Food Blogging FM 015: Tailwind For Food Bloggers

Food Blogging Podcasts | Welcome to Tailwind For Food Bloggers from RecipeThis.com

Welcome to our food blogging Podcast and here we are with Food Blogging FM 015.

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What Is Featured In This Podcast?

How Tailwind has changed things at RecipeThis.com – discover how making a few smart changes has actually doubled our Pinterest traffic in the very first month of using it. Plus we were on holiday for part of that month so we didn’t start it straightaway!

The Tailwind account – what you need to know about Tailwind and the top 10 stages of making a successful Tailwind account.

Links & Resources Mentioned In Food Blogging FM 015:

Today I wanted to talk to you about Tailwind. If you’re not familiar with Tailwind then put in simple terms it is a scheduler for Pinterest. Here at RecipeThis.com we have tried other schedulers but not one of them has matched up to this one.

We are also the frugal type of food bloggers so we don’t spend money on our food blog unless we have to. So for us to spend just over $100 a year for something it has to give us something special.

Well most people are on Pinterest for traffic and to use it to grow their social media activity and it has certainly done that for us.

Here is our Pinterest traffic the day we started on Tailwind:

How To Start A Food Blog | how to start a food blog - traffic before introducing tailwind from RecipeThis.com

1685 sessions was what we had for the last 30 days. This had become the norm and for a food blog that was just six months old we were relatively happy with this result. However we were still looking at our former site that got a lot of traffic from Pinterest and wish we could have the same success.

But  Pinterest has changed a lot since then and you could just post your recipes in 2013 and not have to make any effort. But with more and more people using it and promoted pins you have to go that extra mile.

So we started on Tailwind and this was our first full month on Tailwind:

How To Start A Food Blog | How to start a food blog - Pinterest traffic a month after using Tailwind from RecipeThis.com

3672 sessions was what we have had in the last month in comparison. This means that we have more than doubled our traffic. We have also added approximately one thousand new followers to our Pinterest account too.

Normally to have that kind of growth you would need one of your updates to go viral but thanks to Pinterest Groups and incorporating it into Tailwind you can achieve this on your own. So let me explain how:

The Tailwind Account

To get going you will need to have a Tailwind account. You can sign up for one by going to RecipeThis.com/tailwind. Once you have a tailwind account set up then you can set to work making it work for you.

Here are the first things you need to do:

  • Put a spreadsheet together

For me my spreadsheet it what runs a successful Pinterest campaign through Tailwind. When you are on a lot of Pinterest boards the issue that you have is that they ALL have different rules and regulations. One board could have a daily pin limit of 2 pins and another could have a daily limit of 5, yet I am also on ones that have a no limits at all. Well without a spreadsheet and a plan of action you might end up placing 8 pins on the board that has a 2 limit and then you end up blocked from the group.

Also, especially as a food blogger I find that there are a lot of different types of Pinterest groups and even though I would love it to just go in and add my pin to all of them, many are not suitable to the niche.

For example I am on 27 healthy eating boards that there is no way that I can post my full fat, incredibly naughty homemade vanilla ice cream. Just like I am also on several food specific boards such as steak, lemon, chicken, avocado, pasta, noodles and even some barbeque boards.

At the time of recording this Podcast my Pinterest group board count was around the 160 mark and out of those only 50 of them are generalised food boards plus another 6 that allow you to post whatever you like. If I didn’t have a spreadsheet I wouldn’t have any real order and things would end up getting forgotten about.

My spreadsheet includes the following data for my records:

  • Date published on the blog
  • Date published on Tailwind
  • Blog post URL
  • Pinterest URL
  • Blog title

Then after that I have a column for each group and for each of the groups I include the number of followers, rules (if there is any), board url and the name of the group.

Then when I have a planned pin that I want to add to group boards I will fill in the info and black out any boards that are not suitable. It then works as the perfect way to quickly add my recipe to lots of boards and at the same time making sure I don’t put pins on the wrong boards!

Once the spreadsheet is set up I can maintain it with the latest recipe in less than 5 minutes for each new post. So if you have 2 recipes a month than this is just 10 minutes work a week. So don’t feel like a spreadsheet takes over from what Tailwind is all about.

  • Clear out any useless boards

At first when you join Pinterest it can be so exciting when someone adds you to a group board on there. I know myself that feeling that you are involved in the moment and before you know it you have said a big fat YES and you can now contribute to that board.

