So you have a small business and you heard that joining Pinterest group boards is the way to go to get free traffic to your website.
Good news is you’re right. Bad news is it’s not quite that easy.
Joining group boards can be a daunting task:
- they can be hard to find
- they’re frequently closed to new contributors
- they’re often littered with spam
Getting on a single quality group board however can be a total game changer for you and your business. Just finding and joining one new board can mean thousands of additional readers, and potential clients, each and every month.
A quality Pinterest group board is money in your pocket.
You’re going to strike out a good portion of the time when contacting group board owners and that’s okay. Our goal is to just get on one. Then the next one. Then another.
You got this.
Step 1: Draft a List of Potential Boards in Your Niche
Unfortunately there is no for sure way know whether or not a board is of ‘high-quality’ before joining it. A good first place to start however is by looking at established bloggers in your niche.
Since BTOP is in the business and finance niche I’ll use a finance influencer as an example.
Take a look at Rosemarie Groner of The Busy Budgeter:
Now rather than look at the Pinterest group boards that she is on, take a look at the ones she is actually pinning to.
Some bloggers may be on 50, even 100+, group boards. That doesn’t mean they’re pinning to all of them.
You can “spy” on which ones they’re pinning to by switching from the ‘Board’ list on their main profile to the ‘Pins’ list as seen below:
Try scrolling down the page for a minute or two and identify the group boards that the top influencers in your niche are posting to. Now check out another blogger and jot down the names of the group boards they’re actively engaging with. Odds are that those boards are high-quality in nature.
You’ll probably see some overlap between bloggers and that is to be expected. Many of the top bloggers are pinning to the same high-quality Pinterest group boards for this exact reason (how do you think they got to the top to begin with!?).
Since your strike-out rate is likely going to be high (when it comes to actually applying and getting accepted onto group boards) it’s probably best to identify 50-100 boards in your niche (if you’re niche is big enough).
We’ll talk more about how to actually apply for them in Step 3 below, but for now just work on getting a sizeable list.
This may be tedious and time consuming but its a process that nearly all bloggers that came before you have accomplished.
You can expect this part to take several hours. Roll up those sleeves and get to work.
Pro Tip: Use BoardBooster as another way to find Pinterest Group Boards
As far as finding group boards goes, another cool trick you can use is to check out BoardBooster.
You can sign-up for free and start looking things over to get a feel for them (they offer a paid pin scheduler as well but we recommend using Tailwind for that).
As you see in the screen grab above, near the top right, they have a section named ‘Top Group Boards’ under the ‘Reports’ drop down.
In that section there is a sortable list of Pinterest Categories and their corresponding group boards.
Indicators of ‘high-quality’ Pinterest group boards:
- high re-pin rates (BoardBooster supplies this information); varies by niche
- high quality content/visually appealing “pretty pins”
- typically boards with a cap on the number of pins per day perform best
- 2-3 pins/day per contributor works well to help prevent spam
- typically boards with less contributors perform better
- personally, I try to avoid boards with more than 100 contributors as they ‘move’ too quickly and are often poorly moderated
- while not a quality indicator, its desirable to pin to boards that have a larger following (i.e. 25k+ followers)
- Do not post to a board merely because it has many followers. Quality trumps all. Pinterest will not show pins in the SmartFeed from a spam board with over 1,000,000 followers if the pins on the board are not getting engagement.
Related: PinRight.com also has a bunch of helpful tutorials and courses if you want to learn more about using Pinterest for your blog or business.
Step 2: Eliminate Likely Low-Quality Boards
Spotting a poor performing board is usually much easier than spotting a good one.
Although there is no such thing as a blanket approach as to what constitutes a low-quality board, there are a few things you can look out for.
Low-quality boards often:
- have hundreds, and even thousands, of contributors (making it harder to moderate/protect from spam)
- have content/pins that are completely off-topic
- have pins that are mis-shapen/pins that don’t really pass the “eye-ball” test (aesthetically poor looking pins)
- are sales oriented/gimmicky
- have no posting limits or are incredibly fast moving (think 200+ new pins per day to that specific group board)
If you have or are currently pinning to boards like these, you should stop immediately. You’re sending Pinterest, in the algorithmic world, what are called “repeated bad signals”. If you’re sending out a pin and it gets 0 engagement in front of a particular audience (impressions), Pinterest is going to assume that:
- your content is bad or misleading
- the board that is being posted to is of low-quality or un-engaging
You don’t want your pins associated with that.
How to proactively find high-quality (and low-quality) boards in BoardBooster
Go back to the ‘Pro Tip’ in Step 1 and find the category your niche falls in (we’ll use the ‘food and drink’ category below as an example).
If you sort the list by ‘repin rate’ you’ll see Weight Watchers Recipes (Family) near the top.
Its average repin rate?
On average, an astounding 420 repins for each pin that is pinned to that group board.
Notice how it only has 41k followers and yet it beats every single board below it on the list – many of which are 10x and even 20x as large. It’s not always about the size, its about quality.
Note: This speaks to how important targeting is. That board is hyper-targeted to people trying to lose weight through healthy recipes; furthermore they’re only pinning premium, high-quality content to the board (notice how that board is not fast moving at only 2 new pins per day and only has 7 contributors).
The same principles apply to spotting low-quality boards. If you see a board has a repin rate of less than 1, I’d try to stay away from it.
The main reason: poor pin engagement.
Just think about the ‘repeated negative signals’ principle we talked about earlier.
