Have you ever wondered how to create a viral pin on Pinterest? Is there really a formula or is there luck involved? And if you’re just starting out, how can you even get seen on Pinterest?
Let’s start with your pin’s purpose: the number one job of a pin is to make readers stop scrolling and look at your pin. Because if no-one stops, it doesn’t matter how life-changing your blog post, idea or product, no-one is going to see it.
You can think of it as a heading on a blog post if you like – you need to get that right so that your readers will want to read your awesome blog post.
We’re going to look at the five essential elements of a pin that will stop your readers in their tracks and help get eyeballs on your blog or website.
1. YOUR PIN IS VERTICAL
If there was just one tip on how to create a viral pin, this would be it! A vertical pin gives you the most real estate in the Pinterest feed. Whether viewers are on their phone, desktop or phone, this will give you the most bang for your buck. The width of pins is fixed, so vertical pins take up more screen area.
The best vertical pins are usually a single photo, illustration or block of colour – it keeps things simple and easy to interpret for the eye. Food bloggers often put two photos, divided by the recipe title in text. To check if your photo is right, can you tell what it is inside one second?
2. YOUR PIN HAS CONTRAST
One of the least known tips for getting people to stop the feed for a pin is to make sure your pin has contrast. This can be in the photo – you can increase contrast in an app like Photoshop or in Canva, in its photo filters. And you can make sure that the text is on a contrasting background colour.
You can also have contrast between text and your photo or the background.
3. CLEAR PHOTO
You need a photo that communicates either the subject of your story in an instant or an emotion, to create a viral pin. Some popular pins don’t have photos, but if you want your pin to go viral, the extra attraction that a photo can bring is worth adding. Photos are easy to understand at speed – easier than text.
It can take time to find the right photo, so if you have an editorial calendar, why not do all your photo sourcing in one batch, so your photos are ready and waiting for when you create your pins?
You can source photos from stock libraries or you can take your own. Flat lays – photos taken from above – work well for pins, especially if you leave negative space in them for text.
There has been anecdotal evidence from bloggers having more Pinterest success with photos they have taken themselves or is at one of the higher price points from a stock library.
These findings make sense if you think about Pinterest’s image recognition capabilities – it can get confused if the same stock photo is used over and over for multiple pins on a range of topics. If your image is clear, your pin is more likely to be shown with relevant recommended pins.
If you want more guidance on taking your own flat lays, I have an affordable ebook Flat Lay Formula available here.
4. LEGIBLE TEXT
To create a viral pin, you need people need to be able to read your text AT SPEED. This means, most of the time, that you should avoid script fonts, especially when all the characters are capitals. Most script fonts are just too difficult to read. Add in that they are often placed on top of photos and you have a recipe for indifference.
Your eye finds it easiest to read a mix of capitals and lower case text, but you can make one or two important words in capitals as a disruptor, so that the reader is more likely to stop on them.
Make sure that if the words are on top of your photo, that they are clearly separate. If they’re not, you can add a translucent colour block in between your text and photo. It’s easy to do this in Canva and an opacity of around 50% is a good starting point.
To check if your pin is easily legible, you can squint a little while looking at it, taking it slightly out of focus. If you can read your pin easily this way, you’re doing well!
5. SOLVES A PROBLEM / HELPS A DREAM
This is where the magic happens! You need the other four factors to make your pin strong, but your words are what is going to take your pin viral – or not. Your pin needs to solve a pressing problem or help fulfil a dream.
You’ve probably already thought about this with your blog post topic and title, so you’re halfway there. Pull out the essence of why someone might read your post – how does it help them? – and write that on your pin in a short, pithy heading.
If you’re not sure or you think there are multiple headlines, create multiple pins and test them out to see which is the most popular.
So there are the five essential elements of how to create a viral pin.
If you’re looking for more help with your Pinterest account, so that you can have more traffic on your blog, I recommend Becca Klein’s Pinterest Pop* course. She has a free webinar on 3 Ways to Make Pinterest Work for Your Blog as an introduction to the course with availability every day.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. There is no extra cost to you for this.