Start rocking your reputation!


A Guide To Getting Noticed On Pinterest With the Smart Feed + Promoted Pins

  |   Business Tips, Classy Marketing, Olyvia TV, Social Media Marketing   |   43 Comments

How to get noticed on Pinterest: the 411 on the smart feed + promoted pins, and what to put in place to help your blog + business.


We’ve always considered Pinterest a pretty reliable social network as far as what it takes to get our Pins seen, right?


If you have a good image, write a description with a few keywords + sprinkle of enthusiasm, and post it within a few hours of the mad after-dinner onslaught of your followers coming online while their hubbies turn on EveryNight Football, you’re set.


Well, most of the time anyhow!


So, I suspect this is why the recent change in Pinterest’s home feed is unsettling to a lot of people.


Oh don’t think I haven’t heard you grumbling on Twitter. 🙂


What happened is that — in a nutshell — Pinterest decided, “Hey, we think that when people spend time looking at their feed, they want to see the best Pins + the Pins that are most interesting to them! Not just the 62 Pins of beanie hats and miniature porcelain dogs one of their followers put up last night.


You have to admit. They had a point.


And that’s why they switched up a whole bunch of things and called it something new: The Smart Feed.


Pinterest’s announcement of it was, shall we say, a bit cerebral. (Still love you, Pinterest!) So in today’s video I’ll lay out the details for you in simple terms. Plus I’m going to show you exactly how you’ll need to Pin going forward.


You’ll also learn about Promoted Pins and how they can be an added boost to your blog — and even build your email list! — all for literally just a few cents.


(Hint: if most of your traffic comes from Pinterest, I think you’re really going to lovvvve this part.)


The “official” Table of Contents:


#1 - The new Pinterest Smart Feed and how it affects who sees your pins


#2 - How you should start writing your Pinterest descriptions


#3 - What you need to stop doing with hashtags!


#4 - A full insider’s walkthrough on how to set up a Promoted Pin






Click to tweet: Pinterest is now less about the perfect time to Pin and more about The Perfect Pin.







While timing still has relevance to when you pin, it’s now only a supporting factor and NOT the whole show. Also, your Pins can now show up in anyone’s feed, not just those of your followers.


The main benefits to you are:


1. Your Pins have a much longer “shelf life” (they don’t forever drop off the radar after a few hours/days — yay!)

2. Your Pins can reach anybody who pins similar things (small follower count? not as big of deal)


Buuuuut, pinning low quality Pins with poor or nonexistent descriptions now has big(ger) consequences. Don’t do the Pin and Dash, friends. Seriously.




Indulge my inner geek for a quick second, because this is where it really gets fun!


In my own experiment running a short-term Promoted Pin that led to the landing page for my e-book, The Classy Entrepreneur, I had 14 new people subscribe at a total cost of only $0.13 each.


My landing page conversion rate actually reached a whopping 69%:


The Classy Entrepreneur landing page conversion rate


(According to HubSpot, an average landing page conversion rate is anywhere between 5-15%. Most marketers consider “a really good” rate to be between 25%-50%.)


If your ideal audience is on Pinterest — and I’m betting there’s a good chance they are — it’s an area where you should at least consider spending a little of your pocket/couch/car change.





Pages mentioned:


Pinterest’s Pinterest Page


Misc. resources:


Pinterest’s official announcement of changes to the Home Feed


A free 2-page worksheet (because you know I couldn’t help myself):


Pinterest Worksheet Preview Pinterest Worksheet Preview

Download the Pinterest Smart Feed + Promoted Pins Worksheet

 It’s an instant download this time. 🙂



How much do you rely on Pinterest for marketing your business or blog? Have you tried Promoted Pins? Share the goods so we can learn from you!



Erika Madden

(Chief Olyvia)



P.S. Office hours are taking on a new format. I want to make it easier for you to get PR + business + blogging help without having to stay up wayyyy past your bedtime (or get up in the wee morning hours in some cases…ouch), so on Wednesdays — that’s today! — I’ll be holding “Olyvia’s Office Hours On The Blog.”


(Do I need a hashtag for this? Let’s make it simple with #AskChiefOlyvia.)


Yes, that means I’ll be right here every week — except for days when Olyvia Works is published — answering your questions + dishing out tips ALL DAY. Or, generally, from 9:00 - 5:00 MST…give or take. 🙂


There’s really only one rule: one question per person, per week. So my friends, let’s talk.







Simple, sleaze-free tips to getting noticed on Facebook + a video tutorial.  Simple, sleaze-free tips to getting noticed on Twitter + a video tutorial.  How to get your business or blog noticed online: a sleaze-free guide to getting more followers, engagement, and website visitors!