But you MUST think of it from a selfish point of view. There are thousands and thousands of group boards on Pinterest and if you are not getting anything out of it then I suggest you leave that board.

Get rid of any group boards that have less than 10,000 followers and have this as your minimum threshold as your Pinterest board list grows. But only do this if your own Pinterest following is under 10,000. Once it hits 10,000 then you want to look at altering this to 25,000 followers so that you are getting value out of them.

Also have a look at your Pinterest group boards and see if there are any boards that you are just not going to get the chance to pin onto on a regular basis. This is because you don’t want boards clogging up your account that are just not going to get used. For example I had a few boards that were about food that I would probably have 1 recipe a year for and they just didn’t seem worth keeping, so I have removed these from my account.

Finally, look at boards that have very strict rules and that don’t let you pin to very often. Do these boards have enough of a following for it to be worth your while?

As in reality you want to be able to pin to the same board 5 times a day, so if you can’t there has to be an amazing reason for this that has to be worth you staying for.

Food Blogging #Podcast – #Tailwind For Food Bloggers via recipe_thisClick To Tweet

For example I have 4 boards that are strict on the rules and allow between 1 and 3 pins a day. Two of them have over 80,000 followers, 1 is about a niche that I blog about a lot an the fourth even though it only has about 16,000 followers and only allows 1 pin a day has a very high repin rate.

But I must have dropped about 10 boards because they had such a low amount of daily pins allowed and they are just not worth the time it takes to keep them to the minimum.

Then once you have done this you have your board list in place and these are the ones you’re going to concentrate on.

The scary thing is that if you are only on 50 boards to begin with you could see yourself down as far as 20. But wouldn’t you rather work on 20 amazing boards than having 60% of your boards being useless. You are still working on all those boards and it is still your time and your repin rate.

  • Getting on more group boards

Whether you are on 50 boards or 10 you can never be on too many and there are no limits on the amount of group boards you are on and I have seen quite a few people on over 300 of them.

It can be quite hard work getting on more and more, but if you can put some time together for increasing your boards then it can have a great impact on your Tailwind campaigns.

What I did to get added on boards was a mix of asking people to add me that were members in exchange for adding them to mine, plus I also got a VA to send out emails to group board owners asking for an invite.

Unfortunately people tend to forget about their group boards or get too busy to work on them, so my emails sent to being added to boards was about 20%. But that still means that if you send out 100 emails a week, then you can be on 20 new boards a week, which is better than nothing.

I also used PinGroupie.com to find suitable group boards. It is a great site that allows you to search by category or keyword to find boards.

How To Start A Food Blog | How to start a food blog - pingroupie for growing your pinterest group boards from RecipeThis.com

It is a long process though so don’t expect to be on 100 new boards in a week, because unless you are really lucky that is very unlikely to happen.

There are also some really good Facebook Groups where people post the boards they need contributors for. I recommend you join them and then look each week for new boards in your niche that you want to be added to.

The Facebook groups we are on at the moment are:

They are all good for getting quick adds and it is much easier than PinGroupie it is just there is not an unlimited quantity.

  • Go through all your blog content

This is a MUST. Unless you have started a brand new blog then you need this. Go through all the content that you have ever published to your blog and make a list of it. Then depending on how much content you have, plan a short or a long drip feed of the content being placed on Pinterest.

For example I had approximately 175 recipes that had been posted to my account and onto a few group boards, but it was no where near on enough of them and these pins needed a lot more attention.

So I logged them all into the spreadsheet. Once I had done this I set up a schedule of 8 recipes to be drip fed each day. I would go with the most popular times of the day based on what Tailwind suggested and then optimise them for every hour. Remember I am on about 160 groups and on average each pin would be going out to 100 group boards. Optimised for 1 hour would take this one recipe pin about 14-21 days to go through the system. So even though I am adding 8 new pins a day, when filtered they average about 5 pins a day.

If you have fewer boards set up an optimised system so that it takes at least a week to go through them all so that your pins are not too close together or that you are pinning too much to the group boards.

My blogging tips boards for example are very small so with these I drip feed it at the rate of 1 a day and this works well.

If you have a decent amount of content then this will take a while, so have some patience and build it up over several weeks or it might even be several months.

