And So She Returns…

Well hello! It’s been a while. Almost three months, in fact, since I last sat down fingers to keyboard to write up a blog post. The intention was never to take such an elongated hiatus, but taking a step back while I acclimatised to a new working week was the best thing I could’ve done – both emotionally and physically.

For eight years I worked to the beat of my own drum: my own schedule, my own priorities and my own choice work-life balance; the ability to say yes or no to opportunities that came along, rather than feeling backed into a corner or withholden to corporate tape and process. But over time, inevitably sped up by the unpredictability of a global pandemic, the freedom I so thrived upon became more and more claustrophobic – because the control I once had was completely removed and left my head in a constant spin, thanks to the lack of clarity, certainty or stability I craved.

And so I started to think it was the right time to jump back into a full time position – albeit one that offered the flexibility, autonomy and entrepreneurial spirit I knew I would flourish in. It took a while (almost a year in fact) to find the perfect role, but I finally did… And honestly, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Over the last three months I’ve had to adjust quickly to no longer having the time to nurture this blog and populate my channels as frequently as I once did, for they’ve had to take a backseat while I settled into the day job. I fully intended to take a temporary step back (juggling a new job, a part time client and an online presence is too much for anyone!) but those first few weeks snowballed into many more, and before I knew it it’d been three months.

But you know what? It’s been a blessing in disguise, to take an unintended break, for now I’ve rekindled my passion and rediscovered my love for a space that has grown and evolved over the last eleven years.

It no longer feels like a chore, to open my laptop screen of an evening or weekend or take photos of products I’ve been loving, which is honestly what it had evolved into over the last few years. When a hobby transforms into a career there are so many amazing positives, but when you put monetary pressure upon something that was previously driven only by the need to be creative the edges become more than a little fuzzy. I felt I *had* to write, I was *obliged* to take photos, and the pressure was always on to find new revenue streams.

For all the collectives and groups out there telling you to stop making money for other people and follow your dreams – I get it, I support it and I encourage it. But also, there’s no getting away from the fact it’s not a lifestyle that works for everyone and it’s not always sustainable in the long term. There’s no shame whatsoever in giving it a go for a while, and then changing your mind down the line; it’s braver, in a way, to admit when things aren’t quite working out and you’d rather have the stability of a monthly pay cheque.

I gave it eight long years, and they were wonderful. But the time was right to take a step in a different direction – for my own mental wellbeing as much as my bank account.

For the first time in a long time, I’m excited about breathing life back into this site and to create content just because I want to. No pressure to be ‘commercial’ and no accountant niggling in the background asking if this year’s profits will be up or down; just me, my laptop and an empty screen.

I’ve got a lot to say. I hope you’re ready.

Photos from one of my favourite shoots last year – in a sunflower field near my house.

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How Can Pinterest Boost Your Blog?

How Can Pinterest Boost Your Blog

Pinterest is my favourite social media platform, and if I had to, I’d ditch all of the other social media platforms entirely, and just stick with Pinterest. I’ve been a heavy Pinterest user for seven years now, and I’ve amassed over 1.4 million followers on the platform alone, and it’s incredible how much potential there is when it comes to bloggers.

How Can Pinterest Boost Your Blog

I’ve had single pins go viral, giving me 30,000 views in one day and even old pins can gain traction and go viral months, or years later. My biggest traffic earner right now is a pin I made in 2019, and it just took off out of nowhere, and I hadn’t even repinned it. That’s what I love the most about Pinterest. It’s not like Instagram where it’s all about your most recent post, and posts you published days or weeks ago are forgotten.

Pinterest works like a visual search engine, and pins you upload might not do well initially, but out of nowhere you can find they take off. That’s particularly the case with seasonal based content, where you’ll get ebbs and flows, but evergreen content is the way to go. Obviously, it’s always a good idea to create content which will be popular in different seasons, but if you want to generate the most traffic, opt for subjects and topics which people would be searching for all year round.

The Pinterest algorithm is forever changing, but I try not to think about or worry about the algorithm in all honesty. Trends come and go, and as long as you’re creating high quality content, and pins, you’ll have success. One of my favourite parts of blogging, is the pin creation itself. It’s not enough to just pin images straight from your posts onto Pinterest. You want images which will catch the interest of people whilst scrolling on Pinterest, and there are different things you can do to ensure you do exactly that;

How Can Pinterest Boost Your Blog

Fonts

I absolutely love using fonts. It’s such a great way to make your blog, and pins stand out. Installing and using fonts isn’t complicated either, and there are websites like Font Bundles, which allow you to purchase fonts that you can then use on your blog. You can use custom fonts in your blog design like your header, and social media branding. You can also use them for creating blog post promotional pins too.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll see that I love using handwriting fonts the most. They always do well for me, especially when creating quote phone wallpapers like the one shown above. This one quote pin has generated me 50,000 hits on my other blog Gemma Etc since I pinned it on the 5th of May 2019, and it took me around one minute to make thanks to the amazing choice of handwriting fonts from Font Bundles.

How Can Pinterest Boost Your Blog

Pinterest is all about the visuals, so you want your pins to look pretty and eye catching. I find handwriting pins on quote pins, and also blog post promotional pins like the one shown above, do the best for me. Especially if you combine a handwriting style font with a plainer font, with an emotive word in the handwriting font.

It really helps to grab attention, and you want your pins to inspire people to a) repin the pin to one of their own Pinterest boards and b) click through to your blog to read your full blog post. Using custom fonts will make your blog promotional pins really stand out, and help with your blog’s branding, especially if you utilise the font across your blog, social media channels, blog posts and pins.

How Can Pinterest Boost Your Blog

Images

One of the best ‘investments’ I ever made, was subscribing to paid stock image services. I don’t have the hours in the day to create content for four blogs, never mind take photos for all of them. So that’s where stock image sites are invaluable. There are sites like Deposit Photos where you can purchase credits, which you can then redeem each time you download one of their images.

Or there are sites like PixiStock where you pay a monthly or annual fee, for access to their extensive stock image library. I love that you can find images for whatever you’re writing about, and they’re high quality. Meaning you don’t have to worry about taking relevant photos, and you can concentrate your time on writing quality content, and making amazing Pinterest pins instead.

How Can Pinterest Boost Your Blog?

Story Pins

Story Pins is a brand new Pinterest feature, and I’ve had some major success with it so far. Story Pins are Pinterest’s version of Instagram’s Instagram Stories. They don’t have a swipe-up feature unfortunately, and you can’t link them to any external links. It is in beta testing right now, with only a small percentage of Pinterest creators being able to use it, but once it is available for you, make sure you use it.

Whilst you can’t link out to your blog directly, Story Pins will explode your Pinterest profile’s reach. I have seen a big increase in followers since I started using Instagram Stories, and have grown by over 5,000 followers in a week with very little effort.

How Can Pinterest Boost Your Blog?

By using Story Pins, Pinterest will put the pin in front of a new audience, which could then click your blog link in your bio, make them engage with your other content which might be linked to your blog, but also increase the reach on your existing content. The above screenshot, shows how my traffic exploded practically overnight from starting to use Story Pins (we’re talking multiple thousands of click throughs per day), so I’m a massive fan already, and cannot recommend them enough if you want to boost your blog’s traffic and potential.

These are just a few ways in which Pinterest can boost your blog, and I really hope you found them helpful.

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