The free 21 day ecourse that creates pro online impressions for business owners!

  • SUPER helpful, Erika! Needed to hear this! Now, just waiting on my website to be finished so I can “verify” and start promoting some pins!

    • Awesome Naomi, I love hearing that it was actually helpful for you. I think your brand will do really well on Pinterest. 🙂

  • Ohh my goodness, Erika! This couldn’t have been more perfectly timed! What an excellent video. I was wondering how many changes were made to Pinterest other than the obvious visual changes.

    I’ve been receiving a million more re-pins lately and I wasn’t pinning any more than usual. The new smart feed element is going to be an interesting change. I definitely get a larger variety of pin suggestions which is nice when looking for new people to follow.

    I can’t say I’m unhappy about less hash tags. I like that it emphasized quality content in your pin descriptions. Does this apply to board descriptions as well? It was emphasized before to use hashtags in your board descriptions to help others find your boards, but if they are not using hashtags now, should we restructure the content of our board descriptions? Or is this just specifically related to individual pins?

    When you discussed the rated pin changes, does that apply to each individual account? Specifically the engagement of your account - is that unique to each pinner judging how often they pin all content, not just their own personal pins? Or does it focus only on the engagement of their own personal pins? I hope that made sense… haha

    Loved the detailed description of the Promoted pins. What a great opportunity to extend the life of your campaigns and bring a steadier flow of viewers to your site. When you specify a time frame for your campaign, do you continue to be charge after the campaign is up when people who pinned your campaign pin but didn’t visit your site till after the campaign was done? Or once a pin is promoted, each page visit - despite the time of the initial campaign - you’ll be charged?

    Sorry for the question attack. Like you, I am a Pinterest addict and want to make sure my time is used most efficiently.

    Thank you thank you thank you for such a awesome video! DEFINITELY keep doing these. You combine quality content, personality, DIY tutorial, and real time social proof into each short delightful video 🙂

    • I’m super excited to hear that this was perfect timing for you! And you’re right, I’ve noticed A LOT more re-pins + followers as well and I haven’t been doing anything different (aside from experimenting with a few Promoted Pins). I’ve found it to be a very positive change; I’m convinced it will help new bloggers and businesses get more exposure.

      Okay, let’s tackle your questions!

      #1: The no-hashtag advice does apply to board descriptions as well. What Pinterest prefers is for you to simply use real sentences with keywords to describe your boards. So instead of a string of “#blogging, #blogs, #blogtips, #blogadvice” it would be better to say, “The best tips, tricks, and advice on how to grow your blog!” Also, along with that, the board title needs to be something that best represents what’s included on that board. (By the way, you do a GREAT job at this.) It’s better to be clear than to be clever. (I changed one of my boards from “Biz Vids” to Business Videos” because of this.)

      #2: Haha it took me a moment to understand, but I gotcha now. YES it applies to your WHOLE engagement, not just your own pins.

      #3: And NO, you do not continue to be charged once the campaign is up. You ONLY pay for the time period specified (while Pinterest is putting your Pins in front of people who are searching for the keywords you specify). Once it’s done (and you can pause or cancel a Promoted Pin at any time), you don’t pay a cent no matter how many additional people find and click your Pin.

      Ahhh, I love you Julie, you encourage me so much! Thanks for the motivation to keep me going. 😀

  • yvonne

    So I totally read your post wrong…I tweeted you a question instead. Sorry about that, just ignore it. Here’s my question again:
    I’m a simplicity (life/career) coach for women and I’m trying to build awareness online. Any advice on types of websites to comment on/contribute to? I’m drawing a blank 🙁 I just need a place to start and I’ve been doing things on the local level but I’m moving soon. Thanks for your help:)

    • Oh no problem, Yvonne. 🙂 I apologize for the confusion! I can see why you thought that. (Everyone has a hashtag for everything these days. I was just trying to be cool. Hahaha.)

      You ask a very good question. I suggest She Owns It as one possibility for guest blogging. I’m not sure if they’re accepting contributors currently, but they may be seeking them out this next month or so. In the past they’ve announced it via Twitter:

      Another contributor site that you might consider is BlogHer. You can set up an account with them easily, and they are very well known.

      I also recommend commenting on Marie Forleo’s blog posts ( right away when they’re published on Tuesday mornings.

      This is not quite a website contributor tip, so I apologize for going off topic (!), but you also can build awareness by joining some Facebook Groups and offering your advice and support. Have you heard of Nathalie Lussier’s 30 Day Listbuilding Challenge ( When you sign up (it’s free) you get access to her private Facebook group, which is filled with a plethora of women business owners and bloggers.