For us we started the process in late June and we expect to get up to date on content for the end of August, maybe early September. So start by setting yourself a weekly or daily goal for the Tailwind scheduling.

  • Create Tailwind Board Lists

This is another must and does make the process quicker. This is also like a dream come true. It takes a little time to set up to begin with (a bit like the time spent on the spreadsheet) but once done it’s a case of set and forget.

I have one for all my healthy eating recipes so that when I have a Paleo recipe I can just click the button once for that list and it will add all 27 healthy boards in one click.

The same applies to my general food boards, dessert boards, blogging boards and so on. I just have a general rule that if I have less than 6 suitable boards for a list that I don’t put a list together for them as then it is quicker by hand.

How To Start A Food Blog | How to start a food blog - Understanding Tailwind board lists from RecipeThis.com

  • Build up new rounds of Pinterest groups

If I added all my pins to all new Pinterest boards as I got added it would take a lifetime and I would never get any work done. So what I do instead is add new Pinterest boards to my spreadsheet once a month and then add my previous pins to these new boards.

It makes life so much easier and then after you have added them any new pins can go across the board to include your new ones.

  • Work on more images for your recipes

Let’s say you have 30 recipes in total on your food blog. You have now posted those recipe graphics to 50 boards and you have run out of Tailwind content. This is the time for creating new recipe images to go on these boards. Don’t just post one of your recipe images from a different angle, instead create some images especially for Pinterest.

Please don’t copy everyone else by having the same skinny Pinterest graphics that the whole food world has. If everyone has the same type of image then they are not going to get repinned and you are just lacking in originality.

Instead go on Pinterest on a regular basis as a reader not as a pinner. Then look through popular pins that are very visual. Look at new ideas and see what is getting lots of repins that is unusual and then come up with your own ideas.

Then go to a graphics designer and get them to do you a mock up for it and then you can use this as your master copy that you can edit yourself.

We have just got ours back from our designer and plan on rolling it out between September and December to keep our graphics flowing through the Pinterest world.

Though, if you are doing this make sure you have left it at least a month before you add these pinterest graphics to boards that you have already posted the recipe about. Though these board owners don’t seem to mind if it is a different image and they are not showing up at the top of the feed at the same time.

  • Don’t post too much of other peoples content

I love sharing and the idea of Pinterest is that you pin and then people will pin you. But when people go to your pins on Pinterest they need to find you and the majority should always be you.

I would say that 15% of all my pins are other people’s content. I would also be happy to go up to 30% but not beyond that. And if you are starting out and thinking about how much of other peoples content you should share have the 1 in 5 rule. As in 1 in 5 of the pins is someone else’s. If you have a lot to post though, it’s fine to be around the 15% mark.

You could also pin other people’s content as your campaign for getting your own content pinned. For example I am part of some Pinterest exchange groups where you pin to get a repin and also take part in tribes that run on a very similar system.

You can also sell your Pinterest pins by offering gigs on places like Fiverr where you will share their pin for $5 or whatever you wish to charge.

  • Work on your low share content

So let’s say you have 200 blog posts on your food blog. You have some posts that have done really well and have had more than 1000 social shares, you have some average ones that have had 300 and then there is the dead ducks that have lingered around the 50 mark.

Well the reason I know this is because this is US. Even though our food blog is only in its first year we already have about 5 posts that have passed the 1000 social shares, we also have a LOT that is between 300 and 600 along with an endless supply around 200 and some dead ducks that have shamefully had less than 50 shares.

The ones that have had over 1000 shares I have still put them onto the groups because I know it will just add to good thing. I will also add the ones that are doing okay or are above average.

But with the dead ducks it is a great time to expand on them and really work on them. The best way to improve on this is to make some extra specific graphics for these posts and to also update the post itself so that it is at the best it could possibly be at. That way you can easily turn your 50 shares dead duck into a 500 social shares success.

  • Join Tribes

Getting your head around tribes is a task in itself and I will be covering that in the next Podcast next month when I have had time to really do them justice. But in the mean time you want to be joining as many tribes as you can and testing them out.

Basically tribes are Tailwinds own Pinterest Groups that you join and then you add your content onto the tribe and other members do the same. Then you agree to share x amount of content and the other users do the same and it gives you a much better possibility of getting shares and repins.