If a pin continually receives 0 engagement you’re effectively telling Pinterest your content sucks. It may not suck but that’s beside the point.
You made the horrible mistake of pinning a half-decent pin to a low-quality group board.
You just committed pin homicide.
While its impossible to know just how much it impacts a particular pin (they don’t publicly disclose much about their algorithm), we do know that Pinterest is highly likely obsessed with engagement (its the core root of any and all search algorithms). If your pin is skipped over time and time again on a SmartFeed (or on a group board) without people engaging with it, Pinterest is going to send your pin straight into retirement.
Do not pin to low quality boards.
I cannot stress it enough.
How to retroactively find Pinterest group boards with Tailwind
More often than not, you won’t really be able to get a clear idea of just how ‘high-quality’ certain Pinterest group boards are until you’ve actually been accepted to them.
This is why I recommend compiling a rather large list of boards and then aiming to get on as many as reasonably possible. If you get accepted to a Pinterest group board, the first thing I recommend doing is checking out Tailwind to see how “good” it actually is.
You can do this by looking under the Board Insights section on the left side of your screen and then selecting only “Group Boards”:
Then filter the list to “virality score” or “engagement score”:
Important: Tailwind calculates these scores based on combined historical data of all the pins on the board (i.e. the virality score is calculated by lifetime repins/lifetime board pins).
These are not good indicators of the quality of a board in this moment.
Over time board owners often add too many contributors which may degrade the quality of the board and cause re-pin rates (virality score) to drop.
For a more accurate assessment of the quality of the board at present, divide the number of re-pins in the last 7 days by the number of pins in the last 7 days.
Life time re-pin rate for the unnamed board above is 16.10.
However the re-pin rate over the last 7 days is only 4.0 (80 re-pins/20 new pins).
Unfortunately Tailwind does not have a sortable list to do this sort of calculation for you but you Excel nerds out there should be able to do this really quickly.
You want high-quality boards?
This is how you know if you’re on them.
If you’re posting to a board that has a present effective repin rate of less than 1, you should definitely question why you’re still posting to that board. It’s only hurting you.
Step 3: How to Apply to Pinterest Group Boards
Oh boy, now for the fun part.
By now you’ve got a group board list of hundreds of high-quality group boards (just kidding) that you’re ready to apply to (if you’re not on them already).
You’ve weeded out the bad ones and you’re ready to rake in the moolah.
There’s only one problem, getting on them is actually a ton of work.
We’ve touched on this before so I am going to steal an excerpt from one of Jeff’s earlier articles on how to increase your Pinterest engagement:
Each group board admin is going to have a different way that they want you to apply to their board. Some want you to email them, some prefer a DM, some want comments, and some don’t give you any directions at all (that’s when you go full on stalker-mode and go to their website and search for their contact info).
It’s going to take you a long time. Most of the time you will never hear back and you’ll never get added to their boards. That’s just the way it goes, and it’s okay. You gotta cast your net wide and understand that rejection is just part of the game.
Here’s the email template Ben and I used to contact group board owners:
I was hoping to catch you and see if you would be open to adding me as a contributor to your ___________ (actually link to the board, they may have several and this makes it easier for them) group board. I regularly write about __________, ___________, and __________ topics on my website that would be both interesting and valuable to your readers. I also like to regularly promote and highlight other members of the community so that everyone benefits from collaborating. My Pinterest profile: ____________ Thanks a bunch, Jeff
My Pinterest email: __________
I was hoping to catch you and see if you would be open to adding me as a contributor to your ___________ (actually link to the board, they may have several and this makes it easier for them) group board.
I regularly write about __________, ___________, and __________ topics on my website that would be both interesting and valuable to your readers. I also like to regularly promote and highlight other members of the community so that everyone benefits from collaborating.
My Pinterest profile: ____________
Thanks a bunch,
Don’t over complicate it. Just send a quick note and give them all the relevant info they need so they can scope out your profile and make a decision on whether or not to add you.
Also, make sure that you are following the board and the board owner before you contact them. Please.
Now in the interest of full-disclosure, Jeff and I have changed up our contact pitch considerably since we wrote that post a year ago – we also no longer advocate the mass apply approach that is also mentioned in that article.
Our current pitch is considerably more personal and we aim to give the board owner something of value in return for being added.
While perhaps a small bit controversial, Jeff and I advocate still reaching out to board owners even if a board states it is closed to new contributors.
Many of the highest-quality boards are older, more established boards with quality pinners on them. If you think you’re up to the task of contributing high-quality content to a group board and have something to offer a group board owner, they’ll be happy to at least entertain your request.
If they come down on you with their full wrath, make a mental note (or literal paper note) and move on.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Note: Sometimes its worth reapplying to group boards you never heard back from.
Some good points that Jeff brought up in that earlier article was:
- Just because you were rejected the first time doesn’t mean you should give up. There’s a bunch of reasons why you should revisit your spreadsheet every few months:
- The board owner might have missed your DM, email, etc
- Your profile might not have been good enough back then, but now it’s much better
- They could have just forgotten to add you
Don’t use the exact same script, and be sure to again remain polite and courteous.
And that’s it! If you’re struggling to understand Pinterest group boards or you’re not getting the results you think you should be getting, try to stay focused on quality.
One last time: focus on quality.
Gone are the days that you can spam or litter a person’s news feed with pins.
Pinterest’s algorithm is too smart for that now. They’re going to put highly engaging pins in front of targeted eye balls because it leads to a better user experience.
If you focus on creating highly quality pins and posting on high quality boards, rest assured the results will come.
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