      I hope that helps, Yvonne! Thanks so much for your question. 🙂

  • So glad Naomi shared your post as I had been wondering about changes and promoted pins, as well as related pins. Your blog is a wealth of information Olyvia, and awesome you interviewed the amazing Regina!

    • You’re so welcome, Elizabeth! I’m really thrilled to hear it was helpful for you. (And yes, I was honored that Regina was so kind as to agree to an interview! She’s wonderful.) Thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂

  • yvonne

    Thank you Erika! I really love your blog and am so happy I stumbled upon it. You totally rock!

    • Yvonne, thank YOU. 🙂 Your enthusiasm is awesome!

  • mdcartisticdesigns

    Erika, I needed to read this and listen to your video, however, the video is not working for me (no sound) :(. I’m just glad that you added meat to your post so I could learn more about the promoted pins. Julie asked a lot of questions I also had, so you’ve answered those :). Thank you! I also changed my game plan with hashtags at some point. I was putting a lot in (recommended by someone) and after I did my research, I started adding less. Pinterest confirmed later that we should use less hashtags, so you are spot on there. I use a little, but a lot less and usually, just more description. I’m now motivated to try Promoted Pins. I’ve received an email from Pinterest recently to give it a try, but the “think tank” I am, made me decide to wait and look at others results :). Thank you for sharing yours! I love it! By the way, your reference about “everynight football” made me laugh. So glad my hubby does not watch football. You have such a great sense of humor all the while creating content that has purpose and is extremely useful.

    • I know we discussed this via email, but I had to comment that your observation of my “everynight football” reference made me chuckle. 😀 I’m definitely not a good football sport unless maybe it’s the Superbowl!! lol

  • Anna @ Fresh The Blog

    Thanks so much for this video, Erika! It’s extremely helpful. I did actually get a couple of emails from Pinterest suggesting I upgrade to a business account and I mostly ignored them and then forgot about it. I guess that was a wrong move 🙂 I’m currently in the process of a re-design and tune up on my blog, but once that’s done, I will absolutely be looking into this. What a great idea!

    • Yes, definitely do make the switch to the business account! It’s totally worth it, if not for the Promoted Pins ability then just for the great analytics that come with it. 🙂 (I’m a bit addicted to looking at my numbers, haha.) Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Anna!

  • Jean

    Thanks so much for this info! This really helped because I was bummed about this change at first…I didn’t really like seeing related pins on my personal feed. But now I see the advantages for my business/blog Pinterest account. I may just try a promoted pin if I can. Thanks again!

    • Jean you are so very welcome. I know that a lot of people were discouraged/upset at first when they saw the change, but for business-minded bloggers and business owners, it’s a good thing. 🙂 If you try out a Promoted Pin, do let me know how it goes!

  • Anne|Craving Something Healthy

    Thanks so much for posting this! I was wondering what was going on with Pinterest- noticed the changes, but wasn’t sure what to do. Thanks!

    • I know Anne…I think they could have been a bit more helpful in educating people on what was happening. 🙂 I’m glad my post was helpful to you! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • SidelinePass1

    Great Pinterest tips! Creating the pins to get noticed on such a busy medium takes practice and promotion and patience. Thanks for these tips!

  • Zaz

    Thanks so much for this info! I sat watching with my notebook in hand! I am getting to grips with Pinterest and having redesigned my blog and made a career change from marketing, I am now pouring my energy into making it work! I can already see some of my pins getting a massive amount of repinning, and need to now focus on making my images for my own blog posts much more pinnable with descriptions and text on them. Will be signing up for your newsletter now! Thank you for sharing!

    • And by all appearances you are doing great, Zaz! I love your site and just spent 30 minutes perusing all those wonderful recipes you’ve posted. Keep up the great work!

      (And thank you for commenting + subscribing. I really appreciate that. Don’t hesitate to let me know if I can help you with something - seriously.)

  • Karen

    Thank you for this!! So much work went into this! Amazing.

  • Tedi

    Thank you for these excellent tips!! You make it so much easier to understand!

  • Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    Such great tips! I’m totally curious about promoted pins now and want to play around with them!

  • Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    Such great tips! I’m totally curious about promoted pins now and want to play around with them!

    • If you’ve tried them out Christine, I’d love to hear about your experience!

  • Helpful-very practical! Thanks loads!

  • Julie Spear

    This is amazing info, thank you for sharing, I had obviously noticed a change in {interest feeds, but wan’t aware that this was how it all worked,,,, I wasn’t sure HOW Pinterest was going to eventually go about making money… just that they WOULD ieventually. Thand you for providing such a clear description of how it all works, that is so helpful!!

