It’s hard to schedule Pins consistently when you’re a small blogger. When your monthly blog income is low (or $0!), you don’t have even $5 to throw at a Pin scheduling service. And with Pinterest’s API partnerships that launched earlier this year, it’s even harder to find a scheduling service that works well. I finally got fed up with trying to save up for a service to schedule The Spare Room Project’s posts to Pinterest group boards and made my own scheduler!
Schedule Pins the Easy (FREE) Way!
Since The Spare Room Project is still relatively small and only recently started earning an income for itself, we don’t have a budget for… well, anything. You may be in the same boat. Earning $5 a month is kind of a big deal for a baby blog. It’s normal to not make a profit in your first year of business, and to put all the revenue you do make right back into the business. Pouring it back into your top traffic generator (for us, that’s Pinterest!) makes sense, but you kind of have to have that money in the first place!
Pinterest’s new API partner limits
I’ve been itching to get going on BoardBooster once we could afford it, but I recently read an article by Gretchen over at The Pinterest Assistant. As a professional Pinterest manager, she has some great insight into Pinterest’s API partnership announcement earlier this year and what it means for bloggers who use non-partner sites.
Most API partners are too expensive
BoardBooster would be the easiest, least expensive way to schedule Pins, but it might not be the best way anymore. Some people have noticed that their Pinterest ROI (return on investment) has drastically decreased since official Pinterest partners were announced and BoardBooster wasn’t among them. Tailwind is another good option, as well as an API partner, but they’re also out of our tiny budget right now. With all of the affordable API options still out of reach, small bloggers have to either pony up the money or move on. Sigh. Gotta love being one of the little guys! (Hah!)
Ahalogy is the only free scheduling partner on the list. It is only available by invitation, but you can apply to join, and it isn’t too hard to get in. We joined Ahalogy several months ago to make it easier to schedule Pins. We have been slowly adding more group boards to our Pinterest account, though, and it’s not easy to manually schedule Pins to group boards every day!
Trying to manually schedule Pins sucks!
There truly are optimal times to Pin. Typically, the weekends and lunchtime/evening on weekdays tends to be best. It only makes sense, since that’s when most people have free time.
This makes it hard on all of us small bloggers, though! It can be difficult enough to get on Pinterest once a day, especially if you have kids or work a day job. Pinning general Pins from your feed in one session isn’t too big a deal when you’re a small blogger. You want you own Pins to be optimized, though, and that’s where a Pin scheduler comes in handy!
Ahalogy will automatically optimize when your Pins are scheduled, if you choose. It also doesn’t schedule the same Pin too close to an identical one. This is a lifesaver.
Seriously, guys, I think Ahalogy saved my Pinterest life. Or at least my sanity. Shout it out if you agree!
Remembering your Pin schedule
The problem comes when you are trying not to Pin the same article too many times in a row. I usually double up, Pinning a post to two different group boards a day. It’s best to try not to Pin something to the same board several days in a row, though. Variety is the spice of life (and Pinterest), after all!
Sometimes if I’m doing what I consider a campaign, though, it’s hard to remember which boards I Pinned the campaign post to yesterday. Anyone else have that problem? For example, I love our printable Christmas card download, and I wanted to give as many people the chance to download it as I could. But with 10+ group boards, I kept losing track of where it had gone the day before. You don’t want to spam boards, so you really do need to keep track of this!
More Boards + Pins = even harder to remember!
The problem compounds when you add more group boards and write more blog posts. After all, the more content you have, the more you have available to share. As of this post, we have 60 posts that we can share. That’s not even a tiny fraction of what some bloggers have, either! Manually scheduling Pins just gets more and more difficult the further you are in your blogging journey. There’s got to be a better way, I thought. After all, losing your mind isn’t pretty, folks.
Ahalogy for scheduling vs. spreading
Quick side note: Ahalogy’s premise is that people who use it will increase their reach, because you get a better ‘score’ on Ahalogy when you Pin other peoples’ content from Ahalogy. This is a great idea… in theory. If you’re like us here at The Spare Room Project, though, it can be hard to find relevant content to share! It seems to be a lot of mommy-blogger and food-blogger types, which isn’t a bad thing. We just don’t usually share that sort of thing. (Except the food. We love food!)
Because of that, I’ve kind of given up on getting a good Ahalogy score. I’m more interested in using it to optimize my Pin schedule. If that’s your situation too, it’s okay! (Just figured you could use some encouragement if your score is 0 like ours.)
How to use Ahalogy to schedule Pins the easy way!
If you’ve gotten to the point where keeping track of your Pin schedule in your head is too much, never fear! We have a solution.
Having gotten fed up with trying to do just that, I created an easy way to schedule Pins – for free. Booyah!
To do this, I created a spreadsheet that I now use to schedule Pins from The Spare Room Project. One day, I’m sure we’ll upgrade to Tailwind or BoardBooster (once they officially partner with Pinterest), since Ahalogy limits you to 25 Pins/day to prevent spamming. For now, though, this method works beautifully!
The spreadsheet consists of three sheets, and it’s FREE to download! Just enter your email in the box below and hit Subscribe to get it. Then read on to see how to use it.
Sheet 1: Group Boards to Schedule Pins to
To use this sheet, list the categories that your group boards fall into. You can color code them to make it easier to identify the types of posts that should go to each one in Sheet 3. For each group board that has specific guidelines for Pins, make a note for that cell so you don’t forget. (In Google Drive, just right-click on the cell and click Insert note.)
You can see that I split my boards into five categories and gave each of them a distinct color. If I ever add group boards in other categories, I’ll just add the category and give the category its own color. Pretty easy, huh?
Sheet 2: Posts to Schedule Pins for
The second sheet lists all your posts. It’s easiest to split them up into your categories. As you can see, we have five main categories that we blog about.
To make it extra easy on yourself, link to each post in the sheet. (Just use Ctrl + K.) When you copy-paste them into the third sheet (don’t worry, we’ll talk about that in a minute!), the link will come with it. Then, you don’t have to go searching for the post ever again! Having your posts in categories also helps you make sure you match them to the proper categories for your group boards. We’re all about making it easy on you!
Sheet 3: Pin Schedule
The final sheet is the best part. You can make a sheet for each month, or just keep adding as you go. Add a column for each group board, and add its color, to make it easy to know which category it is at a glance. When you’re ready to Pin for the day, just click the hyperlink for each post and schedule Pins like a crazy person!
Not that I know how a crazy person schedules Pins.
Okay, maybe I do. Just a little bit.
I know this looks daunting, but trust me, this is nothing compared to some spreadsheets that I’ve seen from bigger bloggers! I like to plan out a month at a time, and then move things a bit when I have new posts to add. You can see where I have New Post as a placeholder. I should have that placeholder in for every new post that I plan to publish, but I’m too lazy to do that. I’d rather put the work of shifting things down when I add the post. It’s an oxymoron, I know!
And that’s about all there is to it! If you’d like your own copy of the FREE Pinterest Schedule spreadsheet, don’t forget to enter your info in the box below and click Subscribe! Make it simpler for yourself and schedule your Pins the easy way.