Using the Pinterest board groups that I mentioned earlier on Facebook you can find out about regular Tribes that you can join.

Scheduling A Successful Campaign

So once you have got your account ready and thought about the 10 different suggestions that I have made above, you need to think about scheduling a successful campaign.

  • Be the original source

This part is really important and basically what it means is that the pin you are promoting started off on one of your boards first. You have control over your board and if the group board that you posted it to first closes down or you are banned from the group then they will be able to delete your pin and it will have a big impact on your search engine optimisation.

Have a few boards set up that are your own that you regularly post to and make sure the board that your attention is focused on has your pin first. Then do your scheduling via Tailwind.

What I personally do is post my recipe image to Pinterest first, then use Hootsuite to share it to Twitter, Google+, Linkedin and Facebook. After that I send Dominic the update and he puts it on Instagram for me and finally I share it with my friends on Facebook to help with the social media reach.

After all this is done I set up a campaign for it on Tailwind to all relevant groups and then it is marked down in my spreadsheet.

How To Start A Food Blog | How to start a food blog - recent pins to my airfryer board on pinterest from RecipeThis.com

One of the boards we are always working on is our Airfryer board and when we have a recipe using the Airfryer it will generally go in here first.

  • Always go for optimised times

When you are in Tailwind and scheduling your pin it will give you the opportunity of available time slots, exact time or optimised. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you always choose optimised as what this does is it chooses the time when you are likely to get the most pins.

I never really realised until I started using Tailwind that there was a time of day when I was more likely to get more repins and since I have tried it I have been amazed by the difference it makes to my repin rate.

For me the recommended time tends to be about 2am in the morning which I assume this is because it is American evening time when people are sat watching TV and are on their phones feeling rather bored.

  • check the spread of time

When you place a pin on Tailwind and set optimised you will find that it can spread some pins out on some days and other days it can be close together. Sometimes I find that it doesn’t quite work for me so I will change the spread from 1 hour optimised to say 20 minutes optimised or in some cases increase it to days rather than hours. Just have a good look through it and see what best suits what you need.

Monitoring growth

Now this is probably the most important part of it all. You’re putting your money and time into this and you want it to be a huge success. So just like if you are paying for ads you want to see how your growth is doing and if you can do anything to improve it.

  • Ditch boards that never get you repins

Before Tailwind it was like finding a needle in the haystack looking for a successful board. By successful board I mean which boards were getting you what repins and which boards were not worth bothering with.

The best people could monitor by was simply only being on boards that had more followers than pins as this would get rid of the worry that your pin would just disappear because everyone was repinning. Or only following high follower boards. But now thanks to Tailwind you have options….

Through the board insights or through your published pins you can see which of your pins have had the most repins thanks to being featured on that particular board. Then if you are pinning to them regularly every 90 days you can remove yourself from any boards that have brought you zero or little activity.

  • Plan recipes around your boards

Now this is an interesting thing. I normally plan my recipes around seasons and what I know will get me lots of repins. But what if you are a member of a board that gets a lot of traction?

Well you could plan a recipe with a certain board in mind and watch as you grow your blog. For example from my own board insights I know that I have a high share board in the ribs niche and I haven’t featured ribs on my blog since November so maybe it is time for some new ones?

  • Profile insights

It is also nice to see how your own profile on Pinterest is coming along since you started using Tailwind.

For me I am able to see:

  • I have 4674 followers
  • 226 new followers in the last 7 days
  • 20,869 repins
  • I have steady follower’s growth

How To Start A Food Blog | How to start a food blog - Tailwind statistics from RecipeThis.com

That’s A Wrap

Thanks for listening to our Podcast and don’t forget to sign up for your own free Tailwind account where you can test drive it for your first 100 scheduled pins. Like we have mentioned in this Podcast Tailwind has allowed us to double our Pinterest traffic and is having an amazing impact on our Pinterest following. It also makes our Pinterest account so much easier to run.

You can also sign up for a free account on the banner below:

Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite

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Meet The Milners

Samantha and Dominic
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Dominic & Samantha Milner are the founders of RecipeThis.com. They love cooking, blogging and being full time parents to their three food obsessed kids. They cook with their kitchen gadgets everyday and love sharing their homemade recipes. Their favourite foods include chocolate, air fryer burgers and macaroni cheese. You can learn more about them here or you can sign up for their free newsletter here.

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