    • I don’t know how I missed this Julie, but thank you so much for your comment! I’m really happy this info was helpful to you. 🙂

  • Jenney

    You have excellent information - written so normal non technical people like myself can understand it! Thanks. My question is probably so basic, you might laugh. But I can’t seem to find the answer to this anywhere, though I have a theory. I saw this post because I was about to pin a related pin from some other source when I saw this pin right below it under “related pins.” But the little gray button at the bottom left with the two pins going up and down just said ‘1’. Then I clicked through to your post here and yet I see this post has over 1,000 pins based on your little ‘pin it’ button and counter at the bottom. What am I missing? I hope this makes sense. Thanks for taking the time to answer!

    • This is a great question, Jenney! What happened is that you saw a Pin made by someone that only had 1 repin. The Pinterest sharing counter counts the total number of Pins made by EVERYBODY, so even though that post has been pinned overall over 1,000 times, each separate Pin might have only 0, 1, or, say, 9 repins.

      In other words, when you see a Pin on Pinterest with 1 repin, that doesn’t mean that the post has only been pinned once. It means that specific individual’s pin was only repinned once. Hundreds of other pins probably exist out there that lead to the same post, some with many more repins. 🙂

      Does that make sense? I hope I’m making it clear — it’s a bit of a muddled concept!

  • I just got accepted to use promoted pins… I would be curious to know more about how effective you find them to be in selling product! I am a stationery maker and I am releasing my first line of Christmas cards. I am just starting to build my audience and I would love to be able to get my product in front of more people. As a brand-new business owner, I’m a little scared to put money in when I’m not sure what the results will be!

    • Hey Kyle, I do not have statistics for myself yet in terms of helping to sell a product. In fact, in the next couple weeks I’m going to try running a Promoted Pin for my first ebook, so I hope to have some feedback for people then! That said, I have been in Facebook Groups where people have commented with their success in Promoted Pins and product sales and the consensus overall seems that they’re effective. I wish I had more detailed figures for you, though.

      What I would do is set yourself a very limited budget (Pinterest makes this super easy — you can limit it to a certain amount per day AND a budget limit for the entire length of the Promoted Pin campaign) and experiment for a week. You might want to start with only a $10 or so total. Now until later in November would be the perfect time to put a Christmas product on there, so I think it would be a good test as long as you have the funds available. I’d be sure that whatever page you send them to with your Pin includes a compelling email sign up form (prominently advertising a discount code as the ‘opt-in freebie’ might be super smart here) so that those who visit and aren’t ready to buy may at least get on your email list and buy later down the road!

      • Thanks so much for the advice! I think starting with a small budget like $10 is a good way to test the waters and see what happens. I didn’t even think of using a discount code as a lead magnet- I’m so used to reading infopreneurs who offer an e-course or download that it didn’t even occur to me as an option! I will definitely be looking to see how your promotion of your e-book goes!

  • fashionedforliving

    Thanks for the info.

  • Brittany De Leon

    Thank you! I am a brand new blogger with my website devoted to free printables and I’m getting really discouraged because I don’t know how to get the word out that I’m here. I’m not making money and therefore don’t really have money to spend to promote my page. But you have convinced me that a little bit of money can go a long way! I’m super hopeful that I can get just a little bit of traffic to my blog wit promoted pins!

  • I Am All Girls

    This was very helpful Erika, thank you for all of your help! I am on the quest to start promoting my blog and blog posts and will definitely use these times for pinterest!

  • amyann

    Though I am a little late to the show, this is still extremely helpful for me! I am re-launching my travel blog and this really helped organize my thoughts and process for promotion. Great content- will be returning to this site!

  • Thanks a lot! Very helpful. I guess this new Smart Feed is not for a very new blogger. At least not for me. I can’t even find my pins even if I type the exact keywords.
    It’s more for the people who were already noticed and had their audience…
    I’m thinking to try the promoted pins for my beginning 🙂

  • Andrea Foster Engbretsen

    Wow - I learned so much! Great video!

  • I should mention - I found this via Pinterest!
    Thank you for explaining all this - incredibly useful. Now, if only I can figure out how to make my pins prettier!

    xx Bry Jaimea ||

  • I have a couple questions about the promoted pins. I haven’t been utilizing promoting pins because I haven’t made a single cent with my blog yet and I simply cannot afford anymore money for my blog right now. Do you actually pay this money such as the 10 cents or $3 that you specified you use when you set up your promoted pin sample in the video? Should these expenses be added in to a blog advertising expense once you start making money with your blog? These could be silly questions, but I am still very new to this idea. I would love to promote pins and get more people to my blog, I just have been afraid to officially try this because I didn’t want to spend money I didn’t have.