while new content is key (Pinterest loves it), check your stats in Tailwind and Google Analytics to identify those old, viral favorites as well. My older pins are complete embarrassments design-wise, but so long as they continue sending visitors to my site, I will keep them circulating with SmartLoop, and hope to goodness that readers choose to share the newer pins instead!
Resources for Best Practices on Pinterest
- Best Practices for Success on Pinterest | Pinterest.com
- Tailwind Blog
- Simple Pin Media | Blog, podcast, and newsletter
Software for Creating Pins
2 Know How SmartLoop Works
I’m assuming you are already a Tailwind user, but, if not, get yourself signed up here.
Next, there’s a good getting-started video in the Tailwind dashboard (SmartLoop section) called Mastering SmartLoop.
I strongly suggest watching this once or more until you have the gist of how Loops are created and scheduled. It’s evident that Tailwind listened to a lot of smart bloggers to make this a top-notch product. That means there is a wee learning curve, but once you’ve got, it’s smooth sailing.
You will notice in the video that Loops can be evergreen (continually shared year-round) or seasonal (during date ranges you decide). Keep this in mind as we do the next steps.
3 Create a list of all your Pinterest boards
It’s inventory time.
Create a spreadsheet listing all your Pinterest boards including:
- Board name
- Who owns it (you or group board)
- Board description / rules
I do not know an automated way to download this information from Pinterest, but if I hear of one, or you know a way, please tell me and I will add it here.
To create my Pinterest Board Spreadsheet, I did a combo of typing, and copy and paste. Not fun, but you could outsource the task too. Once you have this list, keep it up to date when you make any changes to your boards, so you don’t have to repeat this process in the future.
Next, review the boards one-by-one, and assign them to common topics, themes, and seasons, which you can list across the top row of the spreadsheet.
If you already use Tailwind Board Lists, you may already have things organized by topics that could become Loops.
Also, your site may already have logical categories and tags that would make good Loop choices. A-ha, right?
You may also think of new boards you want to create to accommodate your content in new ways. Do any needed keywork research and go ahead and create them so they are ready to be included.
The topic lists do not have to fit all your pin collections perfectly: every pin can be edited in a Loop, allowing you to tailor the assigned boards for each one. The default Loop Board Lists (that you set) simply provide a handy, time-saving starting point.
Also, keep your Loop budget in mind. One pin to 10 boards = 10 SmartLoop Posts out of your total. The free plan allows 250 per year. I have the 2500 plan to give me lots of room.
We’re almost ready to create Loops but there’s one other important step first.
4 Create a spreadsheet listing all your content
As much as I wish I could keep all this info in my head, I can’t! And that’s why I have my beloved Site Content Spreadsheet. I use it for all sorts of purposes including finding seasonally-appropriate items to share in my newsletter, keeping track of original pins, noting redirected posts, noting what’s been added to SmartLoop (new), and planning my editorial calendar.
The good news is, if you use WordPress, you can instantly download this info into a spreadsheet using a plugin.
Once you have the spreadsheet, it’s also a good time to get reacquainted with your content and see what could be refreshed, revamped with new pins, and added to Loops. I do not want to send you down a rabbit hole, but who among us doesn’t have good content that deserves another chance to be seen?
I followed Tailwind’s advice and decided to use SmartLoop solely for my own content, and my regular Tailwind schedule for pinning other people’s content.
Resource: WP All Export plugin | The plugin I originally used to export my data no longer exists. The one listed here is similar, but I have not tried it. Whatever you use, make sure it exports in CSV format to a spreadsheet.
5 Create Loops
At last! It’s Loop time.
You might want to watch the Mastering SmartLoop video again before you start.
In Tailwind, SmartLoop is in the Publisher section.
Use your Pinterest Board Spreadsheet topics to decide the Loops you want to create (see my Loop Naming Tip below).
You can also enter group board rules during Loop creation (or editing) to prevent over-pinning (and getting booted off group boards).
Use your Site Content Spreadsheet to note each pin that you add to Loops. This will make the transition from regular Tailwind scheduling to SmartLoop easier.
One approach is to start with all your top performing pins and assign them to Loops. Then work through the rest of your pin-worthy content.
Again, without the spreadsheet for tracking, I would have found this overwhelming.
Loop Naming Tip
I found it helpful to name Loops this way:
Evergreen Loops are named E01, E02, E03…. plus a short description of the category / topic.
I find this makes it easier to find the right Loop at a glance in the app. It’s also easy to type S01 or E03 in the spreadsheet, when I’m noting the assignment of a pin to a Loop. Handy, right?
Number of Loops in Your Plan
Again, keep in mind that your plan allows a certain maximum number of SmartLoop posts, and one pin to 10 boards = 10 of your annual count.
The good news is, as you transition all your pins to SmartLoop, you can always remove any under-performing pins (there are stats for each one) to open up more slots, or, if the results are good (mine are!), you can power-up to a bigger plan and add even more pins.
6 Looping New Content
Moving forward, this is my new pinning routine with SmartLoop.
Immediately, after publishing new content, I first manually pin every image in the post to its most relevant board on Pinterest. Pinterest recommends this, and I have noticed it helps identify me as the original source both in Pinterest and Google. Each pin may have different descriptions and hashtags to give the Pinterest search engine a good understanding of what they are about.
Next, with each new image on one board, I use the Tailwind browser extension to assign each pin to a Loop, editing the default boards as needed.
The URLs of the first pins are noted in my Site Content Spreadsheet along with the short name for the Loop they have been added to (S01, S02, E01, or whatever). This makes it easy to find and replace the pin if I later choose to update or replace it.
Once you have transitioned all your pinning to SmartLoop, you can say goodbye to this spreadsheet tracking.
Right now, as I write this, we are in fall, and I can’t tell you how good it feels knowing that all my fall content is getting added to its seasonal fall Loop and I won’t have to hunt down and repin them myself next year. SmartLoop will do it for me. Woot!
I hope this helps you get started with SmartLoop. And, if you have any questions or tips to share, please leave them in the comments below.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